Over the last few years, as editor of Chanter, I have tried to expand piping horizons by featuring bagpipes and traditions from across Europe and further afield. This is borne partly out of my own curiosity and interests and partly because I believe that bagpipes of all shapes, sizes and cultures deserve equal treatment and exposure to as wide an audience as possible. In doing so, I wonder whether I have neglected some instruments that are perhaps more widely known to the core membership of the Society.Read more »
When Yannis Pantazis was featured in “Tools of the Trade” back in the Winter 2015 edition of Chanter, he chose his workshop as his ‘tool’ and opened with the words “The workshop is like a micro cosmos of our planet: all the elements of nature in the workshop to serve a purpose …. What purpose? To create…”. I really related to that statement not only as a maker but as someone who finds myself hugely influenced by my surroundings.Read more »
In 1973 I was a student at Newcastle University. I managed to secure a place on an evening class, learning to make the Northumbrian Pipes. This took place in the metalwork room of a local school, and it was a lot more interesting than my degree course! At two hours a week, making a set of pipes was a long-term project - after the first session, I was the proud owner of two 2”x1” brass plates, which the following week would be rolled up to make ferrules for the chanter and blowpipe stocks.Read more »
Grace Notes - Jane Moulder Well, I have another cornucopia of delights for you in this edition of Chanter! As ever, there is an eclectic collection of articles which, amongst others, feature the bringing back to life an instrument painted nearly 400 years ago in Italy, a re-examination of the fingering system of the sordellina bagpipes which were also developed around 400 years ago, a visit to the depths of the boxes at the back of the cupboard in a Scottish museum and, bringing things up to date, pipes being used to protest against pipelines!Read more »
Unisonus : Branschke Armstrong Duo Yan Cozian : Jon Swayne and Friends Chris Bacon : Chris Allen Terry Mann : Pat Goodacre plus … The Friday Tune competition!! UNISONUS (Sat, Sun concerts) Unisonus are a young ensemble from Salzburg and neighbouring Bavaria. Their main interest lies in exploring and interpreting old sources of popular music as well as contemporary Central European folk music. The aim of their work is to aid in completing the picture of historic folk music between the 17th and 19th century and to secure its place in the established world of Classical music.Read more »
On the last weekend of October, about a dozen or more bagpipers turned up to a new course at Halsway Manor, taught by not one, but two young piping wizards: Callum Armstrong and Matthias Branschke promised to help us use bagpipes in an ensemble situation. On arrival, we were split into two groups depending on our choice of bagpipe: the group of G-pipes was the more numerous, with only 4-5 pipers selecting D border and Uillean pipes.Read more »
Colin Ross, musician and pipe maker, died at the end of May this year. Colin was something of a legend in piping circles and formal obituaries documenting his life and achievements have been printed in various publications. Below are some personal reminiscences from members and friends of The Bagpipe Society. I never met Colin but, having read about him, I know I am the poorer for it. Editor. Matt SeattleRead more »
We have come a long way since the Society was founded 33 years ago when, unsurprisingly, we were largely focused on the English piping revival, being aware of how much had been lost in terms of instruments, regional playing styles and repertoire - outside of the robust and thriving Northumbrian tradition. Since then we have witnessed an explosion in historical research, rediscovery and reinterpretation of the old tunes and a revival and development of English bagpipes, some totally new and others inspired by historical references and other cultures.Read more »
A Weekend in Plovdiv for the Bulgarian National Bagpipe Association’s First Conference “No shoes on his feet – he still wants a new bagpipe” goes a Bulgarian saying, resonating probably with most of us in this bagpipe realm. The Bulgarian, sensible people, have difficulties conceiving a festive event without this wonderful instrument. As goes another expression: “a wedding without a bagpipe is like a funeral”. These are a couple of sayings I wrote down whilst visiting Plovdiv’s ethnographic museum on Sunday 4th November, following the Bulgarian National Bagpipe Association’s first international conference on Saturday 3rd November.Read more »
On a beautiful summer’s day in 2011, cabrette specialist André Ricros – also founder of the Agence de Musiques des Territoires d’Auvergne (AMTA) in 1985 – went to a musician’s banquet in the village of Cantouin. Set on the hills looking over to the wild flanks of the Cantal, dotted with picturesque villages gracing the foresty green slopes and overlooking a large blue lake created by a man-made dam, Cantouin is registered as one of the most ‘remarkable cities’ of France.Read more »
The fifth International Bagpipe Conference will be take place between the 13th and 15th March 2020 at Harvard University, Boston, USA, Call for Papers: Bagpipes and Diaspora. Abstract submission deadline: 15 September 2019 Abstract acceptance notification: 15 October 2019. Abstract length: 250 words Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.internationalbagpipeorganisation.com The IBO warmly invites you to participate in the Fifth International Bagpipe Conference (IBC) to mark International Bagpipe Day 2020 (10 March), a celebration of the world’s diverse bagpipes and bagpiping traditions.Read more »
