Listening to BBC Alba’s ‘Crunluath’ programme on Saturday you realised what you had been missing by way of live music. Host Catriona MacNeill played excerpts from the 2019 Northern Meeting, and like her predecessor Cailean Maclean, let the music do the talking.
Two full piobaireachd, three six-tune MSRs and a hornpipe & jig made for an hour or so of absorbing piping with terrific performances from Jack Lee (pictured), Bruce and Alex Gandy and Iain Speirs. Jack and Bruce are clearly the best things to come out of Canada since maple syrup and Roy Thomson.
Jack finished his MSR with Mrs MacPherson and the Little Cascade. He still plays this last superbly almost 40 years after I first heard him take the Former Winners at Inverness with it (1981). Notable in Bruce’s performance were the way he tackled the runs in Islay Ball – open without losing lift – and the controlled finish, the reel John Garroway.
There was an enjoyable Donald Gruamach from Iain Speirs on a cultured bagpipe, and precise fingerwork from Alex in his H&J. Also on the show was Connor Sinclair with his Gold Medal tune, End of the High Bridge. Solid playing with much more to come from this young piper.
I think ‘Crunluath’ goes out on Thursdays but is available on catch-up. Not sure if you can get it overseas but it should be possible to record and send on from the UK. Here’s the link.
Ken Stewart in Northern Ireland writes regarding my earlier post on the first ‘Medley Worlds‘: ‘Thanks for reminding the readers of the 50th anniversary of the first Medley World Championships, which was held in Aberdeen. The winners on the day were Shotts and Dykehead, under P/M Tom MacAllister Jnr.
‘The runners up were Muirhead and Sons, under P/M Robert Hardie. 1970 marked a step change in pipe band performance and it also ended the Muirheads run of five in a row at the end of the 1960s.
‘At that time the Worlds was held earlier in the year than is now the case – I can recall that it was at the end of June. I am not sure exactly when the date changed but I suspect it was probably to accommodate the Canadian CNE Event.
‘Do any of the readers have old photos of that day in 1970, or perhaps a copy of the programme, which they would be able to share with us? It is hard to believe that the change, from MSR to Medley in 1970, would have evolved to such an extent that present pipe band performance is almost orchestral.’
Usual address for any info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to Canada for the results of the Peel Regional Police PB’s online contest Aug 22 & 23:
Jeannie Campbell has confirmed that it is she playing in the back row of the Clydebank band snapped at Cowal and reported in PP a few months back.
Jeannie writes: ‘Yes that’s me. I had previously played with Goodyear but when the factory closed the band became Clydebank. Then the Singer factory closed and they joined us. The photo is 1980 with P/M Maurice Pert formerly of Singer Pipe Band.’