What better way to open it than with Strathallan’s Cameron Drummond on his trademark outstanding instrument with a set of classic 4/4 marches? Included in his selection was the beautiful March of the King of Laois – an Irish tune with very strong similarities to the piobaireachd Duncan MacRae of Kintail’s Lament. The academics amongst you can debate the provenance of each tune and whether or not the King of Laois came from Kintail.
Cameron will be playing with The Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band at the Celtic Connections concert on Saturday 28th January in Glasgow. An historic show not to be missed.
Dr Fergus Perks, one of the NHS’ finest, took the floor with his Sinclairs and gave us a superb show of popular and melodic tunes all put together with great aplomb. Heights of Cassino and Ishbel T Macdonald were followed by the airs She Moved Through The Fair (the inspiration for Simple Minds’ 1989 No. 1 hit, Belfast Child) and the amusingly named Danish Knife Grinders’ Spring Song. Fergus then gave us a set of numerous two parted strathspeys and reels before finishing with the Ass in the Graveyard and Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto.
Another piping doctor, Robert Gray, played next on his sparkling Naills. His tunes included the moving Bloody Fields of Flanders plus a heavy MSR of Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque, Susan Macleod and The Smith of Chilliehassie. Is this last tune referring to Killiechassie in Perthshire where author J. K. Rowling owns the big hoose?
Our final player tonight was Angus Lutton. Having now recovered from his victorious rugby injuries, Angus has been practicing for the Scottish Schools CCF Piobaireachd contest this Friday. He gave us a strong rendition of the evergreen Company’s Lament on a well set up bagpipe with some fine musical touches. An excellent reflection on his tutor at The Edinburgh Academy, Pipe Major Michael Gray, MBE. If Angus can repeat this form on Friday, he will certainly give the judges something to think about.
On the strength of tonight, we look forward to the rest of the year and beyond with a great deal more optimism than the Mayans.