A fas­ci­nat­ing evening of pi­obaireachd

The Oban Times - - Letters -

I RE­ALLY en­joyed my­self at Seinn air a’ Phiob, a night of ceòl mòr staged by An Lochran and The Big Mu­sic So­ci­ety.

This en­joy­ment was shared by a big au­di­ence in the beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings of St An­drews in the Square.

Not be­ing a piper, I can­not claim to have much in- depth knowl­edge of pi­obaireachd. My only con­cern, there­fore, as I headed for this con­cert, was that a whole evening ded­i­cated solely to ceòl mòr would go over my head

But this wasn’t the case. The mu­sic was brought to the au­di­ence with charis­matic clar­ity and the play­ers and singers per­formed and spoke about pi­obaireachd in an in­spir­ing and witty way.

The melodies of those incredible pieces of mu­sic seemed at times over­whelm­ing as they soared in the beau­ti­ful acous­tic of the venue - whether from the vo­cal strength of Kenna Camp­bell, Rona Light­foot and Al­lan MacDon­ald, or from the pip­ing of John Mul­hearn, Calum MacCrim­mon and Ewen Hen­der­son.

The first half of the evening was ded­i­cated to how par­tic­u­lar pi­obaireachd have de­vel­oped in the oral tra­di­tion of Gaelic song, while the sec­ond half was more fo­cused on how the tunes de­vel­oped in the pip­ing tra­di­tion.

Those two tra­di­tions, de­vel­op­ing sep­a­rately over hun­dreds of years with­out tunes hav­ing been writ­ten down, led to each pi­obaireachd ex­pand­ing of­ten in com­pletely dif­fer­ent ways. This mu­si­cal di­ver­sity was the sub­ject mat­ter of a fas­ci­nat­ing evening.

ROBERT ROBERT­SON robert.d.robert­son@hot­mail.co.uk

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