Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paddy Keenan with John Walsh in London Ontario 1st

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Paddy Moloney to receive Lifetime Achievement in Music award

"New York’s National Arts Club will present Paddy Moloney with its Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Music at an evening of celebration to be held on January 27th, 2011.

Most famous as the founder and leader of six-time Grammy award winners The Chieftains, Moloney is known the world over for his innovative and ground-breaking work in traditional Irish music. His stellar career has seen him perform with musical giants such as Art Garfunkel, Sting, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall, Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell, to name but a few."

TBN Makes a Song and Dance Over All Things Celtic

"Contact: Susan Zahn, WDC Media PR, 877-862-3600,; Greg Robbins, 412-855-1330,

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10, 2010 /Christian Newswire/ -- Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) – the world’s largest religious broadcaster and a favorite with millions of viewers across six continents – is proud to feature programming complete with all the bells and whistles, and Uilleann pipes and Irish drums, as it goes Celtic this Christmas with its special airing of A Celtic Christmas, beginning Sunday.

A hauntingly beautiful celebration of Christmas, A Celtic Christmas is a one-hour program showcasing Irish music and dance going back to the 12th century as well as the most modern Celtic innovations such as River Dance and Lord of the Dance. Thrilling pieces featuring the Uilleann pipes, Irish whistle, Celtic fiddles, Irish drums, along with keyboard and percussion performed by the world-renowned Irish music group The Celts are sure to leave viewers breathless.

Special guest performances include a roster of the world's best Irish musicians including Dublin piper Ivan Goff, Altan singer and Donegal fiddler Mauread Ni Mhaonaigh, The Gael String Orchestra, The Nashville Irish Step Dancers, and the Celtic Christmas Children's Choir."

Roseburg-based Irish band delivers spirited performance | The News-Review -

"Six musicians were crowded into a corner of Little Brothers Pub in downtown Roseburg. The Irish pub was filled with people on a recent Friday evening.

“Thanks for coming in and warming your bones on this chilly evening,” acoustic guitarist Scott McAdoo said. “This is a set of jigs, the oldest style of dance music.”

Luke Nieuwsma pumped the bellows of the uilleann pipes with one arm, squeezed the bag with his other arm and quickly fingered the chanter, producing a sound somewhere between a bagpipe and a clarinet.

Musicians playing the mandolin and the tin whistle joined in. Soon the rest of the band members, playing guitar and two types of Irish drums, as well a fiddler assisting for the evening, helped fill the small pub with the lively sounds of the Irish jig."

Utica pub hosts traditional Irish music session

Utica pub hosts traditional Irish music session - Utica, NY - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York: "The sounds of the fiddle, bouzouki, flute and uilleann pipes mingled with the flavors of barley, hops and wheat Tuesday night to create the foundation for a traditional Irish music session at the Nail Creek Pub & Brewery.

Fifteen musicians from everywhere from Rome to St. Johnsville convened around tables in the middle of the Irish-inspired pub with one thing in mind: the preservation of their Irish traditions.

Around them, about 50 pub-goers of all ages formed small pockets, watching intently as the musicians moved their fingers and hands around their instruments, or bobbing their heads to the beats of the jig-like tunes. "

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paddy Keenan, John Walsh performing at Hotel Weatherford

"Irish musicians Paddy Keenan and John Walsh will perform in Flagstaff Thursday at the Zane Grey Ballroom in the Hotel Weatherford. The doors will open at 7 p.m.
Keenan was born in Ireland into a musical family; both his father and grandfather were uilleann pipers. Keenan himself took up the pipes at the age of 10, playing his first major concert at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin when he was 14 years old.
He later played with the rest of his family in a group called The Pavees and then with The Bothy Band. The Bothy Band merged a driving rhythm section with traditional Irish tunes.
Tickets to Thursday's show are $20 in advance ($2 discount to students, seniors and members of FFOTM and NACHS); all tickets are $22 at the door. Tickets are available at Cedar Music or by calling 600-1365."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Top trad at the Linenhall

"Two of Ireland’s finest Traditional musicians, Uilleann piper Diarmaid and guitarist Donncha Moynihan perform at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Thursday November 11 at 8pm.

Diarmaid and Donncha Moynihan first teamed up in 1996 as Calico, a Traditional band that released two award-winning albums, Celanova Square and Songdogs. The band was one of the most influential ensembles to come out of Ireland, touring widely in Europe and the USA. Their latest album, The Lights of Ranzanico, is a collection of beautiful original tunes fused with Irish and European melodies, and once again demonstrates both creative vision and extraordinary lyrical approach to music, and was RT� Lyric FM’s Album of the Month for May. Performing tonight with top drawer guest musicians Christy Leahy (accordion) and Donal Siggins (bouzouki)."

Golden City goes green

"The evening was touted as bringing a taste of Ireland to Prague, and both the spirit and spirits of the Emerald Isle were in ample supply.

Alongside cultural and culinary treasures, another of the country's best-known exports - a potent Gaelic wit - was in full bloom.

Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney 'colluded' with musician Liam O'Flynn in a performance at the 'venerable' Strahov Monastery. 'The Poet and The Piper' act began as impromptu social sessions in Heaney's farmhouse, and has since gone on to include recorded albums and regular international performances. It oscillates between songs from O'Flynn's alternately haunting and jaunting Uilleann pipes and verse read by the famed Nobel laureate."

Piping concert at The Crane

"SOME OF Ireland’s leading uilleann pipers are coming to The Crane Bar, Sea Road, to play a fundraising concert this Saturday at 6.30pm.

The concert will raise funds for Na PiobairiUilleann (NPU - The Society of Uilleann Pipers) to train new pipe makers to ensure the craft is not lost in Ireland.

Performing on the night is Sean McKiernan, the 2010 TG4 Traditional Musician of the Year. Sean was born and reared into an Irish speaking family in Boston but has lived in Ireland since 1965. The legendary Clare piper Willie Clancy was a friend and mentor and Sean plays the Taylor set of pipes once owned by the 19th century musician Patsy Touhey."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Urgent plea for more uilleann pipe makers - The Irish Times - Thu, Oct 14, 2010

IRELAND IS in danger of losing the craft of making uilleann pipes if it does not invest in training more manufacturers of the instrument, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

Despite its Irish roots, three in every four uilleann pipe sets manufactured are made overseas, leaving fewer than 20 makers working in Ireland today, traditional musician Seán Potts told the Joint Committee on Tourism, Culture, Sport, Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Many of the world’s leading manufacturers are in countries such as the US, Britain, France, Canada and Germany, meaning Irish players have to wait up to seven years to get their hands on a full set of their own, he said.

Potts, a founding member of The Chieftains and a famous tin-whistle player, said while there was a growing number of students, there wasn’t an adequate supply of the instrument.

“It’s great to see the students coming at 13 and 14 years old but they have to wait then for the pipes . . . I will guarantee you that a lot of them will go off the boil.”

Potts is honorary president of Na Píobairí Uilleann (NPU), a voluntary organisation for preserving the music of the uilleann pipes founded in 1970.

The history of bagpipes in Ireland dates back to at least the 11th century, while the uilleann pipes emerged here in the 18th century. Unlike other pipes the uilleann pipes are filled by a bellows instead of a blowpipe and have a melody pipe capable of two octaves.

According to NPU, demand for the pipes is so great there is a backlog valued at €7 million. This could be taken advantage of by new makers, should the Government invest in training them.

Urgent plea for more uilleann pipe makers - The Irish Times - Thu, Oct 14, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds

"A SOHO drinking session and Pocklington Arts Centre played equal parts in Adrian Edmondson forming The Bad Shepherds in a union of south and north.

The former television star of The Young Ones, Bottom and The Comic Strip awoke from the aforesaid session to discover he had purchased a mandolin, setting him on the path to reinterpret his favourite punk songs in a folk style with Troy Donockley, the Uilleann pipes player from Warter, near Pocklington.

On Wednesday, Adrian, Troy and fiddler Andy Dinan bring the latest Bad Shepherds tour to North Yorkshire, where the band first rehearsed at the arts centre in 2008."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Key trad concert comes up trumps

"THE annual Ace and Deuce of Piping concert takes place in Liberty Hall in Dublin tomorrow night.

Seven leading traditional artists, including Sean Keane of the Chieftains (pictured), the Boys of the Lough's lead man Cathal McConnell and Altan's Dermot Byrne, will perform at Na Piobairi Uilleann's flagship performance event.

Well-known duo Tommy Keane (pipes) and Jacqueline McCarthy (concertina), Cork piper Maire Ni Ghrada, and virtuoso Donegal fiddler Brid Harper complete the line-up for what promises to be the traditional concert of the year.

While several of the performers have achieved fame on the world stage with their respective legendary ensembles, the event will give traditional music fans the chance to savour the delights of wonderful solo and duet playing in a concert setting.

Tickets are available from the Liberty Hall box office, price €20/25."

Miles Smith Farm in Loudon hosts Fall Festival

"Miles Smith Farm, a 36-acre farm located at 56 Whitehouse Road in Loudon, has been around for over 150 years and has been providing Granite State citizens with locally-produced, grass-fed beef for the last five years. The farm wanted to share the benefits of buying fresh and buying local as well as the local tradition and simpler way of life on a working farm. Thus, Farm Day was born.

Marvel at the spectacular fall foliage while listening to Celtic music as you take a hay ride around the farm. “The Pressure is On” band will play, with music also being provided by Paddy Keenan, an uilleann piper, Joel Barton – a bagpipe performer and Andy Johnson, a fiddler. The Human Scarecrow (Linda Ray from Clover Clown Company) will add to the fun"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

If you see just 100 shows tonight . . . - The Irish Times - Fri, Sep 24, 2010

"Na Piobairi Uilleann is the home of Dublin piping and tonight tours of the renovated Georgian headquarters on Henrietta Street run from 6pm until 10pm.

