Happy Birthday: Live your life and forget your age

January 30, 2023 on 4:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Pipe Bands, Stories | No Comments

In my usual January Glasgow itinerancy I happened to meet up this late afternoon for a catch-up with a Scots friend, in this case, young Callum Wyndd. Callum, you may know, is a real up-and-comer in the solo piping world and a person I came to know as a member of the Glasgow Police Pipe Band (as the band was then known).
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D R MacLennan: Solo piping innovation in 1928!

December 31, 2022 on 2:18 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Video | No Comments

On the last day of the calendar year I offer a genuine curiosity: a recording of what is likely among the earliest recordings of the Great Highland Bagpipe played alongside other (non-bagpipe or percussion) instruments. This 78 RPM shellac (pre-vinyl) recording from 1928 stars a luminary from one of the great piping families of the last 200 years in Donald Ross (“D R”) MacLennan.
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John MacFadyen plays “A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick”

November 28, 2022 on 4:58 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Video | Comments Off on John MacFadyen plays “A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick”

Here’s another tune offering from the late John MacFadyen, the Donald Mòr MacCrimmon composition, Lasan Padruig Coagach, known to so many of us as, A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick. A singularly wild tune with nothing quite like it in our current repertoire.
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Great Piping: P/M William “Billy” Gilmour

October 29, 2022 on 6:47 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Stories, Video | Comments Off on Great Piping: P/M William “Billy” Gilmour

I’ve known about Billy Gilmour and his marvellous musical abilities for almost as long as I’ve been piping. Early on in my musical education I luckily found myself in the orbit of The 48th Highlanders of Canada. Through my lessons with my great first teacher, George Walker, I landed in the band – yes, for a little while, but a great while.
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Màiri Mhòr nan Òran at The Northern Meeting, Inverness

September 15, 2022 on 5:02 pm by Michael Grey | In Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off on Màiri Mhòr nan Òran at The Northern Meeting, Inverness

When in Inverness, Scotland a couple of weeks ago to take in The Northern Meeting solo piping competitions (meaning, to judge a couple of the events). I found myself, in advance of the contests, with some time on my hands. Even the most piping-mad people need a break from the gathering’s fine piping sounds. And, so, I did.
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1970 World Pipe Band Championship Programme

August 8, 2022 on 8:37 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands | Comments Off on 1970 World Pipe Band Championship Programme

You may have heard of the 1970 Worlds tribute band that has been formed to perform at this year’s World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow, August 12-13. Rab Wallace has provided the back story on his site, Piping Press.
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Worlds Week Beckons: Rottenrow, Glasgow 1992

July 31, 2022 on 6:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Pipe Bands | Comments Off on Worlds Week Beckons: Rottenrow, Glasgow 1992

The World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, is looming large. Its set to go August 12-13 – just days away. Starting around now pipers, drummers and their supporters from outside of Scotland have begun making their way through what we’ve heard to be an unpleasant steeple-chase of under-staffed airports and, likely, less-than-smooth travel experiences (an aside: I’ve travelled from YYZ to GLA twice since October of last year: all has been fine – touch wood – so good luck to all, there’s hope).
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Angus MacPherson, Invershin: A 1957 visit with a great tradition-bearer

July 15, 2022 on 8:52 am by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Music, Solo Piping, Video | Comments Off on Angus MacPherson, Invershin: A 1957 visit with a great tradition-bearer

An interesting recording found me not so long ago. A buzzy interview (as in sound distortion) with Angus MacPherson, Invershin from 1957. I thought the near-half hour talk inspiring. This surprised me. On reflection: Here was a man in his ninth decade talking about life – and piping (of course) – imbued with the earliest echoes of the piobaireachd and the culture of that time.
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Uncle John & D-Day, 78 years ago today

June 6, 2022 on 9:07 am by Michael Grey | In Photographs, Stories | Comments Off on Uncle John & D-Day, 78 years ago today

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the historic D-Day operation. On June 6, 1944, in the midst of World War II, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in Nazi-occupied France

My dad’s brother, John, was a sergeant in the Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment, known in WWII as the 27th Armoured Regiment.

I have in my possession a number of Uncle John’s souvenirs and war-time artefacts. A couple of pages of one is shown here from a slim, cardboard-covered, 10 by 16 centimetres “Soldier’s Service Book”.
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Full Concert: Live in Ireland 87 in HD (from Glasgow Royal Concert Hall)

June 4, 2022 on 8:22 am by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Video | Comments Off on Full Concert: Live in Ireland 87 in HD (from Glasgow Royal Concert Hall)

A recap here for context for people not aware of this project:

Reid Maxwell and I were judging, September 2013, at Canmore Games in Alberta, Canada. In between bands Reid spoke of an Eagles concert he’d recently seen on Netflix and in that, the thought was triggered: wouldn’t it be great to play that 1987 “Live in Ireland” recording again: reprised and live – a sort of tribute band thing, a celebration of the music.
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