It’s been a while since I’ve posted a piobaireachd, so here’s one for you Friday afternoon/evening: Alex Gandy from the 2012 Metro Cup in Newark, New Jersey last February. He’s playing, I believe, The Daughter’s Lament. The video only has 209 views as of this posting, which is tragic. Enjoy, and tell your friends.
In my last post (months ago… yikes!) I promised that I might be posting on a more regular basis. Looks like I’ve let that go. Now that I’ve gotten settled into my new area a bit, I’m starting to get back into the piping mindset, and since I’m thinking pipes more often, maybe I’ll post more often. I promise nothing, but keep an eye on this blog just in case. Anyway, coming up is an event that all pipers should know about.
The internet can be the piper’s best friend, especially for those of us who are somewhat isolated from the piping world at large. I do my best to try to follow the results from big events in Scotland and my friends on the east coast, and without the internet it simply wouldn’t be possible for me. But with the internet, I can follow the news of the piping world at pipes|drums, listen to recorded performances on Pipeline, and even watch the World Pipe Band Championship live.
This year, there’s another premier piping event the world will be able to watch live: The Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championship on Saturday October 27, 2012. The Glenfiddich is generally considered to be the world championship of solo pipers, and the ten competitors are invited based on the results from major contests through the previous 12 months. This year’s listincludes some of the familiar names like Roddy MacLeod, Jack Lee, Murray Henderson, Stuart Liddell, Willie MacCallum, and Gordon Walker, as well as some newcomers, like Callum Beaumont, who won the Northern Meeting Clasp this year in his first appearance in the event.
Coverage is available through the National Piping Centre’s website, and will begin at 10 a.m. local time, continuing through the end of the piobaireachd and MSR competitions. Be sure to tune in if you can.
This is a video that has been making the rounds of various piping sites and blogs this week. If it doesn’t get you fired up for the World Pipe Band Championships, there’s something wrong with you.
For best results, set the quality to HD.
Mark your calendar: August 11, 2012!
Today was the first day of the Piping Live! festival, a grand celebration of all kinds of bagpipes and bagpipe music leading up to the World Pipe Band Championship on Saturday. The festival takes place all over the city of Glasgow, with performances by soloists, bands, ensembles, and jam sessions happening basically non-stop.
I wish I were in Scotland to see some of this, but it just wasn’t going to happen this year. The festival’s YouTube channel has some videos from the day’s music, and I imagine there will be more as the week progresses. Here’s one I watched today, featuring a performance by the festival’s organizer Finlay MacDonald.
I’ll post more videos throughout the week as I can, so check back to see the good stuff I’ve found.
Here’s a nice piobaireachd performance to cheer up your Thursday: Roddy MacLeod winning the piobaireachd at the Glenfiddich in 2009, playing The Earl of Ross’ March. Roddy is one of the great piobaireachd players of the day, and this video is evidence of the master at work.
It’s well worth the 14 minutes if you like piobaireachd.
Here’s another video to get you through to the Metro Cup: Gordon Walker playing his medley (and winning the event) at the 2010 Metro Cup.
I moved into the 21st century this week by acquiring a smartphone, and I’ll try to take some video this weekend. Look here early next week to see what I came out with.
This weekend is a great weekend for bagpipes. The Metro Cup takes place in Newark, NJ, and the list of players includes some really top-notch pipers. Saturday is filled with competitions from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m., with an amateur piobaireachd and MSR in the morning and a professional piobaireachd and medley in the afternoon.
This is an invitational contest, and some really great pipers are coming over from Scotland, as well as some more local folks. I’ve never been, and I’m very much looking forward to the whole thing.
Here’s a video of Bruce Gandy playing his medley at the event in 2010. Bruce has won the event more times than anyone else, and he and his son Alex are both competing there this year.
If this is an indicator of the level of piping, it will be a great weekend.
These are my two videos I sent in for the two grade 1 events, MSR and jig.
For the MSR, I had originally planned to play all new tunes, but they just weren’t ready. I ended up playing the march John MacDonald of Glencoe, strathspey Arniston Castle, and the reel Sandy Cameron. The reel was the only new tune I played, and perhaps I should stress that it’s new to me and is by no means a new tune to the world.