There will also be a series of recitals, beginning at 6.30pm. No booking needed. See"

Lunasa brings stars of Celtic

"CORVALLIS — Celtic music lovers will have a rare opportunity to hear Ireland’s all-star quintet L�nasa perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Majestic Theatre.
In October 1997, the band released its d�but CD “L�nasa,” a searing mix of concert and studio tracks gathered from their first year together. It was immediately hailed as one of the freshest recordings of Irish music in years, called “moving, pulsating, and thrilling to the very marrow” by Roots magazine and “a true must-have disc” by The Irish Voice.
The album became an immediate best-seller in Ireland, topping Hot Press’ folk charts and nominated one of the year’s top 10 by the Irish Echo in the U.S."

McSherry, McGoldrick & Hennessy - The Waterbed

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Joey Abarta - SCUPC Tionol Concert

Joey Abarta plays a set of reels at the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club tionol concert

Master work

Jackson Hole News&Guide | Master work: "Herbie Hancock could have taken it easy Thursday night when he performed at the Center for the Arts.

He could have kicked back, hit a few keys on his fancy Fazioli grand piano once in a while, and let his younger bandmates do the heavy lifting.

Herbie Hancock could have taken it easy Thursday night when he performed at the Center for the Arts.

He could have kicked back, hit a few keys on his fancy Fazioli grand piano once in a while, and let his younger bandmates do the heavy lifting.

He is, after all, a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, an icon of American music, as close as you get to a household name in jazz.

But instead, for his first appearance in Wyoming, the 70-year-old keyboardist delivered a muscular, intermission-less, 140-minute performance that demanded as much from the headliner as it did from his fellow musicians.

Skeptics who might have been wondering if the fusion and funk pioneer had gone too far around the pop bend with recent releases should have been appeased by the performance. Hancock’s effort felt spontaneous, dynamic and energetic, and while the performers relied heavily on electronics and effects — using pre-recorded MIDI files to fill in for African choirs or to create other exotic sounds — Hancock’s prodigious chops, developed over more than 50 years, were on display throughout the evening.

Far from detracting from the performance, the electronic effects served the band well as it pulled extensively from Hancock’s latest album, “The Imagine Project.” The sextet played six out of the 10 tracks on the spring release, calling for Malian chanting and Uilleann pipes among other specialized sounds. The effects also made possible live performances of three-quarters of Hancock’s platinum-selling album “Headhunters,” originally released in 1973, when electronic instruments were still monophonic.

When Hancock picked up his Roland AX-Synth — an electronic keyboard built into a guitarlike body that allows the performer to move about while playing — witnesses may have recalled his performance at the 1984 Grammy awards. Back then, he performed his hit “Rockit” on the then-unusual instrument. Some critics derided the electrical-engineering-major-turned-jazz-musician’s instrument choice as a gimmick, but 26 years later, the crowd at the Center Theater hooted as Hancock strutted the stage, trading licks with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and bassist Pino Palladino, as much to his own delight as to that of the audience.

Other highlights from the evening included a far-ranging version of his 1964 favorite “Cantaloupe Island”; Kristina Train’s heart-melting performance of Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark,” from Hancock’s 2007 Best Album Grammy-winning disc “The River”; and a warm and romantic solo that stripped away all the effects and showed what Hancock could do with just 88 keys and 10 fingers. Hiss from the sound system was an unfortunate distraction during the solo, but the pianist’s stage presence prevailed.

Hancock addressed the crowd directly a number of times, cracking up himself, his band and his audience with his patter. A standing ovation elicited a lengthy encore that started with “Chameleon,” possibly his most-recognized piece of music. At the end of the concert, the band — which also featured guitarist Lionel Loueke and second keyboardist/vocalist Greg Phillinganes — prostrated themselves before the jazz hero while the wildly appreciative audience cheered long and loud.

Palladino expressed his own awe for the bandleader after the concert, saying Thursday’s performance was not out of the ordinary for this tour.

“He pushes us every night,” he said, his smile telegraphing his delight with the results.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Uilleann pipes presentation by Fulbright scholar

The Irish Emigrant: "The Institute for Irish-American Studies is happy to announce that its first event of the Fall Semester will be a presentation regarding the uilleann pipes by Siobh�n N�Mhaolag�in. Siobh�n comes from a strong piping tradition with which the Mulligan family is associated and she will be spending this academic year at Lehman College as a Fulbright Irish language instructor. The presentation will take place on Thursday, September 2nd, at 1:30pm at the Riverdale Senior Center, Century Building (side entrance), 2600 Netherland Avenue, Riverdale, in the Bronx. Seating is limited for this free event and reservations are required. Please phone (718) 960-6722 or e-mail . This event is co-sponsored by the CUNY-IIAS and the Irish & Irish-American Group of the Riverdale Senior Center."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Inspirational Cork figure supplied instruments to musicians

"Michael Crowley:�NOT SURPRISINGLY, musicians from all parts of Ireland attended the funeral of Michael Crowley, the owner of a Cork institution, Crowley’s Music Centre on McCurtain Street in the heart of the city, who has died at the age of 69.

