This is an abridged version of George’s review of Blowout 2015. Read the full article on the website. Since I’ve reported on the Blowout many times our perceptive Editor said, “Why not tell those who don’t go what they’re missing?” So here goes! First, it’s FUN. We often start the weekend with a competition, and this year we were invited to get up and perform a piece of music from stage and screen – not often bagpipe hotspots.Read more »
Jon originally trained as a lawyer and worked as such for twelve years before seeing the light, and turning to his first love, music. Studied Early Woodwind Technology 1977-80, subsequently setting up his workshop in Somerset specialising in bagpipes, whistles and flutes. Founder member of Blowzabella in 1978. Introduced his English Border Pipe which forms the foundation of his work in 1986, and in the same year was elected Honorary President of the Bagpipe Society.Read more »
Firstly, may I thank Jon Swayne for taking the trouble to reply to my scribblings on this topic. I am grateful to read something written with authority rather than from a point of ignorance (like mine!). Really, mine was just a series of thoughts and questions put down in the hope of getting some insight which I think Jon has provided. I would also like to apologise for the sloppy use of the term “Just Intonation” when I should have used a term which did not have a technical meaning.Read more »
Happy Birthday to us! The inaugural meeting of the Bagpipe Society was held at the Faculty of Music, Oxford University, on December 1st, 1985, so we are officially 30 years old. It was at this meeting that Jon Swayne became Honorary President (for 5 years, apparently) and Dave VanDoorn became Secretary. This single word description vastly understates Dave’s role in establishing The Bagpipe Society and setting its ethos - a deep love and respect for all aspects of the bagpipe, leavened with more than a touch of good humoured irreverence.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 »
It’s good to see the subject of tuning and scales capturing the interest of members, because it’s a subject hard to understand and therefore not well understood. So I was fascinated to turn to Ray Brown’s thoughts on the tuning of the Cabrette in the Winter 2015 edition of Chanter, the third response to Ian Clabburn’s original article in Chanter of Summer 2014. Ray covered a wide range of topics and raised a large number of questions.Read more »
Polesworth Abbey, near Tamworth, Staffs Featuring Griff Trio Cätlin Mägi The Jon Swayne Mystery Band David Faulkner and Steve Turner Paul Roberts Sean Jones Scott Marshall Pat Goodacre Terry Mann plus… The Friday Tune competition!! Download: Saturday schedule Sunday schedule For workshop material downloads, go to the “Workshops” section below Griff (Sat, Sun) “They are 3. They are from Belgium. And they are great musicians. These 3 authentic troubadours from the 21st century invite you on a journey of celtic myths and legends, Scandinavian sagas and other traditional laments through vocal polyphony, bagpipes and flute soundscapes.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 »
Border pipes in D by Jon Swayne. Border Pipes in Plumwood, plastic ivory mounts, silver ferrules. Bellows-blown. Border pipes by Dominic Allan. D pipes in damson with blackwood and boxwood mounts, G pipes in blackthorn with boxwood mounts. Border pipes is a generic term applied to bagpipes that have - usually - 3 drones in a common stock and a relatively loud “scottish type” chanter.Read more »
2 drone “Medieval” pipes in G by Jon Swayne. Mouth blown pipes in the style of early pictoral representations. Bagpipes first appeared in Europe, in a form that we clearly recognise, around the 12th century. Early depictions show pipes with no drones but by the 14th century they were almost always depicted with the addition of a single drone. Chaucer tells us that bagpipes were a feature of medieval English life: the Miller pipes his fellow pilgrims on their way in the Canterbury Tales.Read more »
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