John James Connan was a first-rank player and composer during the latter half of the 19th century. A native of Ross and a pupil of John MacKenzie, he became in 1880 the first piper to win the Prize Pipe and the Gold Medal at Inverness in the same year.
He was Piper to Colonel Ewen MacPherson of Cluny and to J. H. Dickson of Inveran Lodge, Poolewe. He joined the Royal Scots in 1882 and became pipe major of the 2nd battalion. In his memoirs, Pipe Major Robert Meldrum spoke of him as among the top pipers of his day and a contemporary of William McLennan and Angus MacPherson.
His best known of many tunes is “The Ross-shire Volunteers.”
JM, April 2007
-with notes from Piping Times, ‘Notices of Pipers,’ August 1968 and ‘A History of Piping’, by Captain John A. MacLellan.