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Pipes Galore

gaiteros 300x185 Pipes GaloreLike its sister regions with a Celtic heritage, Asturias has preserved its traditional folk music right into the 21st century. Asturian folk bands abound nowadays thanks to this ages-old tradition that has undergone a revival in recent years. Almost forgotten songs and dances have been saved from oblivion thanks to the passionate efforts of both musicians and academics.

If you didn’t already know, the hallmark Asturian instrument is the bagpipes. And Gijón has a museum devoted entirely to this instrument. Occupying the former 18th-century country house of the Gonzalez de la Vega family, especially relocated and rebuilt for this purpose in the “Pueblu d’Asturies” Ethnogrpahic Museum, the Bagpipe Museum boasts a permanent collection of bagpipes not only from Asturias.

Visitors to the museum can also view pipes from other parts of Europe, such as France, the UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, as well as examples from North Africa. To add to the experience, the museum also boasts a light and sound display that guides the visitor through words and music. Asturian bagpipes do, however, have a special display of their own in which their history and the role they played in traditional life is explained in detail. There is also a room showing other traditional Asturian instruments ranging from simple instruments handmade by musicians themselves to more sophisticated 19th-century mechanical devices, such as the hurdy gurdy.

All in all, a must visit for traditional music lovers.

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