Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Playing the Blues with The Bagpipes: Watch Sweden’s Queen of Swing, Multi-Instrumentalist Gunhild Carling

Trombone may be Sweden’s Queen of Swing Gunhild Carling’s favorite instrument, but she blows some mean bagpipes too, as evidenced by her smoking hot performance of her late father, trumpeter Hans Carlings’ Bagpipe Blues, above.

A devotee of such early jazz greats as Freddie KeppardJelly Roll MortonBix Beiderbecke, and Billie Holiday, Carling told the Jerusalem Post some instruments “sing in my voice more than others”:

When I play trumpet, I try to be close to Louis Armstrong. Sometimes when I’m playing, I can hear him. It’s harder on the bagpipe, for example.

Vaudeville’s flame burns brightly in this consummate showwoman:

I grew up in the south of Sweden, outside of Malmo. Our house was full of variety – circus, acting, dance, vaudeville and novelty. I just picked up instruments from when I was very young and played them. I started with the drums, then the recorder, trombone and trumpet. Then I started tap dancing, and after that harmonica and bagpipe.

Carling keeps with tradition by populating the Carling Big Band with similarly multi-talented, musically inclined family members, from her mother and daughter, to her nephews, niece and brothers.

Those who think bagpipes require a funeral and full Highland dress to coax a tear likely haven’t heard Carling’s soulful rendition of Amazing Grace, above…

They have a reputation as a tricky instrument to get the hang of, but Carling has multiple tricks up her sleeve.

She frequently delights by playing three trumpets at once…

…and during an appearance at the International Bagpipe Festival in Schleife, Germany she left the bags to other pipers so she could blow her horn in a fringed flapper dress atop a bandmate’s shoulders!

What a woman!!!

Explore jazz multi-instrumentalist Gunhild Carling’s vast collection of playlists, including a festive Christmas line up on her YouTube channel and don’t miss the chance to catch her live on her US tour, now through May.

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John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” Played With Bagpipes: The Artistry of Rufus Harley 

Ella Fitzgerald Imitates Louis Armstrong’s Gravelly Voice While Singing “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”

Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” Retooled as 1920s New Orleans Jazz

Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and author, most recently, of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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