Blowing up a goat!

Over the last year, Orchestra of Samples has introduced us to some amazing musicians playing really unusual instruments, but the Boudègue from Southern France, made from an entire goat that’s essentially skinned and turned into a huge bagpipe, has to be the oddest one yet!

Patrick Oustric & Christian Conejero
Originating in the Montagne Noire (or Black Mountain) region of France, not far from Montpellier, the instrument is also be called a Bodega or in the local Occitan dialet – a Craba, which means goat.  And it is made from a whole goat, which is skinned, turned inside out and pipes placed at the end of it’s legs.  Not one for vegetarians.

We met up with Patrick – from the folk band La Fanfareta – and his friend Christian while playing in Carcassonne in Southern France.  He told us about the instrument and it’s history, explaining that goat skin is used because of its strength, where as, say, pig skin stretches over time.  The Boudègue dates back to the middle ages, and was used in celebrations at large rural gatherings, it even appears in paintings from as long ago as the 1320’s!

It’s use had almost disappeared by the second world war, but in the 1960’s there were efforts to revive it and Patrick explained how there’s now about 200 Boudègue players in the world but even fewer actually making them.  They’re generally played in pairs, or even more, and we can tell you that the deep bass sound it produces is incredibly loud and powerful.

There’s some further reading here (in French) about the Boudègue and it’s history – use google translate to read it!


With many thanks to Franck Tanneau from the Chapeau Rouge in Carcassonne, France.