Saturday, 17 August 2013

Summer 2013

I've not really been having a very good year so far. Ongoing health problems with my asthma, peaking a few months ago with an ambulance trip into A & E. But now I'm glad to say the medication I'm on seems to have stabilised it somewhat. Needless to say I've not exactly been very active with instrument making or performing with Estron, though we did have a gig at Fishguard Folk Festival which went very well, despite my breathing problems and that Danny managed to dislocate her thumb a couple of weeks before, doing so much damage in the process that she had to have her whole forearm and left hand in plaster - not the best thing for bagpiping really! She managed it though. About half our set she played with the top d thumb-hole taped over, and the other half she switched to trombone which really fitted in with the rest of us very well.

Since then we've also been doing quite a bit with Heb Enw Morris. For a long while I stuck to just playing for the team, and that on accordion, but since my switch in medication I've been dancing more as well.

Micky, me and Dan playing in Cardiff at our
 friend Phil Edwards' wedding to Linda - a real
Morris do with us representing Heb Enw, and others
from Cardiff Ladies, Full Moon and Clocs Canton. Linda
dances and Phil plays for all three sides...

Outside the Iron Duke in Clunderwen, playing
my French G pipes. These don't have a bass drone
to make it easier for stuffing it in and out
of the bag when playing Morris at events.

Heb Enw at Tafarn Sinc, Rosebush, with the other
Pembrokeshire Morris team - Carreg Las.
So now I'm beginning to feel a bit better I've started to finish off some on-going projects to get me back in the swing of pipe-making so I can finish off the orders for pipes for customers who have been waiting a bit long now. First up was a set of pibau cyrn Danny started for herself a couple of years ago with me teaching her how to woodturn and in fact she did do about 90% of the woodturning. I finished the pipes off for her, doing the more difficult bits. The result is below - needless to say it's not for sale!

Dan's new pipes - the wood is ash and the chanter
is fitted with a plastic Ezeedrone tenor highland drone reed.

She's also had a set of Swedish sackpipa for her 18th birthday. We got it for her from the Texas pipe-maker Seth Hamon who uses his own make of plastic reeds for the chanter and drone which really have a good reedy sound to them and stay in tune.

Actually I was so impressed with them that I ordered a spare set of reeds from Seth and made a set for myself, though I did without such modern additions such as the double hole for c and c# and the slider on the drone. I styled mine after the 19th century Mockfjard instrument.

Like the original it has a solid, one-piece drone and also
plays only the traditional Swedish pipe scale which is
A melodic minor, with A being the 3 finger note. So that's
E    F#   G#   A   B   c   d   e
Again, this isn't for sale. I'm currently attempting to learn to play them as they have very different fingering to what I'm used to, and the music is quite different too. Polskas and such like.
Next job is to finish off some of my customers instruments. And about time too...