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The Pipers

Ferenc Tobak (1, 7, 14), Player and maker of the Hungarian “Duda” -  Ferenc was born in Kecskemét, Hungary, into a family where music, simply put, is a part of life.  His involvement became more serious when he began playing and researching the Hungarian "Duda" in the late 1970's.  He has since become an accomplished professional musician and is recognized in Europe and the United States as one of Hungary's leading revivalist artists of traditional music. He has recorded with the finest musicians of Hungary, including Vasmalom and Márta Sebestyén with Muzsikás.  Ferenc is a published author, as well as Hungary's most respected maker of bagpipes and has won recognition and numerous awards for his excellence in instrument making. Ferenc has a deep consciousness of the importance of tradition and is driven to pass on what he can to others, particularly to his children.  He teaches not just the music, but also the awareness that his culture is special and important.  His children are all proud of their dual cultural heritage and his family is pleased to participate with him on “Drone Magic”.

Peter Heelan (2, 10, 13), Irish “Uilleann” Pipes - Peter, from Dublin, Ireland, first got interested in the “Uilleann” pipes when he heard a Leo Rowsome album his father had at home.  Rowsome's son made Peter a set of "practice pipes" and Peter took a few lessons with him at the Dublin Municipal School of Music.  He purchased a full set of Uilleann Pipes from Tom White in 1979, and set out to learn the pipes in earnest.  About that time, Peter came to the United States where he has continued to learn this complicated instrument.  His music is mostly the traditional dance music of Ireland, much of which is very old.  Peter resides in Oakland and regularly plays music with his wife, Sabra Daly and their friends.

Georgi Kabaivanov (5, 12), Bulgarian “Gajda” - Georgi was born in Haskovo, Bulgaria, and was literally raised with music. His father makes bagpipes and other woodwind instruments, his brother plays a kaval (Bulgarian folk flute), and most of their friends are musicians. Georgi plays primarily on the Thracian "Kaba Gajda", made by his father. Georgi came to the United States in 1996 and has since lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. "Music for me is a hobby - the kind I can't live without". He is currently a student at SFSU.

Lynne Miller (6, 11), Scottish “Highland” Pipes -  Lynne, a native of Scotland, is an excellent player of the “Highland” pipes.  He is very knowledgeable of the music and traditions of his heritage and the place occupied by the bagpipe. He remembers that when he was a small child, a well-known piper came to his house to stay for a while. He says he knew from then on that he would play the bagpipes, although it took him a number of years before he actually started on the instrument. Now a teacher at Skyline College in San Mateo, Lynne is also the owner of the popular "House of Bagpipes" in San Francisco, CA.

Conall O'Raghallaigh (4, 8), Irish “Uilleann” pipes - Conall is a native of Dublin, Ireland, and moved to the United States when he was 26; at about the same time he started playing the “Uilleann” pipes and has been active in the community of Irish musicians for many years. He now lives in San Francisco and performs regularly with his band.

Mark Walstrom (3, 9), Swedish “Säckpipa” - Mark has been playing the “Säckpipa” for about 20 years. Born in Wisconsin of Swedish ancestry, he fondly remembers his grandfather singing Swedish songs, and music has always been an important part of his life. Mark also plays traditional Scandinavian music, as well as a variety of folk music from other countries. He is a bagpipe historian, published author, and founding member of the Sean Reid Society, promoting the history and music of the Irish Union pipes. Mark currently resides with his family in Kensington, CA and performs occasionally with one of his daughters.

Accompanying Musicians

Éva Molnár: Vocal/1 • Mary W Tobak: Vocal/7, Friction Drum/14 • Susan Waterfall: Church Organ/7

Sabra Daly: Concertina/2, 10 • Erin Shrader: Fiddle/2 • Feró Tobak IV: Hurdy Gurdy/1, Narrator/14

Mária Tobak: Vocal/7, Yelling/14 • ZoltánTobak: Drum, Yelling/14 • Antal Legedi: Shepherd’s Horn/ 14

The Koleda (12): Ivan Kabaivanov, Markus Moskoff, Hector Bezanis, Tzvetan Mitev, Atanas Pavlov