Tag Archives: uilleann pipes

Artist Profiles: Paddy Moloney

Paddy Moloney

Dublin native Paddy Moloney taught himself how to play the tin whistle when he was six and learned the basics of music at school each day. Shortly after, he picked up the Uilleann pipes, and was taught by master piper Leo Rowsome.

Moloney was not influenced by other players. Instead, he developed his own style. He listened to old 78-rpm recordings and visited older musicians who took him under their wing. When he was a teenager, he entered musical competitions in Dublin’s Feis Atha Cliath and won several all-Ireland medals. Before long, he was making friends with several other Irish musicians committed to keeping traditional folk music alive.

Moloney performed with a number of groups in Dublin, including The Happy Wanderer and The Loch Gamha Ceili Band, and then joined arranger/composer Seán Ó Riada’s folksy chamber orchestra, Ceoltóirí Cualann. The group proved to be a sparkplug for interest in Irish traditional music and paved the way for the birth of The Chieftains.

In 1962, when the opportunity to record for Claddagh Records came along, Moloney formed his own band with fiddler Martin Fay, flute player Michael Tubridy, tin whistle player Seán Potts and bodhrán player Davy Fallon, thereby launching The Chieftains.


The Chieftains 1 (Claddagh Records CC 02, 1963)
The Chieftains 2 (Claddagh Records CC 07, 1969)
The Chieftains 3 (Claddagh Records CC 10, 1971)
The Chieftains 4 (Claddagh Records CC 14, 1973)
The Chieftains 5 (Claddagh Records CC 16, 1975)
The Chieftains 6: Bonaparte’s Retreat (Claddagh Records, 1976)
The Chieftains 7 (Claddagh Records CC 24, 1977)
The Chieftains Live! (Claddagh Records CC 21, 1977)
The Chieftains 8 (CBS 35726, 1978)
The Chieftains 9: Boil the Breakfast Early (Claddagh Records CC 30, 1979)
The Chieftains 10: Cotton-Eyed Joe (Claddagh Records CC 33, 1981)
The Year of the French (Claddagh Records CC36, 1982)
The Grey Fox (1982) (soundtrack to The Grey Fox)
Concert Orchestra (1982)
The Chieftains in China (Claddagh Records CC 42, 1985)
Ballad of the Irish Horse (Claddagh Records CCF, 1986)
Celtic Wedding (RCA 6358, 1987)
In Ireland, with James Galway (1987)
Irish Heartbeat, with Van Morrison (Polydor 834496, 1988)
The Tailor Of Gloucester (WD-0710, 1988)
A Chieftains Celebration (RCA 7858, 1989)
Over the Sea To Skye: The Celtic Connection (1990) (with James Galway)
The Bells of Dublin (RCA 60824, 1991)
Another Country (RCA 60939, 1992)
An Irish Evening (RCA 60916, 1992)
The Celtic Harp: A Tribute To Edward Bunting, with The Belfast Harp Orchestra (RCA 61490, 1993)
The Long Black Veil (RCA Victor 09026-62702-2, 1995)
Film Cuts (RCA Victor 09026-68438-2, 1996)
Santiago (RCA Victor 09026-68602-2, 1996)
Long Journey Home (1998)
Fire in the Kitchen (1998)
Silent Night: A Christmas in Rome (1998)
Tears of Stone (1999)
Water From the Well (2000)
The Wide World Over (2002)
Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions (2002)
Further Down the Old Plank Road (Arista/BMG, 2003)
Live From Dublin: A Tribute To Derek Bell (2005)
The Essential Chieftains (2006)
San Patricio, with Ry Cooder (2010)
Voice of Ages (2012)


Artist Profiles: Sean McKeon

Sean McKeon

Sean McKeongrew up listening to music at home in Dublin, with his parents Gay McKeon (uilleann pipes) and Mary Corcoran (fiddle and piano) being his earliest influences. He began playing the tin whistle at the age of 6 under the guidance of Maureen McGrattan and within two years progressed to the uilleann pipes. Sean’s first and only formal lessons came from Sean ?g Potts. At a young age Sean took an interest in the older generation of musicians, such as Seamus Ennis, Patsy Touhey and James Morrison. It was this keen interest in recordings of older musicians that helped shape Sean’s approach to piping.

