Kiev Bagpiper Inspired by Scots Soldiers

Eugene the Piper plays 'Bonnie Galloway' during protests in Kiev

Eugene the Piper plays ‘Bonnie Galloway’ during protests in Kiev

As violence and unrest continues to engulf Kiev, footage emerged last week of a brave bagpiper playing ‘Bonnie Galloway’ as bullets hurtled past. Known simply as Eugene, the Ukrainian piper gave a rendition of the famous Scots tune despite having being shot in the ear with a rubber bullet.

The self taught piper told the Daily Record he was inspired to play during the protests by Scottish pipers who marched with soldiers at war. He said his experience had made it possible for him to imagine what pipers felt during battles, stating he played to support the protestors fighting to remain independent of Russia.

“When musicians play during a riot, it means the people involved are not terrorists or extremists. It means they are normal people fighting for their rights and their state. I was emotional given what was happening around me.”

After being hit, Eugene only stopped playing the pipes due to the plunging temperatures. He described how police fired plastic pellets during the protests at the spot where he was standing with journalists, saying: “Fragments hit my hands and face but I was fortunate they did not hit my eyes.”

Eugene said he believes music is very important when people are fighting for their future. “It does not matter even what instrument you play but, oddly enough, the great ­Scottish bagpipes fit very well into this role. In most cases I played Ukrainian folk tunes and people reacted positively. People thanked me and asked me to play more as the bagpipes gave them moral support.”

Eugene has been playing for five years and has performed at Scottish-themed weddings and functions in Ukraine. Despite his passion for piping, Eugene has never been to Scotland. He said: “I would like to see real teachers of piping so I can learn properly.”


About Nadine Lee

Originally from New Zealand, Nadine is a documentary researcher now based in the north east of Scotland.

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