Perhaps my favourite tune in the whole wide, sky-filled world.

Paul James’s wild rant*, named for falcons, whirls and tumbles and jinks like the Red Kites I watched playing on the Ridgeway thermals near Monks Risborough one summer evening.

Two videos: the first, dancetastic band Blowzabella recording the tune for their album Strange News; the second, Paul’s teaching video.



Several of the band’s musicians are multi-instrumentalists. The line-up here is:

Andy Cutting (triangle), Jo Freya (bass clarinet), Paul James (bagpipes), Gregory Jolivet (hurdy-gurdy), Dave Shepherd (violin), Barn Stradling (acoustic bass guitar), Jon Swayne (bagpipes)

(‘Blowzabella recording in France 2013’ Youtube video, 4:54. Posted by Paul James, 21 Aug 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhfrhJWR_AE)


Paul James

Paul teaching Falco on border pipes, fast and slow; first in F, then in G from 4:38.

(Note to fiddlers: I like to play this tuned GDGD – gets a little of that pipes/gurdy drone sound. However, E strings don’t last long with all that tuning back up again, so if you want to play cross-tuned, perhaps best to use AEAE, and stick to standard tuning if you want to play along with Paul’s pipes or other non A-friendly instrument.)

(‘Paul James of Blowzabella playing the tune “Falco” on border bagpipes’ YouTube video, 8:58. Posted by Paul James, 28 Nov 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aICsx8Ig820)

* Rant: a dance with a rhythmic, percussive step (not someone having a right go on social-media!)


For more information on Blowzabella’s gigs, recordings etc – and the fantastic all-dancing, all-playing Blowzabella Days:




More samples from their many CDs are available on YouTube, Soundcloud, Napster, Google Play, etc


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Filed under English folk/modern

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