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> Issue 52 > Page 46 - The Bagpipe in Cape Breton: From a Conversation with Barry Shears, Piper

Page 46 - The Bagpipe in Cape Breton: From a Conversation with Barry Shears, Piper

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1 (388 reads)

has not been mute since they immigrated to this land. There's just been literally hundreds and thousands of tunes composed , for the violin. If we look on the bagpipe side, I'm only finding bits and pieces here and there. Which is another purpose of why I gd to the fiddlers. See, a lot of the musicians in Cape Breton at one time, and parts of northeastern Nova Scotia, played both the violin and the bagpipe. In Cape Breton, though, we had entire fam? ilies of pipers that had no contact with what was going on in Scotland whatsoever (that is, the military piping). The Mac? Kinnons in Meat Cove, I mean, they were quite content to play the old tunes, the old style, and stepdance to them. Red John MacKinnon, who was from Meat Cove, played violin and pipes. And he used to play for his brother Angus "Mossy," who was a fabu? lous stepdancer. He would play on the pipes and the violin. Dan Rory MacDougall (Mike's father), of course, from Ingonish. Dan Rory's father, Rory, was a piper and fiddler as well. We have Angus Campbell Beaton from the Ma? bou Coal Mines who was a piper and a fid? dler. He was related to a man by the name of Archie Beaton. Now, Archie Beaton is very important in a relationship with pip? ing and where it comes from. He learned his piping in the Mabou Coal Mines area, which is only a small area. This is a man I'd love to get some more information on, by the way, or a photograph. In 1895 the North British Society brought over a man by the name of David Manson, Pipe Major David Manson, who was at that time in the top four pipers in Scotland. They want? ed him to be piper to the North British So? ciety. So he spent two or three years in Halifax. While he was there he was ap? proached by the Caledonian Society of Char- lottetown to come over. And they advertised in some of the local newspapers around the Maritimes for pipers who wanted to play. This guy and another guy I guess they brought from Scotland were going to judge. So Archie Beaton came over from the Coal Mines--I guess he would just take the boat ov6r. You know, Charlottetown's not that far away from Mabou. And he went over to the gentleman, and he said, "I have my pipes here; do you mind if I play?'' And he was the last performer. And they said, "Sure. We want to hear everybody." So he got up and played a few tunes on the pipes. And when he was finished, the panel of judges stood up, and they saluted him, and they said, "Well, you're by far the best piper we've heard. And we don't think there's anybody in Scotland that can come close to you, even. You're not just a piper, you're a profes? sor of pipe music." And from that time on, he was called Professor Archie Beaton. Now, this tape (I have--4 to 5 min? utes) of Angus Campbell Beaton is probably the closest we're ever go? ing to come to the style of this Professor Archie Beaton. Because, as I said, Angus Campbell Beaton was born in 1895 . And that would -.W*i??- ??' P • PSI TNG CHOICE OF AN • WG • N • RATION. • ' 'i CAPE BRETON BEVERAGES V>ref}mjn's We plan it all for you. 794-7251 1' QUEEN ST., NORTH SYDNEY C7.
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