Mary Aitken

June 16, 2014 on 6:21 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Video | No Comments

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.
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Chris Hadfield: Space Oddity

May 13, 2013 on 5:31 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off

I really like this. At first, I thought cheesy. Then I gave my head a shake.
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Australia’s Funniest Home Videos

April 15, 2012 on 7:06 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off

After Saturday’s Toronto Indoor Games and a late night on the D-town I was out and about at the crack of dawn today helping a film-maker friend shoot the famous Paris to Ancaster bike race [N.B. must say, I'm quite proud of myself for having tip-toed out of the house without stirring couch-surfing band members].
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Log Driver’s Waltz

January 31, 2012 on 7:37 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Random Thoughts, Video | Comments Off

Here’s a nice sample of Canadian folk music – or a kind of a Canadian folk music: Wade Hemsworth’s bouncy, cheerful “Log Driver’s Waltz”. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in 1979 this little “vignette” as the NFB calls it, has become an iconic bit of Canada’s cultural flotsam and jetsam.
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Japanese Cinema and Pipe Bands

February 17, 2011 on 6:46 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Music, Pipe Bands, Random Thoughts, Video | 3 Comments

Now there’s a subject line you probably never imagined.

I always thought those old cheesy Japanese movies from the 1950s might benefit from a little kick, a little something to give them a boost. I’m not talking Seven Samurai or Rashômon here, I’m talking about movies like those from the Godzilla and Mothra franchises (did they call ever call old movie serials “franchises”?).

Anyway, I thought how great it would be for one to snag a pipe band soundtrack, music to go along with the badly dubbed English.
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So You Want to Compete at the Big Games

March 28, 2010 on 6:14 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Video | 4 Comments

Thanks to the recent purchase of a video-to-digital box I’ve been able to post some ancient video. This particular sample presents as a fine demo of what it’s really like to compete at a big outdoor contest – in this case, The Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, Scotland. While this comes from 1991 (gulp) things haven’t changed and what you see is what you get.
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The Megantic Outlaw

March 14, 2010 on 12:45 pm by Michael Grey | In Pipe Bands, Video | 1 Comment

Here’s some vintage footage: The Megantic Outlaw medley from the 78th Fraser Highlanders’ 1992 “Live in Canada” concert.
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Joyeux Noël on Remembrance Day

November 11, 2009 on 10:25 am by Michael Grey | In Music, Video | Comments Off

In honour of the day, here’s a short clip from a really good “war movie”, Joyeux Noël from 2005, based on the true stories of the World War I Christmas ceasefires along the Western Front. It’s one of those movies that uses bagpipes in a rare authentic way.
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Idiomatica

June 20, 2009 on 10:36 am by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Tips, Video | 6 Comments

Idiomatica. A bit of a poncie sort of self-conscious name for a medley, isn’t it. But what fun to say – and play. I feel confident saying that the Toronto Police Pipe Band had a great, if not challenging, winter of practice shaping this puppy up (as Pete Aumonier might say). And If anyone had any doubt about the degree of serious intensity most of the pipe band world takes pipe band music you only have to look to the internet. Yikes. Reading a sampling of the voracious and sometimes downright bitter opinion Idiomatica elicited made me think the Toronto Police Pipe Band might’ve had a cheerier response had we marched on the field and pulled a Sinead (publically rip up a photo of the Pope). Either that or offer the world the 7,864th medley that starts with a marchpipe. Continue reading Idiomatica…

A Pipe Band for the Masses

May 18, 2009 on 5:56 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Pipe Bands, Video | 5 Comments

Iain MacDonald passed along a youtube link at the end of the string of comments from the get-rid-of-the-über-boring-pipe-band-set post. Really, now. I think it deserves full front row centre treatment. It is marvelous.
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