It was from Michael Crowley that Rory Gallagher, renowned blues-rock electric guitar player, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader, got his first small acoustic guitar.

It was also at Crowley’s that 15-year-old Gallagher later bought the famous “Strat”, the emblematic 1961 Fender Stratocaster that became the trademark of his distinctive style. A sculpture of the much-battered and stained electric guitar, reputedly the first of its kind in Ireland, is to be seen in Paul Street on the other side of the Lee.

The story goes that Jim Connolly, a member of the Irish Show Band, originally ordered a cherry-red Strat and so, when a “sunburst” version arrived from Fender, he decided not to buy it. Crowley put the gleaming instrument in the shop window as secondhand, with a price tag of just under �100, a lot of money for a teenager in 1963."

Too Long in This Condition

Alasdair Roberts & Friends: Too Long in This Condition | CD review | Music | The Guardian: "Scotsman Alasdair Roberts is a cult hero thanks to his highly individual, bleak or quirky songs – with influences that range from ancient Celtic ballads to Robin Williamson – and to his equally original treatment of traditional songs. Last year, he released an album of his own material, Spoils. Now comes a new and typically surprising album of folk songs. It's unexpected not only because of the songs he chooses – which include folk favourites such as Barbara Allen, The Golden Vanity and Long Lankin – but also the jaunty backing for what are often tragic or gory lyrics. He succeeds because he is a fine storyteller, making even the best-known song sound as if he wrote it, and he uses the instrumentation to good effect, so the almost cheerful fiddle work on Little Sir Hugh makes this story of child murder even more horrific. Elsewhere, Roberts mixes his own fine guitar playing and understated vocals with uilleann pipes on�Who Put the Blood on Your Right Shoulder, Son?, edges towards stomping folk-rock in The Burning of Auchindoun, and is helped by some impressive vocal back-up from Emily Portman on several songs, including The Daemon Lover. It's his most�accessible album to date."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Sean Reid Society

"The Sean Reid society is dedicated to the study of the Irish Union or Uilleann pipes: their music, history, and science. The Society is independent and non-commercial. The Journal's aim is to ensure that the knowledge we have attained since Sean Reid made the statement above is not lost, and that it is published for the use of all with an interest in this most remarkable and advanced musical instrument."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The Lights of Ranzanico
Own Label DMCD001
10 tracks, 40 minutes

This recording is close to perfection. Cork piper Diarmaid Moynihan is one of the most talented players of his generation, and a prolific and respected composer, who gained global recognition with the band Calico. Donncha was also a key component of Calico, playing guitar and bouzouki, after a spell with all-girl group Calando. I think the beard gave him away in the end. Interestingly, his colleague in another band based on long blond hair has just surfaced with The London Lasses: Elma McElligott played flute with Donncha in the group Tassida. Be that as it may, the Moynihan brothers make a tight and intuitive duo here. Diarmaid’s pipes are in fantastic form - just listen to his air Pairc na Marbh, and Donncha’s accompaniment on the following reels is spot on. The guitar on Donncha’s own tune Long Haul Hush perfectly complements Diarmaid’s whistle. I could listen to their duets for the whole album: Diarmaid’s dreamy slow reel Ivory Lady recorded recently by Lúnasa, old reels and jigs incisively played on pipes and whistle, and another of Donncha’s airs on solo guitar. But there’s much, much more here.

First, the Moynihan lads are joined by ace Galician piper Anxo Lorenzo for a stupendous opening track. Tejedor’s great Spanish jig Barralin leads into the title tune (another of Diarmaid’s), and then Mairtin O’Connor’s supercharged Rockin’ the Boat. Somehow, just two pipers manage to sound like a full pipe band on the Breton march Pont de Loudeac. North Cregg’s box-player, Christy Leahy adds his mighty punch to another pair of Diarmaid’s tunes, La Tramontana and Shoulder Dancing, and to a set of traditional reels. There are also some nice touches of trumpet, piano, bass and percussion at various points. In between, Diarmaid delivers another gorgeous slow air and a rather funky reel, and the brothers are joined by their sister Deirdre for a fresh take on the Calico favourite Covering Ground. It’s all stirring stuff, and I can’t see how it could have been better, unless there was more of it.

The Lights of Ranzanico is an album to be seized upon, greedily devoured or lovingly cherished: a highlight of the year.

Alex Monaghan Irish Music Magazine

Friday, June 18, 2010

Michael Vignoles - Bodhran and Uilleann Pipe maker

Michael Vignoles is one of a rare breed of craftsmen left in Galway, with the musical instruments born from his Claddagh workshop gracing musicians' shelves across the world.

Born and reared on the cusp of Galway Bay, Michael Vignoles was ensconced in music from his first breath. His mother and father were both excellent vocalists with the melodic notes of Frank Sinatra bouncing form all corners of their Claddagh home."

"When I was growing up, I was really heavily influenced by the radio and groups like Planxty, The Chieftains and The Dubliners. When you listen to that every day something is bound to trip your soul and the sound of the pipes from Planxty really caught me.

