In 2016 the week-long School in Barga, the ‘most Scottish town in Italy’, brought together students from across Europe and North America to learn Scottish music and dance, with tutors from Scotland and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Barga artist Keane, founder and editor of barganews.com, documented the week in a series of photographs.
On 20th June 2017, a new exhibition of these photographs was launched at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Keane said, ‘Since the Italian Renaissance, ideas, concepts, communication and culture have freely moved through the piazzas of Barga. The participants took to these open spaces as though they had been born to them. It was in these public areas that the joy of making music was best expressed and best enjoyed by the newcomers and the local residents’.
The exhibition was opened by Linda Fabiani, Member of the Scottish Parliament, who was awarded the Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta’ Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) by the Italian Government for her work to promote Scots/Italian links.
This year’s Barga School of Traditional Song, Music and Dance will be held from 2nd – 9th September 2017. More information is available here: hamishmoore.org/bargascot
Hamish Moore in Barga
Article from barganews during May 2007 : During one of those incredible afternoon, early evening thunder storms that can happen in Barga during the spring and early summer, a visitor to Barga was enjoying the peace and quiet of Piazza Angelio.
Hamish Moore sat outside the Osteria and pulled out from his bag a small set of pipes and started to play. Afterwards he spoke about some of the story that brought him here to Barga.
After graduating as a veterinary surgeon in 1975 in Scotland, Hamish worked as a vet until 1986 when he retired from The Ministry of Agriculture in order to play music and make bagpipes professionally.
Through his recordings, teaching, and pipe-making he has done much to promote the bellows blown pipes of Scotland.
While listening to the radio a few weeks ago in Scotland he heard an interview with John Bellany and decided on the spot that he wanted to come and see the Barga that John had been talking about so feverently.
Here he is seated in Barga Vecchia with John Bellany’s gallery just behind him.
Hamish had arrived in Barga.
This has been achieved principally through his integrated approach to teaching, where the music is taught through the medium of Gaelic song and as part of the old step dance rhythms. Scottish Small Pipes have led the present revival of bellows blown pipes nationally and internationally.
In its modern form it is a bellows blown bagpipe with three drones set in a common stock and with a cylindrically bored open ended chanter. The drones are tuned to the tonic, one an octave below the tonic and one in between, on the fifth. It is currently being made in four keys, namely A, Bflat, C and D. The key of A is by far the most popular and can now be regarded as the standard for this instrument. The scale of the chanter is myxolydian having a sharpened third and sixth and natural seventh. The pipes are harmonically rich, easy to maintain and due to a lack of moisture in the system the reeds are very stable and have a life of many years. In the keys of A and Bflat, the finger spacing and pitch are both similar to the practice chanter but with a vastly improved tone. It is little wonder that these pipes have reached their present level of popularity. Once the bellows technique has been mastered, the player has an instrument which is quiet enough to be played indoors with little physical effort and is acoustically and musically compatible with most other instruments.
Barga School – School of Traditional Song, Music and Dance – 2nd – 9th September 2017
Learn and share Scots and Gaelic traditional song, music and dance in a beautiful hill town in Tuscany. Join us for a week-long School with world class tutors from Scotland and Cape Breton. This year’s School will be held in Barga, Italy, from 2-9th September 2017. Organised by Càirdeas nam Piobairean, Hamish Moore’s fellowship of pipers.
Kathleen MacInnes– Gaelic song
Siobhan Miller – Scots song
Sarah McFadyen – Fiddle
Derrick Cameron (Cape Breton) – Guitar accompaniment
Melody Cameron (Cape Breton) – Step dance and Fiddle
Pat Ballantyne – Step dance
Gary West – Pipes
Fin Moore – Pipes
The Hamish Moore website can be seen here