New Gandy CD captures winning piobaireachds
His last commercial recording was nine years ago when Bruce Gandy released My Father’s Son, and now the British Columbia-born Nova Scotia-based piper is back with a CD of five piobaireachds recorded live at various competitions, including several performances that gained significant prizes.
Front Row Seat will soon be made available both in traditional CD form and online, with proceeds going towards Gandy’s newly-minted Bagpiping Development Society, a not-for-profit venture he has organized with a core objective “to promote and enhance bagpipe music through educational funding and partnership.”
The tunes on the recording are “The Battle of Waternish” (Bar to Canadian Gold Medal 2009), “The Big Spree” (Bar to Canadian Gold Medal 2010), “Lord Lovat’s Lament” (Glenfiddich 2009), “The Rout of Glen Fruin” (Northern Meeting 2002) and “The Unjust Incarceration” (2009 Bratach Gorm).
“The idea was to put some of the recordings up that I had from some of the events I’ve played at and then build a nice booklet for the inside to try to bring the listener ‘inside of the event’ and get a bit of a feel for it,” Gandy said. “Most CDs now are music-only, so I tried to find a balance between ‘how I play it’ without sounding like it’s a teaching CD, and give a bit of a story on the day of the event.”
The recordings were captured live at the actual competitions, and then cleaned up by sound producer-engineer Doug Stronach, who is also a prominent pipe band snare drummer.
Gandy said he plans to make the recordings available online, both through his own site and on platforms like CD Baby, either as an entire album or as separate tracks. He said that additional recordings may be released, although the live capture of the tunes may not be of the high quality found on Front Row Seat.
Bruce Gandy added that his foundation is still in its fledgling stages, but that it is starting to take shape. He plans to use funds collected from various projects to foster piping for those who may be financially strapped, finding it difficult to nurture their piping talent. Growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, Gandy said he personally did not come from a financially privileged family, and struggled to pursue his piping dreams.
“The driving force to keep going quite honestly is the vision of building and growing this fund,” he said, “and the day when I finally get enough money raised to give away that first $500 tuition scholarship.”
Gandy said that his online lessons via Skype are thriving, with 43 active students receiving weekly, biweekly or occasional instruction from him through the distance learning platform.