By the age of 15 Sean had amassed a total of 5 Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann titles and within a month of turning 18 he had won the senior Oireachtas solo competition. In recent years Sean has performed with Noel Hill, Robbie Hannon and Sean Keane as well as forging an exciting duet with fiddle player Liam O’Connor. He has toured Europe performing and teaching music and continues to teach at Na Pioibairi Uilleann as well as at various traditional music events like the Willie Clancy Summer School, South Sligo Summer School and Frankie Kennedy Winter School. Sean plays a full set of concert pitch pipes made by Cillian O Briain and released a recording in 2005 that features both his own music and that of his brother, Conor, and his father, Gay. Sean was awarded TG4 Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2005.


Dublin Made Me, with Liam O’Connor (2009)
To The City (2013)


Artist Profiles: Jarlath Henderson

Jarlath Henderson
Jarlath Henderson, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, has been playing the Uilleann pipes since he was 10 years old. He learned to play the pipes from Armagh Piping Club teachers Brian Vallely, Mark Donnelly, Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn and Eamonn Curran. A talented and versatile musician, Jarlath also plays whistle, classical and traditional flute and guitar and has a keen interest in traditional song.

In 2003 he became the first person from Ireland to win the prestigious BBC Young Folk Musician of the Year Award, which led to him being invited to play at some of the most prestigious festivals in Europe. He featured in a BBC Northern Ireland television programme on piping in 2002, is a three times ‘All-Ireland Champion’ uilleann piper, teaches music with the renowned Armagh Pipers Club and has both taught and performed at a number of international piping festivals on television and radio.


Partners In Crime (Vertical Records 2008)
Air-Fix (Great White Records, 2013)
Hearts Broken, Heads Turned (Bellows Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: John McSherry

John McSherry

Uilleann piper John McSherry launched his career as the youngest-ever winner of Ireland’s senior Oireachtas piping competition, aged just eighteen. Since then, he has co-founded the leading Irish bands Tamalin and Lúnasa, and was a featured soloist in Donal Lunny’s illustrious Coolfin outfit, meanwhile developing an improvisational flair that has drawn comparisons to jazz legend John Coltrane.

Originally named after a duo album recorded with Michael McGoldrick, the At First Light line-up now finds McSherry partnered by Donal O’Connor (fiddle, keyboards), Tony Byrne (guitar, vocals) and Francis McIlduff (bodhran, uilleann pipes, whistles).


At First Light (Compass Records, 2002)
Tripswitch (Compass Records, 2006)
Soma (Compass Records, 2010)
Six Days in Down (Riverboat, 2010)
The Olllam (Compass Records, 2012)
Ulaid (Ulaid Music, 2015)
The Seven Suns (Compass Records, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Davy Spillane

Davy Spillane

Davy Spillane, of County Clare, Ireland, plays the uilleann pipes, an unusual Celtic bagpipe whose bellows are held under the arms and inflated by wing-like motion. He was the featured instrumentalist in the original production, album and video of Riverdance. Spillane was a founding member of Moving Hearts, and has recorded with Van Morrison, Steve Winwood and Elvis Costello, among others.


Atlantic Bridge (Tara Music, 1987)
Out of the Air (Tara Music, 1988)
Shadow Hunter (Tara Music,1990)
Pipedreams (Tara Music, 1991)
EastWind, with Andy Irvine (Tara Music,1992)
A Place Among The Stones (1994)
Calman The Dove, with Savourna Stevenson (1998)
The Sea of Dreams (Covert Records, 1998)
Forgotten Days, with Kevin Glackin (2001)
Deep Blue Sea (2004)
Between Longing & Belonging (2016)

With Moving Hearts

Moving Hearts (1981)
Dark End of the Street (1982)
The Storm (1985)
Live Hearts (1986)
Live in Dublin (2008)