|Composed by Allan MacLeod, piper of the Tennehill Weavers and later Bourne and MacLeod, this beautiful tune of unusual form commemorates Riding Mountain National Park, approximately 100 miles from Winnipeg.|
|Mist Covered Mountains|
|This gorgeous melody with Gaelic words was composed by John Cameron of Glencoe in the 1850’s and has been covered by many others over the years. Inter alia, it was played by the Royal Highland Regiment (Black Watch) at the funeral for John Kennedy. The harmony, composed by Rory (and called ‘seconds’ by pipers), is played by Stephanie.|
|Hector the Hero|
|Originally a fiddle tune composed by the legendary J. Scott Skinner of Aberdeen, it has since been taken on (and over) by pipers . Here we have Stephanie’s fiddle carrying the tune with the big pipes providing the wonderful harmonies composed by Joe Rennix.|
|How Will I Ever Be Simple Again|
|This is a tune written by the amazing Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention fame. It is one of the most beautiful and effective anti-war songs ever composed as it takes as its protagonist the collateral damage that war brings on its perpetrators. Once the dogs of war are unleashed, they are hard to put back in the kennel.|
|It is not well known that Robert Burns had applied for passage to Jamaica to look for work as there was precious little in Scotland. These plans were cast aside with the publication of his first book of poetry “chiefly in the Scottish dialect” and its subsequent popularity. It is a remarkable work in so many ways if for no other reason than that no one else in the late 18th Century was composing poetry from he the point of view of the Slave.|
|Lady Bridget Oppenheim|
|The late Bridget (Biddy) Oppenheim was the wife of Nicolas Oppenheim and the sister of Malcolm Caithness, Chief of Clan Sinclair, all good friends of mine. Biddy fought a brave battle with cancer to which she finally succumbed in April of 2011. Nick called me the previous November to ask if I could compose a pipe tune for Biddy as a present for what was likely to be her last Christmas. This tune ensued, and Stephanie encouraged the composition of the “seconds” (what pipers called harmony).|
|This haunting tune was composed by Ian MacLaughlan, Creagorry, in 1963. It was the theme of a TV drama placed in the Outer Hebrides. The seconds were composed by Stephanie.|
|This amazing march was composed by Pipe Major Peter MacLeod (Old Peter MacLeod). The timing is sometimes on the off-beat and can throw pipers off the pace if they are not careful. It is rumoured that Old Peter wrote it that way so he could march in better time by swiveling his hips on the off-beat. Certainly he was told to stop playing “that tune” by an officer on horseback who told him the men were marching out of step because of it.|
Over the past seven years, it has been my great pleasure to play in a band here in Toronto, which we call Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. The band has indulged me as I brought pipe tune after pipe tune to try out – some Scottish and some not. When playing pipes with other instruments, rather than as a solo competitor or in a pipe band, the beautiful chords that are part of Scottish pipe music but merely implied with pipes alone, become manifest as the other players join in. This I love. Over time it started to dawn on me – indeed this is the seed of this collection – that there are many genres of music in the world that lend themselves to pipe solos if not also whole pipe tunes.
1. MacCrimmon Will Never Return
Vocals: Rebecca Barclay, Gaye Zimmerman Huycke. Pipes: Rory Sinclair. Guitar: Dean Cavill.
The MacCrimmons were the legendary hereditary pipers to the MacLeods of Dunvegan on Skye. Donald Ban MacCrimmon, against his Chief’s wishes, joined the cause of Charles Edward Stewart in the rising of 1745. In a skirmish outside Inverness known as the Rout of Moy, there was only one casualty – Donald Ban MacCrimmon – and it was he who predicted his own death by composing this eerie tune less than a year before it occurred.
Rebecca Barclay brought this extraordinary version of the tune to our band. Each line she sings occurs in the Piper’s Received Version but not in the same order we have here; I have honoured Rebecca’s interpretation by playing the pipes in parallel phrasing to her voice. Continue reading