My choice of jig was complicated because it was required to play it twice through. I haven’t played any jig only competitions in grade 1, so I’m used to playing a hornpipe and jig, both once through. I ended up submitting Alan MacPherson of Mosspark, a jig that has done pretty well for me over the last few years.
The results of the contest will be announced probably in the next week or so, and I’ll be sure to pass those along.
That statement is nonsense. I hear that this was a common sentiment a few decades ago, and I’m glad to say that this doesn’t seem to be out there anymore, except for maybe a few old geezers sitting around with their viewpoints stuck in the 50′s and their heads up their a$$es. (more…)
The last video from Willie McCallum’s lunchtime recital, recorded at The Piping Centre during Piping Live 2010. The video set concludes with a slow air and jigs.
The fifth video of Willie McCallum’s lunchtime recital from Piping Live in August 2010. A set of retreat marches this time. I do quite a good set of retreat marches, and Willie plays them about as well as anyone on the planet.
Tomorrow is the last video; I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to this masterful player.
Part 4 of 6 from Willie McCallum’s lunchtime recital during the Piping Live Festival from August 2010: slow air and hornpipes.
Part 3 of 6 of Willie McCallum’s lunchtime recital from Piping Live 2010: 2/4 marches.
The next video in Willie McCallums lunchtime recital from Piping Live 2010: strathspeys and reels.
While cruising YouTube this morning I came across a series of videos recorded during the Piping Live Festival in Glasgow, Scotland in August 2010. Each day featured a lunchtime recital at The Piping Centre. Stuart Liddell gave one of the recitals, and this one is Willie McCallum.
Willie is one of the top solo competitors on the circuit today and one of the most decorated solo pipers of all time. He’s also a heck of a nice guy.
Here’s the first of six videos in the series: 6/8 marches. The rest of the videos in the series will follow.
Mmm, hmm. I do love me some 6/8 marches.
This week features a similar question: a friend of yours comments that he/she doesn’t like the bagpipes, and you speculate it’s because he/she has never heard them played properly.
What is the one video of Highland Bagpipes you would share with a friend who has never heard good bagpipes?
Here’s mine: Angus MacColl playing strathspeys and reels.
As usual, leave a comment with your video. I’ll make another playlist once there have been some good responses.
In last week’s Monday Survey question, I asked for your favorite piping video. There were some great responses (and several on my Facebook profile, too), and surprisingly the Highland Pipes were in a minority. We had a homemade double smallpipe, The Rogues, and Johnny Bagpipes, in addition to a great one of Ross Ainslie on Border Pipes. I made a playlist of the submitted videos; check them out!
Of the ones posted, I quite enjoyed this one of Stuart Liddell’s medley at the Metro Cup this year. He’s still one of my favorite players when it comes to innovative and fancy playing. He also has an impeccably tuned bagpipe, and it’s truly a joy to hear him play in person. Thanks, Derek, for posting this.
For the Monday Survey question this week, I’m going to change things up a bit and ask
What is your favorite piping video that you’ve found recently?
It doesn’t have to be your favorite necessarily, but something great you’ve found on YouTube or elsewhere around the interwebs. This is open to any kind of bagpipes, solo or band, performance or practice. Here’s mine:
This is a performance by Fred Morrison recorded a few years ago. Fred won gold medals at Oban and Inverness and is now known for branching out to the border pipes, which he is playing here. This video is a great example of his innovative arrangements, amazing fingers, and excellent hair, and it’s just good for a few minutes of foot stomping.
This is one of the questions most frequently asked of me, and it’s one that you don’t often hear asked of the top players.
I was informed of a website called Pipers’ Persuasion, which back in the early part of 2010 started sitting down with well known pipers for interviews.
I’ve embedded here the first video from the interview with Jim Wark, in which he answers the question of how he started on the pipes.
Jim is best known as a band piper, acting as pipe major of the Strathclyde Police for many years until he retired from the police force. He’s now a judge and a heck of a nice guy.
