Leslie Thomson (2nd right) and The Sur Pipe Band on stage with Carlos Núñez in Cordoba last weekend. / SUR

Hendrix of the bagpipes adds local touch to his show in Malaga

For his concert at the Cervantes Theatre, multi-instrumentalist Carlos Núñez will be joined by the Benalmádena-based Sur Pipe Band


World-renowned Spanish multi-instrumentalist Carlos Núñez will stop off in Malaga on Saturday (11 December) during his current tour to celebrate 25 years in the music business.

The folk musician, who has collaborated with numerous well-established bands, has toured the world and sold more than one million records during his career, which is something unusual for an instrumentalist, especially one who plays the gaita, the traditional bagpipe of Galicia and northern Portugal.

Born in 1971 in Vigo, Galicia, Núñez began playing the bagpipes when he was eight years old. He studied the recorder at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid and quickly gained stature as a young virtuoso. In his early teens, he was invited to play with the Festival Orchestra in Brittany.

He also met the Irish musician and founder of The Chieftains, Paddy Moloney, and he began performing with them regularly, becoming referred to as the "seventh member" of the celebrated Celtic band. He appeared on their Grammy-winning Santiago recording, which focused on Galician music and included other artists such as Los Lobos and Linda Ronstadt.

Núñez, hailed as the Hendrix of the bagpipes, has already played to sell out audiences all over Spain during his Gira de Navidad tour, although his performance at the Cervantes Theatre tomorrow will see him joined by The Sur Pipes Band, a band founded by Scottish expat Leslie Thomson.

Double anniversary celebration

The coast's first Spanish pipe band was formed in 2019 and their collaboration with the Spanish musician was organised to celebrate Thomson's 50 anniversary playing the Great Highland Bagpipe, an instrument he began playing in Buenos Aires.

An Argentine citizen of Scottish descent, Leslie has lived in Benalmádena since 1990 and he has dedicated his time to teaching locals how to play the bagpipes.

It was during a trip to visit his former pipe band in Argentina in 2013 that Thomson first met Núñez, and the Galician musician invited him to perform at his concerts in Malaga and Cordoba later the same year.

Once the pipe band was formed, Núñez extended the invitation to them, and this will be the third time that Thomson's ensemble will have supported the virtuoso.

The Sur Pipe Band also performed at Núñez's concert in Cordoba last weekend. For the Malaga show, they will be joined by the Gibraltar Sea Scouts Pipe Band and a collection of Thomson's friends.

The concert will focus on modern and traditional Gaelic music, a style that generally refers to the respective traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Galicia, Asturias and Brittany.

"This concert is especially significant to me, as it's my 50th anniversary as a piper. I even have a fellow piper from my days in Argentina joining me from Canada. The Sur Pipe Band, my friends from Gibraltar and Carlos on the same stage will be a truly fitting celebration," Thomson told SUR in English.

Tickets for the concert at the Cervantes Theatre, which starts at 8pm, cost between 15 and 27 euros and are available from www.teatrocervantes.es