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Mongrel music

It's only natural that three Australian-born brothers/musicians with Scottish heritage should find a way to combine the two cultures. "It seems pretty logical looking back," says guitarist and bagpiper Angus Richardson, the middle brother and front man of BROTHER. "We're both Celtic and tribal."

Growing up on a farm in the Blue Mountains of Australia, Angus and his brothers, Hamish and Fergus Richardson, learned to play bagpipes and participated in their high school's pipe band. In 1991, the brothers moved to Los Angeles hoping to land a record deal. While they waited for their big break, Hamish Richardson began experimenting with his native didgeridoo and incorporated the instrument into the brothers' Celtic-rock busking act.

The brothers dubbed this new innovative genre, featuring both didgeridoo and bagpipes, "mongrel music" and began touring full time as BROTHER. They were later joined by fellow Australian Dave "Dalbo" Allen on drums and Drew "Didgeridrew" Reid on keyboards and didgeridoo.

"Most people in America weren't familiar with didgeridoo, and as far as I know, we are the only band to combine the two," Angus Richardson says.

Fergus Richardson left the band in 1998 and Hamish Richardson in 2007, leaving Angus Richardson, Allen and Reid to pick up the slack and rework the arrangements for a smaller configuration.

Richardson and Reid have since moved to Ashland, while Allen, an in-demand studio artist, remains in Los Angeles.

The trio, wearing its signature black, leather kilts, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Unitarian Center, 87 Fourth St., Ashland.

BROTHER has released 14 albums and one DVD. Its most recent album, "Out from Under" (2010), was the band's second live recording and its first since Hamish and Fergus Richardson left.

Angus Richardson says the album is very tribal, featuring lots of didgeridoo interspersed with African rhythms and varying degrees of Celtic influence, "although the bagpipes are always in there."

In 2008, BROTHER released "One Day." The "meditational" album was recorded from a mobile recording studio on the veranda of a house deep in the Australian bush. The natural sounds of a day passing serve as the backdrop for Richardson's bagpipe melodies.

Richardson and Reid will offer a bagpipe and didgeridoo workshop at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in the Ashland Food Co-op classroom, 300 N. Pioneer St. Cost is $35, which comes with materials to make a simple didgeridoo, or $25 to observe.

Tickets to the concert are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, $10 for ages 12 through 17 and free for ages 11 and younger. Tickets are available at Music Coop in Ashland, www.stclairevents.com and by calling 541-535-3562.

BROTHER has shared the stage with former Eagles guitarist and '70s solo rocker Joe Walsh, former The Who bassist John Entwhistle and contemporary hit-makers Linkin Park and Alicia Keys. - Photo by Kerry McQuaid