The monthly Na Píobairí Uilleann – Session with the Pipers, this months guests are Caoimhín Ó Fearghail (Uilleann Pipes), Seán Ó Fearghail (Flute), Mary McNamara (Concertina) and Brian Mullen (Songs) – www.pipers.ie
Caoimhín and Seán Ó Fearghail come from An Rinn in the west Waterford Gaeltacht.
Caoimhín started to learn the tin-whistle at the age of eight, taking lessons from Bobby Gardiner. He quickly progressed to the uilleann pipes, under the tutelage of David Power, who has been a big influence on him. Others influences include Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Tommy Reck and Patsy Touhey.He is also self-taught on flute and guitar, inspired by such diverse flute players as Matt Molloy, Mike Rafferty and Tom Doorley, and also influenced by the many great musicians and singers from his home area. He has featured on a number of albums in the last few years playing various instruments, including Lá ag Ól Uisce, with his brother Seán and Tomás Ó Gealbháin. He is also featured on The Rolling Wave album issued by NPU. He has performed frequently at home and abroad, solo and also with groups like Danú and Caladh Nua.He was the 2012 recipient of the TG4 Young Musician of the Year award (Gradam Ceoil TG4).
Seán learned most of his fiddle technique from Gearóid Ó Laoghaire. He was influenced heavily by fiddler players like Tommy Peoples, Jesse Smith and Martin Hayes, among others. He also was taught the concertina by Bobby Gardiner. Through-out the years, he attended workshops with Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh and Noel Hill. He is self-taught on the bouzouki. In 2010, he completed a Masters in Traditional Irish Music Performance in the University of Limerick. He featured on a few C.D.’s. – Songs of a Roving Blade (Donál Clancy) – 2013 and All in a Day’s Play (Conor Moriarty) – 2010.
Mary McNamara – Music was a way of life when Mary was growing up in East Clare. Born in the townland of Clondanagh between Tulla and Feakle, she was from an early age in the company of the great masters of Irish Traditional Music of the region such as John Naughton, Martin Rochford, P. Joe Hayes, Francie Donnellan, Joe Bane and Bill Malley.
And there was plenty of musical guidance and inheritance from her parents who were both from musical families. Mary learned much from her mother Ita whose discernment in music was unquestionable, with a musical pedigree reaching back many generations.
Mary’s musical style was further honed and perfected as a young girl sitting by the fireside in the homes of Mikey Donoghue in Ballinahinch and P. Joe Hayes of Maghera and then Sunday afternoon sessions with Joe Bane and Bill Malley in Lena’s Bar in Feakle. This unique musical nurturing has resulted in Mary being a highly respected musician performing at home and abroad and also one of the most sought after teachers of Irish Music today.
Brian Mullen – was born in Derry where he still lives. His mother’s family were all singers and he sang pop and folk as a teenager. At university in Bangor, North Wales he met musicians who had links with Ireland and, travelling with them, he met such singers as Nioclás Tóibín in Ring and Mick Flynn in Miltown Malbay. While studying Irish at NNU Coleraine he met Len Graham, Joe Holmes and Eddie Butcher, the last of whom had a lasting influence on his style and repertoire. Later, when he returned to Derry to live, he became friends with Seán Gallagher a neighbour, an Irish speaker and a fund of songs and stories.
He accumulated songs at home while a teenager, then in Wales, around Ireland and in Coleraine assembling an eclectic repertoire which has English, Scottish and American ballads, music hall ditties and songs in Irish.
In 1984 he began broadcasting “Mullen’s Folk”, on Radio Foyle which later transferred to Radio Ulster. In 1986, he joined the BBC’s Irish Language Unit as a producer and shortly afterwards began presenting “Caschlár” which features music from all over the world and styles including pop, soul, country and traditional Irish music.