This video was posted today over at the Piper’s DoJo Blog, and it’s really fantastic. Stuart Liddell gave one of the lunchtime recitals at The Piping Centre in the week leading up to the World Pipe Band Championships, and at least part of it was captured on video and posted to YouTube this week.
There’s not much to say about the man except that he is truly amazing. His pipes are immaculate, his playing of the standards is among the best, and on the flashy stuff I think there’s no piper alive today who can match him.
Share this video with all of your friends. Everyone always needs to see more good piping videos, and this certainly qualifies.
Three more videos from the recital were added since my original post, and I now have linked to all 8 videos.
I found this video this afternoon and had to share. The two pipers are Lyric Todkill (left) and Doug MacRae. Both play with 78th Fraser Highlanders in Toronto, and as of September 21 of this year Doug is the pipe major of that band.
Lyric is a good friend of mine (and a former instructor), and as you can tell, he’s not a bad piper. I’ve never met Doug, but he can clearly do a thing or two with the pipes. They’re playing a set of jigs that I first heard in the first track on the Flame of Wrath album (which is fantastic by the way; if you don’t own it you should).
Anyway the video is a good listen, and worth your five minutes.
You may have noticed an upswing of posts over the past few weeks, and that has tailed off now that classes have started. I have some ideas for some posts that I’d like to write up when I have a chance, but for now here’s a video to hold you over.
The is the Peel Regional Police’s medley performance from the North American Pipe Band Championships at Maxville, Ontario in August of this year. This was the same medley they used last year, and the first time I heard it I thought it was fantastic. I still think so, and still very much enjoy listening to it. This performance earned them 1st place in this event, which combined with their 1st place in the MSR competition won them the championship.
What a great medley. It’s probably time for them to rotate it out since they’ve been playing it for two years, but I will miss it.
Try to think about what life was like before the internet. It’s hard, I know. The net is the first place I look for news, weather, and things I used to look up in the yellow pages. I also contend that Wikipedia is one of the greatest inventions in the history of humanity. Information and interactive content has filtered down to nearly every part of the globe, involving nearly every aspect of every culture.
The bagpipe world has been involved in this as well. I can list a dozen pipers who have blogs and YouTube channels, and there are hundreds of others out there. Videos of band competitions, especially the ones involving the top bands, appear on YouTube within a few hours of the contest, offering people half a world away the chance to be armchair judges.
And speaking of armchair judging, I spent Saturday morning doing just that. Courtesy of the BBC, live coverage of the World Pipe Band Championship was available to anyone in the world with an internet connection. Being unable to make it to Scotland is no longer an excuse for not catching the performances.
Coverage included the entire grade 1 contest, starting with the qualifying round. I’ll admit that I’m not hardy enough to catch the qualifying round (it started at 4 am here on the east coast of the U.S., but I do know people who got up to watch it), but I did see the entirety of both the MSR and medley rounds of the finals.
This also suggests a great party event: “Hey, let’s get together and watch the Worlds!” The BBC recognized this would happen and asked people to submit photos of their Worlds parties.
The really nifty thing is that all of the videos from the day are still available at the BBC website. Even being busy on the day of the Worlds is no longer a valid excuse for not catching the performances. Videos from 2009 are actually still up on the web, so you can go back and compare.
Oh, and in case you’ve had your head in a bucket for the last 36 hours, it was the St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band that came out on the top in grade 1, winning the Worlds for the first time in their history.
I recently posted a video of my first competition with MacMillan Pipe Band at the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival, and since then videos of the other bands in the contest have been posted as well.
The videos are presented here in order of play, which was also, coincidentally, the order of placing. This was the grade 3 band MSR contest that took place on April 24, 2010.
1st place: MacMillan Pipe Band, Rockville, MD
Tunes: Balmoral Highlanders, Susan MacLeod, Colonel MacLeod
2nd place: Saffron United Pipe Band, Babylon, NY
Tunes: Pipe Major Willie Gray’s Farewell to the Glasgow Police, Dornie, Ferry, Fiona MacLeod
3rd place: Greater Richmond Pipes & Drums, Richmond, VA
Tunes: Captain Carswell, Highland Harry, Kalabakan