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The sound of roots: the Irish tradition of uilleann piping

In this video, we take a look at the uilleann piping of Ireland, which, today, comes under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Uilleann piping is a musical practice that uses a particular type of bagpipe – known as the ‘uilleann’, ‘Irish’ or ‘union’ pipes – to play Irish music. Their tone is unlike that of many other forms of bagpipes, with a different harmonic structure, sounding sweeter and quieter than many other bagpipes, such as the Great Irish warpipes, Great Highland bagpipes or the Italian zampognas.

Earlier known in English as “union pipes”, their current name is a partial translation of the Irish language terms píobaí uilleann (literally, “pipes of the elbow”), from their method of inflation. The pipes are often played indoors, and are almost always played sitting down.

Uillean pipes are a highly-developed instrument with strong roots dating back many generations, and their bearers and practitioners are dispersed throughout the world. The greatest concentration of uillean pipers, however, are drawn from Ireland and Irish communities abroad.

Beyond the musical appeal, uilleann piping has always had an integral social role in life events, such as marriages and funerals, where it provides a sense of rootedness and a connection to the past.

View the original video here.

Good Living is the Cyprus Mail’s portal of curated content from across the internet, showcasing local and global ideas, cultural highlights, and scientific and technological developments to inspire a sustainable life.

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