Mad genius on the bagpipes

This is wrong.  It’s just wrong, I tell you.

No Reel 13 tonight, no Britcoms – pledge drives on PBS. I can’t normally sit through pledge breaks, so no matter what incredible shows they trot out for the drives I don’t watch. However, tonight on 13 they had James Taylor and Carole King – which concert is top 5 of the dozen or more shows this summer I want to see and won’t – and I was just about to happily settle in with that … when I happened to check the onscreen guide.   On CPTV, there was something called the Red Hot Chili P – no, wait.  I took another look.  Red Hot Chilli Pipers. 


Doing songs whose writers never, ever thought of bagpipes. 


That’s just ridiculous. It’s insane. It’s flipping crazy genius. I LOVE it.

Even madder – they take on Ravel’s flipping Bolero. (Bolero – which Torvill and Dean skated to in the 1984 Winter Olympics. Bolero! Sweet merciful lord.)

And Queen. And AC/DC. If they had intro’d into a KISS song I would have had to be scraped up off the floor. I LOVE THESE GUYS.

I haven’t had this much fun in I don’t know how long.

They hit me where I live, PBS did, and I pledged – with a thank you gift of two tickets to the concert they’re giving in September. (Huh – it’s not listed on their website.)

Kevin Macdonald, Stuart Cassells (who was in the studio for the pledge drive), Gregor James, Steven Graham, Malcolm McEwan, Steven Black (the kit drummer), Chris Russell, Kyle Warren, Dougie McCance – I went from never having to my knowledge heard of them to being an out-and-out groupie. 
From their website

(See, this is why I said “to my knowledge – they played on the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?!)  I have always loved the pipes.  There’s Lochanside at the New York Renaissance Faire and the Irish Festival – Feis – that has graced our town for – what, over twenty years? –  has always featured New Haven’s Gaelic Highland Pipe Band in the main tent.  One of my favorite things in all the world is to sit not far from the circle of pipers and feel the music vibrate around my heart.  (They often have an ad in the town paper looking for members.  I … am … tempted.  I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, I had a difficult time in grade school just learning the recorder – but I’m tempted.)  (I think I should just stay on the sidelines and remain a groupie, though – much as the idea of the discomfort of some of our neighbors enchants me.) 

It’s listening to the pipes that I really begin to think there’s something in genetic memory.  I can’t listen to bagpipes without feeling a slightly manic light rise in my eyes and a mildly demented grin twist my mouth.  I’m a pacifist, really, despite the number of drivers I express my desire to dismember as I drive the roads of Connecticut.  But I get this sort of idea that had I been born some three hundred years ago and a few thousand miles north (and, probably, male), I would have followed the pipes into battle. 

Who knows – maybe I did. 

I can’t wait for September 10.   I am, truly, a groupie.

I don’t believe these guys are related to TRHCP, but – who cares?  How cool is this?

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