Known the world over for his prowess as a pipe major – 12World titles – Ian McLellan was also one of the finest players of ceol beag on the solo platform. In this second excerpt of an interview to mark his 75th birthday we look at the solo world past and present in a few more words with . . .
What were your big days at Oban and Inverness? Probably the first time I played at Oban.It was the first time I competed there and I won the Marches. I can always remember it. It was twice through, it was outside, it was bucketing down with rain and I was first on. Eventually I went away and played in the Strathspey and Reel. Later on I was wandering round the park and I met Andrew Wright. Oh well done, he says, you’ve won the Marches. You could have knocked me down with a feather. I can always remember the tune I played. It was
Brigadier Cheape.You don’t hear it often in the solos now. Earlier that year I had won the March at the Uist and Barra with the same tune. The thing that always stuck in my mind was that big Ronnie Lawrie won the Uist and Barra playing the same tune the previous year. I think I modelled a lot of my playing on Ronnie. I felt the way he played marches was just out of this world. Another guy I loved listening to was Hector MacFadyen. Strong hands and beautiful bagpipe. His tunes just flowed.
Who else of that era did you hear? One of the most musical players I ever heard was
John Ian with Alasdair Gillies and Mike Cusick in 1999 12
MacKenzie, later of the Queen Victoria School, Dunblane. He was a lovely player. Not the same sort of ‘in your face’ type as you would get from Ronnie and Hector but talk about music. He could make tunes sing. I was very impressed with him. In