Issue Number 6 of the North American Association of Lowland and Border Pipers (NAALBP) Journal is packed with information relevant to contemporary alternative bagpipers. Topics this time around include pipe making, maintenance, history, descriptions, acoustics, a discography (playlists to our younger readers), and a member list. We’ve edited the member list to include only name and city, and we’ve deleted it from the scanned version of the original journal pages in the hope that those still residing in the same place after 20 years might retain some privacy. The number of members (over 150 at that point) is impressively large considering the relatively obscurity of our art form, and well dispersed through the US and Canada, with a few overseas members as well.
Editor Brian McCandless again provided the more academic journal content, beginning with an article describing the Association, then moving into descriptions of the traditional bellows powered bagpipes of Europe. Another feature of interest by Brian is a list of over 200 bagpipe names from Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, indicating the country of origin and including brief notes. He also contributed an article about bagpipe acoustics, describing how sound is actually created by reeds, chanters and drones.
The issue also includes a piece by bagpipe maker Michael MacHarg of Vermont with his advice on maintaining bellows pipes, and one by pipe maker Eoghan Ballard that delves into the art and science of wood boring for bagpipe construction. A long and interesting note from pipe maker Patrick Sky pleads for standardization of Uilleann pipe chanters and reeds.
Another good read is the interview with Rik Palieri, a player of Polish bellows pipes, which details how he became obsessed with this little known eastern European instrument.
As we have come to expect, this issue also has lots of original and historic images of pipes and pipers of all kinds, and many little anecdotes, stories and tidbits that will enthrall those of us hungry for information about bellows piping. I’m sorry to report there is only one more issue of the NAALBP Journal for us to reproduce, and we’re already at work converting it for web publication.
All the Journals can be accessed from the NAALBP Archives drop down menu at the top of the page, or go directly to Journal No.6 here.