Cholla Mo Rùn

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CHOLLA MO RÙN (The Piper's Warning). AKA – "The Piper's Warning to His Master/Caismeachd a' Phìobaire d'a Mhaighstir." Scottish, Air and Pipe Piobroch (2/4 time). There are two main versions of the tune, a song and a pipe pibroch. The song was written for one Colla MacDonald, also known as Colla Ciotach (Left-handed Colla), a member of Clan MacDonald in Islay and Kintyre and father of the heroic Sir Alexander MacDonald, the Lieutenant of Montrose. In Scottish reiver fashion, Colla sent some of his men, along with his piper, to raid a castle of Clan Campbell of Argyll, on the mainland of western Scotland. The foray did not go as planned, with the result that several of the MacDonald men were killed or imprisoned; among the detainees was the unnamed piper. Wondering what had happened, Colla eventually came in search of his crew members and his ship was spotted by the Campbells, who sought to lure him into a trap. They forced the bagpiping prisoner to pipe a welcome to his master, to allay his suspicions and encourage him to sail closer. However, the piper played a tune that Colla immediately recognized as a danger signal and so veered off and made his escape. The piper was not so lucky, and paid the ultimate price of his head at the hands of the furious Campbells.

The words to the Scots Gaelic song begin:

'S a cholla mo ghaol, seachainn an caol
Seachainn an caol, seachainn an caol
Cholla mo ghaol, seachainn an caol
Seachainn an caol, tha mi
Tha mise làimh, tha mise làimh

See also note for "Duntroon Castle."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: David Glen (A Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd) No. 38, p. 113.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Hear the song sung by Mary Morrison at Tobar an Dualchais [1]




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