February 25th 2011
A bitterly cold day in February, but there was a warm reception at the Hilder family household for a fine night of piobaireachd.
Andrew Bonar was the first piper of the evening. Andrew played “I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand” which was the tune he played to win the silver medal at Inverness last summer. There are three possible stories associated with this tune. The first has it that Padruig Mor MacCrimmon was invited to play for King Charles II prior to the Battle of Worcester (1651). There is no indication that this is the tune that he played before the King. A second story is about a “King of Pipers” – John MacGurmen of Sutherland. There is no record of a well known piping family of this name, but perhaps this is an incorrect translation of MacCrimmon.
A Clan MacLeod story tells a different tale: Padruig Mor fought at Worcester where the Clan lost 800 men. He was taken prisoner by Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads and later released. In 1661, after the restoration of the Stuart line of Kings, Padruig Mor went to London to attend the knighting ceremony for Ruaridh MacLeod of Talisker and Norman MacLeod of Bernera who had led the MacLeods at Worcester. It was at this time that King Charles II extended his hand for Padruig Mor to kiss. He composed this tune after returning home. The following snippet from a Gaelic poem of that period is linked to the tune:
The next piper to play was Liam Hilder with “Too Long in this Condition”. Scott Wood followed with “The Lament for Mary MacLeod”.
Making his first appearance at the club was Aaron Stone. Aaron played “Lament for Captain MacDougall”. This tune is thought to have been composed by Ranald Mor MacDougall in honour of Captain Alexander MacDougall. Alexander was killed in Spain during the Peninsula war, circa 1812.
Another newcomer to the club was Alexander Schiele from the Seattle area. Alexander’s tune was “The Parading of the MacDonalds”. Little is known about this tune, but it likely refers to an assembling of Clan warriors on a large field. Thomas Budd followed with “The Duke of Athole’s Salute”. This tune was published in W. Ross’s book (1885) with an alternative name of “Inchburny Bride”. The tune has many similarities to Angus MacKay’s tune “The End of Isheberry Bridge”
Edward McIlwaine closed the evening with the magnificent “MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament”
The next club meeting will be on March 25th at the home of Bob, Mary and Ed McIlwaine.