by Megan Canning | Sept 10, 2015

Pipe Major Ryan Canning has published his second collection of music, The Blockbuster, released during the week of the World Pipe Band Championships this year.

In addition to leading Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band as the band’s Pipe Major, Ryan is also an established composer of piping music. Having released his first collection in 2004, The Fully Monty, Ryan’s tunes have been played by bands and soloists across the world.

In taking over Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, Ryan has the led the band in a new musical direction. Many of his own compositions and arrangements have been at the centre of Shotts and Dykehead’s recent musical development, and the tunes written with Shotts in mind are just some of the tunes included in his new book.

In the forward to collection, Ryan writes:

‘This second collection is in many ways firmly rooted in the development of two historic pipe bands. Those bands are the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band of Northern Ireland where I played from 1997 to 2012, and Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band of Scotland where I became Pipe Major in August 2012. The motivation for writing many of the tunes included in this second book has been to furnish the competition medleys and concert repertoires of these two competing bands. It is with the pipe band audience in mind that I have chosen to include harmonies for many of the tunes presented in this book.’ 

Some the tunes written specifically with Shotts in mind include, ‘The Siege of Dubrovnik’- the band’s first number one medley opener under Ryan- as well as ‘The Octagon’ which served as the opener for the band’s World Championship winning medley this year. Other tunes featured in recent Shotts medleys include Ryan’s compositions ‘The Blockbuster’, ‘Carnage Drive’, ‘Big D MacPhee’, ‘The Los Romanes Highlanders’, ‘Philip Greer’s Big Week’, ‘James Westfall’, and ‘Megan’s Lullaby’, as well as his arrangements of ‘Bessie McIntyre’, ‘The Ale is Dear’, ‘The Fox Hunter’, and ‘Tha Mo Ghaol Air Aird A’ Chuain’. Some of the band’s concert material from the recent ‘Reinvented’ concert in April also feature in the book, including the hornpipes ‘Miss Megan Harrington’ and ‘Salute to the MacLawsontyres’.

Ryan’s book is available now from Canning Reedmakers as well as any good piping and drumming distributor.