Spotlight on … Eric Montbel in conversation with Andrea Kirkby *AK: First of all, I would like to ask somewhat philosophical questions …. For me as a British resident living in France, it’s surprising to find traditional music in conservatoires, to see a classical pianist rub shoulders with the jazz saxophonist and the traditional accordion player in the corridors (and without snubbing them!). When did the teaching of ‘other’ music start in France?Read more »
An exhibition by Rosa Sánchez and Pablo Carpintero Rosa Sánchez and Pablo Carpintero are musicians and musical instrument makers and over the last thirty years they have visited all the locations in the Iberian península where the bagpipe is present, including Balearic Islands, with the aim of interviewing and recording female singers and bagpipers. They have now collected more than 700 hours of field recordings that form the main source of bagpiper’s repertoires from the peninsula: 165 bagpipers recorded.Read more »
Images to follow Or “Oh Jane! What have you done?” Anyone who is familiar with a Piva gig (the group run by Eric and Jane Moulder) will be aware that pipes play quite a prominent role. Most members of the Piva Collective play them. Most, but not all. I’m generally a string player: cello, viols, a bit of violin when required, but also voice and recorders. I was invited to play with Piva nearly 3 years ago now and for about the past 2 years Jane has been encouraging me to have a go on the pipes.Read more »
Part 1: Ruminating Mythology “Myths speak of human destiny in its essential prism"1 This study focuses on the transcendental symbolism of the Askos (From ancient Greek ἀσκός bag, wineskin), as it was understood and constructed through the process of “symbolism” in the meditation of the ancient religious person in Greece from the Bronze Age to the present day. This presentation is a summary of the data drawn both from distinguished scholars of the ancient world and its mythology, as well as through the texts of the Greek literature through, in an attempt to illustrate to a certain extent, unknown aspects of its character and the Dionysian religion with which it is intertwined, because the “monstrous and unnatural character of the myths motivates the listeners in the search for the truth, the apparent teratology becomes the beginning in the search for the research” (Proklus)Read more »
A custom made Stebcentre Over the last ten years I have made a number of jigs, fixtures and small tools that are solving small problems in the manufacturing processes of my pipemaking. Most of them are for a very specific task and therefore useful, but they may only be in action for a few times per year. The tool I want to present in this article is quite the opposite, it’s in use on any kind of instrument a make, and it has really speeded up my work flow.Read more »
Spotlight on … Gesine Bänfer and Ian Harrison The duo of Gesine Bänfer and Ian Harrison goes back a long way and it has been a winding road full of highs and lows, or as the medieval French would have said, ’Les haulz et les bas‘. Here they talk about their music and their experiences. Though our musical biographies are very different, both of us became fascinated by ’early’ and ’traditional’ music in our teens.Read more »
Images to follow Coinciding with the publication of this edition of Chanter is the launch of a fascinating new online dictionary and encyclopeadia of bagpipes. It really is a tour de force especially considering that it is the work of just one man, Wiebe Stodel. The full title is an “Encyclopaedic dictionary of international termingology of Bagpipes and related instruments”. Subtitled, ‘an organological-linguistic study, provided with several appendices’, it consists of over 8000 entries and studies of instruments and terminologies in over 120 languages and dialects.Read more »
It might seem like the title of a novel, but it’s pure reality. In Bergamo, Lombardy, a small city of 120,000 inhabitants, but with a province that easily exceeds one million, about 50 kilometers north from the financial and fashion hub of Milan, exists a bagpipe with its own and unique characteristics: the “baghèt”. But let’s start from the beginning. Around 1980, an expert of popular traditions and ethnomusicologist, Valter Biella, came across a sensational discovery: in the middle Valle Seriana he found seven bagpipes, some incomplete, called “baghèt”, or “pia”, or even “pia baghèt”.Read more »
Bonny Cumberland - Music from the manuscripts of fiddlers in the Lake DistrictC.1750-1880 compiled by John Offord Cumberland is a historic county of North West England. Cumberland and the neighbouring Westmorland contained the area known as the Lake District. The position of this area and its proximity to Northumberland and the Scottish borders just tells me that a music of book from around there means there are going to be pipe tunes hidden in it.Read more »
The repeated low C strikes as in bar 2 are intended to be done with the little finger of the left hand going from first right to left then from left to right and stroking the hole on the way past - similar to the Highland birl (assuming the left hand at the bottom - if your right hand is at the bottom then vice versa). This movement reappears faster in bar 20 - if this slows you down too much then just play bars 20 and 21 as 12 and 13 but with the hight C#.Read more »
Lizzie Gutteridge plays with Blondel, The York Waits, Colchester Waits and more besides. She may be better known as a shawm player, but she’s also a fine piper. Since 2016 she has been arranging some music from the 13th to 15th centuries for playing on bagpipes. This is the third volume. It contains 10 pieces arranged for G and D pipes. Her introductory notes give the background to the pieces, and this is helpful if you, like me, are not familiar with all of them.Read more »
