World’s top pipers in ‘musical tour de force’

The world's foremost five pipers: From left: Lorne Cousin, Angus MacColl, William MacCallum, Stuart Liddell, Alasdair Henderson. NO_c01pipes01 

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By a Courier reporter

Ex-Campbeltown ‘piper to the stars’ Lorne Cousin jetted in from New York, to join four of the world’s foremost pipers at the launch of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Collection of Pipe Music.

Her Majesty  Queen Elizabeth, wrote the foreword to the book: ‘In my 70th year as Colonel-in-Chief, I know that this unique and timeless collection of bagpipe music, composed by members of the regiment will be enjoyed by pipers of all ages, abilities, nationalities and generations.

‘It is both a legacy and a celebration, telling stories of shared experiences, thoughts of home and of some of the characters who were proud to call themselves Argylls.’

Mr Cousin, the American brand ambassador for The Balvenie whisky, returned to Campbeltown for Christmas and spoke to the Courier last week about the end of the summerevent, in Glasgow, at the end of the summer.

Mr Cousin, who was brought up in Campbeltown and became known as the ‘Scottish piper to the stars’ and  has performed with Madonna, was not the only Kintyre piper at the launch.

Also invited by Major Gordon Rowan, a piper of note himself from Tiree, the  director of army bagpipe music, were: William McCallum, Campbeltown, Stuart Liddell, Inverary, Angus MacColl, Benderloch and Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon.

All of the pipers, as well as being native to Argyll had family connections with the regiment.

Mr McCallum’s grandfather, the late Pipe Major Ronald McCallum was Pipe Major of the 8th Argylls.

Pipe Major Ronald McCallum and Hugh McCallum both served in the regiment from whom Mr McCallum took lessons.

Mr Cousin was taught by the late Pipe Major Tony Wilson, Scots Guards and Mr Cousin’s uncle, Hugh MacGillivray, Connell served in the regiment, 8th Argylls, in North Africa.

Mr Cousin’s mother Anne hails from Southend and a copy of the 1933 edition of the Argyll’s Collection was gifted to Lorne by Colonel Hamish Taylor of Southend a number of years ago.

Col Taylor is the ‘Young Hamish’ of the tune, of the same name, played at the recital which is included in both collections.

Mr Cousin and Mr McCallum both played tunes with Kintyre Connections.

Mr Cousin played: Archie MacMillan, Donald Campbell MacNeal of Ugadale, Bengullion, Young Hamish, Highland Mary, The Mull of Oa, Loch Ruan and The Hills of Argyll.

Mr McCallum played: Mrs Jean McShannon and Duncan McMillan, P/M Ronald McCallum, Kirstie McCallman’s Favourite and The Angler.

The Argyll’s Collection includes tunes by Willie Lawrie, John MacLellan DCM, John MacColl and Kintyre composers George MacIntyre, John MacKenzie, Ronnie MacShannon, Pipe Major Ronald MacCallum and Ronnie Fleming.

The master of ceremonies for the launch event was Commander John Wilson, Police Scotland, another champion piper and cousin of Pipe Major Tony Wilson.

Commander Wilson’s Uncle Archie and father Willie also served with distinction in the regiment. reviewed the book and wrote: ‘The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Pipe Music Collection is a musical tour de force.’

The Collection can be purchased online at: or at the National Piping Centre, Glasgow.

The world’s foremost five pipers: From left: Lorne Cousin, Angus MacColl, William MacCallum, Stuart Liddell, Alasdair Henderson. NO_c01pipes01

The front page of the 1933 work.  NO_c01pipes03_1933_front_page