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2005
Thanks to Liam O'Neill of New Paltz N.Y. for sending me this scan of a postcard which Sean McAloon appeared on in the 60's. Here's a link to the conversation accompanying this items sale on Ebay more »
Here's one of two pipemakers, Seán McAloon and Adrian Jeffries, in 1996. Sent to me by Adrian.
West Coast Tionól, San Francisco Feb. 2005


Here we have a few very select photos of the San Francisco Tionól. David Quinn, Lewis Blevins and a few of the other attendees. Two gentlemen pipers Leo Rickard and Patrick Sky were this years guests with many of the local boys and girls taking on various teaching assignments also. I was too busy having fun to be taking photos I'm afraid so if you have any you'd like to share please send them along.

Loads of great shots are available at the San Francisco Pipers Club website at ::: more»
And also in Rod Margason's photo album ::: more»
Mike DeSmidt sent me a couple of video clips of the Friday night session ::: clip1» ::: clip2»

Half set by pipemaker Mark Donohoe. For enquiries email him at: markdpipes@eircom.net
Emmett Gill sent me this scan of a nice old postcard he aquired in Westport. Emmett mentioned that it might be a double chanter, certainly looks like the ones I've seen. No real info available about the piper.... looks like Michael Dooley to me? Any info on that Mick ;) If anyone can enlighten us please do.

Update: from Patrick Sky - I checked my O'Neill's "Irish Minstrals" last night and there is a very good photo of Nicholas Markey. My wife and I agree that the eyes have it along with the nose. I think that the post card is an older Nichlos Markey. If not Nichlos then it is his older twin brother.

Who ever did the coloring job was not very skilled and it somewhat obscures the detail both in Markey's features and especially the pipes. The pipes in the postcard are more primative than the pipes in O'Neill's. A different set of pipes but aparrently the same person.
Had a nice time in Nashville over the first weekend in May. I had a concert performance with The Ric Blair Band. While there I had the good fortune of being able to spend some time with Lewis Blevins and his family. Lewis arranged a session with some local players to take place on the Sunday evening which was really nice. Here are a couple of photos Lewis sent me.... unfortunately they are only of my ugly mug (sorry)... but as a consolation there are some nice views of The Holy Order.
Mick and Pat Brophy with Andy Conroy Found this on the C&F message boards from Kevin Rietmann:
"Here is another old snap I was sent years ago. Caption says it all, Pat Brophy recorded a 78 in the 50s too. I think it was the 50s, maybe before then, I don't know how interested HMV and Parlaphone and Decca would be in solo piping by then. The Brophys played C or C# pipes made by some Dublin maker I think. Nice hum off them, they were interesting pipers too. Andy Conroy you can read about here and there. Big set of Taylor[ish] pipes he has there, in later years he played a Crowley, also a Rowsome chanter and a Matt Kiernan C set, again, nice hum off those. Funny that Andy would own such a huge set and then just play the chanter! If indeed it's his, maybe he just borrowed them for the photo."

