David Hannay reports on the launch of the Society’s  manual for teachers and students of bellows piping.

The event was held at the Edinburgh premises of The Royal Scottish Pipers Society in Rose Street, Edinburgh on February 3rd. Around 20 people attended and heard Jock Agnew (left, cover image) give a description of how the idea had grown from an original seminar at the same venue in May 2006, when an editorial group of Jock Agnew, Martin Lowe and Dougie Pincock was established to oversee the production of this teaching handbook, which is the first of its kind to come from highland and bellows piping traditions. It was written by Jock Agnew, with assistance from Martin Lowe  (right, cover image), LBPS Chairman and from numerous others.
Jock also wrote the previous LBPS publication “More Power to your Elbow”, the practical guide to playing bellows-blown pipes now well-known by bellows-pipers around the world. “The Wind in the Bellows” follows on from this, by providing a handbook for teachers and students of Border pipes and Scottish smallpipes.
The book has a forward by the principals of both The College of Piping and The National Piping Center, and is a mine of information about all aspects of teaching and playing the bellows-blown pipes of Scotland. In particular, it is the first time a teaching sequence has been put together. These two innovative books by Jock Agnew - a player, teacher and former editor of Common Stock - are a considerable achievement and a tribute to the both the author and the LBPS.

The launch was rounded off by a last-minute visit from the Italian duo Piero Ricci  and Maurizio Marino, who had earlier that evening given a recital at the School of Celtic and Scottish Studies; they gave a brief performance on zampogna and ciramella, the Italian bagpipe and oboe combination, and the company eventually transferred to the local Turkish Kebab house for an informal bellows-piping session, to the delight of the proprietors; possibly yet another cultural first and one which may well be repeated.

[John Dally’s review of The Wind in the Bellows is on page 50]