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Can my bagpipes kill me like the newspaper says?

While you shouldn’t believe everything you read, should you believe the newspaper articles saying that a man died from the fungi and yeast that was living in his bagpipes making it back into his lung?

I can’t speak for that man.  I suspect he had the fungi in his lungs and blew them into his pipes rather than the other way around.  Consider:

  1. Pipers blow into their pipes, and do not breath in through the pipes (if they do they are doing it wrong).
  2. The bagpipe blowstick has a 1 way valve in it.  Why?  Because we need to breath in on a regular basis while playing.  If the air is coming back out of the blowstick the air pressure drops and the reeds stop.  Brand new beginners might suffer this for a week or two until they see their instructor next, but someone who has been playing a while certainly won’t.
  3. Most pipers are now playing hybrid or synthetic bags, so there is neither a whole bunch of leather nor the “natural” gunk in certain brands of seasoning for the fungi etc to really grow in well.  If you use a synthetic seasoning like I do (it is a petroleum jelly that you heat to a liquid) I don’t expect the fungi grows well in it.

So I would say the doctor’s reports of the cause of his death has the order of events wrong.  But if you are concerned about it, I can help you out with a new bag, new seasoning and any other bagpipe maintenance you require.

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Do you know what Victoria Day and the Bagpipes have in common?

Victoria Day is a holiday in Canada originally celebrating the birthday of Queen Victoria.  Over time it has become the official birthday of the reigning sovereign of Canada.  (Parts of Scotland also celebrate the day).  In 1904 it was declared Empire Day throughout the British Empire (later renamed Commonwealth Day).

So how does this tie into the Bagpipes?  While visiting one of her nobility, Queen Victoria discovered that noble had his own piper, and she greatly liked the idea.  Shortly thereafter, the position of Piper to the Sovereign was created as a member of her household.

In honour of Victoria Day, we are pleased to offer specials on Bagpipes and bagpipe related items.  See our online shop for discounts on Bagpipe and related items!