Scottish And Indian Music Collide When Female Bagpiper Creates New Sound

It’s not every day that you come across a bagpiper who blows your mind with the cover of the ‘Party Dance’ from Titanic; especially if it’s a girl. But then, again, Archy J is not your average musician. Hailing from Delhi, The Snake Charmer—that’s her stage name—has a way with music. Her instrument of choice—Bagpipes! “I have never wanted anything as bad as wanting to learn the bagpipes,” she confesses.

Archy who was earlier the lead vocalist for Rogue Saints, a rock/metal band based out of the capital, left the band, then quit her well-paying job to travel all the way to Scotland to learn the instrument. “I knew it would be worth it; something in me was always positive that this was going to work,” she says. “I went to Scotland for 10 days, five days out of which was heavy tutoring so as to make the most of my time there. It wasn’t enough time. But whatever I learnt back there is what you see in my videos and in my live acts.”

I saw Archy for the first time, back in 2012 at an up-and-coming café in Gurgaon. She was one of the three female performing artists for the evening. I heard her rendition of Adele’s then cult song, ‘Someone Like You’, and thought to myself how intimidating, yet beautiful she sounded. She was a regular at gigs and a natural crowd-puller, even then. Today, she is a charmer, quite literally. One look at Archy swooning to the music of her bagpipes, in her red tartan skirt and you’re hooked!

“True, it’s a very unlikely instrument here, in India. But when I came across how a Swiss folk metal band, called Eluveitie had used the bagpipes in such a different dimension, incorporating it into a completely new set up that I had never heard before, that was my ‘gotta wanna’ moment and I knew this is what I wanted to do, to be.”