Session with the Pipers – NPU June 7th 2016

Na Píobairí Uilleann – Session with the Pipers

Tommy Keane was born in Waterford City and while in his early twenties, after playing tin whistle for a couple of years, he met local piper Tommy Kearney who encouraged him to take up the uilleann pipes. As well as his early tuition from Tommy Kearney, Tommy also attended the Willie Clancy Summer School where he learned further piping skills from pipers including Pat Mitchell and Liam O’Flynn.  The recordings of Willie Clancy, Séamus Ennis and Tommy Reck have also influenced his repertoire and style of playing.

In the 1980s Tommy spent seven years in London where he played with many of the giants of Irish music including Tommy McCarthy, Bobby Casey and Roger Sherlock.  While there he also provided music for productions by the National Theatre Co. and Rambert Ballet Co.  He was in demand as a session musician and worked with Elvis Costello on The Pogues album – Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.  Other recording credits in London include Clannad and Ralph McTell.  He was a member of the Thatch Céilí Band in London and in 1986 they won the Senior Céilí Band competition at the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

Since 1987 he has lived in Galway where he has worked with Druid Theatre Co. and the Irish language theatre group – An Taibhdhearc.  He has toured the U.S. on several occasions with Liam Clancy, Russia with Shaskeen and Zambia with the Sergeant Early Band.  Recording credits since moving to Galway include working with Alec Finn of De Dannan on the album “Blue Shamrock” – Alec’s first solo album.  He has taught piping and performed at many traditional music events including: Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare), Fonn (Galway), Blas (Limerick), Feakle Traditional Music Festival (Feakle, Co. Clare), Scoil Shéamuis Ennis (Co. Dublin), Scoil Acla (Achill, Co. Mayo), Fleadh na gCuach (Kinvara, Co. Galway), William Kennedy International Festival of Piping (Armagh), Gaelic Roots (Boston) and Augusta Irish Week (West Virginia).  He has also taught and performed as guest of Uilleann Pipe clubs in England, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

In 1991 he released his solo album “The Piper’s Apron” on the Mulligan label and in 1995 a duet album “The wind among the reeds” with his wife, concertina player Jacqueline McCarthy.  In 1997 he performed with Iarla Ó Lionáird and The Irish Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra at the Point, Dublin and Carnegie Hall, New York.  Tommy is also featured on the De Dannan CD “Welcome to the Hotel Connemara” released in 2000. He holds an M.A.(Hons) in Traditional Music Performance from University of Limerick – completed in 2000. He is featured with Liam O’Flynn and Ronan Browne on Volume 1 of Na Píobairí Uilleann’s DVD series “Piper’s Choice” – released in 2008. He teaches traditional music in Co. Galway, is the director of REEL ‘N’ ROLL Summer School and is Chairman of Na Píobairí Uilleann.

Jacqueline McCarthy was born in London to Irish parents who had emigrated to England in the early 1950s. She grew up listening to traditional music, her father Tommy McCarthy being a piper and concertina player from Kilmihil, Co. Clare. She played with all the legendary players from Ireland who were living in London. Musicians like Máirtín Byrnes, Raymond Roland, Roger Sherlock, Danny Meehan, Paddy Taylor and Bobby Casey were all part of a thriving music scene that Jacqueline experienced first hand. She also recalls meeting John Kelly and Willie Clancy during frequent visits to Ireland.

With her father Tommy, sisters Marion and Bernadette and brother Tommy, Jacqueline performed throughout Ireland and the UK – including The Royal Albert Hall, London. She was a member of The Sergeant Early Band who performed traditional music for a contemporary ballet production Sergeant Early”s Dream by the London-based Rambert Dance Company. This association goes back to 1985 and has taken her to Poland, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Zambia, and all over the U.K.. Since 1987 she has been living in Co. Galway where she teaches concertina. She is a regular performer at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Co. Clare and has toured the U.S. on several occasions with her husbandTommy Keane. In 1995 they released an album “The Wind Among the Reeds”. She is a member of Maigh Seola a group who specialise in songs collected in North County Galway at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1999 she released “The Hidden Note” featuring the McCarthy family, Tommy Keane and Alec Finn.

Deirdre Granville – Hailing from Dingle, Co. Kerry; a multi-instrumentalist and singer, Deirdre studied both traditional and classical music from a young age. She has toured and performed extensively worldwide and has featured on Radio, commercial recordings and TV performances both solo and with other celebrated musicians including Kerry Chamber and Youth Orchestras, Aoife Granville, folk singing group; Deluce’s Patent and duo; Sirmione amongst others. A music graduate from University College Cork and a MA performance graduate from University of Limerick. She has won numerous solo and group performance medals, including the first ever All-Ireland Senior Harp Slow Airs title at Fleadh na hÉireann. She is co-ordinator and founder of Dingle Tradfest successful music festival. Deirdre’s debut solo album will be released in the summer of 2015. IMRAM is the debut album by Kerry native Deirdre Granville. Deirdre is a multi-instrumentalist and singer and has studied both traditional and classical music from a young age. Deirdre has won numerous awards down through the years and this debut represents her journey in music to date. The word IMRAM is an old Irish word meaning ‘voyaging.” Other musicians featuring on the album include Steve Cooney, Gerry O’Beirne, Aoife Granville, Cuan Granville, Brendan McCreanor and Tony O’Flaherty. Tony also recorded and mixed the album at his studio in Killarney.

Accordionist Conor Connolly hails from Clarinbridge, Co. Galway. Coming from South Galway, Conor is influenced by the rich Irish Music tradition of that area particularly that of the late Joe Cooley of Peterswell. Other big influences include Charlie Harris from whom he learned a lot of his music, Tony MacMahon and Andrew McNamara and the music of East Galway and Clare. His music is also greatly inspired by the recordings of 1920s/30s musicians including P.J. Conlon, also a native of Co.Galway who emigrated to the USA.

Conor has performed on RTÉ Radió na Gaeltachta, Clare FM, Galway Bay FM and attends many of the Traditional Music festivals around the country including, Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy, Feakle International Music Festival, Cooley-Collins Traditional Music weekend, Corofin Trad Fest and Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh among others.



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