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Authority record

O'Flynn, Liam, 1945-2018

  • IE ITMA P00057
  • Person
  • 1945-2018
Born Kill, Co. Kildare. His father, also Liam, plays fiddle; his mother, Maisie Scanlan, had links to Co. Clare music through her cousin, Junior Crehan. He was introduced to uilleann pipes by Garda Tom Armstrong who had won prizes at Oireachtas and Fleadh Cheoil in his early teens. O’Flynn studied initially under Leo Rowsome, and later was influenced by Willie Clancy and Séamus Ennis (who bequeathed his pipes to him). A solidly traditional player, he has also been involved in many imaginative projects. He was a founder member of Planxty in 1972, with Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny and Andy Irvine, and played on all their recordings. In 1980 he recorded The Brendan Voyage, a work for solo uilleann pipes and orchestra, written by Shaun Davey. He also worked with Davey on Granuaile, The Relief of Derry Symphony and The Pilgrim. His fi lm score credits include collaborations with Mark Knopfl er and Elmer Bernstein. He has appeared and recorded with John Cage, and with popular musicians Kate Bush, Enya and The Everley Brothers, and has also performed with Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. He took part in the first concert of Irish music to take place in the BBC Proms at the Albert Hall in London in 1999, played in Celtique Nuit at Stade de France in Paris and Shaun Davey’s Dublin Special Olympics performance in 2003. Among his c. 50 recordings are The Poet and the Piper (2003, with Seamus Heaney) and Voices from the Merry Cemetery (2009, with Davey, Rita Connolly and Seán Keane and others). In 2004 he was part of the Planxty regrouping, and in 2007 he was awarded TG4’s Gradam Ceoil.

Cox, Denis

  • IE ITMA P00022
  • Person

Hannan, Robbie

  • IE ITMA P00058
  • Person
Hannan, Robbie. (1961– ). Uilleann pipes. Born in Belfast and raised in the nearby town of Hollywood, Co. Down, he took an interest in traditional music in his early teens and started to learn the pipes at the age of fifteen. The Fermanagh piper Seán McAloon was a great source of encouragement and the piping of Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy and Tommy Reck were influential in his playing. Other influences have been his interest in Co. Donegal fiddle playing and the Irish-language song tradition. His recordings include two solo albums and a duet album with the fiddler Paddy Glackin. A graduate of QUB, where he studied Celtic languages and literature and Law, he presented The Long Note on RTÉ Radio 1984–5 and has presented a number of traditional music series on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and BBC Radio Ulster. He was appointed curator of musicology in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in 1995 and since 2008 has held the position of head of folk life and agriculture in the same institution. He has been chair of Na Píobairí Uilleann since 2006.

Reid, Seán, 1907-1978

  • IE ITMA P00008
  • Person
  • 1907-1978

Reid, Seán. (1907–78). Fiddler, piper, organiser. Born Castlefi n, Co. Donegal. His father, and uncle John Reid, played fiddle; the family home was a meeting place for musicians throughout his childhood. This listening was supplemented by 78 recordings and he learned fiddle and was taught ‘classical’ piano. School life involved Irish dancing; local fiddler Eddie Toland provided music for this. Raised by his mother, in 1927 he went to Queen’s University Belfast to study civil engineering and science; while there he learned to play bagpipes in the Officer Training Corps, and was a committed and successful athlete. Interested in literature, his regular browsing in the city’s famous Smithfield market yielded a Tom Ennis 78 rpm record and kindled his passion for the uilleann pipes. Competing in an athletics event at Feis na nGleann in Cushendun soon after brought him into contact with Meath-born piper R.L. O’Mealy. A period in Dublin brought him in contact with John Potts’s family and friends, a circle which included Breandán Breathnach and Tommy Reck.

In 1937 he began work with Clare County Council as a civil engineer. A friendship with fiddler Martin Rochford of Bodyke resulted in the two of them working together at learning uilleann pipes. Leo Rowsome was one of their mentors, as was Johnny Doran whom Seán visited regularly. Joe Leyden, who worked with Seán, was another invaluable contact in those years. Seán Reid’s presence in Clare was to have an important influence on the music and its players. From his house in Ennis he was a catalyst and voluntary coordinator for many of the musicians in the county and he played an important role as musician and leader in the Tulla Céilí Band. He brought players together at a time when transport was scarce and communication difficult, often taking them to competitions as far away as Dublin. Humorously described as one of the ‘driving forces’ in Clare (one of the few who had a car), he frequently endured personal sacrifice and expense supporting issues in which he believed, never afraid to speak out where he felt it necessary. His application and commitment to traditional music as an Irish art, as a bridge across political division, and to piping in particular, marks him as critical in the traditional music revival.

He was involved in the early CCÉ, in 1956 a key figure in introducing it into the northeastern counties through the Derry and Antrim Fiddlers’ Association, and he was the proposer of setting up Na Píobairí Uilleann in 1968. His work in the field of piping has been extremely valuable. In the years when pipes were held in little regard he collected several sets, passing them on to pipers when interest had revived, thus ensuring that players would have good instruments with which to continue the tradition. A gentle personality, a careful researcher and collector, a tireless organiser and a humble, caring, scrupulously honest man, he impressed and succeeded by conviction and discussion: one of music revival’s most fondly remembered mentors. [ JIO, EDI]

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