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Pipers of The Mediterranean Dublin

Improvised Music Company

In association with The William Kennedy Piping Festival


Pipers of The Mediterranean

Luigi Lai (Sardinia) |Caramusa (Corsica) |Giancarlo Parisi (Sicily) |Manel & Pere Joan Martorell (Mallorca)

The uilleann pipes occupy a unique position in the Irish cultural tapestry, and globally we're not alone in our appetite for that powerful sonic experience of bag, drone and chanter. For the last fifteen years, their universal appeal has been explored at the annual William Kennedy Piping Festival, where Mediterranean traditions come info focus for the 2008 edition. Prior to their Armagh appearance, we're delighted to present this stellar gathering of virtuoso piping islanders in the unamplified 11th century splendour of St Audeons.

It includes the remarkable Luigi Lai, last heard in Ireland as part of Paulo Fresu's Sonos 'e Memoria at Vicar Street, where the hardy septuagenarian held an audience entranced with his mastery of the launeddas, the ancient and hypnotic Sardinian woodwind with its three chanters for melody, counterpoint ands drone. From elsewhere in Italian territorial waters, Giancarlo Parisi is Sicily's leading exponent of the zampogna, the very large bagpipes made from goat hide and often used in the rousing tarantella dances of southern Italy.

Corsica has a fine tradition of vocal polyphony, but less celebrated is it instrumental diversity. A Corsican institution, The Caramusa trio of Marc Vichet and brothers Christian and Jean Jacques Andreani take their name from the island's indigenous pipes, performed here alongside instruments that evoke Corsica's pastoral history like the pifana, fashioned by shepherds from a ram's horn. A similar narrative with piping at its heart runs through the history of the Balearic Islands, where a musical identity staunchly independent of the Spanish mainland can still be found, championed by Mallorcan brothers Pere Joan and Manel Martorell, the last of this memorable quartet of pipers by the sea.

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