We’re currently working on our project Orchestra of Samples, a long-term all encompassing sampling extravaganza, featuring recorded musicians from around the world, from Mexico to Senegal, Brazil to France. Sampling ‘sans frontières’ you might say!
Blowing up a goat! Recording the Boudègue bagpipe…
Over the last year, this project has introduced us to some amazing musicians playing really unusual instruments, but the Boudègue from Southern France, made from an entire goat that's essentially skinned and turned into a huge bagpipe, has to be the oddest!
Patrick Oustric & Christian Conejero
Originating in the 'Montagne Noire' or 'Black Mountain' region of France, not far from Montpellier, it can also be called a Bodega or, in the local Occitan dialet, a Craba - which means goat. And it is made from a whole goat, which is skinned, turned inside out and pipes placed at the end of it's legs.
We met up with Patrick - from the folk band La Fanfareta - and his friend Christian while playing in Carcasonne in Southern France. He told us about the instrument and it's history, explaining why goat skin is used because of its strength, where as, say, pig skin stretches over time. The Boudègue dates back to the middle ages, and was used in celebrations at large rural gatherings, it even appears in paintings from as long ago as the 1320's!
It's use had nearly disappeared by the second world war, but in the 1960’s there were efforts to revive it and Patrick explained how there's now only about 200 Boudègue players in the world and even fewer actually making them. They're generally played in pairs, or even more, and we can tell you that the deep bass sound it produces is incredibly powerful.
www.myspace.com/lafanfareta and there's an interesting French article here about the revival of the Boudègue. With many thanks to Franck Tanneau from the Chapeau Rouge, and to the Surréalizm Festival in Carcassonne.