April 06, 2021

Doctor’s orders: 2021 Donald MacDonald Cuach goes online

The famed piper Dr. Angus MacDonald is the convenor of the annual Donald MacDonald Cuach piobaireachd competition normally held on the Isle of Skye, and the 2021 edition of the event will be held online via Facebook Live on Friday, June 11th, at 7 pm GMT.

The competition was first held 35 years ago, and was cancelled outright last year due to the pandemic.

Sponsored by the Clan Donald Lands Trust, MacDonald will host the event live from Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye, accompanied by fellow famous-physician-piper Dr. Jack Taylor who will judge the competition.

Five pipers are submitting performances of piobaireachds assigned to them:

  • Callum Beaumont, Dollar, Scotland, “Cumha Mhic a h-Arasaig” (“MacKintosh’s Lament”)
  • Glenn Brown, Glasgow, “Failt a Bhodaich” (“The Duke of Argyll’s Salute”)
  • Andrew Hayes, Ottawa, “Piobaireachd Cheann Deise” (“The Earl of Ross’s March”)
  • Finlay Johnston, Glasgow, “Cumha an Aona Mhic” (“Lament for the Only Son”)
  • Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland, “Moladh Morag” (“In Praise of Morag”)

Brown was the winner of the 2019 competition.

When asked for his thoughts about competing at the event, Beuamont said, “I am very happy to have been invited to play at the Cuach online and look forward to focusing my time and efforts on studying and preparing my selected tune. I am sure it will be a fantastic event as always.”

Glenn Brown presented with the 2019 Donald MacDonald Cuach by clan chief and CDLT trustee Godfrey, Lord Macdonald.

There’s no charge to view the event online via the Armadale Castle Facebook page. It will be available as an archived video on Facebook and Vimeo.

“Having cancelled the 2020 competition due to COVID-19, we were determined to find to way to run the competition this year,” MacDonald said in a statement. “In the light of ongoing uncertainties around the pandemic, we have taken what I believe to be a wise and pragmatic decision to take the competition online. We have put rigorous systems in place for recording and judging to ensure that our competition standards are not compromised. As ever, the calibre of the competitors is first-class and I am sure we can all look forward to an excellent evening of piobaireachd.”

The event pays homage to Donald Macdonald, who published a seminal collection of piobaireachd. Contestants play music from the work.



Glenn Brown wins Donald Macdonald Cuach

Cuach 2018: Dr. Angus MacDonald’s perspective




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