Published: January 31, 2013

Boderiou chanters from Brittany debut in four models

Two years in development, Xavier Boderiou of Brittany has expanded his offering of self-designed piping products with the introduction of four new pipe chanters, each tailored to a specific need and market, including Breton bagad bands, traditional Scottish pipe bands, solo Highland pipers and a version in B.

It is the first development and manufacturing of Highland bagpipes in Brittany since Dorig le Voyer in the 1950s. Jorj Bothua, a bombard maker, made Highland bagpipe chanters in the 1980s and ’90s, and Boderiou’s effort is the most significant for the piping-mad Celtic region.

The maker of the successful RedWood drone reeds, Boderiou has taken his experience as a soloist and bandsman and put his CNC machine to work to craft the chanters, which are available in plastic, except for the solo chanter also comes in a blackwood version.

The chanters have already been test-driven on the boards by Boderiou, who picked up a high prize at the November 2012 competitions in London, as well as the Quimper Quartet Competition in Quimper, Brittany.

“I worked on this project for two years, after designing the RedWood reeds,” Boderiou said. “I started making chanters for the same reason I started making the reeds: I wanted to make my own solo chanter to understand better the connection between reed/chanter and the sound I could get from it. I also wanted to aim a sound I had in my head for a long time.”

Boderiou claims that his pipe band chanter has “projection and stability,” while the solo chanter is “smooth and powerful.” He cited a particular need in Brittany for a good bagad chanter that is flatter to fit with the pitch of the bombard. Bagads generally will adapt chanters made and pitched for Scottish pipe bands to mesh with bombards, Brittany’s traditional mouth-blown double-bladed reed instrument.

He added that a fifth model, pitched to A440, is on target to be introduced by the end of 2013. The plastic chanters are priced at approximately $185 each, and the blackwood solo chanter at about $385.

Boderiou is a member of the Grade 1 Bagad Cap Caval of Brittany, and has also played with the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band of Vancouver. He said that Cap Caval currently has a sponsorship deal with McCallum Bagpipes and is not playing the chanters “at this time,” but that a few other bagads are using them already.

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