A ‘Futz’ Piper on Piobaireachd

Before we begin this discussion I think I should explain just what a ‘futz piper’ is. ‘Futz’ is American slang denoting someone who does an activity out of the sheer enjoyment and does said activity at their own pace regardless of the consequences. Unlike in my pipe band days, where tunes had to be learned by a certain date for play in public or competition, I learn tunes now at…

P/M Donald Shaw Ramsay and His Famous March for Jimmy Young

I recently came upon a recording of P/M Donald Shaw Ramsay (above) discussing and playing his famous 2/4 march composition, Jimmy Young.  In this recording he points out numerous clerical errors in the tune as it was published in the Edcath Collection, Book 2, published by Hugh MacPherson.   He then goes on to play it on both the practice chanter and full pipes.  By the way….what a tremendous player…

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Deadline Nears for Historic Argyllshire Gathering Tune Competition

The deadline for the Argyllshire Gathering’s 2/4 March competition is midnight tonight – May 31. No entries can be accepted after that time. The tune is to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Gathering which began in 1871. More than 40 entries have been received so far with less than a day remaining. Judging will begin tomorrow (June 1) with an announcement of the winner made as soon as possible…

Irish Pipe Bands Were Divided – but Also United by the All-Ireland Championships

We conclude the article on the oprigins of pipe band associations and competition on the island of Ireland. Pictured below are the Robert Armstrong Memorial Pipe Band in 1966. The band won the All-Ireland Championship nine times – 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977. Almost certainly the contact that the Fintan Lalor and the other Dublin based bands such as St Laurence O’Toole had with the…

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Donald MacPherson, Mary MacLeod and P/M JB Robertson

We had a very well attended piobaireachd tutorial the other night as part of the Piobaireachd Society’s ‘Talk Piobaireachd’ series, writes the Editor. The tune I went through was the peerless Lament for Mary MacLeod and amongst other things I spoke of how it was so very difficult to play properly. Indeed I don’t think I have heard it truly mastered with any consistency. Anyway, we then got on, inevitably,…