------Est. 1980 Glasgow city centre's oldest bagpipe shop------
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Dear Piping Enthusiast,
For those in the northern hemisphere, I trust your holidays went well - no lost baggage/no bagpipes confiscated/no trousers round the ankles as you removed your belt at airport security and finally the end of the dreaded security check and queues for a while. I always feel I've forgotten something when I go on holiday and somehow also feel guilty at security even although I am not. I took a Baltic cruise with my son and daughter and it all went well - that's right - 10 yrs of saving and I'm skint again - these people know how to charge. The Nordic countries are not that different to Scotland and so I felt quite at home, particularly when I came across a long travelled band from Macedonia playing traditional pipes in Latvia. My initial interest waned somewhat when they attempted Ye Jacobites By Name and couldn't come close to the likes of the Clutha or Whistlebinkies. Overall, we had a great time and many good memories.
Piping Live! was a big success all round for Begg Bagpipes and the Piping Centre. We showcased the Vale of Atholl at the Street cafe and were lucky with the weather. Thanks go to P/M Adrian Cramb and the Band for a great show and it was nice to enjoy their company again. I enjoyed a civic reception in Glasgow's stunning City Chambers on the Thursday and also took in some interesting talks on world war pipers during the week. The Royal Oman Air Force added a huge amount of colour to the week's activities and contributed to the real carnival atmosphere - we even had hen parties and guys parading with pheasant feathers - enough said!
Perhaps it would have been nice to have seen cheaper entry to the Worlds as it would have encouraged people outwith piping to join in. I suspect the Council needs to be the movers and shakers on this.
On the competitive side at the Worlds, we had huge success again this year with the Field Marshall winning grade one for the fourth consecutive time and powered by Begg Sheepskin Bags. We had bands from all over the world on our bags including amongst many others, the City of Canterbury from NZ, Western Australia Police, Bagad Cap Caval from France, O'Tooles from Eire, Scottish Power, the 78th Frasers from Canada and the Stuart Highlanders from the USA. Yep, we are kept busy and long may it continue. Congratulations to all.
James C. Begg
We have had a couple of spots on international TV, with one in Malaysia revolving around the Commonwealth Games and the other in Brazil. You may recall from a previous newsletter that we hosted a Brazilian TV crew who were making a movie about Scottish music. Well, we are now able to share with you the programme that went out on Brazilian TV. The producer, Guto Guerra, has done a great job in capturing some of the sounds and sights of Scotland, and he has produced a most enjoyable show. The commentary throughout is a mixture of Portuguese and English and there are two sequences which are likely to be of most interest to you - one taken at the National Piping Centre and the other being the undoubted highlight of the show i.e. James Begg in person at work and play in his Glasgow premises! For the aficionados amongst you, the choice of Scotland the Brave was because it was known to Guto and it would also be the best tune to appeal to a Brazilian TV audience.
Click on the link and enjoy!
The Merits (or otherwise!) of: Learning Piobaireachd
Piobaireachd has a rather strange place in piping. It seems to have the image that it's hard to play and has a somewhat of a snobby image in that it's often referred to as the classical music of piping. The term ceol mhor or big music does little to change the image and if anything intimidates people even more. It is in fact easy to learn and very simple in structure. However, like a good wine, it's an acquired taste and one that will take a little time to get used to. When we all started playing light music, we tended to play the notes with little musical interpretation and the same is true of piobaireachd - but that will come later with practice and experience. We have many top players that don't play piobaireachd for various reasons. Perhaps their teacher didn't play it so they never were taught it. Piobaireachd playing does provide a far broader scope for players and the merits are many. It may encourage a better bagpipe as it needs to maintain performance for 20 minutes or so. You can enjoy and understand it when listening to others. After years of playing the same MSRs, jigs, slow airs and so on, it gives fresh impetus, refreshes your interest and there is a tremendous sense of achievement when you complete one well. We now have a far more available source of learning via the Nicol/Brown cds and the magnificent Donald Macleod archive which was salted away in the Army School of Piping until recently. The Seamus MacNeill tutor book on piobaireachd is simple and great way to start and I would recommend it. I well remember Seamus mentioning to me that as he was finishing off the book, he nearly didn't notice that the word piobaireachd in bold letters on the front page was actually misspelled - fortunately it was rectified before publication. The slightly tricky thing with piobaireachd is that maintaining a good repertoire can be tricky - it's fine when you are young and that's all you do but unless you're almost full time, then it can be nigh on impossible to keep a huge bank of tunes going. It may well be the reason that we have a small quantity of players that continually win almost all the top events. Against this background, I take my hat off to Willie McCallum, Roddy MacLeod, Gordon Walker and the other great players for their efforts, enthusiasm and will to win attitude over many years - far from easy and requires complete devotion. So forget the notions that it's hard - it's not-for me - it's elitist - it most certainly is for pipers everywhere. It will improve your all-round understanding of piping, keep your interest going and be a thoroughly gratifying experience. The College of Piping Shop holds a terrific collection of books and CDs on Piobaireachd and that's the direction I would point you in. You should also check out the Piobaireachd Society site for more information. So have a go and stick your toe in the water - don't be put off from an initial lack of understanding and you will be richly rewarded.
As part of our Merit series, we would like to invite nominations from our readers as to who within their piping/pipe band community deserves a special mention in our newsletter and who will go on to being considered as the candidate to receive the Begg Bagpipes 2014 Merit Award. The person can be a player or an administrator/back room supporter but should be someone who has gone way beyond the call of normal duty to advance the cause of piping and/or pipe bands within their local community. In addition to a handsome trophy, the winner will receive a voucher for £250 to spend with Begg Bagpipes, either online or in our shop. Please email your nominations with a short write up and photograph if possible to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the equipment you require to learn the fingering skills to play the bagpipe. Kit includes quality practice chanter with reed and easy to use structured tutor with accompanying CD. The CD follows the book and lets you hear all the movements and tunes played correctly. This is all fitted into a specially designed carry case.
Choose between choice of chanters - pcsk has a basic synthetic chanter; pcsk1 has a better quality synthetic chanter; pcsk2 has a high quality blackwood chanter. This month there is a 15% discount off pcsk1 and psck 2. Just enter the following codes at checkout to get the discount - codes can be used multiple times.
Discount codes - psck1 - aezsnunu
psck2 - igiuyzp5
If you would like to report on any aspect of the Piping World from wherever you live, or if you would like to comment on any articles or issues, we'd be pleased to hear from you. Email to email@example.com