There’s something incredibly moving to me about the 18th-century Christian hymn “Amazing Grace,” especially when it’s played on bagpipes. It means next to nothing to me as a piece of religious music (not being a person of faith myself), but every time the bagpipes kick up the first bars of that old tune, my eyes fill with tears. I hope that, decades and decades from now, a bagpiper will be asked to play “Amazing Grace” at my funeral. I’d have done the same for my father, had I been in charge of his memorial.
So I sat rapt, listening to this morning’s report on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday show, about a new CD project by the 24 bagpipers and drummers of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. I have as little interest in the military as in religion. However, I’ve already put in an order for this new CD, Spirit of the Glen, which goes on sale in Britain at the end of this month. (It’s scheduled to become available in the States in February 2008.) “Amazing Grace” is the very first cut on this new disc. It was also, apparently, a wildly popular tune in the UK when the same regiment recorded it for sale 35 years ago.
You can hear the NPR segment for yourself here.