"In my 20s, Reilly's on Forster Street was a great place to go to for a session. The best musicians would go there. I would go in with my tape recorder and try and learn the tunes from that. I was self taught to start off, I suppose."

After catching the uileann pipe bug, Michael set about getting his own set. It was during this process that he bumped into Eugene Lambe from Fanore, Co. Clare, who introduced him to the art of pipe building.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Trad music in Strokestown Park House

Roscommon Arts Centre's traditional music programme, taking place in Strokestown Park House is already a great success and this month will not be an exception. Renowned uilleann piper Tiarnan O'Duinnchinn & harpist Laoise Kelly will play in the galley kitchen of this historic house on Thursday 24th June to the delight of both traditional music enthusiasts and novices.

Tiarnán O'Duinnchinn is an award-winning uilleann piper from Monaghan who started playing the pipes when he was around nine years of age in The Armagh Pipers Club. He has won 4 Fleadh Ceoil (Ist place) All-Ireland titles -and two Oireachtas titles. Tiarnán has been touring and performing professionally on a regular basis since 1995 both as a member of various bands and as a solo performer. His music has taken him to Europe, United States, Asia, Africa, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Tiarnán toured extensively with Máire Ní Bhraonáin (Clannad) from 1997-2001 and recorded two albums with Máire during that time. He has recorded with many different artists, between CDs, TV advertisements and his music has featured on two films.

In 2010, Tiarnán recorded on ‘Music of Ireland' in the USA with artists, Seamus Begley, Dónal Lunny, Paul Brady, Shane McGowan (Pogues), Sinéad O Connor, Damien Dempsey, Liam O Maonlaí, Glen Hansard and many more Irish musicians.

Laoise Kelly will play alongside Tiarnan for this session in Strokestown Park House. Laoise is widely acknowledged as one of Ireland's most acclaimed traditional harpers. She has pioneered a new style of traditional harping which has seen her represent Ireland at the World Harp Festival in Paraguay as well as touring in Africa, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, America and Canada.

She was a founding member of traditional group ‘The Bumblebees' with whom she recorded two albums and toured extensively. Throughout her solo career she has recorded with many of Ireland's foremost artists including The Chieftains, Sinéad O'Connor, Matt Molloy and Mary Black. Her ground-breaking solo album ‘Just Harp' established her as "the most important harper currently playing" (

This will undoubtedly be a concert not to be missed. More information and booking at Roscommon arts Centre on 090 6625824

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Irish Uilleann Pipes.

Gay McKeon plays a slow air & set dance from the playing of the great Leo Rowsome (Musician, Teacher & Uilleann Pipe maker). Recorded in Ned O'Shea's Pub ( The Merchant ) Dublin. This pub is famous for it's set dancing and traditional Irish music sessions.

Gay Mc Keon took an interest in uilleann piping in the 1960's under the tutelage of Leo Rowsome at the Piper's Club on Thomas Street in Dublin's city centre. Understandably, Leo had a profound influence on Gay's playing as did the musicians who would visit the club. Pipers such as Dan O'Dowd, Mick Touhy, Sean Seery, Tommy Reck, Willie Clancy and Peadar Broe. Gay was also heavily influenced by many of the fiddle players who lived and played in Dublin at that time - such as Chieftain, Sean Keane.

At an early age, Gay's interest in slow air playing was encouraged by Dan O'Dowd, Peter Flynn and Matt Kiernan. After Leo Rowsome's death in 1970, Gay sourced much of his repertoire from published collections such as Breathnach's Ceol Rince Na hEireann.

Gay has recorded and toured with artists including Christy Moore, Maddy Prior and June Tabor and has recorded on numerous compilation albums including The Ace and Deuce of Piping Vol. 2 and The Piper's Rock as well as a solo album Irish Piping Tradition, and a trio CD with his two sons Conor and Sean entitled The Dusty Miller. Gay has also produced a number of acclaimed recordings of Uilleann piping for other artistes. Since the mid 1970's Gay has toured and broadcast extensively as a soloist.

Gay is a much sought after teacher and has for many years taught at major summer schools and music festivals, also he has performed on three volumes of the acclaimed tutor series The Art of Uilleann Piping published by Na Píobairí Uilleann. Gay has served on the board of Na Píobairí Uilleann (the organisation of Uilleann pipers) of which he was chairman for several years and is currently Chief Executive of that organisation.

Father tells of fears for son hurt in attack on peace ship - National News, Frontpage -

THE father of an Irish man on board one of the ships in the peace flotilla off Gaza stormed by the Israelis, said his son is reported to be among the injured.

Fiachra O'Luain (27), a candidate in last year's European elections, was one of three Irish people on board the Challenger II which was traveling in the first wave of the flotilla when it encountered Israeli naval commandos.

His father, Joseph Bangert, who lives in Brewster, Cape Cod, in the US, said he has heard unconfirmed reports that his son was wounded and taken into custody by the Israelis.

Speaking to the Cape Cod Times yesterday, Mr Bangert said information was hard to come by. "I'm horrified. I'm scared for Fiachra but I am also proud of him. My son is heroic," he said. Meanwhile another of the Irish activists was flying home last night while two of his countrymen are due to appear before an Israeli court.

