Joey Abarta has toured North America, Europe, and Asia, teaching and performing music on the uilleann pipes. A California native, he first received instruction on the pipes from Dubliner Pat D’Arcy, a founding member of the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club.
His musical skills have been further honed by several visits to Ireland, a year-long stint working in Japan, and continuing relationships with master pipers. In August of 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him an All-Ireland championship, placing second worldwide at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. “Swimming Against the Falls,” his first solo recording, has been widely praised. One reviewer wrote that Joey takes “an engaged approach to the piping tradition, in lavishing attention on the great recorded heritage of the pipes and absorbing playing techniques, he arrives at his own unique style and proves that anyone anywhere, through his or her own efforts, can contribute to revitalising Irish musical traditions in creative and meaningful ways.”
Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he tours with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America, the sean-nós dance show Atlantic Steps, and many combinations of like-minded traditional artists. While at home, he organizes the meetings of the Boston Pipers Club, teaches for Comhaltas’ Boston Music School, and organizes various traditional music concerts and events.
Mickey Dunne and his pipes are a unique and well-known phenomenon in the world of traditional Irish music. Mickey’s style of piping embodies the free-flowing traveller piping style associated with the legendary Johnny Doran, Finbar Furey, and Paddy Keenan, all of whom have provided Mickey with inspiration. Mickey now provides the next generation of pipers with inspiration by his playing and his generosity with his other musical skills.
Mickey studied the art of Uilleann pipe-making under the tutelage of the legendary Cillian O’Briain. He now manufactures a full range of chanters, practice, half, and full sets of Uilleann pipes in his hometown of Caherconlish County, Limerick. Mickey Dunne is life president of the Thomond Pipers Club in Limerick, an organization recently re-established after the lapse of a century.
Originally from Dublin, Ivan Goff received his first lessons on uilleann pipes from Dan O’Dowd. Mick O’Brien is his biggest influence as mentor and regular teacher for several years. Ivan is a member of recently formed Ghost Trio with Iarla Ó Lionáird and Cleek Schrey. Over the years, Ivan has performed worldwide on pipes and flute in duets with many musicians including Míchéal Ó Raghallaigh, Patrick Ourceau, Cormac Breatnach, and Martin Hayes, and with internationally acclaimed bands Danú, Dervish, Téada, Lúnasa, Eileen Ivers Band, and The Green Fields of America with Mick Moloney. Ivan has performed as guest of the New York Philharmonic, as soloist for a specially commissioned concerto for uilleann pipes with the Albany Symphony, and has featured in several well-known productions including extended engagements with Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, and more recently Sting’s The Last Ship on Broadway.
Patrick Hutchinson is an internationally recognized performer and teacher of the Irish uilleann pipes, with more than 30 years’ experience and an eclectic repertoire that encompasses both the traditional and the experimental. He grew up in Liverpool where he had his first lessons on the tin whistle, but learned to play the pipes in Canada, a student of the well-loved Toronto piper and teacher Chris Langan.
Patrick has appeared on WGBH’s A Celtic Sojourn, with the Cambridge Revels, and on recordings by Loreena McKennitt and Oliver Schroer, among others. He has provided the music for many theatrical productions including Brian Friel’s Translations, Frank McGuinness’s Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, and Carthaginians, and his piping can be heard in the Highlander movies. He holds a Ph.D in ethnomusicology from Brown University, which he did in order to write about his teacher, Chris.
Currently, he teaches pipes for the Comhaltas Boston Music School. He twice won the All-Ireland title in Uilleann Pipes Slow Airs, twenty-two years apart, most recently in 2014 in Sligo.
You can find Patrick teaching in the Video Tutor section of the Na Píobairí Uilleann website at pipers.ie. He is known for his own unique settings, and for bringing to light tunes long buried.
Fiachra O’Regan comes from Roundstone, a village in Connemara in the west of Ireland. He first started playing music in primary school, where tin-whistle lessons from Noreen O Sullivan were part of the curriculum. Fiachra’s mother nurtured the music in him by taking him to summer schools and fleadhs around the country, and to music and singing sessions in South Connemara.
In 1997, with a practice set on loan from NPU. Fiachra had his first lesson from Michael Kilbane in an Achill Chipp-Shop. Though there were no formal uilleann pipe lessons available to Fiachra near his home, he continued to learn the instrument with collected material from the Summer School lessons, Visits to local musicians, some lessons from Tommy Keane, and plenty of tapes of master pipers like Willie Clancy and Patsy Tuohy. Fiachra was very lucky to have the encouragement also of musicians like Marcus Hernon, Johnny Connolly, Seán McKiernan and Padraig & Tommy Ceanabháin
Fiachra holds senior all Ireland Champion titles on pipes and whistle and has played all around the world both as a soloist and in various groups. Fiachra is currently living in Quebec with his partner Sophie Lavoie, a fiddler with whom he tours regularly. His piping is featured on many albums, Including NPU’s The Rolling Wave (2012), a duo album with Sophie Lavoie (2010), and his own solo album Aisling Gheal (2008).
Torrin began playing music at the age of 6 on the recorder, and soon switched over to traditional Irish music on the tin whistle at age 9. After seeing master uilleann piper Cillian Vallely perform with Lúnasa, he began to learn the pipes himself.
He has competed in numerous Mid-Atlantic Fleadhs where he’s won first place on both whistle and pipes several times. In Ireland, he has competed at the All-Ireland Fleadh held in Tullamore and Derry 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, is a regular at the Northeast Uilleann Pipers Tionól, and is a member of the Boston Uilleann Piper’s Club.
American born musician and performer Anthony Santoro became infatuated with the Irish píb uilleann from an early age. Over the years he has toured the U.S., Ireland, and Asia; he is regarded as one of New England’s finer piping talents. Santoro has been influenced by countless traditional world folk musicians, but mostly by Irish pipers, fiddlers, and fluters.
Anthony’s primary piping influences are Paddy Moloney, Liam O’Flynn, Benedict Koehler, Paddy Keenan, and Finbar Furey.
John Tuohy was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. He has been playing the uilleann pipes for over 20 years, and was taught predominantly by the legendary Waterford piper, Tommy Kearney. John’s family have been active in promoting piping in the southeast of Ireland for many years, and it was from his father that he received his interest in the music and history of the uilleann pipes.
John is in great demand as a teacher of the pipes. He has taught at the Willie Clancy Summer School, held annually in summer in County Clare, Ireland, as well as the annual Leo Rowsome and Breandán Breathnach commemorative events in Dublin. He has been actively involved in organising the annual ‘Tionól Tommy Kearney’ weekend in Kilkenny every November, which his father established twenty-five years ago. For the past eight years John has taught regular piping lessons in Kilkenny and around Ireland.
In 2008, John worked in Na Píobairí Uilleann in Dublin, an experience that fostered his love of uilleann pipemaking and reedmaking, hobbies which he enjoys immensely. He has a particular interest in the work of the classic instrument makers from the 1800s, such as Coyne, Kenna, and Egan. He currently lives in County Roscommon, where he is active in local piping and traditional music circles.
John has lectured on the subject of traditional Irish music and completed a project with renowned fiddle player Danny Diamond of The Irish Traditional Music Archive on the Higgins brothers of Kilkenny, travelling fiddle players who were recorded in 1911 by Rev. Richard Henebry. This was delivered in 2015 as part of the ‘Notes and Narratives’ lecture series run by Na Píobairí Uilleann. He is currently researching for a lecture on North Connaught piping, and is writing a book on the blind 19th century piper Thomas O’Hannigan from Tipperary.
At age seven, Cillian Vallely began learning the whistle and pipes from his parents, Brian and Eithne at the Armagh Pipers Club, a group that has fostered the revival of traditional music in the north of Ireland for over four decades. Since leaving college, he has played professionally and toured all over North America, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. He has recorded on over sixty albums including guest spots with Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, Alan Simon’s Excalibur project with Fairport Convention and the Moody Blues, GAIA with the Prague Philharmonic and Karan Casey. He has also performed and toured with Riverdance, Tim O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Whirligig, and the Celtic Jazz Collective. Since 1999, he has been a member of the band, Lúnasa, one of the world’s premier Irish bands, with whom he has recorded seven albums and played at many major festivals and venues including Glastonbury, WOMAD, the Edmonton Folk Festival and The Hollywood Bowl.
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.
Well known as an insightful and generous teacher, Benedict will be teaching beginning and intermediate piping workshops. 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.
Bríd is an Irish traditional fiddle player from Castlefinn, Co. Donegal and now living near Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. Encouraged by her parents, she grew up learning and playing Irish traditional music with her sisters in the Finn Valley area. With music on both sides of the family she is carrying on the tradition of fiddle playing. She won many under-age All Ireland titles and other prestigious fiddle awards, including the Senior All Ireland, Oireachtas na Gaeilge, and Fiddler of Dooney.
Bríd is highly respected as a teacher and has tutored at many Summer Schools and Workshops throughout Ireland and in France, Holland and the USA. Her first solo CD was released in 2015 and has enjoyed much success to date.
Andrew grew up in Dublin, Ireland. His father Dinny, from north County Dublin, played the accordion, having learned his music in the ‘50s and ‘60s from box players Sonny Brogan and Bill Harte. In the ‘70s and ‘80s the O’Brien family became recognized as one of the driving forces in the resurgence of traditional music at a grass-roots level in Dublin. Andrew’s brothers all play: Denis (Donncha), tinwhistle; Mick, uilleann pipes; Tom, fiddle; and John, uilleann pipes.
Andrew’s most influential fiddle teacher was Christian Brother Jim Forrestal, a teacher based at the O’Brien’s local school, St. David’s CBS, in Artane, Dublin. Brother Jim was a regular visitor to the O’Brien home on Chanel Road on Tuesday nights, and when there was quiet time would teach a few slow airs. Andrew was a regular at sessions around Dublin in the 1980s in the company of his brother Denis on the tinwhistle, and Andrew’s style was certainly shaped by that experience playing in unison with the whistle.
Andrew moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1999, where he founded his own law firm in 2000. In St. Louis, Andrew played regularly at legendary music venue John D. McGurk’s with Jackie Daly, Paddy O’Brien, and Cillian Vallely, among others. In addition, he played regularly at McGurk’s with Michael ‘Piper’ Cooney and Terry Corcoran who were living in St. Louis in the 1990s and early 2000s. Andrew is active in the St. Louis traditional music scene, including with St. Louis Irish Arts, and the annual St. Louis Tionól, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year.