Bulgaria hopes to make it into the Guinness Book with a spectacular gathering of 333 bagpipe players who performed in front of an ecstatic audience.
By Tzvetina Borisova for Southeast European Times in Sofia -- 24/05/12
More than 330 Bulgarian bagpipe players performed live in Sofia, hoping to set a new Guinness record. [Tzvetina Borisova/SETimes]
Exactly 333 bagpipe players of all ages gathered in Sofia on May 16th, in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record. It may be weeks or months, however, before Guinness determines whether they succeeded.
The event, which attracted thousands of spectators to the capital's biggest concert hall, united music ensembles and individual players from all over the country.
One of them, Rumen Chepov, has been playing for 26 years. "This is the first time in the world that so many bagpipe players are getting to play together. As far as I know, the current record is held by Scotland with 240-something bagpipes. But we will beat them … We will show that the bagpipe is a Bulgarian instrument, and everybody else is learning from it."
The origins of the bagpipe are unclear and are certainly not to be found in Bulgaria. Many believe the instrument first appeared in the Middle East around 1000 BC. But Bulgaria is certainly one of the countries where it is most popular. It has a central role in many folk melodies and songs, especially in the southern Rhodope Mountain.
Pipers from this area of the country who took part in the event have promoted their music all over the world.