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How to season a Djura Gaida bag?

Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:29 pm
by KiwiBG
I was gifted a Djura Gaida by my Bulgarian Father in Law over 30 years ago. The drone, chanter, stocks, blowpipe and reeds are in good condition but as I haven't played the Gaida for "many a year" the bag is dry as a bone. Please may I have some advice on the best way to season the bag. I'm 96.3% sure it's sheep shin. Many thanks

Re: How to season a Djura Gaida bag?

Posted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:44 am
by MichaelLoos
Jim McGill gives some excellent advice here, not only on tying on a new bag but also on the treatmant of hard gaida bags.
BTW, I'm almost sure your bag is goatskin rather than sheep.

Re: How to season a Djura Gaida bag?

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:35 pm
by MichaelLoos
I've just noticed that I forgot to add the link :oops:

Re: How to season a Djura Gaida bag?

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:35 pm
by ausdag
The simplest fix for a gaida bag that has dried out to a crisp is to run it under the tap and wet the entire surface. The water will soak into the skin and freshen it up. Be sure to pay attention to where the stocks are tied in.

Then hang it up to drip dry to the point that it is now soft and playable but won't leave you damp under your playing arm. It should now be very floppy and when you inflate it it will mould to the shape of your body.

After that, keep it rolled up in a plastic bag (take chanter and drone out first). This will prevent it from drying out again. If you don't intend to play it again for a while, then best not to leave it in the plastic bag otherwise mould will set in.

The trick with gaidas is to play them regularly, at least once a day. They don't require seasoning, just regular playing.

Re: How to season a Djura Gaida bag?

Posted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:43 pm
by Goran
Having tied many a bag -- both sheep & goat -- onto my Macedonian gajda (as close to Bulgarian as makes no difference, when it comes to bags), I can tell you some useful experience. Water is OK BUT it also has the unwelcome side effect of encouraging things -- molds, fungi, bacteria & undesirables --to grow on your bag, which can eat holes in ti; make it very smelly; induce variuos kinds of rot; and so forth. I recommend that you invest in a couple of bottoles of 70% rubbing alcohol from your local durgstore/pharmacy to use instead of water. 90% alcohol will also work. In Bulgaria, often they use white wine or home-brewed booze; in Macedonai, I've seen the players use raki/rakija, which can be as strong as 50% alcohol. It is also possible that your bag is beyond the point of resuscitation, meaning no amount of alcoholl can save it. This can be true if the person who originally tanned/preserved it did a less-than-thorough job (there are several methods used; I won;t go into details).

Safer & easier is to buy a new bag with stocks already tied in or else a bag and then tie them in yourself, which I do not recommend unless you have an experienced gajda player there to help you.

Re: How to season a Djura Gaida bag?

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:58 am
by pancelticpiper
I live in a fairly dry climate- Southern California- and for years I played my Gaida infrequently, a few times a year (in a Balkan dance band). The bag would get rock-hard. I would put it in the shower and get it soaking wet the day before the gig. On gig day the bag was lovely, soft, and air-tight. Nothing ever grew on the bag due to the short time it was moist.

Personally I think the ideal solution for trouble-free infrequent playing is the modern Gore-Tex bag.