Watch this space for the latest on the Chicago Pipers!

January 16, 2014 4 comments


Uilleann piping lessons, events, travels, will share here, watch this space!

Uilleann Piping in Chicago’s Loop July 9, 2014 12-1pm

We were asked to play for the July 9 – Irish Fest Preview at Daley Plaza at 12pm, bringing uilleann piping to downtown Chicago! The Irish American Heritage Center (IAHC) will celebrate its’ upcoming Irish Fest, July 11-14 with a sneak preview at the Daley Plaza of music.

Hear some uilleann pipes on another radio show, Skinny and Houli Show Saturday!


On Skinny and Houli Show July 5, 2014 to talk about our summer adventures, like IrishFest Chicago, Milwaukee IrishFest and Johnny O’Hagan’s Tuesdays, along with other events!

Listen: WCEV AM 1450 on Saturdays starting at 3:05 PM cst, or on TuneInRadio. Podcast available after broadcast, will post when up on their website.

More about the “Skinny and Houli Show”: This freewheeling talk radio dialogue features Chicago’s own James “Skinny” Sheahan and Mike “Houli” Houlihan, two of Chicago’s most irreverent and irrepressible personalities. Discussing what’s happening in the city each week, the hosts dissect the news, politics, sports and entertainment scene with their trademark wit and a showcase a variety of community activists and neighborhood heroes.

Two Irish Radio Shows Saturday, June 28, 2014 10:00-11:30am WPNA

dad in studio

On the Hagerty Irish Hour Show June 28, 2014 to talk about our summer adventures, like IrishFest Chicago, Milwaukee IrishFest and Johnny O’Hagan’s Tuesdays, along with other events!

Listen: WPNA AM 1490 on Saturdays starting 10 until around 11:30 AM CDT,

or on TuneInRadio, search for WPNA

More about the “Hagerty Irish Hour”: The Hagerty Family Irish Hour is truly one of Chicago’s most treasured traditions, the show is especially treasured amongst Chicago’s Irish, or Irish at heart. The Hagerty Family has played great Irish music and has also supported the Chicago-Irish community for fifty years. Please join us every week, from 9:00-11:00 A.M. on Saturday mornings to hear a variety of Irish music and news of what is happening in and around the Irish community.

On the O’Connor Radio Show June 28, 2014 to talk about our summer adventures, like IrishFest Chicago, Milwaukee IrishFest and Johnny O’Hagan’s Tuesdays, along with other events!

Listen: WPNA AM 1490 on Saturdays starting at 11:00 AM CDT, or on TuneInRadio.

More about the “O’Connor Radio Show”: On November 5, 1971, the Mike O’Connor Show made its debut. Time raced around the clock every week. Mike became so involved in visiting with the folks in the studio, the music, sports, and news from home that most of the time he forgot to mention the fact the he sold insurance. Much to the surprise of Mike and his wife, he LOVED hosting the radio show. Soon he became known around town as Mike O’Connor, radio show host. And, oh yes. He sold insurance too.

Breege Looney (owner of The Abbey Pub) joined the program around 1986, and Mike’s daughter Siobhainn came on board in 1991. Mike retired from the show in 2005. The Mike O’Connor Show, now The O’Connor Show, continues today run by Siobhainn O’Connor with Breege Looney and Margaret O’Connor manning the other mikes. #irishmusic

Make Music Chicago, uilleann piping in Hyde Park and the West Loop!


We enjoyed playing for the music teachers and students at Joan’s Studio for The Performing Arts Saturday for Make Music Chicago. Patrick Cannady took the opportunity to give a little talk whilst tuning his drones and regulators, explaining how the uilleann pipes work to an interested audience. We then played lots of reels, jigs, hornpipes, set dances and airs for them, what a great venue! #irishmusic #MakeMusicChi

Tin Whistle and Uilleann Pipes Instruction available from Patrick Cannady


Patrick Cannady – Tin Whistle and Uilleann Pipes Instruction by the Chicago Pipers: As announced on the Blarney on the Air Radio Show, Patrick Cannady is extending an offer to young people that may be interested in playing the uilleann pipes to start off on the tin whistle with him. This can assist the aspiring uilleann piper in learning the music before acquiring a set. Comment here for more information!

Great times bringing uilleann piping (and Irish fiddling) to New Orleans!


Thanks to all that came out to see us at The Irish House! Great to play rowdy Chicago Irish music in New Orleans! The uilleann pipes reeds seemed to like the humidity! Watch this space for more about uilleann piping and tin whistle instruction and more about our summer shows!

Nice review of the Salon Concert – featuring one of Patrick Cannady’s students.

IMG_5574 (Patrick Cannady, Sean Curran and Karen Cannady at the International Uilleann Piping Day October 2013)

I was delighted to receive an invitation from Noel Rice, director of the Academy of Irish Music to attend the May Salon concert at the Irish American Heritage Centre, Chicago This was a fortuitous opportunity to see first hand the musical activity of the Irish diaspora in America’s second city. The IHAC is a large red bricked complex in North West side of Chicago. The 5th Province East Room was a lofty space just inside the front entrance. A cheerful turf fire burned in the bar area warding off the unseasonable May chill and a family audience of young and old gathered to support the performers.

The line-up showcased all levels of musicians active at the centre. The Junior Ensemble with two dozen or so boys and girls opened the proceedings in fine style. An ensemble of their teachers followed them on to the platform. There was a turn from a young piper Sean Curran. The teenager played with a remarkable maturity and his performance was much enhanced by Catriona Byrne on cello. Sean’s teacher, Pat Cannady was present and acknowledged in the applause. A jocular Terry Bermes (whose mother was a Nugent from Sligo I think) acted as MC. His wry self deprecating style had us all chuckling.

Of course I expected to hear good playing. There was plenty of that but I was surprised by the inventiveness of the arrangements. A spirit of challenging the orthodoxy of the periphery prevailed.. ‘It is a living and breathing tradition’ said Noel. The shifting blend of instrumental timbres and pace sounded fresh and appealing. Cello, fiddles and bazouki had a baroque quality that was given space to breathe in the Senior Ensemble. Tunes were tossed around among the different timbres, lyrical passages and drones alternated with more percussive sections with attacking punchy rhythms. Moreover there was a sense of fun and a lack of pomposity in the proceedings that was refreshing.

Not since De Danann have I heard a cellist feature so prominently and to such good effect. Catriona Byrne was the most impressive performer of the evening, not only for her expressive soulful playing but her intelligent support of all her collaborators. Catriona told me she had come to the instrument through her school music programme. I mentioned that Natalie Haas had been in Ireland. Yes she was a fan and her recordings had been an influence. She had played in the school orchestra but enjoyed the freedom of improvising away from the printed page.

The final group, Baal Tine featured seven musicians, the director of the Academy,Noel Rice on flute together with his son Kevin and daughter, Cathleen on percussion and fiddle. Catriona Byrne on cello was joined by her sister Keira on fiddle. Wicklow ‘Mad Man’ Richard Roche offered much more than a vamping piano chords. Matt Sundstrom on guitar completed the septet.

I was expecting wigged and costumed little girls but thankfully dancing feet came courtesy of Mr Mike Doyle that extended the gaiety.

You can get a flavour of the evening in this audioboo of Baal Tine’s opening number. It opens with Roche’s minimalist chords set against Noel’s haunting flute. (follow link below)


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