Born in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Uillleann Piper and whistle player Eamonn Dillon has toured and recorded both as a solo artist and with a varied group of performers, touring shows and bands. Working between the US, Canada and Europe, his music has been featured on several film and television programs around the world.
He first learned the tin whistle from his father, and Tara Diamond, before getting his first set of uilleann pipes, made by the great master Sean McAloon , who mentored him while starting out.
Eamonn currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee but once lived in South Florida for many years. He is a patient teacher and masterful musician and has returned many times to the South East Tionól. He has been a teacher at nearly all of the Tionóls across the US as well as music festivals. We are excited to welcome Eamonn back to Florida as our piping teacher.
James Kelly, a native of Ireland, is one of the greatest Irish traditional fiddlers alive today. He learned his music from his father John Kelly, the renowned fiddle and concertina player from County Clare. After years of careful study and practice, James began his recording and touring career at age sixteen. That year he won first place in the prestigious "Fiddler of the Year" competition and recorded his first album, a duet with his brother John. Since that time, James has toured Europe, the US, Canada and South America, and was a member of several influential Irish groups, including "Patrick Street" and the legendary folk group "Planxty."
He was a presenter of the "Pure Drop" series for Irish TV and has appeared several times with the Grammy award winning Irish group, "The Chieftains." In the US, James has performed several times on Garrison Keillor's national radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion."
In recent years he received the prestigious "Florida Folk Heritage Award" as well as the "Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Folk Arts Award." James was the TG4 Irish traditional musician of the year, having been awarded the "Gradam Ceoil TG4 2006 Irish Musician of the Year" award in recognition of his outstanding musicianship and contributions to Irish music (TG4 is Ireland's Irish-language TV station). He has 18 albums to his credit and recently released his latest recording, "Melodic Journeys." He is currently working on a teaching DVD for fiddle students, as well as compiling his over 800 compositions for publication. He continues to tour with some of Irish music's leading accompanists.
We are delighted that James is returning to the South East Tionól… a short journey from Miami, Florida where he currently lives. He has become a Florida treasure, and we are thrilled to have him teach fiddle over our Irish music immersion weekend.
One of the leading uilleann pipers of a generation influenced and taught by the remarkable trio of Séamus Ennis, Tommy Reck and Leo Rowsome, Néillidh Mulligan grew up in Phibsborough, Dublin 7 in a family steeped in musical traditions from Leitrim.
His father, ‘Big’ Tom Mulligan was a notable fiddle player and piper from Bornacoola in South Leitrim, a close friend of Ennis’s and something of a musical troubadour. Through him Néillidh met and played music with legendary figures like Packie Duignan and Joe Lacky Gallagher and his annual pilgrimage to the Joe Mooney Summer School in Drumshanbo (as performer and tutor) is testament to his early musical journeys and his father’s vision for such a festival.
His three albums Barr na Cúile, The Leitrim Thrush and An Tobar Glé represent a significant mix of traditional repertoire and original composition; his playing is rooted in the style and rigour of Ennis and his early mentors but has a sweet twist that is all his own. Néillidh is a Keeper, a Re-Maker: the tunes here continue his exploration of Ireland’s traditional music, honouring and replenishing its sweep and vigour, unfurling the new from the spirit of ages. --Vincent Woods
Deb Quigley was born in Newtownards, County Down and lived during the early 70’s in the town of Bangor where she was first introduced to the native music of Ireland. Chris (Charlie Ferguson) R.I.P. whistle and flute player also from Bangor was a huge influence on her music during the formative years.
During the late 80’s she was once again inspired musically by the playing and teaching of the late Chris Langan Uillean piper, instrument maker, and music teacher originally from Rush, County Dublin who lived for many years in Toronto. Deb credits much of her music to the patient, and informative teaching style of her mentor and friend.
Deb Quigley is a sought-out teacher on the uilleann pipes, instructing at many Tionóls throughout the U.S. and Canada - she brings her patient teaching style and wealth of knowledge of the instrument to the South East Tionól. We are happy to have her back as an instructor and performer!
Nick Whitmer has been playing and making uilleann pipes since his mid-30s - more than 30 years ago… living then in Virgina he learned in relative isolation. His early teachers included Paul Levin of Baltimore and Tim Britton of then Fairfield, Iowa. Britton was a great help and influence in learning about reedmaking and pipemaking. Musically Nick stands in wonder at the playing of Séamus Ennis and Tommy Reck. But to his mind the root of this music is the wonderful melodies, played on any agreeable instrument.
Musically Nick has been a local player, active in Irish music in the places he has lived: western Virginia and now upstate New York. For some years he played in a band for many contra dances.
As pipemaker Nick has made sets and done repair work for players all over the US and in a few foreign countries. His instruments don’t come up very often in the used market, which he takes as a good sign.
In recent years Nick has done a great deal of research about uilleann pipers in the vaudeville era, 1870-1930. He has compiled much information about Patsy Touhey, the most successful of the vaudeville pipers. Have a look at the Touhey Archive if you wish: http://www.whitmerpipes.com/touhey_archive.html
This will be Mr. Whitmer’s first visit to the South East Tionól where he will be teaching reedmaking, and helping with pipes maintenance. He will be giving a lecture on the history of uilleann piping in America on Sunday morning.