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.