2020 Springbank Invitational cancelled

The competitors at last year’s Springbank Invitational.

The annual Springbank Invitational Solo Piping Competition has been cancelled for 2020.

Competition organiser, the Kintyre Piping Society, hopes to be in a position in the near future to hold it next year.

The competition usually takes place in mid-September in the Argyll town, Campbeltown and is sponsored by the Springbank Distillery. A feature of the event is that compositions by Argyllshire pipers are showcased.

The overall winner of last year’s competition was Angus MacColl, who lives further up the Argyll coast near Oban, a two-hour drive away.

Mary MacLeod lies in St. Clement’s Church, Rodel, Harris.

Lament for Mary MacLeod is the latest tune to be added to our Stories of the Tunes series. The tune remains popular with audiences and with leading pipers but other than from our leading competitors, Mary MacLeod is rarely heard in competition. Why? Because it is in reality a difficult tune to express well. It is certainly not a tune for the novice player of ceòl mòr.

Mary (c.1615–c.1707) was a fascinating character and remains an important figure in Gaelic poetry circles. She is regarded as one of the vigorous promoters of a school of poetry that emerged in the 17th century, one that eventually replaced the classical bards. In one of her poems, she claims to have nursed five lairds of the MacLeod chiefs and two lairds of Applecross.

The article includes a historical background and Seumas MacNeill’s comments on the tune. Read it here.