All the musicians on this recording are still actively involved in piping. Colin is chairman of The Northumbrian Piper's Society and, along with Jim Hill, is a a part of The High Level Ranters. Alistair Anderson has pursued a course as a soloist and composer and set up Folkworks organisation. Anthony Robb is well known as a soloist and teacher, as is Chris Robb.
The musicians on this recording got together about twenty five years ago to assemble a collection of tunes that had been played on the original small pipe. This was an instrument that was literally a small pipe with a chanter that had no keys and was only eight inches long, accompanied by three drones and with air supplied by means of a bellows. This music had been neglected in thr light of developments to the small pipes in the early part of the 19th century, when keys had been added to extend the range beyond the original one octave.
The collection of tunes brought together by Peacock and Wright and printed in Newcastle in 1800 contained a number of these one octave tunes in the form of dance tunes and airs with variations. Another source was the William Vickers manuscript of 1775, which had been photocopied from the original in the library of the Society of Antiquaries in the Black Gate, Newcastle upon-Tyne. These two collections became the main focus of attention for our musicians when they realised what a wealth of music relating to the smallpipes and the music of the North East of England and the Borders was contained within them.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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