Follow Up from Tommy Martin:
"Great photo Kevin. I know Mick Brophy played a Willie Rowsome set, which Mrs Brophy passed on to Neillidh Mulligan after Mick died. Neillidhs son, Fiachra, is playing the chanter as part of his practise set and will have the rest in time. I can't remember what Pat Brophey played, either a Rowsome or maybe a John Clarke set. They're brother Jim had a Leo Rowsome set I believe."
Young Séamus Ennis Also found this wonderful photo of a very young Séamus Ennis on the C&F message boards from Kevin Rietmann. Seán Folsom followed up with this wiley tale:
"That's a great photo Kevin ! Where did you get it? I first met Seamus at Slattery's (the music club, up stairs) He played a reel so fast everybody was waiting for him to stumble, but he didn't...and I said "greetings from the pipers of California, Leo Purcell says Hello" etc. Seamus aknowledged that he had been to L.A. in 1964, but he didn't remember any pipers...Denis Brooks, said "of course he didn't, he was 3 sheets to the wind" "Leo and I took him everywhere in L.A." Well 2 years later I had two visits with Seamus at his famous caravan (mobile trailer in US parlance) at Naul. I even got a ride in that 2 tone blue Ford Zephyr (looked like a scaled down 1956 Ford Victoria 4door) He was so proud of that car! He had a mechanic tweaking the carb and engine, all the time, and claimed that it would get 200 miles to the Gallon, that's an Imperial Gallon,(1 quart more than the US kind). Anyhow, we had to go to the Pub nearby... that was across this very busy "trunk road" that went out to the airport. We stopped at the intersection, and put, put, putted across with 2 Lorries, from both directions, headed right for us, I closed my eyes 'cause I thought we were going to be hit by at least one of them! When I reopened my eyes, I had a flash about that great musician's timing, or the working brakes of the Trucks, had kept us safe, There's other details, I'll save you, needless to say, the trip back to the trailer was the exactly similar situation in reverse, but we made that one, as well, as I am still here writting this...Seamus' face did remind me of the actor Peter O'Toole (could they be related?) Oh, and a witty reconteur, limericks, stories, the Gaelic, Pipes......RIP Seamus! Sean Folsom"
Séamus Ennis and Colm Ó Caodháin From the Department of Irish Folklore website:
"Séamus Ennis worked as a full-time collector from 1942 until 1947, concentrating on the collection of traditional music and songs. He worked in west Munster, Galway, Mayo, Cavan, Donegal and the Scottish Gaeltacht. Colm Ó Caodháin was one of his finest informants and gave Séamus Ennis hundreds of songs and a wealth of lore."
  • Here are 130 fantastic photos of Séamus Ennis from the George Pickow Image Collection from the James Hardiman Library in the National University of Ireland, Galway.
  • And some of Leo and Leon Rowsome from the same collection: ::: more »
Two new sets made by Michael Hubbert for two members of the So Cal Uilleann Pipers Club Matt Schibler and Dave Collin's. Both are of pernambuco and brass with either ebony or ivory mounts. They have been christened "The Toxic Twins" as the pernambuco is so toxic Mr. Hubbert's eyes swelled so much they actually closed!
This wonderful old print I found on the immensely interesting FARNE - Folk Archive Resource North East website. The specific page referenced here is: link. Here's what the website has listed about this piper and this print:

Title: Portrait of Blind Willie playing the Irish pipes.
Format: portrait
Artist: unknown
Production details: Newcastle upon Tyne
Date: 1800-1832
Collection name: Songs and letters collected by T. and G. Allan.

Perhaps a more flattering and life-like portrait than most of the likenesses of the famous Tyneside entertainer. This portrait is a rather a mystery as Billy Purvis was known to have played the Northumbrian, not the Irish pipes.

'Billy Purvis, perhaps the best known of the 19th century Northumbrian Showmen, numbered amongst his many skills conjuring, clowning, fiddling and bagpipe playing. He was however also known as a skilled teacher of dance.

The portrait forms part of a collection held by Newcastle City Library. The collection comprises much of the original material collected by Thomas Allan for the publication of 'Allan's Tyneside songs'. From original Ned Corvan manuscripts to photographs of Joe Wilson, and correspondence from local figures such as Joseph Cowen, the collection provides a genuinely fascinating glimpse of some of the region's best known composers. The material dates from 1860 to 1890, spanning the dates of the various publications of the book in 1862, 1863, 1864, 1872, 1873 and 1891.

Collection description: Song manuscripts, correspondence and broadsides collected for the publication of Allan's Tyneside Songs.
Collector: Allan, Thomas (b.1832 d.1894)
Collection date: 1862-1891
Period: 1801-1840
Subject: Purvis, Billy (b.1784 d.1853)
Held by: Newcastle City Library
Copyright: Item reproduced by kind permission of Newcastle City Library
This wonderful photo is also from the FARNE - Folk Archive Resource North East website. The specific page referenced here is: link. Here's what the website has listed about this piper and this print:

Title: W.A. Cocks and friends
Format: portrait
Compiler: Cocks, William Alfred (b.1892 d.1971)
Date: 1927 (circa)
Collection name: W.A. Cocks Photograph Collection [pt.1]

On this photograph we see pipers (clockwise from left) - D. Laidlaw V.C., W.A. Cocks, J. Robertson, G.V. Charlton, R.W. Clarke. The photograph was taken at the home of W.A. Cocks at Ryton on Tyne some time in 1927-28. Amongst those present was G.V. Charlton, who along with Cocks, helped to revive interest in pipes in the region, writing many articles for the press.

