Piobaireachd Club – March 23, 2007

MARCH 23, 2007

It was a raw and rainy night but, once inside the home of Mary and Bob McIlwaine, the climate was definitely sunny and warm.
Colin Lee led off the evening with The Groat, a tune composed to celebrate the birth of an heir to a Highland Chieftan. A silver coin (groat) was offered at the christening, followed by an exuberant merriment that could go on for several days. A MacCrimmon tune attributed by some to Iain Odhar or his son Padruig Donn and by others to Padruig’s son Donald Mor.

Andrew Lee followed with the classic, Lament for Mary MacLeod, the Skye poetess who outlived the several MacLeod Chieftains she sang of in her poetry. A distant relative of Sir Ruaridh Mor, she sang of him thus:
With Roderick Mor, MacLeod of Banners,
In his house I have been joyful,
Dancing merry on a wide floor.
The fiddle-playing to put me to sleep,
The pipe-playing to wake me in the morning.
Bear my greeting to Dunvegan.

John Lee played the late Pipe Major Donald MacLeod’s Cabar Feidh gu Brath.

Hal Senyk played the ground of the Big Spree in the MacArthur setting. He followed with The Parading of the MacDonalds, played for the first time at the Club. Apparently the history of the tune is lost in the mists of time. An enjoyable tune that has a ‘lift’ that strikes a chord with the listener.

Ed McIlwaine followed with Lament for Alasdair Dearg MacDonell, the first of the Glengarry MacDonald to spell his name MacDonell. He was the son of Donald of Laggan and brother of I sabella who married Sir Ruaridh Mor MacLeod. The composer may have been a MacCrimmon but there is no certainty about that assumption.

Alex Galloway stepped up to play the ground of the Park Piobaireachd.

Bob McIlwaine closed the evening with the Lament for Sir James MacDonald of the Isles who died in 1678. This fine tune is attributed to William MacDonald of Vallay, better known in his time as MacDonald’s Tutor. William had protected the Sleat estate after the Battle of Killiecrankie where his brother Sir James had led his clan against the forces of King William III. William MacDonald made a deal with King William whereby he would take over the estate as Tutor and keep the peace, a role he played for several years until things had settled down and he was able to return the estate to his older brother, Sir James.