April 30, 2002

44 Cardonald Gardens, Glasgow

44 Cardonald Gardens in Glasgow is one of the most famous addresses in piping history. It is the long-time home of Pipe-Major Donald MacLeod, one of the most important and prolific teachers of the 20th century.

It was in this house that “Wee Donald” passed on his knowledge in his later years to such important pipers as Andrew Wright, Angus J. MacLellan, and John Wilson. It was from this house, also, that Donald MacLeod made the hundreds of cassette recordings that he offered to anyone who wanted his insight into a particular piobaireachd. These recordings are now being made available on a series of CDs from Lismor.

Chances are, when you learn a piobaireachd from someone knowledgeable, Donald MacLeod had an influence on the interpretation somewhere along the way.

While at 44 Cardonald Gardens MacLeod penned some of his great compositions, including many of the original piobaireachds he composed in the latter part of his life. These tunes are beginning to be recognized today through events like the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition held in his native Isle of Lewis each year.

The house is extremely difficult to find, and the map we had didn’t even have the tiny street named on it. Fortunately, we had good directions from one of MacLeod’s long-time pupils, so we were able to eventually locate it.

Next door, perhaps appropriately, grows a substantial rowan tree. There is no indication, however, that the house is a famous one, and perhaps Glasgow pipers can petition the town council to have a plaque made to recognize this important place in piping history.


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