This photograph is taken from the W.A. Cocks collection. W.A. Cocks himself, not only collected and played pipes, but also made them. He helped to produce the first ever book of plans for making Northumbrian pipes and researched extensively into the history of the pipes in the region. His collection of pipes is now housed at Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum, along with several volumes of photographs taken and collected by Cocks. The photographs, along with others held at Northumberland Record Office and elsewhere, act as a rare visual archive to the history of piping in the region. The photographs date back to as early as the mid 19th century, although most were taken between 1920-1950, and show piping greats such as Jack Armstrong, Tom Clough, Joe Hutton and many more in their hey-day.

Collection description: Photographs taken and collected by William Alfred Cox
Subject heading: pipers & musicians & pipes
Period: 1901-1940
Subject: Cocks, William Alfred (b.1892 d.1971) ; Subject : Charlton, G.V.B. ; Subject : Laidlaw, D. ; Subject : Clarke, R.W. ; Subject : Robertson, J.
Held by: Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum
Copyright: Item reproduced by kind permission of Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum
From Ross Anderson the proud new owner of this beautiful Joe Kennedy set in C:
"At Miltown Malbay I took delivery of a C set from Joe Kennedy. This set was modelled on an instrument that was made in 1823 by the younger Kenna and is now in Ken MacLeod's collection. I took it along to Ken's and we photographed the two sets side by side.
I also played the old set briefly. The chanter doesn't sound quite the same, as Joe uses a Coyne bore rather than Kenna's. However the new set is a wonderful instrument. Over the last couple of weeks, as I've got used to it, my playing seems to have improved a lot. It's made out of apple wood. Fruitwood was what people used two hundred years ago, so that's what I chose. The chanter tone is comparable to an old Coyne set I heard at Miltown."
"Ned Hogan of Cashel" as featured in O'Neill's Irish Minstrel's & Musician's. Beautiful looking possible Coyne set in "C" and All Ireland Medal.







This beautiful old set was posted up on the piping message boards:
"I recently had an opportunity to see a couple of sets of pipes that used to belong to Brother Gildas (1882 to 1960). They are now in the posession of my cousin who is a grandnephew of Brother Gildas. He is not a piper but firmly intends to keep them in the family. There are two sets.

The first is a full set of unknown origin. The bellows was made by Leo Rowsome who was a good friend of Brother Gildas and did frequent repairs for the Brother (see the article by Helena Rowsome Grimes in the December 2003 issue of An Piobaire, recalling her memories of the Brother visiting her father). The set is complete and all reeds appear to work. The chanter reed has the name 'Crowley' written on one side and some numbers on the other. However the bellows need repair at this stage (just a bad valve).

The second set is just a bag and chanter. The bag is tied directly to the chanter. Again the reed says 'Crowley' but the reed is bad. This appears to be older than the full set. One of the keys is missing and the hole was filed.

Does anybody have suggestions as to who made these pipes and how old they are? The National Museum approached my late Uncle many years ago and told him that the full set was one of 4 unique sets. A well known piper based in Ireland saw them a few years ago and was not able to identify them.

Also, does anybody have a copy of An Piobaire article on Br. Gildas from October 2003? I am trying to gather as much info on Br.Gildas for my cousin as I can.

Liam O'Neill"
The 2005 Southern California Tionól was a roaring success. Thanks to our esteemed guests Máire Ní Ghráda, Jimmy O'Brien-Moran and Benedict Koehler for their hard work and patience. Thanks to Larry Dunn for his organizational skills, Gabriel & Eileen McKeagney for hosting the event and all the rest of the lads that chipped in particularly Steve Farrell and Nicholas ::: more»
Patrick Sky sent me this great photo of Tommy Reck and himself. Looks like they might have been working on some tunes for The Stone In The Field recording. Thanks very much for sharing this Patrick!

