Since the last edition of Chanter, I have visited Glasgow and the National Piping Centre twice. This feels a bit like the arrival of the long awaited Number 64 bus — having not been to Scotland for over 30 years, I then have two forays north of the border within 3 months of each other. The two occasions were very different though. At the end of February I attended the bi-annual conference of the International Bagpipe Organisation (IBO) for the first time.Read more »
I enjoyed watching Phil Cunningham’s Pipe Dream, BBC2 in Scotland’s two part documentary celebrating the bagpipes in all their diversity. Any fears that this would be a programme taking cheap shots at pipes or pipers were swiftly allayed. It was, rather, a genuine and heartfelt homage to our instrument, one that was both informative and entertaining. There were many familiar faces, some great footage of the Blowout, and as an added bonus the two episodes went out on either side of International Bagpipe Day.Read more »
This edition is from our archives, so it is presented as scanned pages rather than text.Read more »
You may remember in the Winter 2014 Chanter, I reported that there was an online petition to protest about the proposed change of name to the Boha. At the IBO Conference Yan Cozian and Jean Michel Espinasse explained the background to the issue and below is an abbreviation of their talk. — Editor. Occitan The word, boha, is an Occitan word, which comes from the verb “to blow”.Read more »
On Saturday morning, just as people were arriving, Thodoris, one of the volunteers, walked up to me and whispered: “Wow! I had no idea Andy Letcher was such a rock star!” This is what the International Bagpipe Conference is about: putting faces to names (sometimes they look like proper rock stars), meeting new people, creating contacts and having a piping time. This year’s International Bagpipe Conference was held at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow.Read more »
3rd to 5th June Savage Prunes (concerts, Saturday, Sunday) In 2015, the Savage Prunes won the ‘Petites Formations’ competition at ‘Le Son Continu’ music festival, since when they have expanded into a trio. The group is particularly influenced by European folk, as well as baroque, Celtic, jazz, techno, and classical music. Callum Armstrong is an innovative piper whose questing approach to the hitherto unexplored acoustic possibilities of the smallpipe is taking the instrument into areas most of us have never encountered.Read more »
Bagpipes in the West Highland Museum by Ross Calderwood and James Merryweather In April 2019, the two of us visited Fort William to examine properly the bagpipes we had previously seen on display at the museum there, inaccessible behind glass but recognised as, at the very least, interesting. Having gained the interest and trust of the curator, we were also shown boxes of complete and incomplete bagpipes which the museum had insufficient space for display.Read more »
I headed to my first ever Pipers’ Gathering simply hoping for a chance to try my hand at Scottish smallpipes. I’ve played the highland pipes since my teens but now, as a retiree, I hope to share my love of this music by playing an instrument that can be played indoors and with other instruments. Also, I wondered if playing a bellows-blown instrument would enable me sing with my pipes. In every way, the Pipers’ Gathering far exceeded my expectations.Read more »
Everyone should have a fundamental human right to listen to their culture’s music, and make their own if they want to. It’s part of who we are, and room needs to be created for it everywhere, especially in cities. **Palestinian Bagpipes and Musical Freespace I was with a bunch of musicians aboard a traditional bragozzo sailing boat of the Veneto in September, circumnavigating the perimeter of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale at the Arsenale.Read more »
Callum Armstrong is an experimental piper who enjoys exploring the possibilities of the pipes. He won the solo prize in 2014 and the ‘Petite Formation’ Prize in 2015 with Cellist George Pasca at the ‘Son Continu’ Festival in France. Callum has recently collaborated with Julian Goodacre to develop a smallpipe chanter with almost 3 octaves, and is currently working developing a technique for the ‘double Scottish smallpipe chanter. Amongst Callum’s current projects are learning and developing reeds for ancient auloi and learning the Musette de cour.Read more »
Yentl Schattevoet aka the Dreadlock Piper is a Scottish pipe player from the Netherlands, currently living in that other bagpipe-loving county, Bulgaria. She took up the GHBs in 2005, and played with her local pipe band (now named Venlo Caledonian Pipe Band) throughout Europe at various festivals, tattoos and other events. Yentl also played and competed with the Stockbridge Pipe Band when she was studying a year abroad at the University of Edinburgh.Read more »
highland Pipes. Blackwood, by R T Shepherd and Sons Ltd of Cardenden, Fife, Scotland Love it or hate it, there’s no getting away from the GHB, which, thanks to the British Empire (and Army), is played all over the world (and by such luminaries as Evelyn Glennie and Alastair Campbell). It’s the instrument everyone thinks of when they hear the word bagpipes. Perhaps because of its military associations, or the historic need to preserve Highland culture from erosion, its style is highly regimented and regulated.Read more »
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