Sunday, March 30, 2014

This is an excerpt from an article for the famous kaba-bagpipe player and maker Georgi Markov Gogov.

"The bagpipe master (bai Georgi Markov Gogov from Kremene village)

His father, Marko, had a vocation for the bagpipe and he himself made new bagpipes for the shepherds who tended his flock. The tools that he used to make the bagpipes are still kept as a dear memory.
His son, Georgi, inherited the talent and perfected the craft even further.
As a young boy Georgi loved greatly bagpipe and clarinetto playing. He found experienced master players  and started learning. He practiced while he was with the sheep flocks up in the mountains. At that time there was no bagpipe at his home so the young Georgi secretly exchanged two sheep from his father’s heard for a bagpipe. Later his parents found out about this and scolded him. He had to return the bagpipe and take the sheep back.
This saddened him but also strengthened his desire for the bagpipe. He borrowed others’ bagpipes in order to play.
Later he went to the town of Devin where he did his military service. While there he gathered materials and using only a knife, a saw and a file he made a bagpipe for himself and started playing for the soldiers and the officers. It was 1936. He played with his bagpipe for all kinds of festivals and parties and entertained the young people for which they respected him greatly. In the next year he was sent to a small military base on the border with Greece where he continued playing and entertaining his fellow soldiers. At some point he even lost his bagpipe but then made another one. When he was done with his military service he left the bagpipe as a gift to the military base. Back in his home village he started working as a carter but he did not forget his bagpipe.
When he had spare time he made beautiful bagpipes and kavals (flutes). In time he got all the instruments he needed. Georgi has been making instruments ever since.
In his workshop he has a work bench, a lathe, saws, knifes, files, drills, sand papers, clamps and much more. In order to make a good bagpipe, both in appearance and in sound, the craftsman needs:
a bag, made out of goat skin that has been sheared and salted; strong, hollow horns; wood that can be plum, dog tree, acacia, pear. Only the core of the trees is useful for instrument-making. Sometimes the bagpipe is decorated with horn.
When you  look at how skillfully Georgi works with the different machines, how he  files, polishes and decorates the different parts of the bagpipe: chanter, blowpipe, drone, you cannot help but feel somehow glad that in this small village there is somebody who makes the famous kaba-bagpipes. If Georgi has orders for other types of bagpipes he makes them, too.
In order to make a proper bagpipe according to the wishes of the player, one must have a great ”murafet” (skillfulness and patience). Not everybody is fit for this job. When tuning the holes of the chanter the craftsman should think and measure and mark not once or twice but many, many times. He must possess dexterity and resourcefulness.
The most important thing for the craftsman is to have “merak”(great desire).
Georgi Markov makes also kavals and shepherd sticks with carvings. He is famous among the bagpipers and the folklore ensembles. He has made more than 200 bagpipes and many kavals  for people around the country. He also makes instruments for customers from Turkey, the USSR,USA, France. A lot of people enjoy his bagpipes.
Gerogi Markov is also a skillful bagpipe player. Together with other musicians he entertains people in Kremene during different holidays. In addition to this he is a participant in the "100 kaba bagpipes" ensemble in Smolyan.
All this connects the past to the present and to the even better future. When we hear the bagpipe playing rhodope songs our hearts leap with joy and cheerfulness.
By the way, let us wish to all bagpipers in the Rhodope Mountains long years and health so that they can keep on entertaining people."

Author: Dimitar Vasilev 

“Rhodope” magazine, January 1968, book 1, p .19

Here you can listen to his music recorded by the founder of "100 kaba bagpipes" ensemble Apostol Kisiov:

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