When most people think of the bagpipes, their minds immediately turn to the Scottish Bagpipes, also known as the Highland Bagpipes. There are, in fact, many different kinds of bagpipes throughout the world. The earliest form of bagpipes in Ireland resembled the well known Scottish variant, however, throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the Irish bagpipes evolved to include a bellows to fill the bag with air (as opposed to being mouth blown), a two-octave, keyed chanter and regulators (the “keyboard” seen across the lap of the player). This Irish variant is perhaps the second most well known variant of bagpipes in the world and is called the Uilleann Pipes.
The Uilleann Pipes (or “píobaí uilleann”) name makes reference to the mechanics of filling the bag with air and literally translates to “pipes of the elbow”. If you have ever seen the movie Braveheart, you’ll be interested to know that almost all the bagpipe music on that soundtrack was actually played on the Uilleann Pipes – I suspect this is at least in part due to the two-octave chanter which is seven notes more of range than the Highland Pipes.
We thought a short video of some traditional Christmas songs, played in our favorite Milwaukee Church, St. Stanislaus, would be a nice way to wish our readers a Merry Christmas this year. Please enjoy the video and enjoy your Christmas with family and friends!