From Benbecula to Quebec (Documentary Interview)

Nov 8, 2018 on 5:11 pm by Michael Grey | In Audio File, Stories | No Comments

For a strong dose of wistful nostalgia its hard to beat listening to an audio recording of a long-gone – and much-loved – relative. Presented to you today is my grandmother – Grammy, to all of us – my dad’s mother: Margaret Teresa (MacBain) Grey. Thanks to the passionate and thoughtful field work of the late Ian Tait of Sherbrooke, Quebec the world has access to about 600 recordings of tradition-bearing residents of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. The full recording sits in the archives of Bishop’s University (Lennoxville, Quebec).
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Book 7: Barry Ewen (a hornpipe)

Oct 23, 2018 on 4:23 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Tune Score, Solo Piping, Tips | No Comments

A long time ago I made a tune for my friend, Barry Ewen. It was first published in Neil Dickie’s “First Book”. Knowing that there has yet to be a music book published anywhere (to my knowledge) that has been without error or typo, it still bugged me that there was a typo in bar one of the tune I named for Barry.
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A little tartan colour and a bonnie balmoral

Oct 16, 2018 on 5:32 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag | No Comments

It would be hard to argue that the Scots have not punched above their weight in leaving a bold mark on the world. Given the relative size of the country it’s inspiring to think of the remarkable contributions Scotland has given humanity. Golf, whisky and bagpipes aside, con- sider the telephone, TV, the threshing machine, Adam Smith, Ishbel MacAskill, Robert Burns and chicken tikka masala. Historian Arthur Herman underscored the Scottish impact in publishing his popular book, How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It (2001).
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Prepare for an emergency landing!

Aug 24, 2018 on 5:05 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Stories | Comments Off on Prepare for an emergency landing!

NO matter how often I cross the Atlantic, I always pause to marvel at the awesome speediness of aviation. Even without supersonic Concorde engineering, the Atlantic can still be crossed in single-digit hours on a 10-a-penny Airbus or Boeing.
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New Book: More Music for Everyone

Aug 8, 2018 on 6:38 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, News | Comments Off on New Book: More Music for Everyone

It’s been five years since my last book of music and so hoping the time is about right for another effort. I’m kicking off the release of the book – or “launching” – as is said, as a small part of Piping Live! at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow next week: Wednesday, August 15 – 2:30 pm.
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A Signature Book of Signatures

May 30, 2018 on 9:03 am by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on A Signature Book of Signatures

That which is used – develops. That which is not used wastes away. Such was the opinion of Hippocrates, Greek physician and huge figure in the history of medicine. He might’ve said, use it or lose it – so much more meme-friendly – but his considered opinion of over 2000 years ago holds true today. The great golfer, Sam Snead said practice puts brains in your muscles. He’d know. His record of over 80 championships didn’t happen by chance. We know idle muscles shift to flab, or, at least become weak. Unpracticed skills fall away.
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What is Traditional Music? [hint: It’s big. It’s bouncy. And it’s spectacular.]

Mar 13, 2018 on 5:31 pm by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag, Music, Random Thoughts | Comments Off on What is Traditional Music? [hint: It’s big. It’s bouncy. And it’s spectacular.]

I think it was this past January when it came to me. It was one of those crisp, cloudless and cold sunny days, a kind of winter’s day so familiar to those of us who live in my part of the world. The sky was screaming an indescribable deep blue. And why? Why blue? A short simple question – surely the archetypal young child’s question, one asked just as a glimmer of awareness of the world beyond the back garden begins to show itself. Blue sky? Something to do with refracting light, I thought. Why blue? And this blue? Um, the temperature. Yes, it is the cold temperature and the universal prism…
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Recommendations for Solo Piping

Jan 6, 2018 on 4:53 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Tips | Comments Off on Recommendations for Solo Piping

A little while ago I received a note from Jim McGillivray asking if I had a copy of the solo piping report we had (diligently) worked on together with Bob Worrall – over 20 years ago. “Word Processing” was still newish then and stuff was saved on 3.5 inch “floppy discs” and, well, no – the report was long lost, as far as I knew. Until last week. I found a paper copy while going through boxes of stuff – ephemera. Now there’s a great word.

So for all administrative wonks and lovers of arcane piping history, I pass it along here.
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Just one more cycle of Minecraft

Dec 19, 2017 on 10:49 am by Michael Grey | In From Piping Today Mag | Comments Off on Just one more cycle of Minecraft

The late Cape Breton writer Alistair MacLeod (No Great Mischief ) spent a lot of time teaching his art. One technique he was known to use was to write the final line or two of his story at – or near – the start of most any writing effort. This finish line, resolution, story-ending – call it what you want – would tie a figurative bow on any story and stand as a beacon to the way the story would ebb and flow. The early composition of his closing words would effectively guide him as he made his way through a story’s telling.
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Inspector Clueless of Gayfield

Dec 6, 2017 on 7:42 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, News | Comments Off on Inspector Clueless of Gayfield

There’s never any shortage of drama, indignancy or high dudgeon in the small world that is piping. I read Rab Wallace’s blog the other day and seriously LOL’d when I read his description of the officiant connected with a judge’s complaint: “Inspector Clueless of Gayfield”. I can’t say why, exactly, I just laughed. Maybe because it was a riff on a classic pipe tune naming convention, and, well, who knows. Gold, I say. Rab has a way with words, there is no doubt.
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