The publication contains two CDs. The first one features the tunes played and songs sung by Juhan Maaker aka Torupilli Juss (Bagpipe Johnny), the second is a collec- tion of his covers played and sung by Cätlin Mägi. The tunes played by Torupilli Juss are in the same order as they are in the archive recordings. The tunes available in the Estonian Folklore Archives recorded by Cyrillus Kreek in 1921 (tunes 1-38 on the CD) are followed by the recordings in the Finnish Literature Society that Armas Otto Väisänen made the same year (tunes 39–47 on the CD). In order to provide as complete an overview of the repertoire and playing style of the musician as possible, all the recordings made of him have been stored on the CD, including the repeated performances of the same tunes.
The booklet contains an introduction to the life and musical career of Juhan Maaker. A more in depth analysis of the structure and playing techniques has been provided for 44 instrumental tunes and three songs. A selection of colorful memories related to Torupilli Juss, written down by August Pulst, the orga- nizer of folk music tours and an advocate for Estonian folk music, forms an integral part of the publication. The Quite a Pair. Torupilli Juss & Cätlin Mägi 15 information concerning the archive materials used, and the bibliography are provided at the end of the booklet.
The idea to publish a compilation dedicated to one of the most famous bagpipe players in Estonia, Juhan Maaker aka Torupilli Juss, has been brewing for a good many years. While studying bagpipe playing at Viljandi Culture College (now the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy), I listened to recordings in the Estonian Folklore Archives and found traditional bagpipe tunes dating back to 1913. Thanks to a collaboration between the Estonian Folklore Archives and the Svenskt Visarkiv (Swedish Tunes Archives) and the Radio Sweden Archives, wax cylinder recordings of Torupilli Juss were made audible in a more easily accessible format in November 2003. There were all together 38 tunes played by him. I started to play his tunes on contemporary Estonian bagpipes, both alone and with various groups as well as in projects. In 2012, the ensemble Torupilli Jussi Trio was born; and the tunes on their first album are mostly those of Juss.
In order to better get to know the playing style of the old master, I could not help but think about learning to play all his tunes. It seemed such a tall order, especially since these are old tunes rich in variety without easily remembered clear-cut forms. However, I did not wish to give up on this idea, and in 2015 set out to purposefully learn the repertoire of Torupilli Juss.
I recorded several of his pieces in stages throughout the winter of 2018 and the summer and winter of 2019. First I listened to the music played by Torupilli Juss, then transcribed it and finally learned to play it. If it happened that Juss had played the tune on two occasions, I transcribed both recordings, analyzed and compared the forms and created my own version. My reproductions are clearly not mere copies of the old master as my purpose was to try and get as close as possible to his style and feel for the tunes.
During the process of writing the texts for the compilation, I had a great opportunity to make use of the manuscripts prepared by August Pulst in the Estonian Theatre and Music Museum where, among his memoirs of various musicians, he also provided thorough information on Juhan Maaker. Krista Sildoja has written a book „Äratusmäng uinuvale rahvamuusikale“ (‘Wakeup Song to the Sleeping Folk Music’), published in 2014, based on these memoirs with a whole chapter dedicated to Torupilli Juss. Another great resource while preparing the compilation was research paper on the Bagpipe King carried out by Aivar Viidik. An extensive number of photos related to Juss was collected together with Aivar, and they have been published in the present compilation.
The publication you are holding was born with the help of and collaboration between many people and institutions. I am glad that once again the coopera- tion between the Estonian Traditional Music Center and the Estonian Folklore Archives of the Estonian Literary Museum has borne fruit. I am grateful for all of your assistance! A big thank you to the Finnish Literature Society for the recordings, to the Estonian Theatre and Music Museum, the Estonian National Museum, the National Archives of Estonia, the Film Archives of the National Archives of Estonia, the Estonian History Museum, the Tori Museum, the Museum of Hiiumaa and the Helsinki City Museum for photos and data! I would also like to offer my thanks to the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy for the possibility to use their studio, and the students there who accompanied me while rehearsing the repertoire of Torupilli Juss. My special thanks to Helen Kõmmus for the smooth cooperation while preparing the texts, and to the editor Janika Oras. A considerable contribution to the compilation was also made by Risto Blomster, Kärt Einasto, Olga Ivaškevitš, Aari Juhanson, Janar Paeglis, Michael B. Stevenson, Jaan Tamm, Kadri Tamm and many others.
My heartfelt gratitude to everyone! Cätlin Mägi
CD – s to download: