Monday, December 13, 2004


The Devil's Tailors: Rehearsal #2

Anders spent the weekend at my place for our second rehearsal. We got a lot more done this time around than last; we discussed some song choices, and then rolled up our sleeves and did sets.

We worked through pretty much all the instrumental sets save "The Family Gow" (which we had worked on before) and "Teviot Brig", and we didn't get to the two slow airs played alone. But we got through everything else, getting a feel for the tunes and finding each other's "pulse". I sent Anders home with some MP3s for research into the more particular Scottish idiom, and the sheet music (with all corrections to the chords we'd made).

We did run some tape, but I had the recording level set way to high, and with all the clipping, the recording was unusable. But we did listen to it, and we were sounding pretty damned good. I expected that from Anders, but I was surprised how good I sounded. Half-way through, Anders decided to switch from standard tuning to DADGAD, and he was very happy with the results (and I have to admit, the sound was fatter).

Next time, which will probably be in late January or early February, we'll record all the sets first, possibly with an improved recording setup, and then start discussing arrangements: instruments, intros, bridges, solos, and the like.

We also played around with my pipes in A, and I think I've found a reed I can work with. The more I play it, the more "pleasant" the high G is, it's now down to a normal level of crow, rather than a terrible rattle. A little more breaking in, and I think this will be a good setup. I'm still not happy with my drone reeds, but tomorrow my instructor and I will make some custom cane drone reeds for it, and that should improve things a lot.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Where is "Reenactor" in the Geek Hierarchy?

I paraded with the Appin regiment, a 1745 Jacobite reenactor group, for the first time on Sunday. Wearing my heavy blue-and-red belted plaid, a linen shirt with a collar I modified, black-and-red tartan hose I made (with much help), a cravat, a borrowed red waistcoat and green-and-brown tartan doublet, I cut quite the figure. I was also armed to the hilt: basket hilt sword, dirk, and steel-framed pistol, and a very nice targe slung over my back. To judge from the comments I heard from the crowd, many were especially impressed by me, I looked the proper clan gentleman. Next year, I hope to pipe in the parade, playing old tunes from the Patrick McDonald and Simon Fraser and William MacGibbon collections, and some "gathering" and "battle" pibrochs.

After the parade, we had a party at one member's house, and then the annual meeting at another's, where I was officially voted in as a member. Guess I gots to pay my dues now.

Sunday was the Scottish session at the Royal Mile, and we had some good times. There was better overall turnout this time, and there were two strong fiddlers (myself included), but we had a strong guitarist show up, and eventually a very good piano-accordion player.

I've decided on one song to add to The Devil's Tailors' repertoire: "Sergeant Where's Mine", by famous comic Billy Connolly. The song is not comic at all, though, but tells the tale of a wounded Scot who served in the British army during the troubles in Northern Ireland in the '70s, who it is suggested is living with the guilt on firing on young protesters, reflecting on the unfulfilled promises his recruiter made him when he signed up. Very poignant, and very timely.

My resin pipes arrived today, and I mostly set them up (except for the cords). I may spend some time messing with the drone reeds to get them to my satisfaction, but it sounds pretty decent to my ear. We'll see what my instructor thinks today.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


We're On!

The Devil's Tailors now has an almost-finalized set list. I will want to re-order some tunes for maximum effect, and add a few Scottish Waltzes, and round out the pipe sets I will play, but we now have a whole bunch of strathspey/reel and jig sets ready to go when Anders arrives in another week to rehearse.

I'm also potentially going to be playing Highland Pipes on a film score soon. Anders is doing the score for an independent film directed by a fellow Rice grad (who, it seems, has heard of me from my days managing the graduate student pub there). It's no Eric Rigler gig, but it's definitely an opportunity!

My Dunbar Poly P1s have shipped as of yesterday, and should be arriving soon. I can't wait to get them set up with the Hamish Moore A chanter.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?