A Bagpipe-Slinging Spaniard Finds A Home In New York Jazz

On the new album Migrations, Cristina Pato plays the gaita, a bagpipe from her native region of Galicia in northwest Spain. i i

On the new album Migrations, Cristina Pato plays the gaita, a bagpipe from her native region of Galicia in northwest Spain. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist
On the new album Migrations, Cristina Pato plays the gaita, a bagpipe from her native region of Galicia in northwest Spain.

On the new album Migrations, Cristina Pato plays the gaita, a bagpipe from her native region of Galicia in northwest Spain.

Courtesy of the artist

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Song
Gaitango (A Cristina Pato)
Album
Migrations: Roots and Jazz in NYC
Artist
Cristina Pato
Label
Sunnyside Communications
Released
2013

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Song
Dindi
Album
Migrations: Roots and Jazz in NYC
Artist
Cristina Pato
Label
Sunnyside Communications
Released
2013

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Cristina Pato is a jazz pianist from Spain who also plays flute and sings. But on her new album, Migrations, there's a striking sound not often heard in jazz: a bagpipe. Pato has been playing the traditional gaita (pronounced "GY-tah"), a version of the bagpipe from her native region of Galicia, since she was 4 years old.

"I think right now in Galicia, there are more bagpipe players than soccer players, which is a very big statement to say," Pato says. "But, you know, bagpipes, they are all around the world, and they are all related to the people where they are from. ... It's probably one of the oldest instruments in history."

The gaita's stark, commanding sound is an odd fit for jazz, but Pato says she's been able to use that contrast to her advantage.

"I think that is the reason I get so passionate about the instrument," she says. "It has so many beautiful limitations that really make you work harder to get things done."

Here, Pato speaks with NPR's Scott Simon about moving from Spain to New York, fielding bagpipe questions from strangers and getting up the nerve to record a Miles Davis tune. Hear more of their conversation by clicking the audio link on this page.

Purchase Featured Music

Migrations: Roots and Jazz in NYC

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Migrations: Roots and Jazz in NYC
Artist
Cristina Pato
Label
Sunnyside Communications
Released
2013

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

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