Adrian Grant, our friendBy:
Today we still play a vast body of ‘traditional’ tunes that link us to people in the past; tunes that may have been composed by people who died hundreds of years ago, and we will never know their names. Other tunes are named after people about whom we may know little or nothing but their tunes still live on, and are cherished.
This August I was staying with my friends Matt and Carolyn Buckley, in Richmond, Vermont, USA, when my wife Pat Skyped me to let me know that our friend Adrian had died. We knew that he had terminal cancer, so it did not come as a surprise. He was a lovely man and my heart went out to his wife Frances and his family. I walked down to the river, feeling sadness and loss. I went for a swim, felt the cool water and gave thanks and gratitude for the precious gift of my life. That was on Sunday 16th August 2015. osing a tune and, unusually for me, I could remember nearly every note. I went out into the garden, set my camera to video and hung it around my wrist while I recorded the basic tune. I called it Adrian Grant, Our Friend and over the next few days I played and refined it. Later in the week Callum Armstrong and Rick Damon wrote it out for me and I had 100 copies printed to give away the following weekend at The Pipers Gathering. This is a mecca for all ‘alternative pipers’ in the USA and I have often attended it over the past 21 years. Years ago it took place on the island of North Hero in lake Champlain. Now takes place in an old nunnery, now used as a retreat centre, in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Even though no one at The Gathering knew Adrian, I wanted the opportunity to launch this tune into the world in the hopes that it would take on a life of its own and his name might live on for many years. I gave out copies to most of the pipers there and I heard from several of them about the recent deaths of their family and loved ones. We had a few brief rehearsals on the Sunday afternoon and in the evening concert I led in a procession to honour not only Adrian but all who we have loved and lost. And I invited everyone to celebrate the precious gift of life by getting together afterwards and play the tune again.
ADRIAN GRANT 19th APRIL 1948 ‐ 16th AUGUST 2015