We are indebted to Breton piper Patrick Molard for supplying two outstanding recordings for the PP Audio Archive today. They are of two giants of the post war piping world, Hugh MacCallum and John MacFadyen
Both were made at the Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, in 1971, and whilst for the ceol beag there is some interference from the announcer’s loudspeaker, one gets the true atmosphere of the games and one of the world’s most important piping competitions.
In these days the Former Winners’ MSR at Oban was held out of doors which meant that all the top players attended the games traditionally held the day after the piobaireachd competitions.
Today this competition is held indoors the evening before the games and they suffer as a result. Hugh’s tunes, played in fine style, are Ross-shire Volunteers, Tulloch Gorm and Dr MacPhail both, of course, twice through.
Hugh MacCallum was not only a master of ceol beag but also of ceol mor. He was a multiple winner the Clasp at the Northern Meeting and the Senior/Open Piobaireachd at Oban and many other top awards.
Hugh is pictured up top competing at the Skye Gathering in the 1970s playing for DR MacLennan and Angus MacPherson, Invershin, and one other judge we cannot identify.
Our other recording is of John MacFadyen playing Clan Ranald’s Salute also at Oban, but the previous year, 1970. This is a superb rendition of a bold tune which seems to suit the late John down to the ground. He too was a master of both piping disciplines but was perhaps best noted for his piobaireachd interpretation.
John died in 1979. His brothers Iain and Duncan were also master pipers and winners of multiple prizes.
Check out both performances and many other historic recordings on the PP Audio archive page.