Bagpipes Galore Episode 5 Wed, 2011-06-08 19:05

France is host to many different types of bagpipes but Gascogne has a special bagpipe, rediscovered at the bottom of a chest in a Museum in Toulouse in 1970: the boha (pronounced “bouhe”). Used in the 19th century at festive events, it then became an element for folklorisation along with the picturesque stilts used by the people to walk in the marshlands. The modern instrument has been adapted by the contemporary bagpipe makers in order to make it compatible with other folk instruments like the diatonic accordion. It is still a strong representative of the Gascogne region and is played by more and more people including many young talented musicians.

For further reading, the Methode de Cornemuse des Landes de Gascogne published by the Association des Bohaires de Gascogne has a complete and well illustrated history of the instrument and its transformations in recent times both in French and in Occitan (

Many thanks to Remy Palezis who took precious time to explain the history of the boha and all its recent transformations over coffee in Paris and who sent me half his collection of music, or so it seems.
Thank you also to Arnaud Bibonne for sending me the latest tracks of his album.


Mazurka, composed by Robert Matta, Private recording (Remy Palezis).
Bohaires: Robert Matte (boha in Bb), Remi Palezis (boha in Gm), Arnaud Bibonne (boha in D) and Yves Pouysegur (boha in C).

Congo followed by Au Barricot du Novi, boha played by Jeanty Benquet, “France – Landes de Gascogne. La Cornemuse”,
Ocora C 560051, 1996

La Cierva, by Tenareze with Alain “Kachtoun” Cadeillan on the boha, “Auseths”, 1999

Saison Froide, La Belle de Groix, by the Duo DBDB with Arnaud Bibonne on the boha, Gilles Becdelievre on the accordion, “Le Jardin Bohatonique”, 2011