We played at a Scottish Wake recently.
It was enlightening to play the pipes for a true Scot from Dundee, and although we have played at literally hundreds of wakes, it has been some time since we have played at a wake honouring a true Scot.
The “call of the piper” started late afternoon with the beautiful and haunting “Skye Boat Song.”
Sometimes this tune is as soft as a babies lullaby, and sometimes it is calling. It always rings of Scotland.
The eulogies were wonderfully light and yet telling, and there always seems to be a few pearls of wisdom in them. I guess we all learn something in this life, even if it is through the eyes of others…of those close to us.
After the eulogies, we sent “Jock” off with Amazing Grace played in two parts and with rubato towards the end to emphasise the rich tonal quality of the pipes and the significance of this moment.
We then played a medley of tunes in differing time signatures, switching the pace with an extra beat or two between idioms. These tunes were Scotland the Brave, Green Hills (aka Scottish Soldier), The Atholl Highlanders, The Cock of the North, and since “Jock” was from Dundee the family requested we end with “Bonnie Dundee”, which we did.
As a last request from his brother, we played “No awa to bade awa”, an old favorite with many Scots and the group that was gathered around the piper sang along to celebrate their loved one.