OT: 30 June 1923 – Charles Bannatyne “Piobaireachd and Cowal Highland Gathering”



The Oban Times, 30 June, 1923

Piobaireachd and Cowal Highland Gathering

Salsburgh, by Holytown, June 25, 1923

Sir,–To kill two dogs with one stone, may I be allowed to bracket together and reply to two letters in your issue of 23rd inst. I may say I am in favour of the competition for piobaireachd for youths of 18 and under, if competitors can be gat, which is moot point. Fingers of 18 and under are not of the calibre to play a piobaireachd with effect, but the intention of the competition is good and worthy of encouragement. I believe we should stick to the traditional method of playing the old tunes if we know it! But every teacher of Ceol Mor swears he has the only method, and consequently we have 1000 traditional methods. The nearest to tradition is that method which conserves the melody, but that method never gets any support. Humbug and syncopation carry the day every time.

Regard “Port nan Diornaig”– “The Tune of the Small Stones “–it refers to that taking of Rothesay Castle in 1333. Then the Butemen were in league with Campbell of Lochow, and hearing of the storming of Dunoon Castle, the Rothesay men who remained at home stormed Rothesay Castle, armed only with stones! The keeper then was John Mac Ghillebride, whose father, Ghillebride Mac Amalyn, was a grandson of the then Celtic Earl of Lennox and ancestor of the Bannatyne’s of Bute. Amalyn’s name appears as witness of a MacFarlane charter in 1296, and he is called the second son of the Earl of Lennox. Wyntoun calls the battle in which the Rothesay men took the Castle from John MacGhillebride Mac Amalyn “The Battle (Batayle) Dornang.” or “Dornaig,” the Gaelic for a small stone.– I am, etc.,

Charles Bannatyne, M.B., C.M.

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