March 30th , 2012
Keeping with tradition, the March club meeting was at the home of Bob, Mary and Edward McIlwaine. They were gracious hosts and there was again a fine selection of cheeses to accompany an oatcake.
The piper of the month was Alastair Lee. He played Lament for “King George III”. This tune was composed by John MacKay of Raasay after the death of King George.in 1820. Although it might seem odd for a highlander to tribute the monarchy, John MacKay saw that King George had recognized the Gael as an important part of the nation. MacKay’s mentor was Captain Malcolm MacLeod who had fought with the Jacobite side at Culloden and Falkirk.
Kyle Banta followed with the Donald MacLeod composition, “Field of Gold”. Donald got his inspiration for the tune from a field of Buttercups. The next piper to play was Jordan Kohn who played “Corrienessan’s Salute”. This tune is attributed to Ruairidh MacKay, father of the blind piper Iain Dall MacKay. The tune is thought to have been composed in the mid to late 1600’s and MacKay took some inspiration from a poem written by Ruairidh Morrison. It is named after a site in the Parish of Tongue, Northwest Scotland. It describes a cascade in a corrie secreted high on the hillside of a glen. In 1696, Iain Dall composed a poem, Corrienessan’s Lament, in honour of his cousin, Colonol Robert MacKay who was wounded at Killiekrankie and died in 1696. It lamented the glory days when they would hunt deer in the region of the Parish of Tongue.
Bob McIlwaine played next with “Lament for Colin MacRae of Inverinte”. Edward McIlwaine then played “Lament for the Departure of King James”. (or Suibhal Sheumais). King James (II of England and VII of Scotland) was exiled in 1688. Mary Queen of Scots and William of Orange reigned in his place.
Alex Galloway played “In Praise of Morag”. Bonnie Prince Charlie is known to have used Morag as a code word both prior to Culloden and after. John MacDougall Gillies phrased the tune to represent the galloping of a horse as Charles escaped Culloden. Alternatively, the inspiration of the tune may have been the poem, Beautiful Morag, by the Jacobite poet Alasdair mac Maighster. Kyle Banta closed the evening with MacIntosh’s Banner.
The BC Pipers’ Annual Gathering starts next Friday. Solo piobaireachd competitions for grade one and open will take place on Friday morning at the Scottish Cultural Centre (time TBA). There will also be a judges recital on Friday evening. The remainder of the solo events and the band contest will take place at Douglas College on the Saturday. Some of the events will be live streamed on the internet. Info to follow.