Monday, June 1, 2009

Spirit of Scotland--On the Day

Here is an interesting video for those of you who are in a piping mood. This is a trailer for an in-the-works documentary about the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band. (If you're not in a piping mood, see if it doesn't put you in one!) This band is quite unique in that its members are world-class solo players (and from all over the world, at that!) but they had only a week to rehearse together before entering the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow last year. As you will gather from some of the remarks at the beginning of the video, this was an unprecedented experiment. After all, there are plenty of other bands who have a reasonably high percentage of top-grade soloists, but even then, they are likely meeting at least twice a week throughout a good part of the year! The main idea, of course, is not to have a premire collection of pipers (which Spirit of Scotland certainly is!) but for the aforesaid pipers to be able to play as a band, which is a different matter altogether. But, lo and behold, they did it! They made it into the finals, and came out 11th overall, quite an impressive result.

Anyway, the video is not only an informative window into the behind-the-scenes work done by a pipe band, but a perfect introduction to some of today's greatest solo pipers.

Footnote: A couple of weeks ago, I was talking about the way a lot of players tend to use their own particular dialects of canntaireachd as a sort of extension of their spoken word. There at the very beginning of the video, you can see an example of Roddy MacLeod singing to establish the tempo of the set in very fine pipe-majorly style.

I embedded the video here since I thought it might be easier just to click and watch/listen, rather than following an extra link, but the restrictions of the blog cut a bit off the right side. You can watch the trailer bigger and better here, at the film's website: On the Day.

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