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World Music CD Reviews Europe


By Rob Weir
Published June 27, 2006

Bagpipes of Greece

The bagpipes are one of the world’s most ancient and ubiquitous instruments. Basically, anything that can be inflated and allow for the insertion of a chanter can and has been made into a bagpipe. Scholar and bagpipe enthusiast Wolf Dietrich traveled all over Greece to sample the instrument’s diversity on both the mainland and the islands. Many people are familiar with the shrill gáida, which is popular in northern Greece and in Balkan cultures, but on this disc, we also hear the more temperamental (and rarer) touloúmi variants, which have no drone; the sweeter tamboúna, preferred by many islanders; and several unique instruments identified with single regions. This 28-track collection is culled from Dietrich’s personal field recordings, features extensive liner notes, and is geared more toward scholars and collectors than a general audience. Those with a taste for adventure will savor both the exoticism and the music lesson.