“I love the idea of bringing music to the Nativity… and I wanted to portray an instrument that’s traditionally been used for that purpose.
“My son is immersed in the preservation of indigenous music in the regions of Italy and Sicily, from where my grandparents immigrated. He’s re-introduced an authentic musical tradition to our family by learning about and playing the zampogna, the Italian bagpipe (pronounced zam-pone-ya).
“The bagpipe is an ancient pastoral instrument played by shepherds and farmers for thousands of years, and is used in many cultures to celebrate the nativity. In present day Italy, the Zampognaro (shepherd with bagpipe) plays the Novena, the nine days leading up to Christmas… a celebration and announcement of the birth of Christ.
“The music is festive and vibrant, accompanied by singing and dancing. It’s a time of reunion and company – heralding the arrival of the holidays. It’s the Italian version of caroling – people gather, singing songs passed down through the generations.
“The zampogna is a humble shepherd’s instrument, yet it produces a rich texture of melody and rhythm. I like the thought of this joyful, symphonic music surrounding the nativity scene.”