First piper to play was Hal Senyk. Hal warmed up his instrument with a short tune called “Little Prince, You are my Favourite”. He then played “Queen Anne’s Lament” which is also given the name “Day Yesterday, Here Yesterday” as per Colin Campbell’s manuscript. Queen Anne (1665-1714) was the daughter of James (II of England, VII of Scotland). She was unique in that she was the first Queen of Britain and concurrently she held the titles of Queen of France and Queen of Ireland. The composer of the tune is not known but probably was of the Jacobite persuasion.
Next to play was Connor Watt, who played the Donald MacLeod composition “The Field of Gold”. Anny He followed with“The Finger Lock” and Kyle Banta played “Sir James MacDonald of the Isles Lament”.
Brian Haddon played “Too Long in This Condition”. There are a few possible origins of this tune. One refers to Donald Mor while in hiding from the MacKenzies and longing for Skye. Donald avenged the death of his brother, Squinting Patrick and went into hiding for 15 years (1605 to 1620) in the Reay country. Another reference is to Patrick MacCrimmon after being stripped of his clothes by the English at the battle of Sheriffmuir (1715).
Alastair Lee played “Park Piobaireachd #2”. This tune is one of the oldest and is attached to a clan battle circa 1489/90. Daryl Techy played “The Field of Gold“, a tune that was inspired by a field of buttercups. John Lee played “The Battle of Auldearn #1”.
Matt Dolan stepped up with “MacFarlane’s Gathering”. There is some confusion and dispute on the exact origin of this tune. The tune is also given the name “Togail Nam Bo” or “lifting of the cattle”. Clan MacFarlane would join forces with the MacGregors for the nefarious activity of stealing cattle. The dispute arises because of the similarity to the tune “Too Long in this Condition”. Archibald Campbell suggested that there was likely a tune by this name but it was lost and that this tune is a replica of “Too Long”. He also notes that some of the curious embellishments might suggest that this tune was adapted for a fiddle or piano.
Andrew Lee played “Mrs. Smith’s Salute”, a tune composed by John Ban Mackenzie in the mid 1800’s.
Jack Lee followed with “War or Peace”. This is an ancient tune much favoured by the Camerons during the 1745 uprising in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie. An outstanding playing of the tune came at the Battle of Waterloo. The 79th Cameron Highlanders formed a square to defend themselves against the charging French Cuirassiers, the proudest cavalry of the day. Piper Kenneth MacKay stepped outside the square and took up his pipe to play War or Peace. He marched around the square despite the repeated charges of the French cavalry, all the while playing War or Peace. The Cameron square held against the French cavalry and as the Duke of Wellington noted, their bravery may have been a significant factor in the defeat of Napoleon.
Ed McIlwaine closed the meeting with “Lament for Mary MacLeod”.
Stay tuned for the next meeting date.
Many thanks to Ron MacLeod for proofreading and contributing further insight on the tunes.