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Drone Magic: Festival of Bagpipes

  Saturday , Dec 11, 2004         7:30 PM

Event Details

Bagpipe Music from Around the Winter Solstice

"Drone Magic" presents 8 bagpipers in an anthology of international bagpipe music, featuring "local" pipers who have brought their music to our community. Several of the pipers actively involve either part or all of their families in a rather remarkable achievement of passing age-old traditions on to the next generation despite the influences of the high-tech urban society all around them.

Peter Heelan, Irish "Uilleann" Pipes

Peter, from Dublin, Ireland, first got interested in the "Uilleann" pipes when he heard a Leo Rowsome album his father had at home. Rowsome's son made Peter a set of "practice pipes" and Peter took a few lessons with him at the Dublin Municipal School of Music. He purchased a full set of Uilleann Pipes from Tom White in 1979, and set out to learn the pipes in earnest. About that time, Peter came to the United States where he has continued to learn this complicated instrument. His music is mostly the traditional dance music of Ireland, much of which is very old. Peter resides in Oakland and regularly plays music with his wife, Sabra Daly and their friends.

Georgi Kabaivanov, Bulgarian "Gajda"

Georgi was born in Haskovo, Bulgaria, and was literally raised with music. His father makes bagpipes and other woodwind instruments, his brother plays a kaval (Bulgarian folk flute), and most of their friends are musicians. Georgi plays primarily on the Thracian "Kaba Gajda", made by his father. Georgi came to the United States in 1996 and has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. "Music for me is a hobby - the kind I can't live without". He is currently a student at SFSU.

Mark Walstrom, Swedish "Säckpipa"

Mark has been playing the "Säckpipa" for about 20 years. Born in Wisconsin of Swedish ancestry, he fondly remembers his grandfather singing Swedish songs, and music has always been an important part of his life. Mark also plays a variety of folk music from other countries. He is a bagpipe historian, published author, and founding member of the Sean Reid Society, promoting the history and music of the Irish Union pipes. Mark currently resides with his family in Kensington, CA and performs occasionally with one of his daughters.

Lynne Miller, Scottish "Highland" Pipes

Lynne, a native of Scotland, is an excellent player of the "Highland" pipes. He is very knowledgeable of the music and traditions of his heritage and the place occupied by the bagpipe. He remembers when he was a small child, a well-known piper came to his house to stay for a while. He says he knew from then on that he would play the bagpipes, although it took him a number of years before he actually started on the instrument. Now a teacher at Skyline College in San Mateo, Lynne is also the owner of the popular "House of Bagpipes" in San Francisco, CA.

Ferenc Tobak, Player & maker of the Hungarian "Duda"

Ferenc was born in Kecskemét, Hungary, into a family where music, simply put, is a part of life. His involvement became more serious when he began playing and researching the Hungarian "Duda" in the late 1970's. He has since become an accomplished professional musician and is recognized in Europe and the United States as one of Hungary's leading revivalist artists of traditional music. He has recorded with the finest musicians of Hungary, including Vasmalom and Márta Sebestyén with Muzsikás. Ferenc is a published author, as well as Hungary's most respected maker of bagpipes winning recognition and numerous awards for excellence in instrument making. He resides in Fort Bragg, CA with his family.

Alex Bernstein, Spanish "Gaita"

American-born, Alex began music by learning piano and then flute. His interest soon changed from Classical to traditional. He was introduced to the music of the Spanish "Gaita" while learning woodturning, and after making the pipes decided he should learn how to play them. He currently resides in Oakland, CA where he spends much of his time playing music.

Alan Keith, French "Musettes"

American-born, Alan discovered the bagpipes during his middle school years, and began playing in piping bands when he entered high school. His interest in piping eventually broadened and includes the French pipes, Musette de Bechonnet and Le Grande Musette de Centre. Alan lives in Mountain View, CA, and is a music teacher and full-time professional musician presently performing with three traditional music groups.

Pietro Torrano, Italian "Zampogna"

Pietro was born in 1930 in Verbicaro, Italy. He started playing "Zampogna" around the age of 14 or 15, from the man who was eventually to become his father-in-law, and who also, as a maker of "Zampogna", made the set of pipes Pietro plays on. He moved to the United States in 1970 and is now retired in Sonoma, CA.


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