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The Bagpipe Society

Review: Lisa Wolf - Je suis née en Allemagne

Lisa Wolf-Barbances is a bagpipe maker and musician based in Neuvy Saint Sepulchre in the Indre region of central France. She has taken the plunge and made an excellent and highly personal album drawing on her European musical heritage and family background in Germany, the Czech Republic and central France.

It’s all dance music – schottishe, waltz, mazurka, polka, waltz, hanter dro – played on central French cornemuses (16, 20 and 23 pouces) and Hümmelchen. Lisa also sings beautifully and plays clarinet, accordion and percussion. Julien Barbances and David Saam make occasional and effective cameo appearances on pandero, violin and accordion. However, for the most part it’s Lisa playing and singing the music she so clearly loves.

This being Chanter let’s mention the piping. Lisa’s style is deceptively straightforward, no pyrotechnics, just great phrasing and very assured in the way she plants the key notes in the tune to “sell” the melody and shows how to swing the inner rhythm of the dance/time signature. If you are looking for great tunes to learn and tips on style and phrasing there is plenty here. It’s all very consistent and there are no real stand out or filler tracks – everything is equally enjoyable and well-conceived.  

Why did I enjoy this album so much? The music is infectious and the playing impeccable - but you would expect that from Lisa Wolf. It’s because she is clearly a person of great character who has something to say through music about why life is joyful. It communicates a sense of the importance of living in the moment and somehow also harks back to the roots of traditional music in its earthiness - pipes, drones, some percussion, singing in harmony, dancing. It could be the soundtrack for George Sand’s romantic descriptions of the itinerant muleteers in her mid-19th century novel Les Maîtres Sonneurs.

Writing this exactly two months before the UK leaves the EU reminded me how much we have to learn, and how much pleasure we can always derive by maintaining strong cultural links across Europe - even through turbulent times.

Contact Lisa via her website or buy the CD direct from