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Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

Starting Drone

Sometimes, as editor of Chanter, I’m given stuff I’m not sure what to do with. At the Blowout this year, for example, whilst sitting in the audience of the Sunday afternoon concert and with my mind dwelling on the need to get my camping gear

packed up and ready to leave, someone I didn’t know thrust something into my hand and after telling me it wasn’t for review, promptly disappeared.

What I found in my hand was a cardboard CD envelope containing a home- burned CD complete with printed paper label with the title ‘Arcomnia’ and listed on the back five tracks and the names of the five musicians who make up the band. Ian Tothill on fiddle and viola, Sian Ashby on clarinet, Andrew Wood on keyboards, Donald Mason on percussion and Graham Wright providing the bagpipe content and programming.

The music as it turned out to be is definitely in the ‘New Age’ category. They describe it as ‘1,000 year old tunes to new beats’ on their website which is kind of stretching it a bit, but it is thoroughly enjoyable stuff and well worth a listen. It may be viewed as a testament to this that I am on occasion still listening to it.

Needless to say, they have a website which you can find at which will tell you next to nothing about them but does allow you to listen for free to the five tracks I was given plus three more.

Historic carvings of bagpipes and pipers are fairly common occurrences on these pages but every now and again we get works of art that are more up to date. One such is this one from

Bagpipe Society member, Pennie Barfield Gillis.

It’s kind of in imitation of medieval church carvings of a piper, though the style of carving is more modern I’d say. The pipes are quite interesting though, definitely suggesting that the artist has a knowledge of the instrument - look at how the chanter and drone are tied into the bag. Plus the piper’s hands are correctly placed on the chanter which would not be usual in a medieval carving. And yet this is still an ‘artists impression’ of a bagpipe. Note that you can’t actually see any stocks, and that chanter - is it a conical bore pipe with the open end bent up so you can see that it is, or is it actually a hornpipe of some kind? In any case, a nice piece of work.

Pennie tells us that it is 8 1/2" by 14",carved from eucalyptus and finished with linseed oil. And if you’re interested, it might be for sale if you make her a reasonable offer.

You can contact Pennie on 01902 340 844 or email

Julian Goodacre has been rather helpful while I’ve been preparing this issue of Chanter. Having noticed that the last issue was a little on the thin side he has been good enough to send in two articles for this one which hopefully will reduce the

amount I’ll have to write myself! Seriously, I’m really grateful for anything I receive, so please send in whatever you have - even something like photos from a session or anything else featuring bagpipes would be great. I know several of you collect different sorts of pipes - let’s have some pictures then!

Julian has asked me to let you all know that he and Pat Lindop are getting married this June. Pat is a well known dance teacher and a familiar face on many a dance floor and has been to the last two Blowouts. Some people may know her as ‘Kinnersley Pat’.

More on the Julian Goodacre front - whilst perusing the wonderful world of Youtube for bagpipey stuff I came across the video pictured below. It consists of Julian leading a procession of pipers, many of whom are familiar faces, round Wiston Lodge near Biggar in Scotland on New Years Eve this year. You’ll find it on the ‘Lakelandvoices’ channel, titled ‘Wiston Lodge New Year Pipers, 2010.MOD’ and it’s nine and a half minutes of pure pleasure - the same tune all the way through which I can’t quite place, but it seems awfully familiar.

Well, this being the Spring issue, it’s time for me to remind you that by now you should have renewed your membership. Once again there’s been no price rise so another years membership will cost you £17 or £9 for concessions. For the US and

Canada, rates are US$42.50 ($29 concessions) for Airmail, $32.50 ($19) for surface mail. Rates for the EU are €28 (€22 concessions) and for the rest of the world £27 (£19) for airmail and £20 (£12) for surface mail.

Payment can be made via Paypal if you wish, just go to the society’s website:

If you don’t renew your membership in the next few weeks you’ll be deemed to have left the Society, and sadly, this will be the last edition of Chanter you will receive.

Fair enough? But suffice it to say, the rest of us will be sorry to see you go.