Please note: This project is no longer active in the form described below. For more information about Jean-Pierre Rasle's music, visit his website at Cornemusiques



This is what Jean-Pierre Rasle and the Dancing Drones are offering in: "CORNEMUSIQUES, The Piper's Magical Story", an outrageous melting pot of musical influences.

Based on the programme commissioned by BBC Radio 3, originally produced by Julian May, and selected for BBC Radio 4 "Pick of the Week" and the BBC World Service, its had its world live premiere at the Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, London, on Jan. 2 1997. It features Early, Baroque, Folk, Victorian and New music, with the specially formed Dancing Drones joining the musical forces of members of

Jean-Pierre Rasle, storyteller, bagpipes, voice, shepherd's oboe
and the Dancing Drones:
Matthew Spring, hurdy-gurdy, cittern, piano-accordion
Sara Stowe, voice, pipe organ, harpsichord
Pete Lockwood, percussion, saxophone, drums
Paul Martin, dulcimer, mandocello, banjo
Vanda Sainsbury, crumhorn, recorders, clarinet, keyboards
Chris Walshaw, bagpipes, shepherd's oboe

The dazzling interplay of a huge range of instruments will make this a truly unique musical experience, as well as a showcase for little-known aspects of the French music tradition. Hilarious and thought-provoking readings from contemporary sources will intrigue the ear

Baroque, Folk and Contemporary music lovers will join in this celebration of the wide festive appeal of drone music through the centuries!

"... an enchanting history of the French bagpipes ..." Sue Gaisford, The Independent on Sunday.

Jean-Pierre Rasle and the Dancing Drones' "Extraordinary Story of the Bagpipes of France" will be touring extensively during 1997.

Contact: 171, High St, STONY STRATFORD, MILTON KEYNES, Bucks, MK11 1AP

CORNEMUSIQUES: How the humble pipes of Pan became the favourite of the Sun-King, before its original masters, the peasants of Berry and Auvergne, claimed it back, and a new generation of pipers made it their own.

In a show peppered with costume changes, outrageous original readings and beautiful melodies, Jean-Pierre Rasle and the Dancing Drones travel back in time:
They take their audience from the Mediaeval court of France and its graceful pavanes, through the Renaissance world of François 1er and Henry VIII, to the baroque excesses and the downfall of the French Kings.
They then embark on a revival journey, from Thomas Hardy's French counterpart George Sand, and her musical friends, Chopin and Liszt, to the songs of the Auvergne made famous by Canteloube.
They conclude on the Parisian post-war fashion for the "Bals-musette" frequented by the likes of Django Rheinhart and Josephine Baker, with the new melodies of today's virtuoso players.

After four years' touring, over 200 sell-out shows and 30,000 spectators in Canada, France and Belgium, Jean-Pierre Rasle and the Dancing Drones now present this unique programme in English, aimed at the widest audience, from Arts Centres and Music Clubs to Festivals.

They cross the boundaries of Music and Drama, uniting Early, Baroque, Folk and New Music in a highly visual, fast-moving performance. This show, featuring 800 years of European music, encompassing elements of theatre as well as many styles of music, dance and song, makes it an ideal presentation for an event with a European theme.

BBC Radio 3 "... Cornemusiques (R3), an enchanting history of the French bagpipe ... gorgeous - simultaneously rhythmical, delicate and savage, lament entwined with desire." (The Independent)

Edinburgh Festival Fringe "... Jean-Pierre Rasle ... with the help of a coat stand of costumes and a draped screen hung with bagpipes, pays homage to France's rich and varied piping traditions in a delightful, off-beat gem of a show ... Rasle plays while singing powerfully, with all the moving, timeless simplicity of a real folk performance ... there is much tongue-in-cheek courtly stepping and bowing, witty anecdotes and readings ... there is also a great deal of lovely music." (The Scotsman)

Beverley Festival: "... Jean-Pierre Rasle's one-man show of the history of French pipes ... Dramatic, funny, touching, informative and inspiring, it was great stuff and well worth seeing. Festival organisers please note!" (Bagpipe Society News)

On tour solo for the Jeunesses Musicales de France '91-'95: "In the beginning was the pipe ... an unusual stage entrance and production surprised the audience and immediately created the right atmosphere ... he presented, described and played six different bagpipes in a travel through time ... with, for each period highlighted, the appropriate costume, in front of an audience mesmerised by such virtuosity and warmth of communication." (Ouest-France)

"Jean-Pierre, as well as being a talented musician, has a wide-ranging knowledge of his subject, and sharing his insights adds enormously to the appreciation of the music ... Jean-Pierre is as much at home with formal music as he is with folk. The stately tunes from the sixteenth century Attaignant collection are exquisite ... a delightful tape and informative booklet." (Taplas)

Sound: 4 microphones with boom stands (+1 radio microphone in larger rooms).
Light: 2 pairs of projectors on stands +1 staffed follow-on spot in larger rooms.
Stage props: 1 clothes rail, 1 hat-stand, 1 large table, 1 chair.
Auditorium: At least 1 aisle with direct (central) access to the stage, or 2 on the side.