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Piping the Blowout

02 November 2006

THERE were 150 bagpipers and hurdy-gurdy players, but none of the familiaScottish bagpipes, the Revd Philip Wells told me. It seems they are tomilitary and intended for the outdoors, while the Bagpipe Society concentrateon pipes and hurdy-gurdies for mainly indoor us<>
The Society held its national Blowout over the Bank Holiday weekend aPolesworth Abbey in Birmingham diocese. There were pipes frothe Border Counties, Cornwall, Leicestershire, France, and too many otheplaces for Mr Wells to remember. They camped in tents around the walls of thAbbey, seemingly unfazed by the drenching rain. Their music was "extraordinarand vibrant".

On the Saturday evening, there was a concert at which the special guest froParis performed on his cabrette (about which not even my enormouFrench dictionary can enlighten me); there were Scottish smallpipes with guitar; English pipes with hurdy-gurdy and percussion; and "pipes of severanations" with recorders and cittern (a lute-like instrument).

Although both bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy were developed in the 12tcentury for use in churches, they did not play at the Sunday-morning eucharisin the Abbey, but played music before the service - including 12th-centurchurch musi

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