One of our church school teachers, Laura Holmes, challenged us to make bagpipes at home. We tried. It turns out, a garbage bag is not a great substitute for goat skin. (Yes, until recently, bagpipe bags were usually made with goat or sheep skins.)
When Boykin grew up in Columbia, SC, there was rarely a funeral or a football game without bagpipes.* The bagpipe is an instrument of lament and battle. Maybe it’s the perfect instrument for these times.
But it’s still really hard to make bagpipes at home. Also, it’s a really hard instrument to play.
There are lots of myths about the bagpipes and where they came from but there was almost certainly a bagpipe-like instrument in the Middle East at least 1000 years before Jesus was born. In Ireland, there are Uilleann pipes. In North Africa, there are Zukras and Mizwads.
* The mascot of Heathwood Hall Episcopal School (where Boykin went to preschool and elementary school) is the Highlander. Scottish Highlanders love bagpipes! (Boykin’s family comes from Lowland Scots but they love bagpipes, too.)