Piobaireachd Club – April 25, 2008

Piobaireachd Club
April 25th, 2008
On a fine Friday evening that gave promise of better weather to come, the Club convened in the Sergeant’s Mess of the J.P. Fell Armoury, North Vancouver. Pipe Major Alex Chisamore had kindly extended an invitation that was just too good to refuse. The hospitality was outstanding and the aura of the old Armoury (circa 1912) was inspiring.

Alex has been associated with the Armoury for the past 48 years. In recent time, he has been hard at it to create a Pipe Band. A great deal of time and effort has gone into creating the J.P. Fell Pipe Band, to recruit, train and develop a cadre of pipers and drummers. All praise to Alex for his good work. Two of his Band members led off the evening.

Adrienne Quane played the ground and a variation of the Battle of Waternish, a wild exultant tune that celebrates a MacLeod victory over invading Macdonalds. The piobaireachd may have been composed circa 1580 or so by Iain Odhar MacCrimmon or his son Padruig who would have been contemporary with the event. Some attribute it to Iain’s grandson Donald Mor MacCrimmon who was born about 12 years after the event.

Trish Chisamore then played MacFarlane’s Gathering in fine style.

James P. Troy had swept the professional board at the B.C. Pipers’ 76th Annual Gathering in March. His prize in the piobaireachd was for his rendition of Hector MacLean’s Warning, the tune he played for Club members. A complex tune that reflects a complex, uncivil family and time, circa the period 1650-70. The composer is unknown. What is known is the brutal behavior of Hector, his father Ailean nan Sop and his grandfather Lachlan Cattanach (hairy or rough). Hector failed in an attempt to kill his nephew, the Clan Chieftain, and died for his failure. Ailean nan Sop’s specialties were robbery, piracy and murder. The term nan Sop can be translated as ‘a wisp of straw’ or as a ‘firebrand’. He had the uncivil habit of lighting straw at the mouths of caves to smoke out victims who were attempting to hide from him. Grandfather Lachlan had married a daughter of the Earl of Argyle and, when he tired of her, placed her on a tidal rock and left her to drown. When he eventually went to pay his respects to the Earl, the Earl heard him out and when Lachlan was through presenting his condolences, the Earl threw back a curtain and lo and behold! There was the daughter in all her glory – she had been rescued by a kinsman who happened to come by before the tide rose too high. Lachlan’s reaction is not recorded. Soon after, he was murdered in Edinburgh by Campbell of Cawdor, brother of Lachlan’s wife. The rock on which Lachlan’s wife had been abandoned is still known by locals as ‘The Lady’s Rock’.

Colin Lee played the Massacre of Glencoe, which he had played at the 76th Gathering to take second prize in the piobaireachd. Andrew Lee, who was third in the piobaireachd at the Gathering followed with I Am Proud To Play the Pipe, played for the first time at the Club.

After a refreshment break, young Brian Haddon played Munro’s Salute.

Jack Lee closed the evening with A Lament for Angus Campbell. This is a twentieth century piece composed by Archibald Campbell, better known to pipers as Kilberry.

The date of the next meeting will be revealed in the fullness of time.