Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Trad Tuesday - The Wheels of the World by John McSherry & Colin Harper

The Uilleann Pipe has been discussed on these pages before. John McSherry is one of the elite Irish Uilleann pipers today having played in Lunasa, Tamalin, and Coolfin. He's also played with many other musicians and his current bands, At First Light and The Ollam. He has provided the music for films such as Waking Ned Devine and This is My Father.

He currently has a book out about the Uilleann Pipe, The Wheels of the World.
From the website:

One chanter, three drones, three regulators, thirteen keys, too many near-extinctions to mention and 300 years of heroes:  that, with a frisson of fairies on moonlit knolls, is the Irish uilleann (‘ill-in’) pipes. The Wheels Of The World presents an epic tale of triumph and survival, where the soulful heart of a nation has been kept alive across ages by a slender thread of guardians – blind men, eccentrics, self-aggrandisers, noble heroes, bloody-minded revivalists and at least three people compared to Jimi Hendrix. 

Uilleann piping is Ireland’s equivalent to the story of the blues in America, save that here the trail of legends and lore is richer and deeper by far. It is the sound of eighteenth century blues – a micro-tonal virtuoso machine wielded by misfits and geniuses, often one and the same.

This is the story of a continuum, from John McSherry, a 21st century luminary, backwards in time through his three formative heroes – Paddy Keenan, Liam O’Flynn and Finbar Furey – and thence to Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Johnny Doran, Leo Rowsome, Patsy Touhey and a litany of unrecorded legends before them. It is also a snapshot of professional Irish traditional musicians, after the goldrush of the late 20th century, keeping calm and carrying on.

You can order the book here:


John McSherry & Paul Meehan play ''An Bhean Chaointe / The Old Bush / The First Month of Summer" to a live audience on TG4's music series 'Bosca Ceoil'.