The North Wind Instrument Workshop (formerly New Celtic Instruments) began in 2003 when Duncan Gillis first started making and selling The Highland Hornpipe. Located in Ottawa, Canada the Workshop continues to pioneer new ideas in folk and traditional instrument design, inspired by Duncan’s work as a professional musician.
Duncan’s musical career began at the age of seven with lessons on the practice chanter from his father, Allan Gillis of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He continued on to the Highland bagpipe, playing in the Glengarry Pipe Band, the Dunvegan Pipe Band and the 78th Fraser Highlanders re-enactment regiment, St. Helen’s Island, Montreal.
In the late eighties, his interests in the wider scope of Celtic music took him from the pipe band setting to playing tin whistle, flute and other instruments in sessions and in various multi-instrumental bands. It was during this evolution as a musician that ideas for new instruments for folk and traditional music were born. Duncan’s early forays in making folk woodwinds were aided greatly by friendships and correspondence with local and distant skilled instrument makers.
Duncan continues to dream up new and fantastic instruments faster than the Workshop can turn them out. Stay tuned!