Berea College welcomes the public and campus community to this week’s convocation featuring Carlos Núñez, whom the BBC describes as “…inventive, brilliant, progressive minded and a great showman to boot.” Núñez is known as the world’s most famous player of the gaita, the bagpipes of his native Galicia, Spain’s northwest, Atlantic Ocean-abutting region rich in vibrant, expressive Celtic traditional music. He will perform at Phelps Stokes Chapel on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. This convocation, part of the Stephenson Memorial Concert series, is free and open to the public.
In reporting on Núñez, the Los Angeles Times suggested that “if it’s possible to become a pop star playing traditional music on bagpipes and recorder, Núñez could be the man.”
Paddy Moloney, leader of the celebrated Irish traditional band the Chieftains, has called Galicia “the unknown Celtic country” Like the Chieftains, who became Ireland’s foremost ambassadors of Irish traditional music by spreading its appeal internationally, Carlos Núñez has become Galicia’s foremost traditional music ambassador, a role he takes very seriously. Since 1994, Núñez has toured and recorded several times with the Chieftains.
Núñez mastery of the gaita, Galicia’s signature sonic symbol that dated back at least to the 11th century, has been integral to its rising popularity inside and outside Spain. His ability in fingering the chanter to bend, extend, or cut notes, sustain and change tempos, explore harmonic nuances, and complement and counterpoint other musicians’ playing has been described as nothing short of astonishing.
Núñez also performs on the recorder, as well as the ocarina, assorted whistles, Scottish highland pipes, uilleann (Irish) pipes, bombarde (a kind of Breton oboe), biniou koz (Breton bagpipes), and pastoral pipes (the 18th-century precursor of the uilleann pipes). His impressive panoply of instruments provides Núñez and his audiences with a variety of textures matched to that of his repertoire.