A Tune from John MacFadyen

November 13, 2021 on 5:13 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Stories, Video | No Comments

The piobaireachd, Rory McLoude’s Lament has always been a favourite. The old Anglicized spelling of MacLeod is likely connected to its first appearance in the Campbell canntaireachd manuscripts. And, as this is the spelling chosen by the editors of book eleven of The Piobaireachd Society Collection (1966), this is how pipers generally spell the tune. But that’s enough on letters. It’s a fine piece; in fact, Joseph MacDonald, in his Compleat Theory (1762) described it as a “…very soft lament …”. This tune, too, was among the first I learned from the hands of Bill Livingstone. He, in turn, was taught this tune by John MacFadyen (1926-1979).
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Pandemic Travel: Positively Negative

October 24, 2021 on 2:32 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Stories | No Comments

The last time I was in Glasgow was early February 2020. I wasn’t sure if a 2021 Atlantic crossing was in the cards but The Fool in the figurative Tarot card deck turned up (the fool: always up for travel, its said) and here I am: over-looking Glasgow’s iconic George Square and ready to head back west.
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Book Release Video! (with notes)

August 26, 2021 on 4:59 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Video | Comments Off on Book Release Video! (with notes)

Thanks to all who managed to tune in Facebook to the kick-off of the publication of my book, “Grey’s Notes on a life around Bagpipes”! Even as a (sadly) virtual part of this year’s Piping Live! festival in Glasgow it turned out to be fun to put together – and – I hope time well-spent for viewers.

The program is still available. Here you go:
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Bill Livingstone & Outlander

July 23, 2021 on 6:25 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Shout Outs! | Comments Off on Bill Livingstone & Outlander

This will be old news for avid readers of Diana Gabaldon‘s massively popular “Outlander” series of novels but it is news to me. This week, Sharon Duthart, in a random exchange related to mutual work, passed along an image her niece in Scotland had sent along – a phone pic of a page from an an Outlander book: The Drums of Autumn.
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Art and Gaelic Life in the Eastern Townships

July 16, 2021 on 7:04 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Art and Gaelic Life in the Eastern Townships

This week I had the chance to head to the Homeland. To Quebec: the Eastern Townships, or L’Estrie, to Francophones. And, as anyone might, I took it.
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John MacDonald on the Radio at 84

June 29, 2021 on 3:58 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off on John MacDonald on the Radio at 84

Anyone who has visited the excellent G S McLennan website will have seen a smashing photograph of John MacDonald of Inverness. I include it here for easy reference (well, for those click-averse). This version is colourized and “enhanced” – and I’m not entirely sure its better than the original.
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GS & Lawyers: King George Versus Army

April 15, 2021 on 4:48 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on GS & Lawyers: King George Versus Army

A follow on – of sorts – to the David Glen and Peter Henderson court shenanigans of 1900. I happened on the attached clippings following my musings on Dave and Pete’s court tussle(I say “happened” but it was GS McLennan’s grandson who kindly passed along – I think he prefers anonymity but knowing the source is important provenance for these things. And, not just that, shines a light on the inspiring importance the family has always viewed G S McLennan’s legacy).
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Music copyright: Glen v. Henderson

March 31, 2021 on 7:27 am by Michael Grey | In Stories | Comments Off on Music copyright: Glen v. Henderson

I don’t know if musicians end up in courts of law any more than other occupations. I do know that when they find themselves on the wrong side of a judge it’s more likely due to copyright infringement than serial murder. Just a hunch. I also know that if they’re famous musicians their cases get lots of press.
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Sunday Dojo Talk: Request for Feedback

March 23, 2021 on 7:30 am by Michael Grey | In News | Comments Off on Sunday Dojo Talk: Request for Feedback

Andrew Douglas, the driving force elevating Piper’s Dojo, the online teaching phenomenon that supports learning at every level of experience, recently asked me to lead a Dojo session.
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Imagining Three Greats: Animating Ross, McLennan & MacDonald

March 6, 2021 on 1:30 pm by Michael Grey | In Audio File, Photographs, Solo Piping, Video | Comments Off on Imagining Three Greats: Animating Ross, McLennan & MacDonald

There’s a famous photo generally available online and everywhere (I suppose that’s redundant) of three of the most famous pipers of the twentieth century – if not all time. The photo is a post-WWI study of Pipe Major William “Willie” Ross, George S McLennan and John MacDonald (Inverness). You’ll likely know, MacDonald almost always gets an “Inverness” plugged on to his name due to the popularity, to this day, of the combination of given and surnames. Though, truth be told, he isn’t the only John MacDonald to ever call Inverness his home. But to pipers everywhere, when the name appears with the marker “(Inverness)” we know precisely the man mentioned: one of the greatest exponents of piobaireachd, one who left a great musical legacy thanks to a hugely impactful lifelong teaching effort.
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