Bagpipe Society Logo
Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

Blowout 2012

Blowout 2012 – were you there?

Olle Gällmo

(All weekend, including presentation, concerts Saturday and Sunday, Saturday Bal) Olle Gällmo is a Swedish musician and ‘Riksspelman’, known for his work in playing and promoting the traditional Swedish bagpipe – säckpipa. In 1991 he began researching the Swedish bagpipe tradition and has since become one of the instrument’s most vocal proponents, in Sweden and abroad. In 2008 he became the fifth bagpiper ever to receive the Zorn silver medal and, thereby, the right to the honorary title “Riksspelman”. The same year saw the release of his first solo CD “Olle Gällmo – med pipan i säcken”, which provides a thorough presentation of the instrument and its possibilities.

Erik Ask-Upmark

(All weekend, workshops, concerts Saturday and Sunday, plus Saturday Bal) Erik Ask-Upmark has played the Swedish bagpipes (as well as French, Spanish and Italian pipes to name a few) for over 20 years. He has been awarded the Swedish title “Riksspelman” (“Official master musician”), one of only a handful who have managed that on the Swedish bagpipes. He often tours Europe, both solo and with his Swedish folk groups Dråm and Svanevit.

Göran Hallmarken

Göran Halmarken is one of Sweden’s most prominent hurdy-gurdy players and drone musicians. He was the first to be admitted to the bachelor program for folk musicians at the Stockholm Royal Academy of Music and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He performs with Norsauga and as a duo with Erik . With 25 years experience performing historical and Swedish folk music behind him, he is much in demand in Scandinavia and Germany as a teacher and session musician. PLEASE NOTE: Access to Göran’s workshop is for season ticket holders only

Daughters of Elvin

(Saturday concert and bal) Daughters of Elvin are: Katy Marchant (bagpipes, shawm, recorders), Steve Tyler (hurdy gurdy, cittern, percussion), Jonathan Shorland (pastoral oboes, bagpipes, flutes) and Sonny Davidson (percussion, guitar, saz, voice). The band are well known for their unique theatrical interpretations of Early music. They have performed in churches, stately homes, castles, arts centres & concert halls throughout the UK and in Ireland, Holland, Norway and Cyprus. They starred in C5 Time Warp Wedding with comedien Jennie Eclair and appear in the Faery films of Elizabeth Jane Baldry. Now with a new four-piece lineup, the band are turning their attention to scintillating and original instrumental music comprising new compositions, dance music inspired by the French ‘bal’, and their unique interpretations of music from the later middle ages.

Tom Hughes

Tom works in museums, castles, churches and other historic places using his bagpipes to help interpret the past. He is particularly interested in medieval music and he revived the Minstrels’ Court midsummer gathering in Chester in 2008, which has grown each year since. Tom also makes use of folk tales in his workshops and runs a junior storytelling club as well as leading courses for adults on themes of storytelling, local legends and folk customs.

Richard York

Richard has worked freelance in schools, museums and heritage sites since 1992, mixing music, drama, dance and story both in workshops and performance, as a way of teaching history of various periods. Bagpiping figures regularly in this work, along with many other instruments. Having worked with Tom Hughes many times in recent years, Richard is delighted to have been involved with Tom’s recreation of the Minstrels’ Court. Illustrated talks

Olle Gällmo. The Swedish Bagpipes.

Olle will be presenting a talk, with musical illustrations, on the Swedish bagpipe, its revival, development and repertoire. The Swedish bagpipe tradition was almost forgotten when it was rediscovered by Mats Rehnberg (1915-1984). An ethnologist, Rehnberg found the first hints about a Swedish bagpipe tradition in 1937, through a word in a local dialect. Then, during an evacuation of the Nordic museum’s collections in 1939, some strange bagpipes fell out from a box … Only one piper remained alive at the time – Gudmunds Nils Larsson of Dala-Järna (1892-1949) and he therefore became an essential link to the past. The 1980’s saw a revival of the instrument, mostly thanks to instrument maker Leif Eriksson and fiddler Per Gudmundson, and the tradition is now stronger than ever with pipe makers and musicians both in Sweden and abroad.

