Published: May 06, 2021

Piping ‘supergroup’ Tryst premiers debut recording

The all-bagpipes group of 10 top Scottish Highland pipers, Tryst, is finally putting out its first commercially available recording, a rendition of “In Praise of the Pioneers,” a homage to boundary-pushing composers of the past who dared to shake up the musical genre.

The 5’11” track comes out on Tryst’s Bandcamp page at 8am GMT on May 7th.

Tryst was formed in 2016, and today comprises 10 contemporary piper-composers: Ross Ainslie, Steven Blake, Rory Campbell, Mairearad Green, Ali Hutton, Calum MacCrimmon, Finlay MacDonald, Lorne MacDougall, James Duncan MacKenzie, and John Mulhearn.

The group first performed in public at Celtic Connections in 2017, showcasing “new music inspired by the piobaireachd tradition and exploring the possibilities of a piping ensemble.”

They debuted MacDonald’s “In Praise of the Pioneers” at the opening of the 2021 Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow to mainstream media acclaim.

Tryst on stage at the 2021 Celtic Connections festival in January

“Looking at the long history of pipe music in Scotland, we see many innovators, individuals who through their innate creativity have helped to push the tradition forward, at times, against prevailing conventions,” MacDonald said. “The musical and technological developments bravely pioneered by these individuals live on and continue to influence and inspire new generations of pipers and composers. In recognition of this, ‘In Praise of the Pioneers’ celebrates the richness of the bagpipe sound and the power of a simple melody.”

In addition to Highland pipes, the ethereal multi-layered track features synthesizer colouring and percussion from non-pipe band instruments.

Here’s a special advance clip of  “In Praise of the Pioneers.”

The piping was recorded in-studio at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and then engineered by Andrea Gobbi, mixed by Mulhearn, produced by Mulhearn and MacDonald, and, finally, mastered by Chris Waite.

When asked for composers the group would consider pioneers of composition, MacDonald listed John MacColl, Willie Ross, G.S. McLennan, Alan MacLeod, Gordon Duncan, Fred Morrison, Alan MacDonald, and Martyn Bennett.

 


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