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Monthly Archives: March 2012

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Piobaireachd Wednesday: The Unjust Incarceration

I apologize for the late update this week; I’ve switched back to night shift at work and it’s interfered with my sense of time.

Last week I shared an entry from the most recent incarnation of Jori Chisholm’s online competition, and this week I present the next tune in the prize list in that same event. This was the second place performance in the grade 1 piobaireachd. The piper is Bill Peters, and he’s playing The Unjust Incarceration. I don’t know Bill, but he clearly knows his way around piobaireachd. The tune starts around 2:00 into the video if you’d like to skip the tuning.

This tune has one of those most excellent piobaireachd titles, and I did a little poking around to find out the background of the tune. A quick internet search turned up an article (in pdf format) written by Brett Tidswell at the School of Piping in Australia.

This was composed by the famous blind piper of Gairloch, Iain Dall MacKay, who we know lived from 1656 to 1754. The tune tells the story of Neil, the eldest son of the seventh chief of the MacKays of Strathnaver who was incarcerated on Bass Rock a tiny island off East Lothian for nine years from 1427, by King James I. In his efforts to control the Highland Clans, James had called a parliament in Inverness and when they arrived James had many of the Clan Chiefs executed or placed in “safe keeping” in various jails or strongholds throughout Scotland. Neil escaped after James was executed in 1436.

If you’d like to submit a tune to be featured on Piobaireachd Wednesday, please email me.

Piobaireachd Wednesday: McIntosh’s Lament

Our tune this week was sent in by Australian piper Stephen Ross. I featured one of Stephen’s tunes before, from Jori Chisholm’s online competition a few months ago, and he sent me his entry in thee most recent online competition. He’s chosen to play McIntosh’s Lament, which he does quite a nice job with. Except, as he says, for “one big boob at the end of a part,” I think you’ll agree this is quite a nice tune.

This performance earned him third place in the grade 1 piobaireachd. Stephen kindly offered to share his comment sheet, which can be found here. He offered these comments by email:

I would agree with the comments. And I was getting tired by the end – 16 minutes of Piob playing after tune up is actually quite a challenge for blowing and concentration – new found admiration for the Professional – makes light music a breeze

The length of the tune is indeed one of the challenge of playing piobaireachd, but it’s also one of the things that make it great. Thanks again for sharing Stephen, and well played.

If you’d like to submit a tune to be featured on Piobaireachd Wednesday, please email me.

Piobaireachd Wednesday: Beloved Scotland

Our tune this week again comes from the amateur competition at the Metro Cup, held in Newark, NJ on February 18. The piper is a friend of mine, Avens Ridgeway, who hails from Union, Maine and currently studies at Lyon College in Batesville, AR. Here is her bio from the Metro Cup program:

Avens Ridgeway is from Union, Maine and is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Music at Lyon College. She played with the Grade 2 Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band from Massachusetts during 2010. Avens is currently a Grade 1 solo competitor in the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association. She competes throughout the U.S. and in Canada as well. Some of her accomplishments include winning the Grade 1 Piobaireachd at the Glengarry Highland Games in Ontario, Canada and winning the Piobaireachd at the United States Piping Foundation in 2009. She also has been invited to the Nicol-Brown Challenge where she placed 4th overall. Avens has had Piobaireachd instruction from Jimmy McIntosh and primarily studied with Nancy Tunnicliffe before coming to Lyon, where she now studies with Jimmy Bell.

Avens’ tune for the competition was Beloved Scotland, which has one of the most distinctive opening lines of any tune I’ve ever heard. A further interesting note is that the judge for the contest is Glenn Brown, who played Beloved Scotland to win his Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting in Inverness in 2009.

If you’d like to submit a tune to be featured on Piobaireachd Wednesday, please email me.

Piobaireachd Wednesday: Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon

This tune was sent to me by Sean Regan, who is a friend of mine and rather a piobaireachd fan. He recently represented the Ohio Valley branch of the EUSPBA  in the Pipe Major George M. Bell amateur competition at The Metro Cup, and placed third in the piobaireachd event with this tune. Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon is a classic, and I think you’ll agree that Sean does a fine job with it.

If you’d like to submit a tune for Piobaireachd Wednesday, please email me.