Piping Lessons from Ryan Murphy (of Ealu and Cara Band)

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.

Basic info:

Currently with: Cara and Ealu

Hometown: Cork

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.


2 Replies to “Piping Lessons from Ryan Murphy (of Ealu and Cara Band)”

  1. The set on the video rocks!!! Ryan is having so much fun too!! I wish I could have been there to experience the music that night.

    The pipes are something I have always been inane of from my first time seeing Paddy Moloney play the beast! I can sit and watch someone playing the instrument for hours. But I have to admit I think of all the Irish and Celtic instruments I love the uilleann pipes the best because it gives the sounds that means “Celtic,” to me.


    1. Same here Christi. This is one instrument that said to me: this is what Irish music is. And from that day on, I discovered other instruments which i also love. But the Uilleann pipes will always be special. It was fun doing this project with Ryan while he is in the middle of a tour.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s