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A community hub for Celtic piping in Australia

In this newsletter you'll find the latest news and reports about all that's happening in the world of Celtic Piping in Australia and further afield.

Trioc & Duck Duck Goose
Concert Mini-Tour

Report by Geoff Courtis

On Saturday 30th April, the tiniest Town Hall in Victoria at Chewton hosted and pulsated to a wonderful concert performed by Trioc and Duck Duck Goose.

Trioc (Matt Horsley - uilleann pipes, Allan Evans - harp and Cameron Hibbs - violin) commenced proceedings with a spirited and sensitive rendition of traditional Irish music. For me, it ignited the fondest memories of evenings spent in the Irish seaside village of Dingle, soaking up the music, some years ago. The jigs were played with flare, and I am always pleased to hear such graceful interpretations of slow airs.

Then Duck Duck Goose (what a magical and evocative name) got to work creating fresh interpretations of Celtic, classical and Nordic music genres. In Indian music, "jugalbandi" refers to a duet performed by two musicians of equal but diverse character, and I thought this was a sort of Celtic jugalbandi. The opening theme from Handel's Water music was sensational, setting the scene for an absorbing concert, where the music was matched by animated interaction between Sarah Wade and Jess Foot, both clearly revelling in the music they created.

Having cautiously taken an interest in smallpipes, in addition to the highland bagpipe, this was an inspirational concert, and I also enjoyed the discussions and impromptu music back at Pat's home following the concert.


Duck Duck Goose EP Launch Concert

Report by Duncan MacGregor

It's Autumn in Melbourne and the evenings are getting darker and colder...the perfect setting for Sarah Wade and Jess Foot (playing as 'Duck Duck Goose') to launch their new EP.

They met two years ago at a local folk festival, drawn together apparently by shared frustration about reeds (in Scottish small pipes and oboe respectively) then busked in the street nearby and realised how well the sounds worked.

At the EP launch at the Church of all Nations, Carlton, on Sunday 15th May, they gave us two hours of magical music and from the opening arrangement of Handel’s Water Music there were constant reminders that the barriers between different genres like trad, folk, renaissance, baroque and church hymns, are things we create, while the music itself flows effortlessly between them. At least it looked effortless – combine technical skill on multiple instruments (oboe, cor anglais, violin, Scottish smallpipes, concertina and recorder), a shared strong sense of musicality, and an obvious pleasure in each other’s playing, and you end up with a really entertaining evening.

One of the high points was Rosslyn Castle, with guests on cello, fiddle, bodhrán and flute to create a renaissance band, and Sarah piping from the pulpit (standing in for the ramparts of the castle). Another surprise was the combination of oboe and smallpipes. If those barriers between genres are important to you, you could have walked in thinking it was going to be an unusual mixture but as the evening went on it became obvious that it gives Jess and Sarah the ability to play around with some very different musical styles.

As they mentioned during the evening, they can obviously grab Breton music for bombard and binou, but the surprise was how well the punctuated oboe and the drones of the pipes lend themselves to renaissance dances, old English church hymns and Scandinavian folk songs, where the drone of the smallpipes reminds you of the continuous sound of a church organ, or a hurdy-gurdy.

Beautiful music, pushing a few mental boundaries, great relationship with the audience, and tea and home-made cakes on the tables at the back; what more could you want? And you have to love an evening where the pianist stands up half way through a Cape Breton medley, dances a reel, and sits back down to keep playing!

Duck Duck Goose is Jess Foot on oboe fiddle and cor anglais, and Sarah Wade on Scottish smallpipes, English concertina and recorder. The guest artists were Louise Godwin (cello), Jack Wilson (Cape Breton style piano & step dance), Matt Horsley (percussion), Kelvin Nicholson (flute) and Shane Lestideau (An Dro dance leader).

Their EP is available from Sarah or Jess directly or send them a note via their website www.duckduckgoosemusic.com


Brilliant young Irish piper,
Conal Duffy in Sydney

Friday 3 May + more

Young Irish piper Conal Duffy has performed with the best Irish musicians and 
as a soloist in orchestras, in Ireland, Europe and America, and is now in 
Sydney to play and teach music.