Shane Dillon, and Fintan Lane were also on the ship with Mr O'Luain. Mr Dillon, who is in his mid-30s and is from Dublin, last night decided not to contest his deportation from Israel and was put on a flight home.

However, Mr Lane (42) and Mr O'Luain both decided to contest their deportation and are being held in a detention camp. They will be brought before a court within the next two days.

Meanwhile, a ship carrying another five Irish activists, the MV Rachel Corrie, which set sail two weeks ago from Dundalk, Co Louth, was last night continuing on its course bound for Gaza.

It had become separated from the main flotilla after developing engine trouble and was not boarded during the Israeli attack.

At 6pm yesterday it was in the seas around Malta and was due to arrive in Gaza early this morning, but it is certain to be intercepted by the Israeli navy.

Five Irish people are on board, including crew members Derek and Jenny Graham from Ballina, Co Mayo. The passengers are former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and Caoimhe Butterly, an activist from the Free Gaza group. Speaking from his home in Cork, Jim Lane, father of Fintan, said it had been an anxious wait for news of his son.

But he said the family was standing firmly behind him.

"I am proud of my son, not only for going on this solidarity mission to Gaza, but also for refusing deportation," Mr Lane said.

"He is making a point that Israel should have no control over who enters Gaza. He has done nothing wrong and I support him."

He said Fintan had visited them in Cork two weeks ago and was not nervous about the humanitarian mission.

"One has to a stand for one's principles. We stand with him," Mr Lane told the Irish Independent.

"We're shocked, of course, with the way they have been treated and dealt with. It was obviously a peaceful demonstration, that seemingly is accepted by governments all around the world."

In his final blog posting late on Sunday night before communications on Challenger II were cut, Mr Lane wrote: "Tension is mounting amongst the passengers. Everyone is wearing their lifejackets and preparing for an Israeli attack."

Challenger II was stationed alongside the Turkish vessel, Mavi Marmara, at the head of the flotilla 80 miles from the Israeli coast and in international waters when the armed forces boarded using helicopters and small boats at 4am Irish time.

Mr Lane is a books editor with a publishing company and lives in Chapelizod in Dublin.

Mr Dillon is a brother of Eoin Dillon, the well-known uilleann piper with music group Kila. He is an experienced sailor and has served as chief officer on numerous Irish and British merchant ships.

A family friend of Eoin Dillon said he was "dreadfully upset" about his brother's plight and did not want to comment to the media.

Speaking just a few days ago, Shane said it was his brother who had first got him interested in the situation in Gaza.

"My parents are a bit concerned about me going over here . . . but they're very supportive."

- Breda Heffernan Michael McHale and Anita Guidera

Irish IndependentFather tells of fears for son hurt in attack on peace ship -
National News, Frontpage -

A history of piping at The IAC

The Irish Arts Center will present a special one-time only performance on Sunday, June 6, of “Pipes and Piping in Ireland,” with master uilleann piper and renowned scholar Bill Ochs. This multi-medium event traces the development of piping in Ireland.

Bill Ochs learned the uilleann pipes from master pipers Andy Conroy, Pat Mitchell and Tom Standeven in Ireland and the U.S. Ochs's piping studies in Ireland were supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In a solo piping concert, Ochs will demonstrate the full range and scope of this uniquely Irish instrument

“Pipes and Piping in Ireland,” is a blend of performance and lecture that will chronicle the development of piping in Ireland from the Middle Ages to the present, through visuals, recordings, and a live performance. Ochs has assembled a fascinating collection of woodcuts, lithographs, photos, video footage, and rare archival recordings that tell the story of the emergence of the uilleann pipes, the world's most sophisticated bagpipe.

Developed in the 18th century, the uilleann pipes (pronounced “ill- un”) comes from the Gaelic word uille with genitive of "uilleann", meaning elbow, emphasizing the use of the elbow when playing the uilleann pipes which were initially played in the parlors of the gentry, and soon became a favorite of all classes of society. Unlike most other bagpipes, these pipes are not blown by mouth, but by a bellows strapped to the player's arm.

The uilleann pipes' sweet tone makes them specially suited for playing indoors. The sound of the chanter, is akin to that of the oboe, and is supported by soft drones and an unusual configuration of organ-like bass stops called regulators, originally called "union pipes," at the end of the 18th century, perhaps to denote the union of the chanter, drones, and regulators.

Mick Moloney, Professor at New York University, traditional Irish musician and scholar, calls Pipes and Piping in Ireland "a most stimulating, informative, and entertaining presentation."

