Articles by: Letcher, Andy

A point of view Mar 2012 in Chanter 2012 Spring

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What It Is! By Green Angels Mar 2012 in Chanter 2012 Spring

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A point of view Dec 2011 in Chanter 2011 Winter

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End Drone Dec 2011 in Chanter 2011 Winter

Bagpipes have been in the news this autumn, with the authorities at the Rugby World Cup preventing Scottish supporters from bringing their national instrument into the games, and with Bob Dylan apparently availing himself of a set of R. G. Hardie pipes from Glasgow’s National Piping Centre (well, it surely beats that God-awful harmonica). In both cases the press got in touch with me, your Publicity Officer, to coax out a sound-bite and, with the Dylan story, a bagpipe rendition of ‘All around the watchtower’.

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3 Tunes by George Stevens Sep 2011 in Chanter 2011 Autumn

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Droning On Sep 2011 in Chanter 2011 Autumn

When I’m out walking, which is most weekends, I find it im- possible to pass a country church without popping in just to have a look. I’m not a believer, though an empty church on a summer’s afternoon has a stillness and a restfulness that, for me, borders on sanctity. And then, of course, there’s the added thrill of finding an unusual carving, a foliate head or a bag- piper, peering down from the shadows.

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English bagpipes Sep 2011 in Chanter 2011 Autumn

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Droning On: Oxford Jun 2011 in Chanter 2011 Summer

As is now traditional, I was out playing on the streets of Oxford at the unholy hour of 6am to mark this year’s May Morning. Oxford has a long tradition of May Day celebra- tions: Magdalen College choir sing a hymn from the top of the tower to the large crowd assembled on the bridge below; the pubs fling open their doors while students try and fling themselves from the bridge into the shallow waters of the Cherwell; and the local Morris sides parade a Jack-in-the-Green through the streets.

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International Bagpipe Day Jun 2011 in Chanter 2011 Summer

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Droning On: Facial Contorsions Mar 2011 in Chanter 2011 Spring

It is a well-known joke amongst pipers that many of our hurdy-gurdy-playing fellows are incapable of turning the handle without immediately breaking into a corresponding display of facial gymnastics. A twitch of the lip here. An unexpected pout or a grinding of the jaw there. I’m not going to name names. I’m sure you know exactly who I mean. Imagine my horror, then, when it was pointed out to me recently that I’m no serene Buddha-face myself.

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Piva are a costume band from the Midlands, specializing in music from the Renaissance, and boasting no less than four instrument makers in their line-up – Eric and Jane Moulder, Jim Parr and Tony Millyard – all of whom are regulars at the Blowout. ‘Heigh Ho Holiday’ is their first CD. It presents a fine cross-section of their repertoire and will be a welcome addition to the shelves of all Early Music lovers.

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A point of view Mar 2008 in Chanter 2008 Spring

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Music of the Martian Bagpipe by Dominic Allan Sep 2006 in Chanter 2006 Autumn

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Passion, Pestilence & Polyphony by Misericordia Sep 2006 in Chanter 2006 Autumn

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Mutton dressed as Lamb? Mar 2006 in Chanter 2006 Spring

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Love & a Bottle by Jon Swayne & Becky Price Dec 2005 in Chanter 2005 Winter

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Blowzabella, New Tunes for Dancing Jun 2005 in Chanter 2005 Summer

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Pipes, Pigs & Plato Dec 2003 in Chanter 2003 Winter

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Solo Bagpipes 2 by Paul Dunmall Mar 2003 in Chanter 2003 Spring

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Calls and Responses Nov 2016 in Chanter 2016 Winter

Call Looking at medieval images I’ve seen both bellows (being used to start a fire) and bagpipes, but no examples of the bellows being attached to the bagpipes. Please can someone tell the earliest known evidence of the use of bellows to power the bagpipes? Elizabeth Armstrong Call What happens in very shallow tapering cones, where the taper is measurable but almost imperceptible? Does any amount of conicality, no matter how small, flip the one into the other?

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Calls and Responses Sep 2017 in Chanter 2017 Autumn

Calls and Responses was held back in the last edition due to it being the Iberian Special. For those of you who can’t remember Andy Letcher’s Call from March this year I have reprinted it in front of James Merryweather’s response. Further Calls for the next edition should be submitted to me at janethepiper@gmail.com by 1st November at the latest. Call: I found the following quote in the Wikipedia entry on ‘Tharapita’, the Estonian thunder god.

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In the Bag - Eric Montbel Dec 2021 in Chanter 2021 Winter

From 1975 Eric Montbel recorded the old cabrette players in Paris and Auvergne, and reissued the 78rpm recordings of the master Bouscatel. His research on “chabrettes limousines” allowed him to discover nearly 130 old models and to initiate the revival. Eric was one of Bernard Blanc’s first “musettes 14 and 16 pouces” players, and contributed to their distribution with his groups Le Grand Rouge and then Lo Jai. He toured intensively in the USA and Europe.

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