Butter Fingers’ Blog
Celtic Connections kicks off next month. Long-term festival goers will remember the early days when there was plenty of piping events to go to, including an invariably good Saturday afternoon concert. In recent years there has been a marked decline in piping being represented at this festival. I’ve just taking a quick look through the programme. Is it just me or does anyone else feel it has become something of a for the middle class trad luvvies? Check out some of these words and phrases:
“Curated by” … “master and apprentice” … “across the festival’s musical landscape” … “the House of Song” … “explore fresh collaborative horizons” … “Pipe Major Emeritus” … “a musical gospel of outlaw country and out-there cosmology” … jeez, who writes this stuff? Haud on, I’m gonnae boak! Before I do here’s what’s of interest to pipers this year:
The Armagh Pipers Night at the Old Fruitmarket on January 20 looks promising. This is a celebration of 50 years of the club which was started by Brian and Eithne Vallely and features Lúnasa, Buille, Flook, Jarlath Henderson, Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Barry Kerr, and Leo McCann, Niall Murphy, Méabh Smyth, Mairead Mitchell and Eoin Murphy.
Gordon Duncan will be remembered in a show called ‘Just for Gordon’. It features brother Ian, son Gordon Jr., The Tannahill Weavers, Ross Ainslie, Ali Hutton, Jarlath Henderson, Angus MacColl, Allan MacDonald, Stuart Liddell, Duncan Chisholm, Julie Fowlis. Susana Seivane from Galicia is also in the line up. The show in on January 24 at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
On January 30 at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band’s influential 1987 ‘Live in Ireland’ recording will be remembered in a concert performed by a band which will include in its ranks Ryan Canning, Stuart Liddell, Steven McWhirter, Duncan Nicholson, Richard Parkes, Ian Duncan, Terry Tully and Ross Walker.
The Big Music Society, which aims to create “new and exciting performance contexts” for piobaireachd, presents another evening devoted to fusing the big music with other musical forms such as jazz and classic. The evening features Fraser Fifield and Matthew Welch’s Blarvuster. This is at the Drygate Brewery on January 22. This sounded quite interesting until I read the words, “bringing pibroch into the 21 century.” Then my heart sank.
Rikki Evans, the Aberdonian who set a world record after playing his pipes for 24 hours, has had his achievement confirmed officially by Guinness World Records. In total he played for a 24 hours 10 minutes and 42 seconds. Rikki tells me he will probably wait until someone else breaks his record before attempting to claim it back.