On Friday 3 June Conal will headline an Irish concert at the Gaelic Club, 
Sydney, and he will teach pipes, flute and whistle at the Club for just three 
months from mid-May.

Conal Duffy is a 22 year old piper from a musical family in Co Louth. One of 
Ireland’s most outstanding young musicians, Conal has already performed as 
an Uilleann Pipes soloist with orchestral groups including the RTÉ National 
Symphony Orchestra, and Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.

Conal learned the pipes from Gay McKeon and Sean Óg Potts at Na Píobairi 
Uilleann in Dublin, and has gone on to win 'Corn Uí Chinnéide' at Oireachtas 
na Gaeilge and at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. He also plays whistle, flute & 

Conal has taught Uilleann Pipes at Na Píobairí Uilleann on Dublin's Henrietta 
Street and at Scoil Samhradh Willy Clancy in Milltown Malbay, Co Clare. He 
has played pipes around the world, including London’s Royal Albert Hall, New 
York’s Lincoln Centre, Shanghai World Expo, and now Australia.

The Irish concert at the Gaelic Club in Sydney will be headlined by Conal 
Duffy on uillean pipes with a band including Ben Stephenson (flute and guitar 
from the band Trouble in the Kitchen) and some of the best Irish musicians in 
Sydney. Plus the great local Irish band Fresh Off The Boat, with fiddle, pipes, 
flute, banjo and guitar, and guest Irish dancers.

The concert is on Friday 3 June from 7.30 at the Gaelic Club, upstairs 64 
Devonshire Street, Surry Hills. Tickets are $15 if purchased online or $20 
at the door, and free for children accompanied by an adult.

Conal will teach pipes, flute and whistle at the Club from mid-May. There are 
also lessons on fiddle, concertina, button accordion, harp, and tenor banjo.

For more information about the concert see www.gaelicclub.com.au.

For more information about lessons, contact Conal on 0459 262 697 or conalduffy1994@hotmail.com.


John McSherry and Dónal O Connor

Australian Tour

10 - 19 June 2016
JOHN McSHERRY is hailed as one of the finest exponents of the art of Uilleann Piping in the world today - "a true master" (Irish Music Magazine).

John has toured the world as both a solo performer and member of several outstanding bands. He was a founding member of top trad bands Tamalin, Lúnasa, At First Light and The Olllam as well as lead instrumentalist with Dónal Lunny's ground-breaking supergroup 'Coolfin'.

He is a composer, producer, and arranger with several highly acclaimed solo and collaborative albums to his credit, including his award winning album 'Soma'. John is also an established studio session musician of world class renown, recording and performing with everybody from Clannad and Sinéad O'Connor to Riverdance and The Corrs.

DÓNAL O'CONNOR is the son of the celebrated fiddler Gerry O’Connor (La Lugh, Skylark, Kinvara) and renowned singer Eithne Ni Uallachain (Lá Lugh). He has inherited a musical legacy of at least five generations of fiddle playing and countless generations of traditional singing. Highly regarded as a great 
fiddle player, he was asked at the tender age to take part in the prestigious ‘Music Network Tour of Ireland’ alongside Scottish Guitarist Tony McManus, Fermanagh purveyor of song Gabriel McArdle and Belfast piper John McSherry.

Here's a little of what they have to offer

Watch the Video

Watch the Video

Tour Dates

Fri-Mon 10-13 Jun - National Celtic Festival, Portarlington (Vic)
Tue 14 Jun - Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh (Vic)
Wed 15 Jun - The Gaelic Club, Surry Hills (NSW)
Fri 17 Jun - Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong (NSW)
Sat 18 Jun - Irish Club Canberra, Weston (ACT)
Sun 19 Jun - Yuln Folk Club, Cobargo (NSW)

For further information, head to


National Celtic Festival @ Portarlington

June Long Weekend

Speaking of the National Celtic Festival, as well as seeing John McSherry there, the Celtic Piping Club will again me making an appearance. We have a number of events on the Saturday, with the Highland piping mainly on the Sunday.

