All Gaelic, All the Time

I made a discovery the other day. Someone on the Bob Dunsire Forums asked a question about a tune they had heard on a piping show called Crunluath. I responded (perhaps rather too smugly) that the piping show they were enquiring about does not exist, and perhaps they were thinking of something else.

Turns out, No, they were not.

The show in question is indeed called Crunluath and is on the BBC all-Gaelic radio station – Radio nan Gaidheal. I had searched for the show on the BBC Scotland side of the BBC website and got no results. I think it’s interesting that the Gaelic and English sides of the BBC are so separate, but I suppose it’s not particularly surprising. In addition (also not surprisingly, I guess) there is no English navigation option on the Radio nan Gaidheal website. Consequently, I had to rely on the generosity of a fellow forum member giving the correct sequence of links to find the actual show. Here are the instructions for those of you who are inclined to listen:

Go to the Gaelic website of the BBC. It’s called Alba

Click on the Radio nan Gaidheal link towards the top right of the page. It also says ÈIST BEÃ’. This will open a player window with the live Radio nan Gaidheal feed – least during the daytime in Scotland.

In the center column of the player window is a list of programmes with descriptions, some in English. About halfway down is the link to the show Crunluath, with the helpful English description “Pipe Music”.

If you would like to understand the presenter, go back to the main BBC Gaelic page and click the bottom right corner link. Here the BBC (and even a cartoon Dog) will help you learn Gaelic. While you’re at it, you might want to try Finnish, Navajo and Basque also.

Wetootwaag’s Wild World

Interesting and consistently-maintained piping blogs seem to be hard to find, but here’s a cool one:

Wetootwaag’s Podcast of Bagpipe Power:When It’s about Bagpipes and Scotch, everyone wins

Actually, this is a podcast – Wetootwaag has a blog too, with possibly the strangest name ever.

In any case, Wetootwaag appears to be Jeremy Kingsbury from Bemidji, MN. Among his interests, he lists bagpipes, single malt scotch and the Ojibwe language. I can’t tell if he is Ojibwe or just a speaker, but either way his blend of interests certainly interested me. I listened to his latest podast, which includes a smallpipes version of Eye of the Tiger, and read his blog which features a scary story about the perils of over-imbibing. It’s all good stuff.

So, Wetootwaag, welcome to my Blogroll, where, appropriately, you join a pirate from Sault Ste. Marie who plays the theme from Star Wars on pipes. Perhaps you guys could meet at Grand Portage and play movie tunes across the border.

World Championships on TV

For the first time in its history, the TV cameras were at the World Pipe Band Championships this year.

The BBC sent a full outside broadcast unit to the event and will broadcast highlights sometime in September. Through the power of the internet we in the USA can watch at least some of the show. Check out a clip of the Field Marshal Montgomery’s winning medley performance: Click on WATCH ONLINE.

There are some good links on this page too.

World Pipe Band Championships

Well, the World Pipe Band Championships are over for another year.

Not surprisingly, the top three bands in Grade 1 were the same as in the previous three or four years – they just duke it out for who gets to place where. In the end Field Marshal Montgomery came out on top, displacing last year’s winners Shotts and Dykehead to third place. Simon Fraser University were second.

I have listened the first summary show of the championships on BBC Radio Scotland’s Pipeline show and am partway through the second week of coverage. The College of Piping Radio show on Radio Six International still awaits me as soon as I can sort out some computer issues. They have interviews with Richard Parkes (the Pipe Major of Field Marshal Montgomery) among others and that should be really interesting. I will be posting in more detail with my thoughts on the competition and the radio shows.

This year, however, I have access to more than just the radio shows. Nine members of my band, the Wasatch and District Pipe Band, and their families were at the Championships on Glasgow Green. This Thursday evening I’ll be able to get firsthand accounts from people who were there. I’m looking forward to hearing all about their experience of the competition (and also their eventful airplane trip).

Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be able to make the trip over to Scotland myself.