Keydet Piper I'm thinking bagpipes

Random Friday Piobaireachd

One of the best in the business playing one of the greatest tunes ever written: Roddy MacLeod playing Lament for the Viscount of Dundee.

It just seems like a Viscount Friday.

Lament for Mary MacLeod

This morning, for reasons I have not yet discovered, I’ve had bits and pieces of the piobaireachd Lament for Mary MacLeod running through my head. It’s not a tune I play, or have even heard recently, so I’m not sure why it’s been in my brain. Regardless, it made me want to listen to the whole thing, so I thought I’d share with you the recording I found: Colin Campbell playing at a meeting of the Eagle Pipers’ Society in May 2011.

Have a piobaireachd today

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.

With a name like that, it has to be good

Have you ever learned a piobaireachd (or wanted to) just because it has a cool name? The 2013 Set Tunes have two gems on them:

  • The MacDonalds Are Simple
  • All The Old Men Paid Rent But Rory

I know absolutely nothing about those tunes, but with names like that they have to be good.

What are your favorite tune names?

The internet: bringing you the best in the bagpipe world

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.

A whirlwind of a summer

Ok, so I think the Keydet Piper may now have returned to blogging, after taking it easy for a few months. The reason for my absence is one of simple distraction (see point #4 below). I’m not promising to return to as full a blogging schedule as I’ve maintained at some points in the past, but I hope to be able to get some posts up on a somewhat more regular basis. There’s a few things that have occurred during my absence that I’d like to address.

1. The Piobaireachd Wednesday feature was proving to be pretty popular, and I’d like to resume work on that. I don’t foresee it being a regular weekly thing, but whenever I come across a good recording or manage to record some myself I’ll be sure to post it.

Speaking of that, here’s one to hold you over. I’ve been holding on to a stack of recordings I made at the USPF Amateur Piping Championship back in June, and this was the winning piobaireachd. The player is Kirk Brunson from Derry, New Hampshire, and the tune is Lament for Donald of Lagaan; he gives a very good account of this tune.

Kirk also won the MSR at this contest, making him the overall winner of the championship. Well done to him, certainly.

2. The Worlds happened a few weeks back, and Field Marshal Montgomery once again emerged on top, winning both the medley and the MSR. I wasn’t able to watch as much of the coverage as I would have liked, but I’ve listened to a lot of the recordings that are posted at the above link, and as usual Field Marshal put on a top-notch performance. The medley contest was actually really great, and commentator Bob Worrall kept commenting about the number of bands that played well.

In my mind the big story was ScottishPower, who put in a dynamite medley performance and ended the day in a solid second place. Their medley started with The Battle of Waterloo, which is one of those tunes that pretty much everyone plays, and showing (again) that a flashy medley opener is not required to contend as a top-tier grade 1 band.

Also check out a great medley performance from Boghall and Bathgate, and just to stir up some controversy here’s the medley entry from Toronto Police.

3. We’ve also seen the Argyllshire Gathering happen, with the Gold Medal there going to Finlay Johnston from Glasgow. The other top prizes at this contest went to Peter McCalister (Silver Medal), Stuart Liddell (Senior Piobaireachd), and Gordon Walker (Silver Star Former Winners’ MSR, the seventh time he’s won it). I haven’t heard any of these performances, but keep an eye on Pipeline over the next few weeks, and hopefully they’ll have some recordings. Also keep an eye out for the Northern Meeting, which takes place later this week.

4. Holy crap I’ve moved. In my last post of any substance, I announced that I was moving west, and I’ve now had a little time to get my feet under me here in Oregon. I missed the end of the local piping season, but I’m looking forward to next year to see what it’s all about. I’ve heard the level of play here is very high, brought up significantly by the proximity to the grade 1 powers Simon Fraser University and Triumph Street. I don’t know about solo competitions in 2013, but I’ll do my best to join up with the Portland Metro Pipe Band.

So stay tuned (in all senses of the word), and hopefully you’ll see some more bagpipe-related content coming at you from the Keydet Piper blog.

All we owe to sheep

As participants in an activity originated in Scotland, it should come as no wonder that sheep figure so prominently in it. I didn’t realize quite the extent of it until today, when Blogpipe had a post concerning just that. It should lighten your Friday to read it.

In which the Keydet Piper resumes his nomadic tendencies

The blog here has been rather quiet over the last few weeks, with even Piobaireachd Wednesday posts having stopped of late. The primary reason is that I’ve been distracted, and during that time I’ve accepted a job that requires me to relocate… again.

It’s the fifth time I’ve moved since I started this website, but this time is the most drastic; the previous four were at least all in the same time zone. In the next couple of weeks I will be preparing to move to Corvallis, Oregon, to begin working as a nuclear engineer for a startup company called NuScale. Although it means leaving my family and most of my friends behind, it’s a professional opportunity that I simply couldn’t pass up.

The time frame has been very fast; I’m starting work early in August, which means I will be watching the World Pipe Band Championships from my new city out west. For the 2013 season I’ll be aiming to play with the grade 2 Portland Metro Pipe Band, which will be a good challenge.

I’m very excited for this move, and hope to be able to resume my blogging activities from the west coast.

The Worlds Returns to the Internet in 2012

Good news for those pipers and drummers out there who aren’t planning to go to Scotland this August: The RSPBA has announced that the BBC will once again stream live coverage of the World Pipe Band Championship on August 11. The stream has been immensely popular in the previous three years that it’s been streamed, and I expect it will remain so this year.

Start planning your Worlds parties now!

Special Piobaireachd Friday: Caber Feidh Gu Brath

Consider yourselves lucky, piobaireachd fans: this is your second tune this week, and it comes from an undisputed master of the genre: Roddy MacLeod. Roddy’s instructing this week at a piping school in Virginia, and in an informal recital on Tuesday evening played the Donald MacLeod tune Caber Feidh Gu Brath. You can always count on him to have a great bagpipe, and the playing was fantastic.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what bagpipes are supposed to sound like.

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