When the mid Saturday of the Celtic Connections festival comes it can only mean one thing: the fantastically, talented turn of the pipe bands to entertain the masses – and Inverary and District and Bagad Kemper lived up to all expectations.
Bagad Kemper from Britanny took to the stage first with pieces from their latest work, Melezour (the Mirror). They play in a strong Cape Breton style with Bagpipes Bombard (a double wind instrument and member of the Oboe family, Bombard meaning buzzing or pumping sound), snare drum and percussion plus bass guitar of Erwant Volant and guitar of Tibo Noibe.
The Band were also joined on vocals by Marthe Vassallo and Sylvian Girault and the smooth sax of Bernard Le Dreau with tracks such as a Ben Dilhun (march), Gavotte Bigoudenne, La Haut sur la Montagne and Ar Charlezenn. Both singers brought strong voices and pipe playing to a toe-tapping audience: a great way to warm us up for the main show led by Musical Director Steven Bodenes.
Inverarary and District marched in to wow us with the 4/4 Marches, “The 51st Highland Division” and “McPhail of Bunessan”. The playing of the Haunting Melody and slow air of “She Moves Through The Fair” was complemented by John Morrison of Assynthouse and Alick C McGregor. What a thrill it was to blend those two together, part of the band’s freestyle set at The Worlds in Glasgow in 2016.
The audience was invited to a Canadian Barn Dance with the tunes of “Carradale Bay”, “Father John McMillan of Barra”. The broad styling of pipe music left you wanting more and more.
There was a delightful ending with a set of jigs: “The Masons Apron” (Trad Arr. Alasdair Gillies and Stuart Liddelland) and “Skye” (Fred Morrison. Arr IDPB). If you love Pipe Band music this was the place to be.
Photograph courtesy of © the Piping Times/College of Piping