ANTIGONISH, N.S. - The Antigonish Heritage Museum will host Play it Like You Sing it; a concert and presentation with Barry Shears and musicians, including singer Catherine Ann MacPhee and John Pellerin on fiddle as well as step dancing, this Sunday (Oct. 14) at 2 p.m.
Organizers encourage folks to come and enjoy a bagpipe book launch concert and presentation, in celebration of the publication of Play It Like You Sing It: The Shears Collection.
The book is a ground-breaking new collection of bagpipe dance music from Nova Scotia by Barry Shears.
Bagpipe tunes from the 19th and 20th centuries will be shared, along with Gaelic puirt-á-beul (mouth music) singing MacPhee.
The history of the Great Highland bagpipes in Nova Scotia began in the 1750s. Scottish and Highland piping traditions continued in Nova Scotia for more than 250 years, through periods of immigration, community building, Confederation, economic outmigration, and two World Wars.
In Gaelic communities of the mainland and Cape Breton throughout the 19th century, bagpipe music was interwoven with fiddle music, Gaelic singing, and traditional and evolving dance traditions. A unique form of dance music emerged and flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, characterized by lively jigs and rousing strathspeys, reels, and quicksteps. Many of these tunes existed in multiple regional variations before the modern standardization of piping.
Many also had corresponding Gaelic words known as puirt-á-beul, which were often used to teach and transmit pipe music within families and communities, as well as providing enjoyment in daily life.
The two volume work represents more than 35 years of research into the Highland piping traditions of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton and Codroy Valley, Newfoundland.
Volume one contains information on many of the pipers and piping families who maintained a tradition of bagpipe music in Nova Scotia, with a section on immigrant and locally made bagpipes.
Volume two contains 250 tunes, arranged by area where the music was collected.
Since many pipers also played the fiddle, a selection of violin music is also included. The work contains more than a 100 photographs of pipers, both men and women, with many appearing in print for the first time and numerous examples of puirt-á-beul, associated with the melodies in the music section.
Books will be available at the event for purchase and signing by the author.
The concert and presentation is open to the public and entrance is by freewill donation to the Antigonish Heritage Museum.