THERE is no greater name associated with piping than that of the legendary MacCrimmons — hereditary pipers to the MacLeod Chiefs of Dunvegan.
This year, the Blas Festival is marking that link with a new musical commission, Boraraig, from a musician carrying on the proud MacCrimmon tradition.
Calum MacCrimmon is a piper and whistle-player with popular band Breabach.
His piping began, however, in Edmonton, Canada. He and his family moved to Scotland in 1991 where he made a name in the solo piping competition scene. Having gained his BA Honours degree in Scottish Music, he has performed with The Unusual Suspects, Na Trì Seudan and The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland. He is also a talented composer and has already successfully produced a New Voices commission for Celtic Connections 2007 and an album of his own tunes and songs, Man’s Ruin, in 2010.
In Boraraig, MacCrimmon pays homage to his unique musical heritage with an exhilarating medley of original tunes and songs influenced by the ceòl mòr (classical bagpipe music) and canntaireachd traditions of Gaelic Scotland.
"Boraraig" will be premiered at the Phipps Hall in Beauly on Tuesday, but fittingly, one of the venues for the Blas 2013 performances will be Dunvegan on Skye, arguably piping’s most famous home.
The ancient MacCrimmons are popularly believed to have composed some of Scotland’s oldest surviving and most valuable pipe music during their years living and teaching in Boraraig on the Isle of Skye.
"The MacCrimmons have a strong historical connection to Dunvegan so it is really special for me that the Blas festival has given us the chance to perform one of the concerts there," MacCrimmon said.
Boraraig will unearth a series of themes and variation within the ancient and modern idioms of traditional West coast music. The evening’s music will be delivered by a distinctly traditional ensemble including some of Scotland’s finest West coast musicians. Calum will be accompanied by Eilidh Shaw on fiddle, Angus Nicolson on pipes and whistles, Mischa MacPherson on clàrsach and vocals, singer Darren MacLean, James Lindsay on double bass and vocals and Ewan MacPherson on guitar, mandolin, and vocals.
Boraraig will be performed at the following venues during Blas 2013:
Tuesday 10th September at The Phipps Hall, Beauly; Wednesday 11th September at Dunvegan Hall, Dunvegan; Thursday 12th September at Glengarry Community Hall, Invergarry; Friday 13th September in Aviemore Primary School, Aviemore; Saturday 14th September at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness (excerpt).