This year marks the 25th Blowout. The Bagpipe Society began in order to support the re-emergence of English piping in the ’80s. To me, the Saturday night Blowout concert reflects what is best about the state of piping in any one year. And then the bal afterwards shows how we keep up the quality and let our hair down at the same time. Last year, as I emerged from yet another incredible Saturday night concert, it struck me that these concerts demonstrate the maturity of the Bagpipe Society and its willingness to experiment.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 »
Bla Bergens Borduner — Inga Konstigheter There aren’t many CDs that show case the Swedish säckpipa and this album is an absolute gem. Bla Bergens Borduner translates as “The Blue Mountain Drones” and the album name translates as “No Funny Business” or maybe “No Strangeness”. The group originally were originally active between 1984 and 1995 and have come back together again to release this new album. There are only eleven säckpipa players who have been awarded the prestigious title of Riksspelman by the Zorn jury in Sweden and this group contains two of them: Anders Norrude and Ulf Karlsson.Read more »
Polesworth Abbey, near Tamworth, Staffs 3rd to 5th June Featuring Savage Prunes Juraj Dufek Estron MoltenAmba Jean Pierre Rasle Vicki Swan Sean Jones Cliff Stapleton Julian Scott Dave Rowlands Andy Letcher plus… The Friday Tune competition! Savage Prunes Callum Armstrong of the Savage Prunes The Savage Prunes are a young and innovative band from England, playing new compositions on traditional instruments. Having won the ‘Petit Formations’ competition at Le Son Continu 2015 as a duo, the ‘Prunes’ now exist as a trio.Read more »
I can’t actually remember when I discovered the existence of the Swedish bagpipes. I wish I could and I wish I could say it was a defining moment. It’s the same with the nyckelharpa – these are instruments that I have always known about, in some small corner of my memory somewhere they have always existed. It was finding out that Olle Gällmo and Erik Ask-Upmark were going to be at the Blowout in 2013 that really prompted me to get a set of Swedish Bagpipes.Read more »
Blowout 2013 – Our 21st! Were you there? Polesworth Abbey, near Tamworth, Staffs Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June Featuring Antón Varela trio Cliff Stapleton Callum Armstrong Vicki Swan Pete Stewart Heretique Tom Hughes Richard York Antón Varela (Concerts, workshops, Sat & Sun) Antón is one of Galicia’s top gaita players, who won some of the most important gaita competition prizes in the early stages of his career, which started in the seventies.Read more »
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