“It’s almost impossible to believe you got that extraordinary, glorious sound from those… I am lost in admiration… they are absolutely wondrous.”
Sean Rafferty, BBC Radio 3
Barnaby Brown leads the revival of the northern triplepipe, the precursor of the bagpipe in Britain and Ireland. He also champions the art of canntaireachd, a chant which imitates the sound of the Highland bagpipe, and plays pibroch on a reproduction of a chanter owned by the Blind Piper of Gairloch (1656–1754).
Recently, he began exploring pipes reproduced from Ancient Greek, Sumerian and Paleolithic finds.
“Barnaby Brown was the most riveting, using vulture bones and Sardinian cane pipes to play stirring Celtic drones. At no point did the quality drop below world class, and all of it without a lick of electricity.”
***** The Guardian, review of Wysing Polyphonic festival, July 2016
His passion for giving a contemporary voice to ancient instruments led to three projects with Delphian Records. In Praise of Saint Columba was released in 2014:
“Spell-binding” Financial Times
“Hauntingly beautiful” Gramophone
“quite exceptional on every level… magical” ***** Early Music Today
“doing for the music of the ancient Celtic church what Gothic Voices did for Hildegard of Bingen” BBC Radio 3, Building a Library
This was followed by Spellweaving (2016) – a companion to his PhD research at the University of Cambridge – and Set upon the Rood (2017), on which he plays triplepipes and a Graeco-Roman aulos:
Triplepipe (live broadcast on BBC Radio 3, 12 June 2009):
Canntaireachd (from Band-Re’s CD, Strathosphere):
Pibroch (live at the Edinburgh International Festival, 20 August 2009):
“Between vocal items the “northern triplepipes” virtuoso Barnaby Brown improvised on 13th-century Celtic chants. Don’t ask me how he managed to walk round, while keeping three wooden tubes buzzing in his mouth and conjuring elaborate two-part counterpoints over a drone. But it was amazingly compelling”