1st International Bagpipe Conference - Joan-Miqueu Espinasse - The boha, black sheep in the family or incredibly talented phenomenon? Wed, 2013-03-27 20:30


The boha, black sheep in the family or incredibly talented phenomenon?

Joan-Miqueu Espinasse

The boha (bagpipe of Landes of Gascony) stands out from other bagpipes from French territory, even in Western Europe: indeed the two sound pipes are manufactured in the same piece of wood (Pihet) and the pipe of accompaniment has got a hole of play, providing two possible notes while playing to accompany the chanter. A mobile piece of wood (lo brunider) offers the opportunity to choose a second combination of two notes to accompany the melodies in a minor key. To simplify, a boha with G as fundamental of scale in G Major, the pipe support plays a G and a fourth below RE if clogged. If we remove the brunider we?ve G if it?s open and E a third below if it is blocked to accompany pieces in A minor. This remarkable feature makes it more like Slovak bagpipes with no comparison between these two geographical areas. Distant inventions simultaneous or external contribution in the Landes? The question remains open.
These features have made the iconic boha a bagpipe music revival of Gascony during years 1970 to 1980. Makers have worked hard to provide quality instruments, reliable, inventive with only aesthetics in common with the ancient instruments found.
The last piper “traditional” died in 1957, the play of this instrument would be invented from the 1970s: opportunity or constraint? The primary function of the boha with its pipe to accompanying two-note offers a unique opportunity for rhythmic dancing rondeus and Congos. The only previous record (1939) “miraculously” recovered and reappeared in 1995 confirmed tracks that had been borrowed. Since 1993 and the gathering of Bohas in Castelnau for Rondeu, the instrument continues to prove popular, the level of practice is progressing every day.

Therefore I would like to propose an overview of the boha (territory, organology, history and revival, current practice), an illustrated interpretation of tune and a screening of maps and photos.