333 Bulgarian Bagpipers revived tradition

17 May 2012

With the support of Indian spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Bulgarian musicians put their Scottish counterparts in the shade with a world record for the largest bagpipe ensemble.

The 333 Bulgarian folk musicians gathered in central Sofia late on Wednesday, blowing their kaba-gaidas - bagpipes from the Rhodope mountains in the south of the Balkan country - to set the first such Guinness world record. Dressed in traditional colorful Rhodope costumes, bagpipers started with a famous folk song - Delyu Haidutin - which was included in a Voyager golden record with the songs and sounds of our planet and sent as a message to space by NASA in 1977.

The event also aimed to bring a spot of joy to a nation which a survey showed was among the most unhappy on the planet. Having joined the European Union in 2007, it is still the bloc's poorest member and recovering from a deep recession.

"You have big roots. Do not lose them, but increase old tradition and culture," Shankar told an audience of over 4,000 people who gathered to hear his advice on how to be happy and listen to the bagpipers.

According to the Earth Institute's World Happiness Report released in April, Bulgaria was in the top 10 of more than 150 countries which were least satisfied with life and was the most unhappy in Europe. To help came Indian Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - one of the world's most popular spiritual leaders who travels around the world to spread his vision of a stress-free, violence-free society.

The Art of Living foundation is one of the world's biggest non-governmental organization and 30 million people in 152 countries have benefited from Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's courses and service initiatives.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by Paul Casciato)  Click here to read the article online

Proceeds from the event will be used for social projects "Childhood without aggression" and "Freedom behind bars."

Pictures can be viewed on the Bulgarian online newspaper: BNews