Not Your Grandma's Bagpipes: Carlos Núñez at Herbst Theatre

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Carlos Núñez plays Galacian bagpipes, pastoral pipe and whistles in "Celtic Universe" with Jordi Savall Thursday, May 3, Herbst Theatre.  (Photo: Courtesy of San Francisco Performances)

One of my most memorable music festival experiences was the day I saw the rambunctious Spanish multi-instrumentalist Carlos Núñez rock out on the gaita at the Colorado Scottish Festival near Denver. What’s a gaita, you ask? It’s a set of traditional Galician bagpipes. The way Núñez plays them, they make you want to dance till you drop.

The musician appears this Thursday alongside one of the world’s most prolific early music aficionados, viola da gamba player Jordi Savall. Savall comes to the Bay Area often, but this week marks his debut at the august San Francisco Performances concert series.

Savall and Núñez, together with an array of talented wind, harp and bodhran players, present a program of works that trace the journey of Celtic people from Ireland to the Iberian Peninsula, from whence Núñez — and the gaita — hail.

Jordi Savall and Carlos Nunez play Thursday, May 3, at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Information here.