François Couperin “Selected Duets”. Transcribed and arranged in D and G for all melody instruments by David Rowlands Dave Rowlands is obviously a very busy man as it doesn’t seem two seconds ago that his collections of 18th century music were published. (The Long Century and Across the Water, see Chanter Summer 2019 for reviews.) In this new volume, Dave has travelled a little further back in time to the late 17th century and into the world of the French baroque.Read more »
Quest for the Maltese Żaqq – a lost piping tradition by Karl Partridge Before I attended the International Bagpipe Conference in 2016, I was vaguely aware of the existence of the Maltese żaqq, but nothing quite prepares you for the physical reality. The first thing Karl Partridge did at the start of his presentation was to play one of the most extraordinary and dramatic bagpipes I have seen; the bag was an entire animal skin, complete with legs and tail, with only the head being replaced by the chanter.Read more »
Images to follow On the Facebook page of l’Atelier d’un Souffle à l’autre, run by Remy Dubois and Olle Geris, you can regularly see detailed photos with the title: “Ce matin à l’atelier …” “This morning in the workshop…” Through these photographs, you can more or less follow the painstakingly precise way in which bagpipes are made. Intriguing, all that fine turning, drilling and cutting work by skilled instrument makers who are clearly working with heart and soul, to please musicians with their exquisite wind instruments.Read more »
Julian Goodacre turned 70 this year and turned his first set of bagpipes in 1983. Since then he has gone on to research and develop a wide range of distinctive pipes for which he has received international recognition. He is a founder member of The Bagpipe Society where he is well known for his enthusiasm, generosity and offbeat sense of humour. He was on the committee of the Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society for 14 years and their President for 3 years.Read more »
Paulo is from Lisbon in Portugal and is a musician, teacher, researcher, disseminator, composer and instrument maker, specialising in the Gaita de Fole, an instrument he began to play in the early 1980s. In 1983 joined the pop-rock group “Sétima Legião” and a year later “Anaquiños da Terra” a Lisbon based Galician music and dance group. He was a co-founder of the traditional-folk musical group “Gaiteiros de Lisboa” in 1992 and then in 1992, went on to co-found the Portuguese bagpipe society ADGF - Associação Portuguesa para o Estudo e Divulgação da Gaita de Foles”.Read more »
Paul Saunders, more commonly known as wynndebagge, is a veteran of the costumed performance scene. Having first picked up pipes in the 90s, this year he’s celebrating 25 years in the business. He came from a theatrical background – his Great Aunt Florence was a Shakespearian leading lady at the Old Vic who married John Laurie, (Private Frazer in Dad’s Army). His maternal grandmother taught him pace-egging and mummers’ songs at the kitchen sink and made their own entertainment gathered round the piano.Read more »
Images to follow The Amazing Airbags, an orchestra of children aged 9 -14, is a project of bagpiper Birgit Bornauw, Master in Bagpipes at the Lemmensinstituut, Leuven, Belgium, allied with the Academies of Ghent and Ypres. She also teaches in workshops throughout Europe. Here is their story. Bagpiping is not really traditional in Belgium and it’s impossible to compare it to Scotland or Galicia for example. Today we are playing bagpipes due to the musicians who started to rebuild traditional instruments - which had been completely lost - during the Folkrevival in the ’60 and ’70.Read more »
Images to follow Editor’s note: This review was submitted at the beginning of 2020 but I held it back on the basis that promoting a winter/Christmas CD in the Spring edition isn’t going to help sales! Spoiler alert! This CD review will make your bank balance shrink! It is nearing the end of January, and the memories of another Christmas and another Christmastide are fading as fast as the daylight increases.Read more »
Images to follow Duo Macke-Bornauw’s second CD (after 2016’s It’s Baroque to my Ears) continues the couple’s reinvention of the baroque, mixing traditional pipe tunes with early music in a way that might shock HIP purists but refreshes the parts some performances never reach. Pipes (Breughel pipes and musette de cour) and accordion make a true combination of equals, with voetbas (foot-played accordion) adding deeper support. The combination of free reeds and bagpipe reeds works excellently, with at times almost a fairground organ sonority, at other times a much more pipes-forward edginess.Read more »
Images to follow Amazing Airbags is the premier band of young pipers in Belgium. Led by artistic director, piper and teacher Birgit Bornauw, the album showcases the talent of a group of 9 to 14 year olds. Birgit, with Benjamin Macke, have chosen and arranged a good range of music for the ‘pipes that is just right for the young players – enough challenge to make sure they try some different techniques and time signatures (schottische, jigs, reels, waltz, bourrées…) while being fun to play.Read more »
Images to follow No edition of Chanter focusing on the music and personalities of Belgium could pass by without mentioning Blowout favourites, Remi Decker and Griff Trio. Remi has visited the Blowout on a couple of occasions, once solo and then again with his group, Griff Trio. Both times he left a lasting impression – a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, an inspiring teacher all mixed together with sheer musical skill.Read more »
Images to follow Zofia Kolbe-Wojdyr (bagpipes, shawms, recorders, percussion) is immersed in World Music and she searches for and is fascinated by the oldest sounds of music from Europe, the Mediterranean region and countries of Middle East and West Asia. She has participated in a numerous old world and world music workshops, most notably the ‘Labyrinth’ Musical Workshop in Crete, run by Ross Daly. She is a co-founder of ‘Mosaik’, a group combining Polish traditional music with Oriental influences, with four albums and numerous concerts in Poland (incl.Read more »
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