I know someone who plays the Uilleann pipes and that person is a Chemistry major. It seems that everyone who has Celtic blood running in their veins, has no difficulty in leading two careers-Music and Science.
I featured the band Cara a few weeks ago. That’s when I got to know Ryan Murphy and his other band Ealu. Ryan gives his FYI about the Uilleann pipes in between tours here.This is for those who want to learn and the basics and the important things to remember.
Currently with: Cara and Ealu
Also Plays: Flutes, whistles and Saxophones.
The things he could never leave behind when on a tour:
“Aside from the instruments I’d have to say the iPod. The car journeys just get too long with out it.”
Uilleann Pipes 101
1.Buying the instrument : Make sure you know that the maker has a good reputation and make sure the sound they produce is to your taste.
2.Interpreting traditional pieces: Well everyone interprets tunes differently. I always try to mix up how I interpret every tune. Sometimes they could be filled with loads of ornaments and tricks but then sometimes it’s great to scale it all back.
3.Playing, tuning and knowing the parts of the instrument: Is vital when it comes to the Uilleann pipes as maintenance is critical in order for them to sound right.
4.Practicing: Is a big part of my daily routine. I sometimes skip lectures in college just to practice that hour or two extra.
5.Maintenance: I always keep my pipes as well maintained as possible. On tour the pipes could hang you out to dry in the middle of a concert if they’re not kept in top order. I make sure the joints are always well sealed, in dry climates I humidity the reed as often as I need to depending on the level of humidity.