The Irish Arts Center, founded in 1972, is a New York-based arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the 21st century, building community with audiences of all backgrounds, and preserving the stories and traditions of Irish culture for generations to come

Tickets are $15 ($12 for IAC Members) The performance takes place at the 99-seat Donaghy Theatre at Irish Arts Center 553 West 51st Street. Tickets can be purchased by calling SmartTix at 212-868-4444 or at For more information, visit

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tim Britton & Pat Egan - Irish Reels 12-31-09

Pat Egan (guitar) originally from Tipperary, Ireland, joins Tim Britton (Uilleann pipes) for the New Years Eve celebration at Café Paradiso in Fairfield, Iowa, opening for the Arthur Lee Land and Friends concert.
***** Featuring the world class talent of Fairfield, Iowa *****

Elvin Moynagh on Irish Uilleann Pipes at Fleadh Nua

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When Irish guys are pipin'

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes, are calling. But they’ve also been calling to Mickey Dunne for years.

Dunne, who’s from Limerick, Ireland, has been making perhaps the most traditional of Irish instruments, the uilleann pipes, since as far back has he can remember.

“My dad was a player — a famous player — and my brother was a player. My family has been in music for generations,” said Dunne, who had just given a master class on the uilleann pipes to 10 pipers in Houston before heading to Wichita Falls with his band, Ireland’s Call.

The group is in town today to perform at the St. Patrick’s Day Downtown Street Festival. The band will hit the outdoor stage in the 600 block of Eighth Street at 7 p.m., and then they’ll also perform Wednesday for St. Patrick’s Day at the Iron Horse Pub.

While Dunne comes from one of the great musical families in Ireland, he’s also well known for his day job as a uilleann pipe maker — a job that became so rare at one time that the instrument was in danger of becoming extinct.

“This almost died out completely,” said Dunne of uilleann pipe making. “In the 1920s, there were only about four or five pipers in the country ... In fact, there were a few more in America, actually, because more (Irish) people immigrated.”

There was a time in Ireland, he added, that playing the pipes was banned by the British.

“They wanted to wipe out anything Irish,” Dunne said.

There isn’t quite anything more Irish than the uilleann pipes, the country’s national bagpipe. The instrument is played by strapping a small set of bellows around the waist and right arm. The bellows inflate the pipes bag, so there’s no need to blow into the instrument, like with the Scottish Great Highland bagpipes.

Dunne took out his set of pipes during a stop last week at the Turtle Creek Trading Co., and with his bandmates — Joe Maher, Martin Byrnes and Bryan Healy — played a very non-Irish song, the Peruvian “El Condor Pasa.” They also launched into a few traditional Irish tunes, too.

It takes about three months to make a set of pipes, which can cost up to 10,000 Euros, or about $14,000, Dunne said.

The pipes he plays are made from horse bones, though old pipe makers used to use ivory, along with nickle-plated brass, leather and ebony.

“The very old makers used to make them from boxwood.”

He added, “What makes these unique is that you’ve got regulators for harmonies for the chords,” Dunne said.

It seems not anything is simple when it comes to the uilleann pipes. Even the reeds for the pipes have to be specially made.

“You have to make your own reeds, and it’s tricky to get them to play in tune,” he said.

While the pipes were almost wiped out a century or more ago, Dunne said the instrument is enjoying a revival of sorts. Uilleann pipe clubs have formed around the world, and Dunne has taught pipe playing classes everywhere. “I’ve been to Vietnam, would you believe. Vietnam and Pakistan make these.”

When Dunne takes the stage today with Ireland’s Call, he won’t only be playing the pipes, but the pennywhistle, too, yet another traditional Irish instrument.

The guys in Ireland’s Call have their own bands back in Ireland and play together especially for the St. Patrick’s Day Downtown Street Festival, an event organized by Downtown Wichita Falls Development Inc. Danny Ahern, co-owner of the Iron Horse Pub, who’s originally from Tipperary, Ireland, often watches the guys play when he goes back home and persuaded them to play in Wichita Falls. So they formed the band just for their trip here.

Their appearance at the festival today will be their second time to play the festival.

And, of course, they’re here to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, too. The holiday, honoring the patron saint of Ireland, isn’t celebrated quite the same in the Emerald Isle.

“It’s not great. It’s a dull day, especially with the (Irish) weather,” said Joe Maher, guitarist, with a laugh.

But don’t expect anything dull from Ireland’s Call. The pipes, the pipes will be calling, after all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Paddy Keenan and Tommy O'Sullivan at Passionfruit

Paddy Keenan and Tommy O'Sullivan will play at the Passionfruit Theatre in Athlone on Friday February 12 2010

For more info, see

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Piping up for the Pale

At next week’s Temple Bar TradFest, a photographic exhibition will document Dublin’s long, varied and sometimes underrated contribution to the history of traditional music, writes SIOBHÁN LONG

THE URBAN/RURAL divide is at times a nebulous concept, but it always rears its dubious head when conversation turns to traditional music – and the many sources of spring water that feed it. An aficionado of the tradition might wax lyrical about the particular delights of the Sliabh Luachra style, its robust rhythms a boon for dancers, while another might champion the finer points of the Donegal fiddle style. In between, Sligo’s sinuous flute style and Connemara’s sean-nós singing will also come into sharp focus.

But what of the urban traditions that have salted more than a few musical doorsteps in their day? On Leeside, Cork Singers’ Club thrives in the heart of the city, fuelled by a swathe of singers with a hunger for witty lyrics and rhyming slang.

