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Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

In the Bag - Zofia Kolbe-Wojdyr

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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. Skrzyżowanie Kultur, Ethnoport Music Festival, Globaltica) and abroad (incl. London International Arts Festival, Musicport Whitby, Delhi International Arts Festival). She is a passionate singer as well as a musician in the Balkan folk group ‘Sharen’. Zofia has taken part in many international music projects, such as Korean-Polish Jazz Mosaics, or the New Zealand ‘No Man’s Land’ - a gathering of world music performers from 25 countries.

What bagpipes do you play?

I play Spanish gaita gallega, Cretan askomadoura, I’m learning to play Polish gajda and Bulgarian gaida.

What led you to take up piping?

It took a long time to find ‘my’ instrument. There was always something not right. Until I heard the SOUND of Galician bagpipes … I flew away …

Which pipers do you most admire?

During my visit to Santiago de Compostella on St. James’ day, I had a chance to listen to many concerts of the most famous Galician pipers. Out of all of them the one who impressed me the most was Mercedes Peón, her incredible charisma and the energy of a strong woman.

Pink Floyd, Jan Garbarek, Desert Blues.

What three albums are top of your playlist right now?

“Red&Black Light” Ibrahim Maalouf; “An Awesome Wave” Alt J; “The Time” Możdżer/Danielsson/Fresco.

If you had your life again, what instrument would you play?

I haven’t discovered such an instrument yet - a kind of ney flute, I think.

Name your favourite music festival.

Crete’s Houdetsi Music Festival, “EthnoPort” Poland, “Pannonica” Poland, “Cross-Culture” Festival Poland, Jazz in Marciac France, Festival au Désert Timbuktu, WOMAD UK.

What three words describe your piping style?

Melancholic, Mediterranean, ethno-jazz.

Bellows or mouth-blown?


Cats or dogs?

CATS!!! ^-^

Do you prefer playing, dancing or both?

Both :D sometimes at the same time.

Cane or plastic reeds?

Cane reeds. Forever.

What’s your greatest musical achievement?

The five albums recorded with my two bands. Participation in the New Zealand “No Man’s Land” Project, with many famous World Music musicians (Oum, Serj Tankian, Marta Sebestyen, Bijan Chemirani, Shahbaz Hussain).

What’s your most embarrassing bagpiping moment?

A long time ago I used to play in the streets of the old towns of various cities, a lot of coins fell into my hat. But once a gentleman paid me with a generous banknote to change the place of my performance.

What’s the most annoying question you get asked about the bagpipes?

How much did you pay for your pipes?

What advice would you give a novice?

It is definitely worth taking the time to care for the instrument and to breathe with it. It will pay you back faster than you think.

I love bagpipes because…

They have a beautiful spacious sound.

As told to Andy Letcher, with translation by Ishka Michocka.