Radio Degrees of Separation

This week’s BBC Radio Scotland Pipeline show is definitely worth checking out, particularly if you are a piobaireachd fan.

In the middle of the show is an archive segment from 1971, when the show’s forerunner was presented by Donald MacLeod, himself a piobaireachd legend. During the segment Donald introduces part of a beautiful performance by Jimmy MacIntosh of the tune Tulloch Ard, recorded at the Northern Meeting in Inverness that year. While attending the Meeting, Donald met and recorded an interview with Angus MacPherson, who was 95 at the time, and had been to every competition there since 1894. MacPherson’s grandfather had been a competing piper going back to the mid 1800s. MacLeod asks him about the influence of the “new” pipers coming to Scotland from Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia, and MacPherson talks clearly and enthusiastically about these “up-and-coming” performers from the early ’70s, many of whom are now retired!

It’s amazing to hear a clear voice from so long ago talking about competitions that go back generations further. I wonder how many such interviews the BBC has in its archives?

4 Replies to “Radio Degrees of Separation”

  1. Listening to it right now, Marc. As I said when I was speaking with you, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a chance to listen to the program. It’s been very missed.

  2. Thanks Mark. I’ll be sure to listen to the show. That was about the time that Bill Livingstone started going over to compete. In his piobaireachd diary series he describes what a lonely business it was for non-scots who were coming over to compete at that time. He describes the reception as “cool, at best”.

  3. Thanks for sharing that Mark. That was quite a lovely pipe Jimmy had going on that performance. It’s interesting to hear the tuning a the high A which you don’t really hear these days. He may have been using the old high A fingering with the middle finger down. That was really interesting to hear Angus MacPherson’s comments on the pipers from north america. That’s a great gem.

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