Instructors

We’re thrilled to present the instructors for the 2018 Northeast Tionól!

Pipes

Tom Creegan

Tom Creegan
Tom Creegan in concert. Photo by Larry Green.

Tom Creegan grew up in Dublin learning in one of the best possible environments, the Pipers’ Club in Thomas Street. He played extensively in Europe and Canada before moving to Seattle where he fell in with a bad crowd, joining the Irish Pipers’ Club, at that time under the aegis of Denis Brooks.

Tom was blessed to learn much of the depth and breadth of the tradition from Denis. Tom played for many years with The Suffering Gaels, along with Finn MacGinty, Conor Byrne, and Dale Russ, and now plays in a band called Crumac, still alongside renowned fiddler Dale Russ.

He has many years of teaching experience, first at the Thomas Street Pipers’ Club, and later in Seattle with Cumann na bPíobairí (Irish Pipers’ Club), as well as at many music festivals and schools. Tom has served two terms as editor of The Pipers’ Review, the club newsletter that is distributed throughout North America and to many points beyond. He continues to live in Seattle along with Lisa and sons, Dermot and Niall

Eamonn Dillon

Eamonn Dillon at the 2013 Northeast Tionól. Photo by Larry Green.

Born in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, uilleann piper and whistle player Eamonn Dillon has toured and recorded both as a solo artist and with a varied group of performers, touring shows and bands. Working between the US, Canada and Europe , his music has been featured on several film and television programs around the world.

Eamonn has performed and recorded as a featured artist in both traditional, theatrical, and mixed genre ensembles, including Needfire, John McDermott, (The Irish Tenors,) Celtic Bridge, King James, Sarah Packham, and Palmoa Faith, among others.

He first learned the tin whistle from his father, and Tara Diamond, before getting his first set of uilleann pipes, made by the great master Sean McAloon, who mentored him while starting out.

Sheila Friel

Sheila Friel
Sheila Friel

Sheila was born in Glasgow with family roots firmly entrenched in the Donegal Gaeltacht. She began playing music on tin whistle, then flute for several years, before getting her first set of pipes at 16. Growing up in Scotland she received tuition from visits to workshops in Ireland, mainly Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy with Gay & Sean McKeon and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy with Tommy Keane and Mick O’Brien. Sheila credits NPU for continued support in her piping, having frequently travelled to Henrietta Street for tuition and help in maintenance of her pipes, especially from Gay McKeon. She plays chanters by Paddy Hyland and Benedict Koehler with the remainder of her set by Gordon Galloway.

Sheila features on Na Píobairí Uilleann publications The Rolling Wave CD (A new generation of uilleann pipers) and the Pipe Up DVD. At the beginning of 2014 Sheila released her first album The Friel Sisters along with her sisters Anna and Clare, with whom she has played across Europe, America and in Asia. Along with teaching pipes she has performed at various tionóil, NPU events, and at Cumann Píobaireachta Tharlach Mhic Suibhne events promoting uilleann piping in Donegal.

http://frielmusic.com

Benedict Koehler

Benedict Koehler
Benedict Koehler

Born in Boston, Benedict grew up listening to recordings of Irish traditional music sent over by his mother’s family in Dublin. He took up the pipes in his twenties and has listened to and learned from a wide range of the older players, citing as particularly strong influences the stately musical tradition of East Galway and the complex and elegant piping style exemplified by the “gentlemen pipers” Seamus Ennis and Liam O’Flynn. These influences are evident in Benedict’s graceful, lyrical style of playing.

Benedict is well known as an insightful and generous teacher. He and his wife, harper/button accordionist Hilari Farrington live in East Montpelier, Vermont where Benedict, in association with David Quinn, makes and restores uilleann pipes and continues to enhance his reputation as a superb reed maker.

Mick O’Brien

Dublin born Mick O’Brien plays uilleann pipes, whistle and flute. Mick began his musical education on the Uilleann pipes in the renowned Thomas Street Pipers Club in Dublin. His father Dinny O`Brien, a traditional accordion player, was also a constant source of tunes and inspiration. Mick recorded his first LP with his family when he was 13 years old. He later joined Na Piobairi Uilleann, where he absorbed hundreds of tunes and refined his technique.

Mick has toured extensively and given master classes throughout Europe and North America. His first solo album ‘The May Morning Dew’ (1996) was received with great critical acclaim. “Kitty Lie Over,” Mick’s duet recording with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, is widely regarded as one of the finest recordings of traditional music in recent years, as is the follow- up album “Deadly Buzz.” Together with his daughter Aoife Ní Bhriain (fiddle) and Emer Mayock (flute, whistle), Mick recorded an album entitled “Tunes from the Goodman Manuscripts,” the largest recorded selection to date from the Goodman Collection.

Caoimhín Ó Fearghail

Caoimhín Ó Fearghail comes from An Rinn in the west Waterford Gaeltacht. He 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).

Kieran O’Hare

Kieran O’Hare

Kieran O’Hare took up the uilleann pipes in his early teens, with guidance from piper and pipemaker Kirk Lynch. His first years of playing were spent largely in the company of the recordings of Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome, Paddy Moloney, and Liam O’Flynn, all of whose piping remain continuing influences.

While a student at Trinity College, Dublin, in the early 1990s, Kieran received great support and encouragement at Na Píobairi Uilleann, notably from Seán Potts, Seán Donnelly, Joe Doyle, Terry Moylan, Andy Conroy, and Nollaig Mac Cárthaigh. It was during these years that he was privileged to receive perhaps his single most influential guidance, in the form of countless hours spent playing with and learning from Gay McKeon. Kieran began teaching the pipes at NPU at this time, and he continues to be an active teacher and promoter of the uilleann pipes. He was the first American-born player of Irish music to be invited to perform in the “Ace and Deuce of Piping” concert in Ireland’s National Concert Hall.

As a professional uilleann piper, he has performed across North and South America, Europe, and Asia through his work in music performance and the theatre. He performs also with the trio Open the Door for Three, with Liz Knowles and Pat Broaders. Kieran serves on the Board of Directors of Na Píobairí Uilleann (www.pipers.ie). He is founder, co-publisher, and editor of Éirways, a newly launched independent print magazine about Irish culture and people at home and around the world.

www.openthedoorforthree.com

Torrin Ryan

Torrin Ryan playing the pipes
Torrin Ryan

Torrin began playing music at a young age, but discovered traditional Irish music on the tin whistle at age 9. After hearing the uilleann pipes for the first time, he decided to learn how to play them himself.

He has competed in numerous Mid-Atlantic Fleadhs in New York and New Jersey where he’s won first place on both whistle and pipes several times. In Ireland, he has won five All-Ireland medals across Tullamore, Derry, and Ennis, and is the 2013 All-Ireland Uilleann Pipes Slow Airs champion. At home, Torrin previously attended the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Boston Music School where he is now a teacher, he’s a regular at the Northeast Uilleann Pipers Tionól, and is a member of the Boston Uilleann Piper’s Club. In 2018, Torrin was the recipient of a grant from the Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program in order for him to teach Irish music and history to several apprentices and further the art of the session in New England.

He has been influenced by many of the different styles of piping that were prominent throughout history as well as many modern and younger pipers, and likes to incorporate what he has learned from historical recordings and modern pipers into his own playing.

Reedmaking

Pádraig O’Kane

Pádraig O’Kane is a multi-instrumentalist and professor of music based in Miami, Florida. For the past 20 years he has been involved in piping and reed making. Reed makers Benedict Keohler, Peter Hunter, Tom Aebi, and Tim Britton have all had a strong influence on his reed making style. Aside from making reeds for students and professional pipers, he has also worked for well known pipers such as Paddy Moloney and Emmett Gill.

Between 2015 and 2016, he was invited by both Na Píobairí Uilleann and the Southern Californian Piper’s Club to teach reed making courses. Coupled with his many years of reed making, Pádraig O’Kane is a master teacher who is able to convey methodology in an easy-going down-to-earth fashion that will provide all who participate an “anyone-can-do-this!” experience.

Fiddle

Yvonne Casey

Music is Yvonne Casey’s life. Yvonne is from Corofin, Co. Clare. She grew up surrounded by the richness of Clare music and plays in a unique soulful style. Sitting in sessions from a very young age she discovered the joys of Doolin as a teen where she met and played with Kevin Griffin and Eoin O’ Neill. In the 1990’s the band The Ceili Bandits was formed and they recorded two CDs and toured Europe and the U.S. Yvonne recorded a beautiful solo cd in 2004 which included some of her own compositions.

Although her first love is for traditional music she has also played and toured with trad-rock band Bushplant and singer songwriter Luka Bloom. Since then Yvonne has created her own music school in Clare while also being invited to play and teach at various festivals at home and abroad. Her recent collaboration with accordion genius Dermot Byrne is charming audiences with their fresh new sound wherever they perform. Yvonne is currently recording a new album of mostly her own compositions to be released in 2018. A special treat in store for all music lovers!

Liam O’Connor

Liam O’Connor, one of Ireland’s leading fiddle players, was born into a musical family in Dublin. His father Mick O’Connor is a flute player and researcher of music who was a founder member of the Castle Céilí Band. During his youth, Liam was taught by Séamus Glackin and won several All-Ireland and Oireachtas fiddle titles.

Liam was awarded TG4 Young Musician of the Year in 2002. He has performed as a soloist and in duets with Liam O’Flynn, Noel Hill and Harry Bradley among others. In 2009, he released a critically acclaimed CD entitled “Dublin Made Me” with uilleann piper Seán McKeon and in March 2017 he released his long awaited solo CD “The Loom.”