Dublin has spawned more than its share of traditional music and musicians too. For this year’s fifth Temple Bar TradFest, the flute player and former member of the Castle Céilí Band, historian and photographer Mick O’Connor, has compiled a photographic exhibition (assisted by graphic designer Martin Gaffney), which illustrates the continuity of traditional music activity in Dublin from 1900 to 2009. The exhibition includes a wealth of photographs documenting the capital’s traditional music heritage before the phenomenal growth of Irish music in the late 1960s. Taking time out from his Herculean task of compiling a history of the Dublin Pipers’ Club, O’Connor has relished the adventure of distilling Dublin’s musical past into a coherent and substantial visual exhibition.

One of the most striking features of Dublin’s traditional music scene at the beginning of the 20th century was the close proximity of music and politics, which won’t come as a surprise to anyone conversant with the city’s theatrical heritage.

“The origin of the Pipers’ Club is tied up with the National Revival,” O’Connor recounts with customary animation, “which focused interest on all aspects of our culture, including the music. The National Revival, which began during the closing decade of the 19th century, heralded the birth of the Gaelic League, the Feis Ceoil Association and the Pipers’ Club, all Dublin-based. A close examination of the Pipers’ Club minute book (1900-1904) reveals the cross-fertilisation of interests coming together to promote Irish music. Many members had dual membership of the Gaelic League and, later, of the Irish Volunteers. Members of the Pipers’ Club included some ardent nationalists and Gaelic propagandists.”

Perhaps the most famous was Éamonn Ceannt, a leader of the Easter Rising and signatory of the 1916 Proclamation. He was secretary of the Pipers’ Club until he resigned after his marriage to the treasurer, Áine Brennan.

Dublin’s traditional music fraternity didn’t limit its ambitions to the Pale either. In 1936, Seán Dempsey, one of piper Leo Rowsome’s pupils, participated in the World Dance and Music Festival at the Berlin Sportspalast, where he had the dubious distinction of playing before Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering and Josef Goebbels. O’Connor smiles as he recounts the tale in more detail.

“According to Seán, the other pipers played in the usual fashion, ie standing up. However, as there was no chair available and as uilleann pipers generally play seated, a stormtrooper was ordered to go on his hands and knees. Seán then proceeded to play while seated on the stormtrooper’s back! Apparently Hitler was intrigued and sent for Seán afterwards, and he received a gold fountain pen as a memento. Liam Ó Floinn’s father, Liam Flynn, played the fiddle and accompanied Seán on the trip.”

O’CONNOR’S EXHIBITION documents the peaks and troughs of the tradition’s past, capturing the struggles as well as the triumphs, and the hairpin bends it negotiated en route to the rude state of health in which it finds itself today. For example, he recounts the struggle to ensure the future of our piping tradition.

“Despite the revival of the Pipers’ Club,” he says, “it had a limited support with seldom over 50 members. It had many financial ups and downs. Tommy Reck recalled that while he was secretary in the 1940s, he often had to close the door of the club when other members failed to attend.”

O’Connor casts a wry eye over the some of the more po-faced practices of the past too. “In a picture of the Kincora Céilí Band, who won the All-Ireland Céilí Band Competition in Longford in 1958, there is a notice in the background of the right side of the photo, and when it was enlarged, the following wording appeared: ‘Jitterbugging in this hall is not allowed and anyone who fails to comply with the order will be asked to leave.’ No messing there!”

The cross-generational leadership roles undertaken by key Dublin piping dynasties have played a crucial role in securing Dublin’s traditional music heritage, O’Connor believes.

“Uilleann pipes for many years have been and continue to be a Dublin passion,” he says. “Piping has flourished in Dublin with an abundance of young talented pipers, quite a few of whom have family connections with the Pipers’ Club over several decades. A core of young musicians is studying the recordings and techniques of the previous generations and this is very evident in their playing. The Potts and Rowsome families are still to the fore in piping.”

He is optimistic about the future too. “Over the past few decades, we have witnessed an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Irish traditional music,” he says. “Most commentators would agree that Irish traditional music is saved for posterity. It was never in a healthier state.

“The other aspects of our native culture are also in the ascent. Dancing in its various forms is extremely popular. We now have people of unbounded talent taking an active interest in our music. In the present new generation, many are multi-instrumentalists, more numerous, more talented than any other generation that went before them.”

Traditional Music in Dublin , a photographic exhibition dedicated to the memory of the great Dublin piper, Leo Rowsome, will take place in Temple Bar Gallery and Studios on Jan 27-30 as part of this year’s Temple Bar TradFest. Exhibition times: Wed, Fri, Sat, 11am-6pm; Thur, 11am-7pm. Admission is free. For details of TradFest events, see

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Battering Ram - Stephen Ducke

Track 11 from the CD "If There Weren't Any Women In The World", with Stephen Ducke (flute) and Bean Dolan (guitar) Brought out in December 2009, in aid of the Passionfruit Theatre in Athlone.

Available at