PP Editor’s Blog: Live in Ireland Winners/ Blue Lagoon/ Lochaber Entry/ Gairloch Contest

Winners of the ‘Live in Ireland 87’ video downloads are John McFadden and Chris Lee. The questions were:

1 Name two piobaireachd heard on 78th Fraser CDs.
2 What do Canadians like best about Scotland?
a) The weather
b) The fish suppers
c) The Worlds
The correct answer to the first was Lament for the Children from the ‘Live in Ireland’ CD and A Flame of Wrath For Squinting Patrick from the ‘Flame of Wrath’ CD; and the second the fish suppers. John displayed an admirable sense of humour in getting this spot on and Chris was first out of the hat from all the misguided souls who thought for one ridiculous moment that pipers and drummers would come all the way from Canada just to play in the pouring rain on Glasgow Green.
John and Chris will be sent a download link by the ‘Live in Ireland’ team. Thanks to all those who took part and you can get more on this  great video with these links:
Thanks to all those readers who answered the call from James Stewart for a copy of the Peter Macleod’s jig composition The Blue Lagoon. Here it is:
The tune was carried in the late Don Varella’s US Bicentennial Collection Vol.2 (1978). In a blurb at the bottom Don wrote: ‘Peter Macleod once remarked to me that in his opinion, this was THE most difficult piece ever composed for the bagpipe. Those of us fortunate enough to actually hear his performance would agree he did not exaggerate in then least.’

Now here’s a thing. I believe the standard of playing in the top Grade 1 bands today is higher than ever before. Wouldn’t it be something if one of them took it upon themselves to play this tune as a finish to a medley?  Talk about a Worlds winner! Technically the piping judges would have to be blown away, the ensemble possibilities are considerable and surely the drummers would relish the complex rhythmical potential. Pitfalls abound, not least in the potential for memory mishaps, chips from high G and the tuning and harmonising with low G, but what a challenge – and one I believe the top bands could rise to.Entry forms for Lochaber Gathering competitions are now available for download here. The contest is on is on August 20 with events for juniors and seniors. I’ll be doing the annual lecture once more. In the past talks have been given on Donald MacLeod, John MacColl, Robert Reid, William Lawrie, John MacLellan, Dunoon, the MacCrimmons, the MacPherson family and Peter Macleod Jnr and Snr. This year we’ll probably move away from history to talk more generally about solo piping competition.

The promoters of the annual Gairloch junior contest have sent this:

The Iain Dall Young Pipers Festival will take place in Gairloch High School on Saturday 24th September and we are delighted to announce that this year  it is supported by Highland Council and Achiltibuie Bagpipe Specialists.

Our purpose is to encourage Under 18 pipers,  from  Primary upwards,  to participate in friendly and relaxing competitions . The Festival commemorates Iain ‘Dall’ MacAoidh (1656-1754) piper to Mackenzie of Gairloch, blind from the age of seven as the result of smallpox, the legendary ‘Blind Piper’. Pupil of the great MacCrimmon of Skye, he composed perhaps the finest piobaireachd ever, of which about a dozen are still extant and exercise our very best pipers today, he was also a fine poet and  his grandson, Uilleam Ros, the great Gaelic poet. who died tragically young, is remembered particularly for his poem Moladh Gheàrrloch (In Praise of Gairloch.)

There are eight classes; 1st, 2nd, 3rd, prizes are offered for 1-7
Competition 1      Primary pupils March on practice chanter
Competition 2     Secondary pupils March on practice chanter
Competition 3     Novice March on bagpipes – pupils playing bagpipes for less than 1 year (Flowerdale Trophy donated by John Mackenzie of Gairloch.)
Competition 4    U15 – Piobaireachd (Iain Dall Chanter donated by Clan Mackenzie Society of Scotland & The U.K)
Competition 5     U15 – March, Strathspey and Reel
Competition 6     U18 years  Piobaireachd – (Iain Dall Quaich donated by North Highland Connections)
Competition 7     U18 years March Strathspey and Reel
Competition 8     Ishbel MacAskill Memorial Prize: U18 Original Composition for Pipes or Fiddle £100
John Burgess Bursaries: Most promising U15 Young Piper earns a     week’s tuition at Achiltibuie Bagpipe Specialists
Most promising U 18 Young Piper £150
Entries £3 by 1st Sept.  2016; Entry forms available by sending SAE to: Acting Convenor, Blair Cottage, ‘Aultgrishan’, Melvaig, Gairloch IV21 2DZ or mackenzie@iambik.org