The recreation of a complex instrument as seen from a luthier’s point of view. The “Musette de Cour” that I had the honour to recreate is an old, original specimen and is presently kept at the Calvet Museum in Avignon and was probably made by Martin Hotteterre at the end of the 17th century. Eric Montbel invited me to work with him on this ambitious project as he had seen in me a luthier who was prepared to take on the recreation of such a complex instrument.Read more »
One of the more unexpected highlights of my recent trip to Central Asia was the Musical Instrument Museum in Almaty, former capital of Kazakhstan. Unlike most museums in the region, which don’t seem to have been updated since the 1970s (if that recently), it’s well displayed and even quite well labelled, in Kazakh, Russian, and (handily) English. About nine-tenths of the instruments displayed are strings, whether plucked (dombra) or bowed (kobyz)m as well as harps and zithers.Read more »
Review of The Musette conference by Andrea Kirkby The musette is an anomaly in the piping world; an ‘elite’ art-music instrument, forever identified with the nobility of the court of Louis XIV at Versailles. It may present itself as a pastoral instrument, but it has as much to do with real sheep and shepherds as Florence Foster Jenkins did with bel canto. The musette had been lost from sight after the French Revolution - arguably, it was already obsolete by the time the ancien régime caved in - until Jean-Christophe Maillard rediscovered the instrument and its repertoire, and Rémy Dubois started making copies of original instruments.Read more »
Bagpiping In Portugal 18th C nativity scene Although they could have dated from earlier, from the late middle ages onwards, there is plenty of surviving iconographical evidence in Portugal to show existence of bagpipes in the country. The evidence is in the form of illuminations, paintings, sculptures and engravings. From the 18th century there are numerous clay and wooden nativity scenes, which include depictions of Portuguese popular and rural life, where one can spot many bagpipers.Read more »
The Northumbrian small-pipes in their later classic form with seven or more chanter keys have an unusual significance in the traditional music of England, being one of the very few instruments which are entirely native, their creation being in the north-east of the country. These pipes have become so firmly rooted in the traditional music of Northumberland that their relatively recent origins, though never actually obscure, are easily forgotten. This is an instrument belonging entirely to the 19th and subsequent centuries, and represents an invention by a single individual, Robert Reid of North Shields, being the product of a working life of approximately 30 years beginning in the first decade of the 19th century and continuing until his death in 1837.Read more »
Piping against a pipeline with First Nations song by Nathan Haywood Visiting from Vancouver, Canada, and my first time at the Blowout, I was unwittingly coerced by Julian Goodacre to participate in the Friday evening competition. After some consideration I came up with an idea tenuously connected to the Extinct, Mythical and Hypothetical Animal Class. Being new to the Blowout, I was a little uncertain as to the reception I would receive to my tales of bagpiping activism.Read more »
An interview with Thorsten Tetz Thorsten, how did you get into making bagpipes? It was clear to me that I did not wish to keep my job as a nurse until I collected my old age pension. In the search for alternatives, a happy coincidence gave me the opportunity to work for the bagpipe maker Olle Geris. I was at Olle’s workshop having some maintenance work done on my instrument and Olle complained that there was so much to do.Read more »
Over the last few years I have enjoyed experimenting with bagpipes. My piping philosophy has been to always try to stick to what the bagpipe wants to do naturally, and then push the boundaries in all directions. Moreover, to ask myself what can a bagpipe do that other instruments cannot do so well. With this in mind, I decided to start a bagpipe duo, in order to experiment with the possibilities that two bagpipes could offer over just one solo bagpipe.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 »
In the 1970s and 1980s the duo called Rebec were playing the English folk club and festival circuit. Bob Cross wrote the songs in the renaissance style reminiscent of the love songs of Elizabethan songwriter and lutenist, John Dowland. I was the other half of the duo and my role was to provide recorders, crumhorns, bowed psaltery, glockenspiel and guitar. We also used bagpipes; Bob played Flemish pipes and Northumbrian smallpipes and I played the gaita Gallicia.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 »
Giovanni Lorenzo Baldano’s sordellina manuscript of 1600: a new approach to reconstruction by Peter Walker Giovanni Lorenzo Baldano (1576-1660) was a poet and magistrate from the Northern Italian town of Savona¹. A song either collected or composed by Baldano was quoted in “Fiera di Farfara”, an intermedio performed as part of the 1637 opera Chi Sofre Speri², but outside of this appearance his most prominent surviving work is a book of tablature for the sordellina.Read more »
Complied, edited and designed by Pete Stewart It is always exciting to get a book through the post. I wasn’t disappointed. My first impression is that it is beautifully produced, feels good and opens easily for me to enjoy. Right away I know it would be easy for me to underestimate the amount of work that has gone into producing Some Of Me Tunes. Having this book is like welcoming Julian into your home.Read more »
Lisa Wolf, is a bagpipe maker and player, born in Germany but is now living in central France. But how did I get there ? It is a long way from the mountains of Swabia to the beautiful Berry region ; the country of George Sands: the Maitres Sonneurs, the festival of St Chartier, the seventies revival of traditional music and, of course, the all-important bagpipes, culminating in the development of theRead more »
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