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  • November 16th, 2015 by
    bagpipes on tartan cloth

    Last week, a musical record that was truly out of this world was set when bagpipes were played in outer space for the first time.

    US astronaut Kjell Lindgren played Amazing Grace in honour of his colleague Victor Hurst, who died recently. The moving performance took place an incredible 250 miles above Earth.

    The bagpipes have long been a source of inspiration, and here we celebrate their long history with five inspiring bagpipe records.

    The longest bagpipe performance lasted 24 hours – with over 1,200 tunes played

    Rikki Evans, a police controller from Aberdeen, managed to break the world record for longest continuous bagpipe performance. He was allowed to take five-minute breaks every hour during the course of the event, which was organised to raise money for charity.

    The largest bagpipe ensemble was in Bulgaria

    Bizarrely, the biggest bagpipe ensemble – of 333 players – took place in Bulgaria, three years ago. A troupe of folk musicians performed in central Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, to set the record at an event created to bring some happiness to the country, shortly after the Earth Institute’s World Happiness Report found its people to be among the ten least satisfied in the world. They even had Ravi Shankar come along to help inspire them.

    The oldest known bagpipes come from the Middle East

    We may think of bagpipes primarily as a traditional Scottish instrument, but they most likely actually originate from the Middle East. The Oxford History of Music notes that a sculpture of bagpipes was discovered on a Hittite slab at Euyuk (modern Turkey) in the Middle East, which was dated at 1000 BC.

    The owner of the most bagpipes has 105 – worth £130,000

    Danny Fleming holds the Guinness World Record as the man who owns the most sets of bagpipes, with an astonishing 105 in his home. The total value of the instruments comes to a whopping £130,000.

    Fleming is a former Scots Guard who came from Arbroath, Scotland originally. He first picked up the pipes when he was ten years old. Unfortunately, his wife Jane and son Logan aren’t particularly fond of his choice of instrument, although on the bright side it has been reported that he has ‘understanding neighbours’.

    man playing bagpipes

    Strathclyde Police Pipe Band are the most successful pipe band at the World Pipe Band Championships

    The Strathclyde Police Pipe Band – now the Greater Glasgow Police Scotland Pipe Band – notched up their first win in the World Pipe Band Championships in 1920 and have collected a further 19 in the years since, the most recent in 1991. The group is made up of serving and retired police officers.

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