Pat says "The photograph was taken when we were working on the "The Stone In The Field." at Paul Brady's Dublin apartment. I had just finished working on reeding Tommy's pipes a couple of days before and he showed up with a stack of manuscripts to jog his memory. Once we decided on the tunes, I recorded Tommy over a two day period, on a 2 track Nagra recorder, while he sat in a chair located in a stair well."




A set of pipes that came up for discussion on the Chiff & Fipple message board recently. Who do you think made them? more »
[These three photos are related to the above segment] This set with metal mounts were submitted by David Quinn as possibilities made by the same maker as the set being discussed.

[These four photos are related to the above segment] The ones after that are of a Patsy Brown chanter. Mr. Brown made chanters with a hybred Boehm system of keywork.
John O'Reilly of Dunmore, Co. Galway. The 1912 Dublin Oireachtas winner. He tied that year with James Byrne.
Possibly another picture of George McCarthy. This time using a leg prop.
Stephen Ruane. O'Neill's "Minstrels & Musicians" says of Ruane -

"Another of the few surviving pipers, famous but forgotten, which the Gaelic League has resurrected, is Stephen Ruane, of Shantalla, Galway. That ardent revivalist John S. Wayland, of the Cork Pipers' Club, traced him up and paid him a visit at his home just outside the "City of the Tribes." Ruane displayed wonderful execution on the chanter, but did not manipulate the regulators, possibly on account of their being not properly equipped with reeds.

Persuaded by Mr. Wayland, he attended the Dublin Feis in 1906, and was awarded the first prize, notwithstanding his long seclusion and want of practice. His fine execution on the chanter at the Feis in 1912, in which there were seventeen competitors, was remarked, but as his instrument was in wretched tune it militated against his success accordingly. Ruane, who was originally a farmer, is a very tall man of quite respectable appearance."
Here are three photos from a new website selling old Irish print photography. I first saw these images in O'Neill's Minstrel's && Musicians I believe. The website URL is www.irelandinprints.com and it was pointed out to me by Dan McNamara, thanks Dan. The first picture is new to me as far as I remember. The second is of the McCormac Brothers. Information on them is available in O'Neill's, I'll look that up and add some more info on them soon.
Update: From John McCarthy - Spotted on the Pipers Rock recording: The third is of these show "Pipers at Feis Cheoil 1901" it states the pipers as being "L to R seated: Miss H. Barry, Pat Gallagher, Michael O'Sullivan, Martin Reilly, Denny Delaney, Edward St. John, George McCartney. Standing: Pat McCormick, John Cash, Pat Ward."
Here's a great album cover of the band Mooncoin from the 70's. Mickey Ziekley and pipemaker Michael Hubbert pose with some of their instruments. You can see a highlighted picture of Mickey's Taylor style pipes there too.
Found these whilst perusing the web for oddities, anomalies and perturbations. Liam O'Flynn and Mick O'Brien in the studio recording with Swedish group Secret Garden.
The Founding Members of the new Hudson River Pipers Club held their inaugural meeting in early December in Piermont, NY, along the western banks of the Hudson River, north of New York City. All of the members had previously attended work shops, Tionol's and concerts together so little time was needed getting "caught up" before cases were opened and the pipes were played. It was a very enjoyable and productive four-hour meeting with all members playing tunes, sharing information and trying out each other's chanters and drones. Club member Nate Banton, from Pipe Maker Seth Gallagher's workshop, helped tune and "tame" some reluctant reeds and drones during the session, as well as demonstrating some reed making techniques. The group discussed creating a repertoire of Club tunes, reaching out to other Uilleann Piping Clubs, inviting guest instructors and setting schedules for future meetings. Founding members are Nate Banton, Katie Carmen, Seth Gallagher, Dan McNamara, Aidan Nelson, Liam O'Neill and Jim Reilly. Many thanks to Aidan (and Mom, Eileen) for the refreshments and use of their spacious and sunny studio for the Club's kick off meeting. The Hudson River Pipers Club welcomes inquiries from interested pipers. Please contact Liam O'Neill, at liam@hvc.rr.com or Jim Reilly, at jcreilly@aol.com
A new Joe Kennedy C# chanter in nickel, faux ivory and Brazilian Rosewood. This stick plays like a dream!
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