Píobaire, An, Volume 9, Issue 5, Page 3

Píobaire, An, Volume 9, Issue 5, Page 3


periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
periodical Editor
Chairman, NPU
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An Píobaire
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Píobaire, An 9 5 3 20131126 I AM CONTINUALLY SURPRISED and delighted to meet new and promising young pipers – which I did recently at Tionól Tommy Kear- ney in Kilkenny. It is always interesting to ask them how they became interested in the pipes and one of the young pipers I met in Kilkenny told me he first heard them being played on a TV broadcast as part of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ire- land in 2011! The young players are the future of piping and older and experi- enced pipers should give every encouragement to them. On a practical level you could make copies of recordings of pipers that are not commercially avail- able. You could also maybe loan them an unused flat pitched chanter to introduce them to that experience and allow them the opportunity to appreciate the dif- ference between concert pitch and flat pipes. The standard of pipes they are playing has also improved since I was learning. With the improvement and consistency in chanters and reedmaking, gone is the fear and struggle of tackling a tune that dwells for too long on the top hand in the second octave. There are many people who have tried the pipes but did not have access to a decent instrument and aban- doned their pursuit of the instrument. With further regard to pipemaking, it is encourag- ing to note that several of the trainees on the pipemaking course in the PIPECRAFT Centre have begun to establish and equip their own private workshops as they take steps on the road to estab- lishing themselves as full-time pipemakers. One has to appreciate the commitment this involves, if only from a financial point of view, and we wish them well on their journey and congratulate the in- structors on the course for their continued work in imparting the necessary skills to them. I attended the unveiling of a new life-size bronze statue of Willie Clancy in Miltown Malbay in No- vember. It is fitting to see such a manifestation of the impact Willie had – and continues to have – on the world of uilleann piping. It is over forty years since his untimely death and now there is an impres- sive public reminder of him in the main street of his native town for all to see. Two pipers, Liam O’Flynn – who performed the un- veiling – and Pat Mitchell both spoke afterwards about Willie as a piper and also, importantly, about him as a person whose friend- ship they treasured and how time spent in his com- pany was as much about having fun as playing music. His smiling countenance on the statue con- veys that aspect of his personality. Inscribed on the plinth is the much quoted saying from Willie “The Irish language is the greatest music of all”. No doubt visitors to Miltown Malbay – especially the thousands who come for Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy – will be impressed by the work of Clare sculptor Shane Gilmore. It adds to the list of other impressive life-size works of public sculpture of 3
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