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In this newsletter you'll find the latest news and reports about all that's happening in the world of Celtic Piping in Australia and around the world.

Do you run a piping session or get to any folk sessions where pipers are welcome, or would like to write a report about a piping-related event? Click here to send us an email...we'd love to hear from you.

Australia Day Piping Session at Newstead Live!

25 January
Come along and join Pat Lyons for a morning of piping at Newstead Live! After a busy week teaching at the Music under the Southern Cross, Pat will be leading a Celtic Piping session on Sunday 25 January at 11.00 am at Newstead Uniting Church.


Scots Day Out - Bendigo

  Saturday 14 February
The Celtic Piping Club will be heading to the gold fields (again!), when Bendigo does Scotland in a day. The Celtic tradition will be alive in Rosalind Park for Scots Day Out with splashes of tartan and traditional music. Scots Day Out is a free community event organised by Golden City Pipe Band and supported by City of Greater Bendigo and other sponsors. It's like no other Scottish celebration of culture and tradition in Australia and brings thousands of people to soak up the atmosphere.

The Celtic Piping Club will be hosting a couple of short (30 minute) piping concerts at 'Celtic Corner' to showcase Scotland's 'other' bagpipes. If you're keen to play a few tunes, either solo or in a group, then we'd love to hear from you. Our times are 12.30pm - 1pm and 2.15pm - 2.45pm. As usual, where there are pipers, we'll organise a session too.

If you're interested in joining in the fun of the day, please contact Geoff on 0419 567 038 or email@celticpipingclub.com.


Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson - Oz Tour

March 2015

If you haven't heard, Jarlath Henderson (uilleann pipes, whistles & vocals) and Ross Ainslie (border pipes & whistles) will be touring their new CD, "Air-Fix", at most of the major festivals around Australia in the coming months, including the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Ten Days on the Island (Tasmania) and the Brunswick Music Festival. Tickets are already available for Brunswick for Thursday 12 March at the Spotted Mallard - hereThe boys will be joined by their regular guitarist, Ali Hutton, on their tour of Australia in 2015.

They'll be playing many other gigs apart from these, so there will be plenty of opportunity to catch the lads in concert and person at workshops. Stay tuned for further details coming very soon...

If you've not heard of these lads, here's a little of their awesomeness to whet your appetite :)


National Folk Festival - Canberra


Yes, the Celtic Piping Club will be heading to the nation's capital at Easter for the National Folk Festival. We'll be showcasing the different Celtic pipes at workshops and hailing all players of Celtic bagpipes for pipes-centric sessions - the 'Pipers' Gathering'. Stay tuned for more details coming soon...

'Digging the Dird' Workshop

Exploring the music of the Lowland Piper with Pete Stewart

Report by Colin MacDougall

On Saturday 3rd of January 2015 the Celtic Piping Club was privileged to host a workshop by Pete Stewart, a stalwart of the fiddle and smallpipes and well-known musicologist and historian. He specialises in forensically examining the structure of lowland pipe tunes. [Ed - Here are some links to Pete's 'Lowland Amusement' blog and an article on the Life and times of the Lowland Pipes.]

Starting from the position that we play music rather than instruments, Pete illustrated how we use our own lenses to interpret musical notation: in his case the lenses of English and French dance styles. In this way, music becomes more than an intellectual translation from paper to fingers via the brain. By contrast, music expresses the history and context of the times and is embodied in the musician who plays with fingers, body and soul. We see this when we watch musician whose shoulders move and whose feet tap and beat - often inspired by dance steps.

Such an integrated view of music rejects any notion of a split between the body and the brain on the one hand, and the musical and historical context on the other. This explains Pete’s workshop title of “Digging the Dird.” The word “dird” has imprecise roots, but Pete gave “dird” meaning by drawing on Danny Rose, an Orkney fiddler who in 1928 said “You need three things to play for dancing – time, volume and dird.” The meaning of “dird” that underpinned the workshop was as an engine that drives the pieces of music that were in front of us: leading to the question of how we can find the engine that drives the music.

But finding the dird, or engine, can be a tricky business given the paucity of written instructions or recordings from which to work. That is why he combines experience in history, music and dance with a large dose of detective work.

The first clue is to start with the dance steps and use the body and feet to see how the steps drive the tempo and structure of the written notes. Then, the body and the feet work together to drive the music.

A second clue is the structure of the tune expressed by the statements it makes: for example a question followed by an answer and perhaps another question and a different answer.

A third clue is to experiment with time signatures-by playing in different tempos and seeing how everything fits.

The fourth job of the musical detective is to look at the history and development of the tune-something we did in the workshop by marvelling at Scottish pipe tunes that are over 400 years old. Pete took us through the influences of dancing on tunes and the classical Baroque period. It became clear that it was both acceptable and normal to rework and reinterpret the same tune over decades and centuries.

Challenge number five is to understand the context, uncovered by paintings and carvings and poetry and manuscripts. Was the town or borough piper involved? What type of instrument was used

Pete involved us in this dirdish detective work through discussion and sight reading and experimenting with tunes. The five steps we took away from the workshop certainly help with interpreting lowland tunes. But we can also apply these steps to interpreting a range of tunes for cauld wind pipes – a theme that has run through our Celtic Piping Club’s last few events and will doubtless flow through our future events. Our thanks to Pete Stewart for his time and expertise and to Geoff Jones and Sarah Wade for organising the workshop.

[Ed - Thanks for a fantastic report, Colin! If you didn't manage to get to the workshop here's a link to notes from a previous 'Digging the Dird' workshop Pete that presented at the LBPS Collogue in 2012. Pete continues further research on this subject and has provided a list of online resources available here. You can purchase Pete's books from his website or the LBPS.]


Pipers' Session @ Newstead Live!

When: 23 - 26 January 2015 (Australia Day weekend)
Where: Newstead, Victoria
Cost: from $35
Contact: http://www.newsteadlive.com

With no time to rest after Music Under the Southern Cross, Pat Lyons will be leading a Celtic Piping session on Sunday 25 Jan at 11.00 am at Newstead Uniting Church (meeting room), Wyndham Street.


Scots Day Out

When: Saturday 14 February 2015 (Valentine's Day)
Where: Rosalind Park, Bendigo, Victoria
Cost: free
Contact: http://www.scotsdayout.com

The Celtic Piping Club will showcase our various pipes to the public at short concerts. Our times are 12.30pm and 2.15pm.

Regular Piping Sessions

Adelaide - Pipers Gathering

When: 1st Monday of each month (usually)
Where: Contact Jack for details.
Contact: Jack Brennan via brennanjack@optusnet.com.au

Brisbane - Irish Piping Sessions

When: 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month
Where: Milton (Brisbane)
Contact: Malcolm McLaren on (07) 3820-2902 or email mrmclaren@bigpond.com

Brisbane - Smallpipe Sessions

When: First Tuesday of each month
Where: Milton (Brisbane)
Contact: Malcolm McLaren on (07) 3820-2902 or email mrmclaren@bigpond.com

Melbourne - Celtic Piping Session

When: 2nd Sunday of each month (usually) 2pm - 6pm.
Where: Upstairs at the Lord Newry Hotel - 543 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy.
Contact: us via email@celticpipingclub.com
Future session dates:
  • 25 January - session will be at Newstead Live! (see above)
  • 2015 dates tbc

NESSIE - North East Scottish Strings including Elbow Pipes

When: 2nd Sunday of each month
Where: North East Victoria
Contact: Kristen on (03) 5766 6282
That's all for this newsletter.

Until next time...

Your friends in piping,

The Celtic Piping Club crew

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