Erik Ask-Upmark. Piping Traditions – A Swedish point of view

Erik will be bringing most of his pipe collection over – which means at least a Flemish, Spanish (Gaita), Italian (Zampogna a chiave), Breton (Biniou), German (Hümmelchen) and of course Swedish pipes! These will feature in a presentation on piping traditions, as recently presented at a wind music conference in Malmö. Tom Hughes and Richard York (Sunday)

‘The Piper’s Tale.’ Richard York and Tom Hughes both use storytelling as part of their music and historical interpretation. They will be telling some traditional stories from across Britain and Europe which feature pipers and exploring ways to combine these folk tales with music performances. Workshops

Erik Ask-Upmark (Saturday & Sunday)

Bagpipe Workshop. Erik says: “In my workshops, you will learn Swedish tunes that fit the bagpipe perfectly! The focus will be on Polskas, the most common and most popular Swedish dance form. We will examine the typical rhythm of the polska but also many other types of tunes, like Swedish Schottische (“schottis”), marches, waltzes and so on. Other aspects are ornaments, phrasing and how to sound like a fiddle! Also very important and a critical aspect of Scandinavian folk styles is of course harmony and how to play a tune in two or even three parts. The workshops are for bagpipes with the French-style half-closed fingering and you are welcome to bring a recording device”.

Göran Hallmarken (Saturday)

Hurdy Gurdy Workshop Göran will be this year’s lead at the now well-established hurdy gurdy masterclass in the refectory. This is a rare opportunity to study some aspects of technique from a scandinavian perspective. Please note: admission is by season ticket only.

Tom Hughes and Richard York (Saturday)

Medieval procession workshop for pipers and other instrumentalists In these two workshops we hope to prepare music to play at the Blowout Concert and, if you’re also able to be in Chester to play for the Minstrels’ Court the following week, so much the better.

We will be learning three of the great Cantigas de Santa Maria, suitable for G pipes, D pipes, (preferably able to reach top G), gurdies, recorders, shawms, bowed strings, plucked strings, dulcimers, and preferably an impressive amount of percussion too … in fact just about anything which can play a tune, a drone, or a rhythm while walking. Pipes must be able to play the mixolydian scale of G major with F naturals, and in one tune, Bb’s. Drones will be in G throughout.

Dots can be downloaded here:

CSM 167 Quen quer na Virgen

Dum Pater Familias Non Sofre Listen to recordings: Dum Pater Familias Non Sofre Santa Maria Cantiga 167 selection

Pat Lindop (Saturday afternoon)

Swedish Dance. Pat has been teaching Swedish dance for about 10 years. She first heard Swedish traditional tunes in 1995, and was instantly determined to learn how to dance to the captivating polska. Since then, she has travelled dozens of times to Sweden to attend dance workshops and dance events, learning from some of the best teachers, as well as great Swedish dance partners. Pat loves passing on her knowledge and enthusiasm, encouraging complete beginners to have a go, and giving more experienced dancers advice to advance their technique.

Andy Letcher (Saturday only)

Pipers’ surgery – for ‘southern’ English Border pipes in G or D. After last year’s success, Andy will again be offering individual (or small group) lessons where you can concentrate on one aspect of pipe playing, depending on your stage of progress/personal interest. Examples might include ornamentation, developing rhythm, reaching the second octave, or handling tricky fingerings. Each session will be 20mins and can be booked on a chart, which will be available from 9.00 Friday evening. There will obviously be limited availability, so it will be offered on a strictly “first come” basis.

Ian Clabburn

Beginners’ Workshops As in previous years, Ian will be available to help beginners and novice pipers. On Saturday he will be principally looking at the “mechanics”: bag control, bellows technique, posture and drone tuning. On Sunday he will be looking at simple ornamentation, such as gracing and vibrato. There will be a number of student pipes available to use if you don’t have your own. Please note. You are welcome to try out the pipes as a total beginner, but these are not “learn from scratch” workshops.