Music to go to work by... Thursday edition.

I know Camz is going to be loving this one.  It had to happen sooner or later. 

Back in High School I ended up going to see Suzanne Vega.  An “experimental bagpipe band” called Rare Air opened up for her.  I’ve been hooked ever since. 

I’m nae even Scottish, ya bastard! 

The best thing about the pipes are that:
1)  There are considerably more variants of the bagpipes than you’re probably aware of and
2)  There are certainly capable of playing more than just “Scotland the Brave.“ 

There are two parts to this story.  The first, of course, is the theme of the week when I walked through the front door of the office building listening to Andy May’s version of “Da Slocket Light.“ 

I saw Andy a year or so back when he came through on tour with Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies.  Very happily, I took the kids to listen at sound check, they were completely taken with the sound of Andy’s Northumbrian pipes, and they begged me to get a CD.  Not that it took much begging, I think Andy is an astounding player and he sounds fantastic in his own right.

“Da Slocket Light” is one of the prettiest songs on the album, and it wasn’t until I started writing this that I discovered it’s background.  It was written by Tom Anderson - from Wikipedia:

From an early age Tom was writing music, and throughout his life wrote roughly 500 tunes, mostly dedicated to Shetland place and people. Perhaps one of his most famous tunes was ‘Da Slockit Light’ which was inspired by the depopulation of the area of Eshaness where he was born. Each time the occupants of another croft moved out, or died, another light was ‘slockit’, (Shetland for extinguished).

It’s a song worth listening to, and youtube is full of worthy renditions.  Let me present two others in addition to the above mp3 from Andy.  Max Cohen’s version for guitar is fantastic.

The other version I fell in love with is by the Joe Trio, so you have a full selection of non-bagpipe versions to enjoy.

Now the second part of the story is while I was at Tai Chi on Monday one of the other members brought in his pipes.  Turns out he made his own set of Northumbrian pipes as a school project way back when and he actually went to a workshop with Andy May.  He also pointed out Kathryn Tickell to me.  Yes, even I have much to learn.  And I’m determined to keep picking up new stuff until I’ve heard all the songs worth hearing.