John is corect to bring up the Cremona story but it is far
from a definitive fact. It was Francis Collinson in his book "The
Bagpipe" who first suggested this tantalizing item circa 1970 and a member
of the College of Piping spent several weeks in Cremona trying to piece together
an actual family or persons who could have been the ancestor of the
MacCrimmons. No luck --- not even a scintilla of evidence. Doesn't
disprove it however.
John, I wish Ian were going to be with us but as an open
player and a member of Simon Fraser University Pipe Band (World Champions last
year) he will have his hands full with the solo and band
competitions. He will be playing for Malcolm when Malcolm arrives in Los
Angeles next week.
Alas, I had a Sinclair chanter circa 1960 that
disappeared when I took 30 years off from piping. I am playing a superb
Gibson. I am not sure what David Bouschor is playing --- he is the
only other piper on the tour.
See you real soon!
Sinclair pipe chanters enjoy an excellent reputation here
in Australia as well. I shall be playing a Sinclair chanter in my pipes on
the Tour. Rory and Ian, it sounds as though we might tune in well together.
What are the other pipers on the Tour playing?
Niven, pipes (reed pipes, and later bagpipes ) were very
common in Eastern, and Southern European countries (including Italy) over
2000 years ago. Groups of female pipers who played professionally were
There is a later and more notable link with Italy. The
famous MacCrimmons of Piobaireachd repute originated there. Petrus Bruno was
born in Cremona in 1575, and with his two sons John and Patrick, moved to
Ireland in 1610. They afterwards changed their name to MacCrimmon. They
were excellent pipers, and after moving to Skye, established a school of
piping which became world famous. Their tuition course was of seven years
duration, hence the adage that 'it takes seven years to make a piper, and
seven generations of pipers behind him.' It was Petrus Bruno who developed
the Canntaireachd, the piper's singing language, which was based on deep
religious significance. The speciality of the MacCrimmons was Piobaireachd,
which is classical pipe music, and which was often played in such a way as
to warn of the approach of enemies.
So, Italian bagpipers! Yes, they have had a very intense
effect on our 'traditional' music.