Colin Ross, musician and pipe maker, died at the end of May this year. Colin was something of a legend in piping circles and formal obituaries documenting his life and achievements have been printed in various publications. Below are some personal reminiscences from members and friends of The Bagpipe Society. I never met Colin but, having read about him, I know I am the poorer for it. Editor. Matt SeattleRead more »
The Bagpipe Society Blue and Green Piping Planet Awards The precise details for the 2019 Competition have not yet been finalised but the general theme is Animal Life. All Society Members now have months to prepare; practising their fish scales, gluing feathers onto their pipe bags and clothing, or whatever, and practising suitable repertoire such as The Birdy Song, The Hens March to the Midden, Nellie The Elephant etc. Let your Natural Animal Instincts run wild!Read more »
The Friday competition is one of the many annual highlights of The Blowout. However there has often been the suggestion that it has an unfair bias towards those persons who own, or can actually play, a bagpipe. To redress this situation the June 2018 competition has been devised with two special classes that can be entered by more normal persons. One Tune to The Tune of Another. (Open to bagpipers) Each contestant has 3 minutes to attempt to play one tune to the tune of another on the bagpipes.Read more »
The most expensive film ever to be shot in Scotland, the Netflix drama “Outlaw King”, should feature English Great Pipes and Leicestershire smallpipes. It’s a stirring drama about the rivalry between Robert the Bruce and Edward II and was filmed earlier this year in a variety of locations. The musical director for the period scenes was Jim Sutherland; the brilliant percussionist and cittern player from the Scottish folk and swing group The Easy Club.Read more »
Dave was a founder member of the Bagpipe Society who passed away in December. His contribution to the English Bagpipe Revival, especially in the early days cannot be overestimated, as can be seen in these reminiscences: My first encounter with Dave VanDoorn was in characteristically surreal surroundings. It was the inaugural meeting of (what was then known as) the “English Bagpipe Society” in December 1985. Although I can recall few details of the meeting itself, I have a vivid memory of us going through the galleries of the Pitt-Rivers museum afterwards and gazing at the shrunken heads.Read more »
In a misguided fit of enthusiasm in 1978 my brother John bought new a set of Pakistani-made Highland bagpipes from Ray Mann, a music shop near Covent Garden, London, that specialised in unusual musical instruments. The bag was greasy, gave off a distinctive, but not entirely offensive stench and leaked like a sieve, the valve didn’t operate properly and the reeds were atrocious. Neither of us had any previous experience with bagpipes.Read more »
At the International Bagpipe Conference in Glasgow Feb 26 28 Pete Stewart and Julian Goodacre officially launched a new website http://www.thebagpipemap.co.uk . Julian writes: I started making English pipes in 1983. Apart from the Northumbrian pipes, there was no living tradition of piping in England at that time, and no actual English bagpipes had survived, so the best I could do was to develop pipes that were based on looking at surviving early carvings, paintings, illustrations and other depictions of bagpipes in England.Read more »
About 10 years ago my son gave me a CD re-release of an LP from 1981 called “Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile” by Yoshi Wada. I played it a couple of times, without giving too much attention to it, and then filed it away and would not have listened to it again had not Liam recently emailed me to let me know that Yoshi Wada had died earlier this year.Read more »
Looming Pins, close-up Over the years I have honoured several of my tools by giving them specific names. In a previous edition of Chanter I described the Goodacre’s Razor, an invaluable tuning tool, which I named in honour of Mr Occam, of Ockham (a small village in Surrey), who may- or may- not have actually even existed. I seldom have an opportunity these days to use my Blandaderstiddle, now that all my drone reeds are all made from plastic.Read more »
The Final Drone - Julian Goodacre The death of Colin Ross has made me aware that those three words The Final Drone can take on a very different meaning and act as a reminder to all of us of our mortality. I am now 69 years old and intend to keep making pipes for as long as I remain in good health and I take some satisfaction in the hope that some of my instruments and tunes may live on for a long time after I cease to walk this earth.Read more »
Here is a great CD for those of us who love the piping of the Berry and Bourbonnais regions of central France. Nine of the fifteen track are pipe solos by Jean-Claude who is joined by his pipemaker brother Bernard on five tracks. It has been on my stereo at the workshop for the last three weeks and I still hear no reason to listen to anything else. It captures the essence of what I have long admired in the piping tradition from central France; grand self- assured playing of marvellous melodies with no attempt to stun the listener with speed or wizardry.Read more »
Figure 1 Any instrument maker is liable to be asked this question and I always find it a tricky one to answer. Where should I start? My pipes are made of wood and I cut down much of it myself which then involves leaving it to season for at least four years. Should my answer disregard this time? In actual fact some of the trees I use were planted by Dad in the 1940’s which was before I was born.Read more »
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