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Auld Lang Syne

I can find no evidence that good old Auld Lang Syne would have been sung a great deal here in Mallorca on Hogmanay, the last day of the year. It wouldn’t blend in with all the grape eating, I suppose. Yes, there is a relatively large contingent of Scotsmen and women here on the island, thank you very much. And there are plenty of bagpipes here as well, locally called xeremíes. The xeremía instrument differs slightly from the gaita, the bagpipe from the Iberian peninsula, and also differs when compared to the Gaelic bagpipe. But the origins of all these reed piped wind instruments would probably have met somewhere in the past, possibly in Asia Minor.

Traditionally, the bag or sac of the Mallorcan xeremía was made from a goat’s or sheep’s skin, whereas today synthetic material is often used. The instrument’s pipes and mouthpiece are turned by hand either from the almond trees (Prunus dulcis), the Ginjoler tree (Zizyphus vulgaris) or the Granadillo tree (Caesalpinia granadillo). But cherry trees (Prunus avium), apricots trees (Prunus armeniaca), the Buxus tree (Buxus balearicas) 
or the Ullastre (Olea europea silvestris) also 
provide suitable wood for this instrument. Mallorcan tradition has it that wood should be used from the tree felled in February, either at New Moon or Full Moon, depending on the tree being deciduous or evergreen.

If your lingo is up to it, you can check out many more interesting details on the Xeremies i Xeremiers a Mallorca website (Catalan only).

The photos were taken in Mancor de la Vall, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: November 28th, 2010. The time was 14:34:24 and 14:31:30, respectively. The video was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of YouTube and COLL62.

Moltes gràcies.

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January 2011


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