The pull of the Great Highland Bagpipe shows no signs of stopping. A pipe band comprised of Hindu pipers and drummers has been featured recently on US television channel, CNN.
The Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band is based in Secaucus, New Jersey. In reality, though, it is one of five pipe bands of the name based in India, Kenya, the United Kingdom (two) and the United States.
The members of the band are all self-taught and used books and online videos to help them learn.
“The sound of the bagpipe is very similar to some instruments that are found in India,” says the band’s Pipe Major, Tushar Patel. “Whilst we’re playing a Scottish bagpipe, we play Indian music as well as American music and music from all around the world.
“… We maintain the traditional Scottish uniform but we also like to blend the American and Indian cultures. That uniqueness is what defines our band.”
Many of us recall warmly another Hindu pipe band, the Sri Damesh band from Malaysia, when it competed at the Worlds in 2015 and again in 2019 (winning Grade 4b). The Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa, however, doesn’t compete. “The reason we play is to continue to spread our message of peace and unity through music “, says Patel.
The television segment is short and was broadcast three days ago. It was great to see a national television broadcaster treat the instrument in a serious and respectful way.
We wish the band(s) every success.
This good-going jig has been sent to us by the composer, Lindsay Hunter:
Lindsay was born in Perthshire, Scotland but now lives on North Uist in the Western Isles of Scotland. His tune refers to the mountain that dominates the landscape as one rounds the A9 trunk road between Pitlochry and Killiecrankie, pictured. Lindsay tells us the tune was composed for his brother-in-law and his wife as a wedding present. Càrn Liath, was where he took her to propose.
Although belonging to the vast Beinn a’ Ghlò massif, Càrn Liath is a mountain in its own right. The name translates as ‘grey cairn’.
Lindsay says he tends not to play the D gracenotes on the runs down at the end of each line, but this is entirely up to the player.
Send us any tunes you’d like to bring to the attention of the piping world.