Brìghde Chaimbeul

Brìghde Chaimbeul
Brìghde Chaimbeul © Camille Lemoine

Brìghde Chaimbeul (Bree-chu CHaym-bul) (* Isle of Skye) is a leading purveyor of experimental Celtic music and of the Scottish smallpipes. She is based in Northern Scotland and has developed her own unique way of playing the instrument. The intimacy with which she is enveloped by the continuous, dronelike double tones during her play, as well as the physical experience of a whole world of sound and vibration, are important characteristics.

Since 2014, Chaimbeul has focused on the lesser-known Scottish “smallpipes”, which are played with a bellows under the arm and the notes played through toneholes on a chanter. This tends to produce a softer sound than the more famous bagpipes. Her compositions on the smallpipes are intense and austere, some of which are enhanced by Chaimbeul's deep vocals.

Unmistakable are the young musician's roots in the rich folklore of her homeland, having grown up with speaking Gaelic. A Saltire Society scholarship enabled her to undertake an ethnomusicological trip throughout Bulgaria, where she studied the country's rich piping tradition. She was also influenced by Scandinavian and Cape Breton styles. Rather than write her own material, she preferred to dig up old and forgotten tunes from these traditions.

Colin Stetson invited Chaimbeul to participate in his “Signature Project” at the first Monheim Triennale. This collaboration resulted in her latest album “Carry Them With Us”, recorded with Stetson, which has been internationally reviewed in The Guardian, The Irish Times and Dazed & Confused, among others, and hailed as a great album between drone, jazz and folk.

Chaimbeul also recently appeared on Caroline Polacheck's groundbreaking experimental pop album “Desire, I Want To Turn Into You”. Chaimbeul's mesmerizing musicianship has earned her global recognition; her breakthrough was marked by winning the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2016 and later on the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award. In 2021, she performed at the opening ceremony of COP 26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Brìghde Chaimbeul:
"I see this as an exciting opportunity to explore sound, ideas and collaboration, a chance to try something new but also time to develop what is already there with more intensity and depth".
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