Three Deep Breaths (A Kiwi Tip)

November 20, 2014 on 9:21 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Stories, Tips | No Comments

A piece of advice I remember time and again is that which came to me through the thoughtfulness of the great New Zealand piper, Gold Medallist, John Hanning. Early in my career, while I was recitalling through the north and south islands of NZ, he passed along his recipe for performance steadiness; that is, his final personal prep for ensuring he didn’t unduly contribute to the filling up of the laundry basket.
Continue reading Three Deep Breaths (A Kiwi Tip)…

Rare Photo and Video: G S McLennan

October 29, 2014 on 6:02 pm by Michael Grey | In Delightful Data of the Day, Music, News, Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories, Video | 1 Comment

Back in June I wrote a little about the recently posted Pathé film footage of the great Highland dancer, Mary Aitken. Among many other good things, she was the namesake for a fine bagpipe tune, the jig “Mary Aitken”.
Continue reading Rare Photo and Video: G S McLennan…

Mary Aitken

June 16, 2014 on 6:21 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off

One of my favourite two-parted jigs is that named, “Mary Aitken”. It’s a tricky little finger challenge first published in 1936 in John Wilson’s outstanding first book of music. Written by Malcolm R MacPherson (son of “Mrs MacPherson of Inveran” and Angus), a piper more famous for his playing than his composing, the tune is named for a champion Highland dancer of the day: Mary Aitken of Aberdeen.
Continue reading Mary Aitken…

John Wilson (Edinburgh/Toronto)

November 6, 2013 on 9:45 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Solo Piping, Stories | Comments Off

A glance at the “this day in history” section of pipes|drums just now reminded me that John Wilson (Edinburgh/Toronto) died on this day in 1979. He was a great hero of mine. Confident, bold, full of epic stories and opinionated in the extreme (oh, and a superb piper, even in the last years of his life). John Wilson both fascinated and intimidated me. Before I attended private lessons at his Willowdale (Toronto) home I’d be in his small classes at Moss Park Armouries (downtown Toronto), in the 48th Highlanders band room; we’d almost always travel home together riding street car and subway – John Wilson never owned a car. I loved his sureness. I loved his stories.
Continue reading John Wilson (Edinburgh/Toronto)…

Bagpipes in a Canoe: Aspiration Number 27 … Check

September 29, 2013 on 6:30 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Photographs, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories, Tips | 2 Comments

Back in January I wrote about Sir George Simpson, the Dingwall-born Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. As part of his 18th century trading adventures in the Canadian wilderness he’d travel with an entourage of honking big canoes and always – apparently – with a piper. Sir George’s piper always played in the big canoe – white water rapids notwithstanding - and for years, knowing this small fact, the piping-in-a-canoe thing has intrigued me.
Continue reading Bagpipes in a Canoe: Aspiration Number 27 … Check…

Overheard: France

April 3, 2013 on 5:50 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, News, Overheard | 2 Comments

I’m not an eavesdropper – seriously – but it’s amazing how often I happen (yes, “happen”) to overhear remarkable words; that is, words worthy of remark. I know you’re the same.
Continue reading Overheard: France…

Suck In and Buckle Up

February 23, 2013 on 6:48 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Tips, Whinges | Comments Off

I was talking to a friend the other day about flying. He’s one of those people who flies a lot. Not because he has scads of spare cash to holiday, rather, it’s all about visiting family – far flung family. Circumstances in his life sees most of his clan at the other side of the world. For him, like so many, flying isn’t a luxury, it’s a utility.
Continue reading Suck In and Buckle Up…

A Tune in a Canoe

January 27, 2013 on 6:55 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Solo Piping, Stories | 5 Comments

I’ve been inspired, I’ve a new aspiration: to play bagpipes in a canoe. And the inspiration?
Continue reading A Tune in a Canoe…

Another Year-end List: My Top 12 in ’12

December 30, 2012 on 3:49 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Stories | 2 Comments

I thought I might as well jump on the year-end list bandwagon and dream up my own list. Blogs are made for lists and here’s one: my “top 12 in 12”: a random list of twelve of my very personal standout mostly piping memories of 2012 (“random” meaning I might have a different list if I sat down tomorrow and again thought about the year that was).

In no particular order:
Continue reading Another Year-end List: My Top 12 in ’12…

Support the Music before it Fades Away

October 3, 2012 on 8:02 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Whinges | 4 Comments

Ten years ago Arthur Herman wrote an interesting book about how the Scots invented the modern world. Adam Smith, David Hume, James Watt, Alexander Graham Bell – the list of Scots firebrands and original thinkers is long and impressive.

In Canada we know that Scots had a big hand in inventing the country. Sir John A MacDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, was a Scot through and through. Same for his successor, Perthshire-born Alexander Mackenzie. Canada’s history is riddled with Scots. Canada’s pathfinders and trailblazers are disproportionately over-represented by Scots. Time’s are changing and, sadly, I say, that while a strong weave of Scottishness can still be felt in the backbone of Canadian society, the cultural imprint of Canada’s Scottish forebears fades.
Continue reading Support the Music before it Fades Away…

Next Page »

Dunaber is using WordPress customized and designed by Yoann Le Goff from A Eneb Productions. feeds rss Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS.