Calum, suitably dressed in tartan trews, came on stage with his six guests, and the first thing he did was to explain to the audience what ‘Boraraig’ was all about.
This was a piece originally commissioned by the Blas Festival last year and although Calum was born Canadian, the family returned to Scotland in the 1990’s. With his historical lineage dating back to the first of the famous MacCrimmon pipers (who were hereditary pipers to the MacLeod chiefs of Dunvegan on Skye), Calum was in a unique position to write this piece.
The piece pays homage to his musical heritage with a medley of original tunes and songs influenced by the ceòl mòr (classical bagpipe music) of Gaelic Scotland.
He was joined on stage by Eilidh Shaw on fiddle who constantly sways to the music she is playing, Angus Nicolson on pipes and whistles, Mischa MacPherson on clàrsach and vocals, James Lindsay on double bass and vocals, Ewan MacPherson on guitar, mandolin, jews harp and vocals and Darren MacLean on vocals, with whom he co-wrote some songs.
For me, it was good to hear the historical background to his family and the music and his link to Canada in one of the pieces entitled ‘Town at Woodville’ . We had a variety of tunes and songs including one co-written with Darren for Calum’s sister , whom Darren described as being ‘hot’, although when reminded by Calum that their mother was in the audience and us all laughing , took a few moments to regain his composure!
Calum had a solo piece, which had been composed by his father for his grandfather – a pibroch – and he then came to the front of the stage and slowly walked up and down playing . They ended ‘Boraraig’ with a set of tunes called ‘Rain In The Highlands’ , which included Schottisches and reels.
As with the concert which I had seen on Sunday with Lorne MacDougall, this was a set commissioned piece and as such it makes it difficult for the musicians to do an encore, however much the audience wanted this! And so, as previously, they had to revert to playing the opening set again.