OT: 28 March 1914 – John Grant “The MacCrimmon Canntaireachd”

The Oban Times, 28 March, 1914

The MacCrimmon Canntaireachd

27 Comely Bank Street, Edinburgh, 23 March, 1914

Sir,–I cannot expect that you will reopen a controversy that has already been threshed out; but with your permission, I wish to clear the greatest piping race (the MacCrimmons) of two allegations made against them by your correspondent, Mr. Simon Fraser. First he has accused the MacCrimmons of opening Ceòl Mòr and closing the Bible, or, in his own words, using piobaireachd for religious purposes. Second, that the MacCrimmons were of Italian origin.

While MacCrimmon gave vent to his sorrowing thoughts in “The Children’s Lament,” expressed his joy of receiving “The Pretty Dirk,” and illustrated a Highland scene in “The Glen is Mine,” at the same time it is an act of gross injustice to accuse him of putting national music in the place of religion. There are men living who have made the MacCrimmon origin a great study, and they have failed to make them any more than of Highland origin; and on what ground can Mr. Fraser say they are Italians? Where is the proof to support the statement?

Regarding the technical part of the subject, Mr. Fraser misses the iron when it is red, and strikes the anvil when it is cold and bare, hence his chances of success are hopeless. Mr. Fraser says that in piobaireachd I have still a lot to learn, and may I remind him that of what he has written I have more to forget, or it will be a dark day for piobaireachd. The ordinary piper with any skill at all has found and knows that “War or Peace” has only one crunluath, with its doubling and a-mach. I am, etc.,

John Grant