THE ANNUAL Piping Live! festival is in full flow this week in Glasgow.
Highlights include recitals, competitions, whisky tasting and ‘Pipe Idol’, a four-heat competition for under-21s that runs throughout the week.
As always, the week culminates on Saturday (August 13) with the World Pipe Band Championships when more than 200 bands coverge on the city from across the world to compete for the crown.
This year’s ‘After Worlds Shindig’ will take place on Saturday night in the O2 ABC and will feature the famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
Rona Lightfoot at 80
CONGRATULATIONS to Rona Lightfoot whose 80th birthday is being celebrated by Glasgow Uist and Barra Association at Piping Live! this weekend.
Tomorrow (August 12), at 8pm, in the National Piping Centre, there will be a traditional cèilidh to mark the milestone. Rona was a trailblazer for female pipers in the early 1970s and is frequently credited with being the first woman to compete at the Northern Meeting and in the Bratach Gorm.
She is one of Gaelic Scotland’s greatest characters and finest tradition bearers - not just in piping but in song, cantaireachd and storytelling.
Performers include Dr Angus MacDonald, Sineag MacIntyre, Angus Nicolson, Kathleen MacInnes, Roddy MacLeod and Mairi MacInnes with and more to be announced.
There will also be a special appearance from the guest of honour herself. Tickets are £10 for adults, £ 8.50 for concessions, and can be booked online at www.thebagpipeshop.co.uk.
A claim to fame
I’VE BEEN singing at Donald ‘Maroot’ Macleod’s ‘Care for a Cei- lidh’ evenings for a few years now and enjoy writing about them in The Oban Times.
They are wonderful events in which Donnie voluntarily organises Gaelic singers or musicians to go into care homes all over Glasgow and beyond and put on a west highland style ceilidh for residents.
Last Sunday, I sang at a ceilidh in Erskine home for veterans and enjoyed a conversation which encapsulates the joy the scheme brings to those in care and to the performers.
I sang a selection of Andy Stewart White Heather Club songs. One lady raised her hand and told me her husband, whose hand she was holding beside her, had once danced in the White Heather Club.
He had been playing with a pipe band when one of the dancers had taken ill and he had stepped in at the last minute. It was a lovely story, which brought a smile to his face as she recalled it, and a happy coincidence I had sung those songs.
CONGRATULATIONS to Stuart Murray, youngest son of Neil and Catherine, and Oonagh Collins from Portaferry, Northern Ireland, who married recently and celebrated in Òran Mòr.
All the best to the happy couple for the future.
Islay Inn: Friday August 12: The Keelies. Saturday August 13: Parting Glass. Wednesday August 17: Quiz Night.
Park Bar: Friday August 12: Deoch ‘n’ Dorus. Saturday August 13: Dun Mor. Sunday August 14: Piping Day from 2pm.
Glasgow has been filled by the skirl of the pipes this week during the annual Piping Live! festival.