PP Editor’s Blog 5/9/14

Congratulations to all the winners at the Northern Meeting, particularly Douglas Murray on his double Gold success and Iain Speirs on his first Clasp. Dougie is the 11th piper in history (not nine as some of the less well informed thought) to do this exclusive double though if we count those who get the Inverness medal first and then Oban the following year (Bruce Gandy is one) then I am sure the figure for winning both medals at consecutive gatherings would be higher. Well done too to Iain Speirs who thus emulates his father Tam’s victory in 1983. But this business is not about sport; the quality of Douglas and Iain’s music should be spoken of just as much as their bulging trophy cabinets. And let’s not forget Niall Stewart’s resounding victory in the Former Winners’ MSR. Niall hasn’t been out much this year but clearly has lost none of his sharpness. Only the very best will do for the Former Winners’ at Oban and Inverness.  
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I’ll have my crit on the Northern Meeting Gold over the next day or so. I sat through the whole contest from 8.30am until 5.45pm. Quite a shift but very rewarding. A lot of good playing was heard from those outside the prize list too. Report on the Argyllshire to come too.
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Would readers please note that they can email me at pipingpress@gmail.com and NOT thepipingtimes@gmail.com. I know old habits die hard.
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Chris Terry, South Africa, on his band’s visit to Scotland for the Worlds: ‘I would like to thank you for the time you made for my group a few days ago. They really appreciated the 5 star treatment, and I am grateful that you managed to find the time to show us round the College. It is a pity in a way that the girls and boys have never seen the “old” College, as I have – it is really very impressive now, and a tribute in itself to how much work you and the team have put into it over the years. Everywhere we went, we were treated with the friendliness, helpfulness, and generosity that I have long held to be the hallmark of the Scots. It was an incredible experience for them all – hearing the best bands in the world, some of the very best pipers, seeing the quartet competition and the Glasgow Police concert, and participating in the parade for the Scottish Commonwealth Games team.  (I think when we saw you, I had not yet realised that that was what the parade was for. It finished with the civic reception in the Glasgow City Chambers – the building itself is quite an eye-opener!). Regrettably we didn’t do as well in the WPBC as I had hoped, though in our heat we did pick up a 2nd for piping from one judge. Still, it was never about results, and the trip was everything I had hoped for. If most of those kids are still playing in 20 years’ time, it will have been worth it. And of course seeing and hearing Connor Sinclair playing after the quartet competition, and the young piper who played the fireworks solo at the concert [Scott Barrie], was a great indication of what can be achieved at a young age, though in fairness, most SA pipers start several years later than their Scottish counterparts, and are undoubtedly rather better at rugby at age 18!’
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Andrew Gilhooley, Tokyo: ‘A very talented young Japanese piper here in Japan is releasing a new (1st) solo album this week and I thought it may be of interest to you. He has been a member of the Tokyo Pipe Band for many years, and is friends with Roddy (R.S.) MacDonald who has also taught him in the distant past. If you have a chance please check out the YouTube video’s below it is well worth it. Especially the last video of the tune “Riot Step”. CD’s Promotional Video (In Japanese).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlQZyMEtVFc&sns=em; Solo Live Piping Performance :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPaBvZi7Pyw&sns=em
Band Performance : Celtecadenza / Riot Step
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxhBNvDQq_k&sns=em
I am good friends with Gosha-san the Piper and can gladly put you in touch with him if you are interested in doing a wee snippet on a Japanese Piper here in Japan. In any case his e-mail ID is bagpiper_goshajr@rosindubh.jp (He speaks and writes English).’
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Victoria Irvine of Wire Media has sent this: ‘I work on the press for Piping Live! and The World Pipe Band Championships and wanted to get in touch about another one of our clients which I thought would work on your page – Best of the West. The two-day festival is a celebration of all things great about the West of Scotland and is a brilliant family day out for food and music lovers. The festival is held on 13th and 14th September in Invereray, and features all the best of the area’s music and produce, set amongst the hills in the grounds of a beautiful Inveraray Castle and hosted by the Duchess of Argyll – so a wee bit different from the usual festivals! There is a bumper package of the West of Scotland’s bands, with 121 acts in the bill including internationally-acclaimed folk legends Capercaillie, Skerryvore and Skipinnish.  Everyone from the best known trad acts, to Gaelic singers, to piping can be found on the lineup. We’d love if you could run a preview on the page, if possible.  I’ve attached the press release for more information, but if you need anything else at all, please let me know. M: 07951 365636.’
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Still with Inveraray, I hear the band are starring in the BBC’s ‘Proms in the Park’ concert tomorrow night. Another star billing for Stuart Liddell and his team. Incidentally, to take us back to where we started, Stuart was, this evening, yet again named Champion Piper at the Northern Meeting. A young family, a world class pipe band and a stellar solo career – I don’t know how he does it – but more power to his supremely talented elbows.