Celtic Piping Schedule - Sat 11 Jun

11am - A few pipers on board The Enterprize (tall ship)
2pm-3.30pm - Acoustic Celtic Piping Concert at St. John's Church
3.30pm-4pm - 'Come-and-try' session at St. John's Church
5pm-7pm - Celtic Piping Session upstairs @ The Grand Hotel

For further information and ticket bookings


Trout & Toolbox

Ray Smith's solo CD

Adelaide piper and all-round musician, Ray Smith, will soon be recording a series of CDs featuring his own works. This first CD, "Trout and Toolbox" will be toured through the UK in July/August 2016.

Ray has appeared on recordings by Eric Bogle, Ronnie Taheny, the Julian Barnett Ensemble, Judith Crossley, Kate Battersby, Sympathy Orchestra, Glass Eye, Scafell Pike, Zeus B Held, Jim Lampi, Frank Yamma and others. This will be the first in a series of four CDs documenting Ray's work over the last thirty years and will feature many of the musicians he have performed with during that time. Although this first CD probably won't have any pipes on it, the other CDs will.

Support Ray and secure your copy of Ray's CDs via Pozible


Hearts Broken, Heads Turned

Jarlath Henderson's debut solo CD

"Jarlath Henderson is a multi-instrumentalist and singer from Tyrone who became one of the heroes of the new Celtic folk scene. He is best known as a player of uilleann pipes and whistles, but his debut solo album is a revelation. He also plays flute and guitar, and revives traditional songs with no-nonsense, respectful vocals. So the murder ballad Young Edmund in the Lowlands Low is treated with electronic drone effects, along with fiddle and pipes, while the 17th-century ballad The Slighted Lover is updated with jazz-edged piano, and Jason Singh adds "beatboxing and vocal soundscapes" to an epic treatment of The Mountains Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow. One of the most powerful and inventive folk albums of the year." Robin Denselow - The Guardian

Head to Jarlath's website to get your copy of this wonderful album

Travelling Folk 'Piping Special'

BBC Radio Scotland

"Bruce MacGregor presents a special Travelling Folk, dedicated to the world of Piping. Guests include Hamish Moore and Calum MacCrimmon." - BBC

Listen to the show at


Learning to play the Border Pipes
Tutorial Videos

The Bagpipe Society has produced a series of tutorial videos on starting out on the modern (English-style) Border pipes. Much of the information translates to most other bagpipes and includes posture & sound production, tuning a single drone, tuning multiple drones, handling bellows, playing the scale and more...

Tutorial Playlist

South-west musician Corey Henderson dies, age 34


REST IN PEACE: South-west musician Corey Henderson has passed away at the age of 34 after the lengthy battle with cancer. Picture: Rob Gunstone

"FRIENDS and family are mourning the loss of Corey Henderson, a popular figure within the south-west’s tight-knit Irish music community.

Mr Henderson was a talented musician best known for playing the uilleann pipes and tin whistle.

He passed away on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 34.

Mr Henderson was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2013 and given 12 months to live, but medical advances and his own indomitable spirit saw him hold on for three and a half years.

The young piper refused to take his diagnosis as an ending and instead treated it as a new beginning by embracing travel, visiting Ireland, China, Africa, Paris, and plenty of places in between, as well as continuing to play gigs.

Fellow musician and friend Martin Ruane was among a handful of mates who played Irish tunes by Mr Henderson’s bedside on Monday.

“That was the hardest gig I’ve ever played,” he said.

“Corey lived life to the full – he made the most of the last three and a half years. He squeezed more into the last couple of years than most people do in a lifetime. He wanted to go out and do as much as he could. He saw the Northern Lights and climbed Machu Picchu.”

Ruane said the diagnosis altered Mr Henderson’s worldview.

