Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Breton Piping at its Finest!
Bagpipe Lover | Tennessee | 12/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Make that bagpiping in general at its finest. First, as an intro to those who might not be familiar with the style, there are actually other forms of piping and bagpipe bands in other Celtic countries and regions, other than that what one would refer to as a bagpiping style of a Scottish or Irish origin. A most wonderful and alternate form of the already fantastic traditional Scottish style, is the Breton (That is, the Celtic region of Brittany in the NW peninsula of France) pipe band. The Celts and bagpipes have been synonymous with each other through out their history, and this is no exception. Breton pipe bands (Bagad, the term in the Breton language meaning "bagpipe band") utilize what would generally be known as the basic highland bagpipe used in Scotland, along with a drum corps...However, Bretons also include a most wonderful and ear-splitting instrument that is traditional to Brittany...The Bombarde. The bombarde (and one needs to hear it live to really feel the hair stand up on the back of their neck)is a woodwind also, much like a small horn or a "snake-charmer's horn", that is somewhat related to the oboe..More primordial, and goes up to a very high pitch. A bombarde is louder that a great highland bagpipe, no kidding. A bombarde section in a Breton bagad typically accentuates the bapipes (the bagpipes keep a constant melody and rhythm going),along with providing counter-melodies and staccati to the existing bagpipe section. The combination of bagpipes, bombardes and drums make for a very dynamic listening experience and glorious sound. To hear a bagad is absolutely phenominal, as the Breton style of music (complex rhythms and changing tempos, along with marches and dance melodies)is used in the bagad. Always being a lover of Scottish pipebands, I honestly have to say I find myself listening to Breton pipebands even more, and I can possibly venture to say that there are times I love a Breton pipeband more than anything else (forgive me, I say to all the other Scottish piping aficionados out there). Bagad Kemper has won more Breton pipeband championships than any other band (other than the current Breton phenom, Bagad Brieg), and this CD highlights their greatness. At least half of the performances on this CD are live, or are outdoors, so most of the tracks do not have a studio sound so to speak, but overall the sound quality is quite good, for a pipe band whose history goes back for decades. I do not keep this CD out of my changer...I have had it for four years, and never tire of listening to it. Especially noteworthy are the last two tracks (14 and 15, I believe), which consist of competition medleys spanning about 12 minutes each..The sound is of the band marching into the performing area with the music gradually getting louder as they get closer..The Breton competition medleys continue to crescendo with bagpipes and bombardes doing alternate exchanges (also typical of Breton singing between two voices, known as the "Kan ha diskan") until the end of the tracks. It is absolutely mesmerizing. I heartily recommend this CD, and was pleasantly surprised to find it listed here. It is not the easiest CD to come by, as I believe the label it is on originates from Brittany. I hope that I can just share the joy I have found in listening to this CD along with one of you who reads this and decides to pick it up. If you like Celtic music and bagpiping, Bagad Kemper is the "best". Also a great introduction to Breton music. Slainte, Robin."