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Updated 05/10/2013


The Barren Rocks of Aden
Pipe Major Alexander MacKellar

Aden is a harbor city in Yemen.  The old town of Aden sits in the crater of an extinct volcano.  In 1838, Sultan Muhsin bin Fadl of the nearby state of Lahej ceded 75 sq. miles including Aden to the British. On 19 January 1839, the British East India Company landed Royal Marines at Aden to occupy the territory and stop attacks by pirates against British shipping to India.  Until 1937, Aden was ruled as part of British India and was known as the Aden Settlement.

In 1937, the Settlement was detached from India and became the Colony of Aden, a British crown colonyAden became the capital of the new People's Republic of South Yemen which was renamed the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1970. With the unification of northern and southern Yemen in 1990, Aden was no longer a national capital but remained the capital of Aden Governorate which covered an area similar to that of the Aden Colony.

Little appears to be known about the composer of "The Barren Rocks of Aden."

C. A. Malcolm's 1927 publication, The Piper in Peace and War, says he was Pipe Major of the 78th (Ross-shire Buffs) from 1853-1862, including during the Indian Mutiny (1857).

He is known primarily for the first two parts of one of the most popular pipe tunes ever.