<== Site of the Week for 2009-07-08 ==>
Salt Lake Scots Pipe Band
The Celts have a long history as leading innovators in arts, culture and technology.
Notably, the Celts were the first culture to realize that one could use musical instruments as a weapon of war.
I am referring, of course, to the bagpipe.
Put just a few bagpipes in the right hands, and you can clean a city of all inhabitants with ears in a matter of minutes.
Perhaps the most infamous use of musical instruments as weapons occurred during the first world war when a battalion of bagpipers invaded the Germany stronghold of Berstauffeneuffer. The city was defended by entrenched troops armed with accordions and a battery of alphorns on the hillside. The ensuing cacophony led to the largest loss of hearing of any battle in recorded history.
It was an ugly battle. At the height of the fighting the accordions started playing polska. The pipers were blaring out marching music in a duple meter. The confusion between a 3/4 and 2/4 timing caused a large number of people to trip and sprain their ankles.
It was an all around ugly affair that caused many countries to reconsider the use of music as a weapon.
It was such an embarrassing defeat on both sides that most historians refuse to list the battle in official accounts of the war.
Since the great war, there have been numerous attempts of the international community to outlaw Enhanced Piping Techniques. The UN Committee on Human Rights has classified Enhanced Piping Techniques as equivalent to torture.
NOTE: In the United States, military grade bagpipes are regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Interestingly, the bagpipe falls under each of the main charters of the ATF. Bagpipe music can be explosive, a bagpipe can be used as a leathal weapon, like firearm, a good bagpiper is smokin' (Tobacco), and a very large number of bagpipers are drunk at any given moment (alcohol). The ATF has their hands full!
Despite this sullied history, vibrant piping communities seem to pop up wherever one finds a people with substantial Celtic roots and a appreciation of world folk music.
Salt Lake City has a sizable piping community and a strong interest in both Celtic music and dance.
The Salt Lake Scots are one of the more prominent bands in the region. They are just rolling out a new web site which includes a flash gallery and information on the band.
Judging from the comment section, trash talk is an integral part of the learning to play the bagpipe. It appears that each of the pipe bands in Salt Lake is significantly better than the other bands in the valley.
Afraid that I might suffer a bagpiper outside my window piping full tilt at 3:00AM, I know better than to say more than general comments on piping. Because the Scots are starting a new site, I gave them a brand new entry in the directory, but left a place holder for all of the older comments. Quality trash talk is biting, not rude.
Hopefully, they will be adding some music to the site soon. Of course, there are understandable delays as bagpipe music is regulated as a controlled substance in many localities.