It’s not every day (in fact not every year) that a new double chanter carving comes to light. Come to think of it it’s not every day you have a conversation with a stranger about double chanter bagpipes but this is what happened… . I was busking at a folk festival and stopped to speak to a lady, her son was writing a dissertation on “Cornish” bagpipes, so, whilst sat upon my “High Horse”, I remarked on their existence in many other parts of the Realm and maybe, perchance, they should more properly be referred to as “Dorsetian” or is that “Dorish”?Read more »
Today we still play a vast body of ‘traditional’ tunes that link us to people in the past; tunes that may have been composed by people who died hundreds of years ago, and we will never know their names. Other tunes are named after people about whom we may know little or nothing but their tunes still live on, and are cherished. This August I was staying with my friends Matt and Carolyn Buckley, in Richmond, Vermont, USA, when my wife Pat Skyped me to let me know that our friend Adrian had died.Read more »
The International Bagpipe Organisation presents the Third International Bagpipe Conference 26-28 February 2016. Hosted by the National Piping Centre, Glasgow, Organised in collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Glasgow University with the support of the Bagpipe Society and the Piobaireachd Society. Programme Committee: Cassandre Balosso-Bardin, Dr. Joshua Dixon, Dr. Andy Letcher, Dr. Susana Moreno. The International Bagpipe Organisation warmly invites everyone to attend the Third International Bagpipe Conference on 26-28 February 2016 to celebrate of the world’s immensely diverse bagpipe traditions.Read more »
Bonny Lad if you can shew me the way to Wallington This odd looking tune is displayed in the FARNE archive, in the section devoted to the Henry Clough Collection, with the following note :- “This may or may not be a version of the more common tune of a similar title; it is included as a curiosity and to see whether anyone can decipher its meaning - the ending has shades of The Rocky Road to Dublin, and while strain 2 is evidently in 9⁄8 strain 1 is more erratically written.Read more »
When it comes to bagpipe ornamentation, the options of what physically to do with your fingers aren’t great. You can lift a finger off and put it down again, as with the cut or the trill. You can put a finger down and lift it off again, as with the strike or vibrato. You can slide fingers off rather than lifting them. Or you can put lots of fingers down, usually on the tonic, to give the impression of a staccato – in France, the rappel.Read more »
Many of those attending the Blowout in May this year were entranced by the sound of a bagpipe made and played by Pierre Rouch. The bot has a haunting, open sound and is particularly suited to accompanying singing. It proved such a hit that I know several orders were placed with Pierre! Wanting to find out more about this instrument, I am particularly grateful to the maker, Bernat Ménétrier-Marcadal, who has contributed this article and to Pierre Rouch for sharing his personal reflections.Read more »
Over the last few years, we have regularly announced that The Society has money available to support bagpipe related activities (3 Chanter mentions in the last 2 years alone), without too much uptake, and now - finally - requests are rolling in! To make the funding allocation as fair and open as possible, we have decided: To set aside a sum of money for this purpose every year, the amount depending on the health of our bank account; Invite members to apply for this money between the period of December and March (the time between Winter and Spring Chanters); The applications will be considered by the committee.Read more »
Welcome to the Winter edition of Chanter where you will find articles covering quite a diverse range of bagpipes and subjects. As editor, it’s interesting the way it goes – almost like the number 29 bus. You wait for ages for an article on eastern European bagpipes to be submitted, then suddenly two of three come along in quick succession. Both in this edition, and the next Chanter, there are features on the volynka, gaida and pipes that I, for one, am less familiar with.Read more »
Yannis Pantazis lives on the island of Santorini where he founded a Greek bagpipe workshop and exhibition at La Ponta. As well as making tsabouna, he plays and teaches the instrument and has given workshops, lectures and concerts in many countries such as Italy, Norway, Estonia, France, Great Britain, USA. Alongside the bagpipes, Yannis plays saxophone, blues harp and flutes. He was influenced at very young age by the music of his region (Grevena, Greece) and was brought up in in a musical environment as his father was a percussionist.Read more »
Well this headline may sound a little like I would like to pretend that I have a perfect life – but I don’t. I have a whole lot of work waiting for me every day. There are customer requests coming in every week - which is fine when you make your living on building electronic bagpipes. And yes, I love my work, it’s what I wanted to do for many years.Read more »
Ian Clabburn’s article, printed in Chanter Summer 2014, about the cabrette tuning and in particular his struggle with the “neutral third” intrigues me, and I keep going back to his article and have re-read it several times. In summary, Ian felt it was his fault that he was unable to play the instrument ‘in tune’, only later finding that the cabrette is tuned to a scale different from that which we consider ‘normal’.Read more »
For many of the longer standing Bagpipe Society members, the annual subscription renewal date will be falling due at the end of December. If you presently pay your subscription by bank standing order, you need to read on. Earlier this year, we moved to another new system, Membermojo, to replace Webcollect in administering subscriptions. At the same time, we also moved away from 31th December as a common renewal date, so for new members joining since then their renewal falls due on the anniversary of their joining the Society.Read more »
