August 31, 2010

Piping Live! Day 1: get in get out of the rain

Libby O’Brien reports from Glasgow

Day one of the 2010 Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival and it’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we were last treated to a week long celebration of our art.

I awoke to an overcast day and proceeded to leave my temporary digs at Strathclyde University for a quiet stroll to the National Piping Centre. Quiet it may have been, but dry it was not. After a quick stop-off in Sainsbury’s for some refuge from the downpour and a stop-off at my office to swap shoes and pick up an umbrella, I managed to stay dry enough to enjoy Fraser Fifield’s performance in the Street Café at the Piping Centre. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Fraser’s performed on the low-D whistle, saxophone and the great highland bagpipe, accompanied by a guitarist. His relaxing tunes were a great way for the audience to ease into the first day of Piping Live. There’s something about piping tunes being played on the saxophone and Fraser’s renditions of popular tunes made me want to play any album of his at my next dinner party when the occasion calls for classy and calming music.

It was then on to George Square where business men on their lunch break mix with piping aficionados and get a chance to hear some of the top international bands at the daily Piping in the Square performances. The Pipeband Club from Sydney were marching on with a set of 4/4s when I arrived and the band went on to perform a hefty programme of both of their competition MSRs, jig sets, street tunes and selections from their medley. A selection of pipers played an excellent rendition of the piobaireachd “Clan Campbell’s Gathering,” lead by Pipe-Major Scott Nicolson, followed by an entertaining fanfare from the drummers which included audience participation and the drum sergeant pulling his socks down in an unfortunate fashion.

A highlight of the day was an unexpected one. With the Pipeband Club as background music, I popped in to have a look at the “Dol ar Teas an Righligh – Basking in the Warmth of the Reel” art exhibition. The exhibition is a display of works of art inspired by the names of pipe tunes and each piece was displayed with an informative explanation on the tune’s background and history. Most were popular tunes and the paintings and photographs either reflected the names of the tunes, (“The Ewe With the Crooked Horn” was a painting of a ewe with, you guessed . . .


  1. I need to stop reading these articles as it just makes me all the more homesick at this time of year.Fantastic report and I look forward to more of the same + the BBC streamed competition on Saturday

  2. Glasgow is a great place to visit to begin with. All the Piping Live events during the week prior to the Worlds just make it better. I hope to make that sojourn again in the future. Thanks for the reminder.



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