Pipers’ Ceilidh – Live recording of P/M Donald MacLeod’s farewell public performance in the Dorchester Hotel, Glasgow November 1977 with Duncan Johnstone as guest piper. You can hear from the reception that the audience obviously had a great affection for PM MacLeod. Duncan Johnstone’s piping on the first half of the CD is stunning! There are also two Gaelic songs sung by Donald Ross and Archie MacTaggart. Recorded with the support of the Scottish Pipers’ Association. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers).
Donald MacLeod, MBE, was born in Stornoway, on Lewis, in the Scottish Hebridean Islands in 1916. He became a piper for the Seaforth Highlanders in 1937, reaching the level of Pipe Major after only four years.
During World War II, he served in France with the 51st Highland Division, was taken prisoner by the Germans at St. Valery, escaped during a forced march and managed to return to the UK. In 1945, he piped his battalion across the Rhine during an assault crossing – even though he had been forbidden to do this by his commanding officer.
During his army career, he was highly successful in piping competitions. After the war, his genius as a piper brought him every competition honor, winning the Gold Medal in 1947 and many others. MacLeod retired from the army in 1963 and from competition in 1966, but neither marked the completion of his piping career. He continued to give recitals in Scotland and around the world, and he provided instruction to many pipers at all levels of ability. Like all the truly great pipers of the past, ‘Wee’ Donald’ wore his honours lightly and modestly. He was always ready to help those less supremely gifted than himself.
A brilliant and prolific composer, he published six books of light music (marches, airs and dance music) – The Man from Skye, Butterfingers, The Duck, MacLean of Lewis Crossing the Minch were among his many compositions -as well as a book of piobaireachd.
He was awarded the Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1978 for outstanding service to piping. He died suddenly in Glasgow in 1982.
In his memory, The Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition, an annual invitational piping competition held on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland was inaugurated in 1994 by the Lewis & Harris Piping Society.