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Cristina Pato: Busting Bagpipe Cliche

Xan Padrón
Cristina Pato

A Spanish musician is pushing the limits of her chosen instrument, and now she’s coming to San Antonio.

“My name is Cristina Pato. I am a bagpiper from Galicia, in Spain.”

You probably haven’t heard bagpipers make the kinds of sounds she does.  (Hit "Listen" to hear her music)

“For me, trying to make the instrument work outside of its comfort zone, is always a beautiful challenge. I have been playing bagpipes since I was four years old. That means it’s like an extension of my personality.”

A large personality that has assembled a very capable band to extend the boundaries of bagpipes.

“Drums, accordion and double bass. That is not at all traditional music” she laughs.

She says while many assume bagpipes originated in Scotland, they didn’t. First created in Persia, they spread through the Mediterranean.

“If we go back to the thirteenth century we can already find representations of Galician bagpipers in all of our literature from that century. In Galicia everybody plays bagpipes. The instrument is literally the national instrument of Galicia.”

Musical Bridges Around The World is bringing Pato to the San Fernando Cathedral for a concert, and she’s looking forward to it.

“I was told that it [San Fernando Cathedral] was a very, very beautiful place. It’s a very unique city…it feels a lot like home for a person like me.”

We have more on Pato here
We have more on Musical Bridges Around the World here


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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii