Tommy Keane - Chairman
Tommy 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 pipes. As well as his early
tuition from Kearney, Tommy also attended the Willie Clancy Summer School where
he learned further piping skills from Brian Gallahar, 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 greats of Irish music including Tommy McCarthy,
Bobby Casey and Roger Sherlock. Since 1987 he has lived in Co. Galway where he
teaches traditional music.
His solo album “The Piper’s Apron “ was
released in 1991 and in 1995 a duet album “The wind among the reeds” with his
wife, concertina player Jacqueline McCarthy. Tommy is also featured on the DVD
“Piper’s Choice – Volume 1” published by Na Píobairí Uilleann in 2008.
Noel Pocock - Secretary
Noel took up the pipes in the early 1970s with the kind
assistance of Peter Browne. His first teachers were Brian Gallahar and Pat
Mitchell. It was in Bray that he was strongly influenced by the music of Martin
Doyle and Noel Gallagher. Through Brian Gallahar he got to know Kathleen and
Martin Rochford and through this friendship came his affinity with the music of
East Clare. Noel’s other main influences on the pipes was the music of Séamus
Ennis and Willie Clancy, but nowadays it’s almost every piper he hears.
Noel is a Dental Technician by profession and is employed as
laboratory manager in the Dublin Dental Hospital. He is also a member of the
Board of the DDH. A trade unionist all his working life, he is an elected
National Trustee of SIPTU and a member of its National Executive Council. He
served two terms on the Dental Council of Ireland and for ten years was on the
Fitness to Practise Committee of the Council.
Donnacha Dwyer has been playing the pipes for 18 years since he
first received lessons at Na Píobairí Uilleann at the age of 16. Donnacha has
been performing professionally around various Dublin music venues for the past
ten years and has performed in most European countries, the US, Japan, Korea,
Singapore and the Caribbean.
He has released an album with fiddle player Malachy Bourke entitled Bourke
and Dwyer. In 2005 Donnacha was awarded a grant from the Arts Council under the
Deis scheme to study the art of uilleann pipe-making with pipe maker Des Seery
and has been a self-employed full time maker since 2008. He has also taught
various reed making workshops inluding N.P.U's Summer week long reed making and
pipe maintenance courses.
Keen on good music of all kinds since the early childhood, Dave
Was greatly taken by traditional music as presented on radio programmes in the
1950s and 60s, and very impressed by the piping recordings of Leo Rowsome,
Seamus Ennis, Willie Clancy Paddy Moloney etc. He started with some great local
musicians in Fermoy and Mitchelstown, notably Martin Hanley, Pat O Connor and
John Riordan and in Dublin with John (Sean) Byrne. Through friendships with
Terry Moylan, Brian Gallahar and the late Kevin Spenser around 1971, he was
fortunately introduced to Matt Kiernan, Dan Dowd and Breándan Breathnach, who
all were most supportive and encouraging. He then got to meet Paddy Keenan, the
late Johnny Keenan Snr. and the other members of the Keenan family and was
occasionally asked to play along with them in Slatterys in Capel Street. Hearing
Sean Seery, Tommy Moore and Jim Brophy helped to balance the piping experience
which was further rounded off by enjoying the friendship of Andy and Mick
Conroy, Willie Reynolds, Jimmy Dolan, Eugene Lambe and the late Tom Meehan, who
all helped to encourage study and practice of pipemaking with further help from
from Daniel Hervé and many many others. He describes himself as "continuing to
make somewhat slow progress on the pipes while giving occasional piping lessons
to beginners". Dave enjoys sessions in Tralee when possible with the Usual
Suspects Céilí Band. He eventually hopes to do a comprehensive gathering of the
history of piping in Kerry. Dave believes that the narrow bore D chanter and
drones should be widely available as a standard instrument for learner pipers.
If this type of instrument was good enough for Coyne, Kenna and O Mealy, it
should be good enough for the rest of us!
Ken Lynam was born in Dublin and moved to London in the early
'70s where he began working as an independent documentary producer.
In the early 1980s he saw an article in the Irish Post
about the Pipers Club which had recently began meeting in the Irish Centre in
Camden. He began attending classes there and was taught by Billy Browne, John
Murphy and Tommy Keane.
Shortly after returning to live in Dublin in 1994, Ken proposed
a video piping tutor project to the Board of NPU, and subsequently produced the
‘Art of Uilleann Piping’ series. He has since been involved in many of the DVDs
made for NPU.
Padraig Mac Mathúna
Padraic was born into a house where music was important. His
late father Ciarán Mac Mathúna was a household name since the 1950s as a
broadcaster and collector of music on radio and TV, and so it was natural that
Padraic grew up meeting many of the revered names in traditional music, among
them pipers Seamus Ennis, Leo Rowsome and Willie Clancy.
It was early visits to Miltown Malbay on holiday in the 1960s
in paticular that opened his eyes to piping, with Willie Clancy captivating all
within his reach, particularly children. After starting on the whistle and
flute, Padraic got a set of pipes in his teenage years from Martin Talty of
Miltown, and 'got on the road' with the help of Dan O'Dowd and Brian Gallahar in
the old NPU premises in Essex St.
Padraic benefited from the generosity of Liam O'Flynn, a family
friend, imparting piping techniques in the 1970s. In the late 70s and into the
80s Padraic was more active in NPU and taught regularly at the WCSS each July.
Job responsibilities took hold with migration to various parts including London
and Boston before returning to native shores in 1995. Emigration did however
have the advantage providing him with chances of meeting musicians, making new
friends and playing music with Seamus Connolly and Paddy Keenan in Boston, Tommy
McCarthy, Bobby Casey and John Carty in London.
He became an honorary Corkman to play with Stokers Lodge in the
1970s, and toured with Sean Potts on an early fund raiser for NPU in the US. His
recordings include a solo CD Blas na Meala released by Gael Linn in 1992.
Padraic plays a Leo Rowsome concert set (made c 1935) and flat
set (B-ish) made by Nick Adams (Miltown Malbay) in 1989, (generously donated as
a wedding present!)
Kieran O'Hare was born in Kansas, and took up the uilleann
pipes in his early teens, with early guidance from piper and pipemaker Kirk
Lynch. His early 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 attending university in 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
the 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 continues to be an active teacher and promoter of the
uilleann pipes. As a piper, he has performed around the world through his work
in theatre and music performance.
Kieran plays a concert pitch set of pipes by Cillian Ó Briain,
and flat sets by Andreas Rogge and Joe Kennedy.
Seán was born in Dublin in 1930. Grandson of John Potts (Piper
1871-1956) and nephew of Tommy Potts (Fiddle player 1912-1988), he is a founding
member of Ceoltóirí Chualann and The Chieftains, and has recorded with both of
these groups. He has also recorded with Paddy Maloney and Peader Mercier on Tin
Seán joined Na Píobairí Uilleann in 1970 and,
following his retirement from The Chieftains in 1979, became actively involved
in the organization, especially in fundraising in Ireland and in the USA. During
this work he formed the gpoup Bakerswell and recorded with them in the late
1980s. He has been a committee member of NPU since 1979 and held the position of
Chairman from 1987 to 2002. Seán is now Hon. President of NPU.
Sorcha Potts, born in Dublin is a daughter of Sean Potts and
sister of Sean Óg Potts. She began learning the whistle at a very young age and
later the flute. She joined NPU in 2009 and began learning the Uilleann Pipes in
She is also a very keen sports person with particular interest
in Gaelic Football. Sorcha became actively involved in the fundraising for NPU
and was elected to the board of NPU 2013.
Kevin Rowsome is the fifth generation of uilleann pipers and
pipe makers in the Rowsome family. His great grandfather, William was one of the
founding members of the first pipers club which came into existence in the
1890's. His great uncle Tom Rowsome was a committee member of that club, which
lasted until 1922. His grandfather, Leo revived the pipers club in 1934. Link:
http://goo.gl/EyWjy and was a founding member of the current club in 1968. Link:
Kevin started playing the uilleann pipes at the
age of six, under the guidance of his grandfather Leo and father, Leon. His
playing gained public recognition when he won the prestigious uilleann pipe
competition at the Oireachtas in 1991. Kevin has vast experience as a performer
and instructor of the uilleann pipes, performing extensively and lecturing and
instructing at a number of traditional music festivals throughout Europe and
USA. He recorded an uilleann piping album “The Rowsome Tradition“ which was
released in 1999. In 2006 Kevin won a competition to compose a piece of music to
commemorate the Blasket islands (Cuisle Ceoil an Bhlascaoid). He has a number of
other musical compositions to his name.
Kevin has spent over a decade working with his
good friend Benedict Koehler, rediscovering the reed making techniques used by
his grandfather and great grandfather.
Among the pipes that Kevin plays is a set made
by his great grandfather, William Rowsome which were featured in the publication
"Irish Minstrels and Musicians" by Captain Francis O'Neill (1913). These pipes
were generously donated by Dr Lewis Blevins and restored by Benedict Koehler.
Further details on the Rowsome family's
immeasurable contribution to uilleann piping are available on Kevin's website.