For a little while The Society has had this idea of collating all the member videos that are made at the Blowout, and other events, into one big resource for posterity’s sake. As part of that I rather assumed that no doubt individual members take the time to ensure their hard work travelling to and recording events, and they take an equal amount of care in ensuring they have multiples copies in the event of a computer failure?Read more »
I have recently been in correspondence with Jenny Coxon, dulcimer player and music researcher, in connection with my ongoing search for Hale the Piper. As a result of our correspondence, she very kindly offered me some photographs of a Staffordshire pottery figure which she had in her collection and were now surplus to her requirements. I was, of course, a grateful recipient and I am pleased to be able to include the photos in this edition of Chanter (rear cover and left).Read more »
The Volynka bagpipe (from the word ‘vol’ meaning ‘ox’), valynka \pipe (duda) \goat (kozel) \bubble (puzir) was, until recently, an unexplored part of Russian instrumental music. However, it is also an unexplored spot on the map of European bagpipes. Whilst Russians know relatively little about bagpipes, there are several images of bagpipes in European and Russian travellers’ drawings, references in lists of musical instruments of the Russian Empire before the mid‐19th century, several images in folk pictures (lubock) and in church chronicles as well as references in literature and folklore.Read more »
Yannis Pantazis and his workshop The workshop is like a micro cosmos of our planet: All the elements of nature exist in the workshop to serve a purpose … What purpose? To create … The need for creation gives birth to all that we confront and admire. The natural splendour … This universal macrocosm fits into a small workshop. All the elements of the Earth are present.. Water, Air and Earth materials and FIRE!Read more »
Mike Billington with one of his gaida tutors, Cvetelin Andreev If anyone knows Mike Billington, either in person or from his Facebook page or website (http://www.corvus.org.uk), then you will know that he is something of a collector of bagpipes. I’m not sure what his total is up to now but it must be about 20 different types and the number seems to be growing at a steady rate!Read more »
I recently started working at Norton Priory, a historic site in Runcorn, Cheshire, which is Europe’s most excavated monastery. One of the first things I did was to investigate if there was any bagpipe connection with the place. At first I thought I would be disappointed, no carvings of bagpipers in the monastic ruins, or documents of pipers visiting the site. But then I came across the diary of Mary Brooke…Read more »
These are notes from Dave Rowland’s workshop given at the Blowout, June 2015. The workshop is designed to take a simple tune and look at some specific gracing that may work on our pipes, and to look at how we can vary a tune during our playing of it. It is designed to accommodate Jon Swayne style Border pipes, and others, in the key of “D”. It is based on two statements by Breandon Breathnach, the Uilleann piper and collector of tunes.Read more »
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 »
I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but sometimes after gigs, especially those that have gone well, people come up to you and make all sorts of random offers. (Not that kind of offer. Well, once, but it was a long time ago and I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I don’t share it here.) Like the Miller of fairy tale who persuades the King that his daughter can spin straw into gold, these well- meaning people promise much and deliver little.Read more »
I contacted Bill Reese to ask him to write about his collection of photographs of bagpipes. Bill is a “friend” of mine on Facebook and every so often up would pop a photograph of a bagpipe or bagpiper that was completely new to me. I searched further on his site to discover a veritable treasure trove of photos of bagpipers from all around the world. Clearly this man is an obsessive and I wanted to know more!Read more »
I am pleased to report that we have had another successful year, with membership increasing steadily. There are many reasons for this, some practical, such as the ability to join online and the availability of a pdf version of Chanter, but I am sure that it is mostly due to a combination of a high quality journal, a well-respected annual festival, an active Facebook page and the generally raised profile of our beloved instrument.Read more »
I was unable to get to Le Son Continu this year for personal reasons and its absence from my calendar brought home how important such gatherings are to me. It’s not just about the instruments and music but it’s also about personal relationships and the feeling of belonging to a community. In this way, the Blowout is also a vital part of my year. For one thing - I don’t have to explain about bagpipes!Read more »
For many years one of my favourite bagpipe albums has been John Tose’s ‘Cerrig Dymuniad’ and it was with great excitement that I awaited the album from the band Estron, which features John’s piping and a similar approach to traditional Welsh tunes. Estron comprises John Tose - pibau cyrn, Danny Tose - also pibau cyrn, Micky Tose - ukulele and clarinet, Holly Robinson - fiddle, and Jess Ward - harp, it’s a great combination which suits the repertoire perfectly and gives the impression of a lively gathering of musicians, sharing tunes and enjoying the tradition.Read more »
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