December 31, 2023

The 23rd annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours

2023 Product of the Year (tie)

As with the Piper of the Year category, we had a tie for the Product of the Year award. And, also like the other category, the recipients perhaps reflect our changing times.

eBelaire mobile air supply for pipers – Bruce Lazeroff

The first ever commercially available portable air pressure device for Highland pipers, the eBelaire by American engineer Bruce Lazeroff could bring back hundreds of older or disabled pipers who otherwise can’t sustain the full Highland pipes. In age of equity acceptance and an increasingly average-age population, competition-running associations will have to accommodate the device in some capacity. Born of necessity for a good friend, Lazeroff built the eBelaire with all good intentions.

Panellists’ comments on eBelaire:

  • This product may widen the inclusiveness of our art form.
  • Anything that can bring down barriers and help someone play is a great idea!
  • This product will allow many who could no longer play their pipes, the opportunity to continue to be active. It is a big step forward. providing an inclusive opportunity for those with a variety of challenges.
  • Potentially revolutionary for older or disabled pipers who previously couldn’t keep playing the full instrument.
  • Revolutionary and controversial. Bill Caudill’s comments at the EUSPBA AGM were poignant.
  • The eBelaire system is not something that the vast majority of pipers will ever need or use, but it seems a brilliant idea for those who do.
  • While I don’t think it will revolutionize our art, I do think the electronic air supply will help ailing pipers continue to enjoy their instrument. Electronic chanters have been a huge innovation but there’s nothing like the acoustic experience of holding a living, buzzing bagpipe under your arm. Hopefully, this product will help folks enjoy that experience for many years to come.

Essential Piobaireachd Foundations – Bruce Gandy

Launching in late 2023, Bruce Gandy’s online series of coursework for new piobaireachd players is a one-time subscription product that has reportedly gained excellent traction with pipers worldwide. The well-planned and delivered sections allow pipers to go at their own pace, with Gandy’s typical patient instruction guiding them every step of the way.

Panellists’ comments on Essential Piobaireachd Foundations:

  • Demystifying Piobaireachd for beginners.
  • Bruce’s has quietly been working on innovative ways to teach pipers all of the world since he was at the College of Piping. He really gets so much joy out of helping players of all levels progress.
  • The route to good piping via Piobaireachd is now an established fact, and Bruce Gandy’s Essential Piobaireachd Foundations is a fantastic step in this movement.
  • A great option for players around the world who want to understand ceol mor easily and accessibly.

Also nominated (in alphabetical order)

EPIC New Dawn, EPIC East Ayrshire Pipe Band Academy & Kilmarnock Pipe Band – An inspirational recording that shows what can be done when you have leaders with a vision and a commitment to making it happen.

“The Great Tuning Algorithm,” Piper’s Dojo – Andrew Douglas’s coursework delves into the trials and tribulations of getting and keeping the Highland pipes in tune, perhaps the greatest challenge of all for pipers.

Threnody, Mark Saul – in a year of few commercially available Highland piping recordings, the Melbourne piper, producer and composer’s new album – 12 years in the making – was worth the wait.





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