Bard appear appear ideal for arranging an instructive and entertaining evening vigorously supported by a mainly English audience. I was one of the few who could play the pipes, speak Scots (east coast style ) and have a working knowledge of the Gaelic language. However the pipes played a huge part and I managed to achieve a fine pitch with volume.The chanter is a Niall over 25 years old and the drones are beautifully crafted Camerons made by a young chap in King’s Cross Station in one of the arch workshops a long time ago. When I went to the Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Skye to have lessons with the late John Burgess he pointed out that the chanter had a slight deviation off true when rolled on a flat surface. Is this the secret? I played The Silver Spear, Highland Harry, and many more, but they loved the Urlar from “Failte Ridire Eoghann Loch-iaill” (Sir Ewin Cameron of Locheil’s Salute) best I think. Some time ago a friend from Scotland said he went to a Burn’s Supper and was blasted out of his seat by the pipes.This is so wrong. Pipes should be sung to and the words of ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That” perhaps placed on the table for the guests to follow. On another occasion I was quite chuffed when I heard a young guest expressing surprise that the pipes were melodious and not loud. I feel that pipes are perceived to be outside everyday culture and perhaps tolerated as a show piece in pipe bands – this is quite wrong. David IanWeir, via email.
• Does any reader have another Burns Supper story they’d like to share. Email
email@example.com. And I can’t resist another plug for Iain Duncan’s excellent ‘Complete Burns Pipers’ a must for all those who want to avoid disasters on the Bard’s big night . . . Ed
Thomason’s Grave Sir, I appreciated Bill Wotherspoon’s
very gracious letter in the March edition.As he states, the Piobaireachd Society are on the case,but it was very kind of him to refer to my letter. Perhaps you might pass to him my thanks, and I look forward to visiting the grave in the future. John Gauld,Aberdeen.
Bored ByWorlds Music Sir, Sorry I have been quite so out of
touch. I have spent most of the last year on crutches – foot injuries – and been studying for exams related to my profession. They required full-time study for nearly a year, but they are all successfully passed now. The combination put paid to my stamina and rhythm, and my fingers feel like old sausages now,but starting with the GreenTutor again will get me back in shape. I have listened tomy recordings of theWorlds from the seventies and eighties, and realized why I don’t really want to get the recordings of theWorlds from recent years. It seems all the recent years’ recordings have the same small circle of marches, strathspeys, and reels. I already have recordings of those tunes, played by the absolute best in history.Do any of the pipe majors of the current top bands really think they will bring anything new to those standards that