Pìobairean Beaga Bhaile Ghobhainn / The Wee Govan Pipers
One-hour documentary by media co-op on BBC ALBA Friday 1st Jan 2016 at 8pm (repeated 3 Jan 2016)
They’re ten years old. They’re Scottish, Chinese and Nigerian. They can reduce a grown policeman to tears. They might just be the future of Scotland’s urban bagpipes.
“The Wee Govan Pipers” traces the first 18 months of the new Govan Schools Pipe Band. It’s a heart-warming documentary with a sense of humour and buckets of charm – the perfect way to kick off the New Year.
The film follows The kids as they are introduced to the world of competitive piping at the worlds largest Schools Pipe Band Competition. Their tutors are hardened ex-cops from the famed Police Pipe Band. The film gives an insight into what it takes to become a great piper.
The Govan children meet legendary piper Rona Lightfoot, the serial award-winning Greater Glasgow Police Pipe Band, and bag-rockers the Red Hot Chili Pipers. Original music composed by Ewen Henderson of the band Mànran, who also narrates the film.
“The Wee Govan Pipers” also reveals a sparky controversy about funding music teaching in Scotland’s schools.
“It’s quite shocking that 90% of pupils in State schools in Scotland do not have the opportunity to learn the pipes in the classroom, whereas in private schools virtually 100% of pupils do have that opportunity”
David Johnston of the Fair Play for Pipes campaign.
Ironically the current Scottish education in policy favours classical over traditional instruments – so schoolchildren can get free lessons in glockenspiel or piccolo, but have to pay privately to learn the pipes.
The Govan Schools Pipe Band is part-funded by campaigners to give children in deprived areas the chance to learn Scotland’s national instrument.
The film shows the changing face of inner-city Glasgow.
Producer Louise Scott says
“Wee pipers Nigerian Damilola Fadun and Chinese Brenda Sheng demonstrate the contribution of immigrants to Scottish culture. Can Scotland’s loudest instrument help bring harmony to multi-racial Scotland ? Govan was once of hotbed of bagpipes, the cradle of the Police Pipe Band. Now the area is home to migrants from all over the world.The film draws parallels between the today’s incomers and earlier waves of migrant Gaels who arrived in Govan from the Highlands and Islands – bringing the bagpipes with them.
Director Paul Cameron says
“We got our 10-year-olds pipers behind the camera too. They interviewed passers-by in the street – discovering Scotland’s love/hate relationships with the pipes. “Oh I love piping music” says one… “but not in my living room!”.
We also tried a bit of an experiment and the kids had a laugh when they got members of the public to try playing the pipes. It’s not as easy as the kids make it look.”