Founder and front man of bagpipe rock group, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Stuart Cassells (32) has left the band. After nearly 10 years, Stuart has decided it is time to step down to pursue his other goals and opportunities. “I have had some absolutely amazing times in the band and I would never have imagined the success we’ve had. I want to thank all the great musicians I’ve had the pleasure of performing with and I’m excited about the new chapter in my life” Stuart was the recipient of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2005 and was the first person to gain a degree in piping from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Despite achieving much success in traditional bagpipe competitions when he was younger, it was in 2002 whilst a student at the RSAMD, Stuart thought that there was a demand for a new, modern bagpipe group that could take the bagpipes to a wider audience. For the last two years, Stuart has been suffering with the condition called ‘focal dystonia’ also known as musician’s or writer’s cramp. This has meant he has had to have various different treatments to allow him to perform to his high standard, including botox injections into the arm. He is hoping his time away from performing will allow him to fully focus on recovering from focal dystonia and he can hopefully rejoin the band for a few special gigs in the future. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are just about to embark upon their first tour of New Zealand and Australia. They will then travel to Jordan for a gig before being back in Germany for 4 weeks. Kyle Warren, a recent World Pipe Band Championship winner with the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, is now playing in Stuart’s place.