Ethnopiper has been a musician and researcher of traditional music since the 1980s, playing semi-professionally in the UK and mainland Europe. His musical career includes TV, radio and performances in various countries. He concentrates on the Bellows Blown Bagpipes from Northumbria and the Scottish/English Borders, an instrument he knew about from childhood. He utilized this information into his workshops, lectures and music events. In 1991 he started an academic program that ended in a Masters in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick (Irish World Music Centre).
Ethnopiper started playing Northumbrian Small Pipes in 1987 around the Borders of Scotland/England, playing on the streets, in clubs, solo and with various folk bands; later he got a set of Border Pipes in the early 90s.
In 1992 he moved over to the Baltic States and played Northumbrian Pipes at various festivals and got to know the traditional music around Lithuania and Belorussia. This led to concerts in Eastern Europe (Lithuania, Belorussia, Czech Republic and Latvia). He learned to make the Labanora Duda while living in Kaunas, Lithuania and appeared in the 2nd Minsk “Dudaski” Bagpipe Festival in Belorussia in 1993. He did research alongside Lithuanian ethnomusicologists that allowed him to follow this topic academically. His research into the music of the Baltic States after the fall of Communism is the subject of a book which he is in the process of writing.
Ethnopiper has been researching and playing a variety of the Open-Ended Flutes from Turkey, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. He interest in these flutes began as he researched various origins of “drone” music, as well as wanting to explore the makam musical system that is found in the Middle East and beyond. With a B.A. in Contemporary Music and his interest in improvisation techniques (and after a field research trip to India and Pakistan to research Religious music, Qawwali) he wanted to go deeper into non-European music and chose the makam system, as it is geographically close to Europe and could be used as a bridge to understanding cultures that are too often misunderstood. His research also included construction methods of instruments and he is currently experimenting with making and trying out different tunings of wind instruments. The countries he has researched this flute are Turkmenistan, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. He did research in Istanbul, Turkey, at the Conservatoire (I.T.U.) for 2 years and explored other Turkish music such as the Kaval (folk open-ended flute), Tulum (Bagpipe), Mey (reed flute) and the Mevlevi Ayin and the Alevi Cem Ceremony.
This research enabled him to complete his M.A in Ethnomusicology at Limerick University, Ireland in 2001. His thesis entitled “A Step towards the Ney” is a methodology exploring the history, symbolism, Mevlevi Sufis, Ilahi, and technique of the Turkish Ney. He also fitted in a field research trip to Bali, Indonesia; to take lessons in the Suling Gambu, the long Balinese flute.
After his Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology, he returned to Turkey where he spent 4 years researching the Turkish Ney with his teacher in Bursa, Turkey. He spent a further 2 years in Cairo, Egypt researching the Arabic Nay and exploring his own Anthropological Ethnography into Egyptian Culture. He also began researching “Qasidas” of the Shadhili Order from Jordan.
His research projects in Ethnomusicology resulted in interactive lectures and workshops of various music systems. Using his research data from: S.E. Asia, Asia, Middle East, North Africa, Russia and Central Asia, the Baltic States, USA and the ex-Eastern Socialist Block and not for getting… Western Europe, he has made general introduction lectures to introduce the student to first-hand experience of these music/s.
He has also spent several months in Egypt and Jordan researching the Arabic Nay (open-ended flute); and Qasida’s (songs) of the Shadhili Tariq. As well as lesser field trips to Morocco (2005) and Tunisia (1994) where he took lessons on the Arabic Nay.
He has given presentations in Ireland (Donegal), University of Florida (USA), and Aveiro University, Portugal.
Ethnopiper also plays the English concertina including melodies he has collected from his research and travels on mainland Europe. He completed his first concertina and mandolin CD in 2006, and plays regularly on the streets in the UK.
At the moment he is living in Spain, where he has been researching the bagpipe (Gaita) of the Iberian Peninsula (Sac de Gemecs, Asturian Gaita, Galician Gaita, Gaita Sanabresa, and Gaita de Foles). He is also making wind instruments: (Turkish Ney and Small Pipes); and teaching the Turkish Ney. Occasionally he gives didactic concerts and seminars, and workshops and private lessons. Currently, he has started a novel focusing on his musical research and activities.
He is currently working on a CD of traditional melodies from Northern Spain and the Scottish Borders played on the Galician chanter.