“He said to me himself that he wouldn’t change what happened because he achieved so much those last three years that he wouldn’t have done,” Ruane said.

“(Before that) he didn’t really like the world, but when he got his diagnosis, he became a bit of a guru of the world.”

Ruane said Mr Henderson was not only a great bloke but a talented multi-instrumentalist and a great writer.

He was best known as a regular in the Irish music sessions that happened frequently around the south-west, but his reputation extended beyond the local region – an Irish session at the Corkman in Melbourne had a uilleann pipe tune in Mr Henderson’s honour upon learning of his passing.

A funeral service for Mr Henderson will be held at Eastern Park Chapel in Warrnambool on Saturday at 11am. In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to either the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Alfred Hospital, or South West Healthcare. The service will be followed by a wake and Irish session at Proudfoots in Warrnambool." - The Standard (Warrnambool, Vic)

Uilleann Pipes Half Set
Made by Ian Mackenzie
Great condition, but will need some TLC as they've not been played for 20+ years. Includes some tutorial & music books.
Price: $2,000
Contact: Kieran Sharp - Paddington, NSW
0438 950 403

Please email your personal (not commercial) classified ad to us at email@celticpipingclub.com to be listed for free.

Gig Guide

Please email us to let us know about your upcoming Celtic piping gigs...listings are free.

3 Jun 2016
Likely Celts
Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Crossley (Vic)

3 Jun 2016
Conal Duffy concert
Gaelic Club, Surry Hills (NSW)
John McSherry & Dónal O Connor Tour
Fri-Mon 10-13 Jun - National Celtic Festival, Portarlington (Vic)
Tue 14 Jun - Caravan Music Club, Oakleigh (Vic)
Wed 15 Jun - The Gaelic Club, Surry Hills (NSW)
Fri 17 Jun - Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong (NSW)
Sat 18 Jun - Irish Club Canberra, Weston (ACT)
Sun 19 Jun - Yuln Folk Club, Cobargo (NSW)

25 Jun 2016
Celtic Fusion
Clan Campbell Annual Bannockburn Dinner and Dance
Riverside Reception Centre, New Farm, Brisbane
Bookings: Janet Morrison (Clan Campbell Society) macnjan@powerup.com.au


Pop-up Piping Sessions & Other Events

11 Jun 2016
National Celtic Festival at Portarlington
Concert at 2pm, session from 5pm-7pm

12-14 Aug 2016
Talbot Piping Weekend
Details coming soon

16-18 Sep 2016
Turning Wave Festival - Yass

Details coming soon

11-13 Nov 2016
Boxwood Australia
Details coming soon

Regular Piping Sessions

Adelaide - Pipers Gathering

When: 1st Monday of each month (usually)
Where: Contact Jack for details.
Contact: Jack Brennan via 

Brisbane - Irish Piping Sessions

When: 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month
Where: Milton (Brisbane)
Contact: Malcolm McLaren on (07) 3820-2902 or email 

Brisbane - Smallpipe Sessions

When: First Tuesday of each month
Where: Milton (Brisbane)
Contact: Malcolm McLaren on (07) 3820-2902 or email 

Melbourne - Celtic Piping Sessions

When: 2nd Sunday of each most months (see below) 2pm - 5pm.
Where: Upstairs at the Exford Hotel 
- 199 Russell Street (cnr Little Bourke), Melbourne.
Contact: us via
Future session dates:
  • Jun - No Exford session, National Celtic Festival @ Portarlington, June long weekend
  • Sun 10 Jul
  • Sun 14 Aug
  • Sun 11 Sep
  • Sun 9 Oct *TENTATIVE - IUPD on Sat 15 Oct*
  • Sun 13 Nov
  • Sun 11 Dec

NESSIE - North East Scottish Strings including Elbow Pipes

When: 2nd Sunday of each month
Where: North East Victoria
Contact: Kristen on (03) 5766 6282
That's all for this newsletter Like Celtic Piping Club newsletter #37 on Facebook

Until next time...happy piping!

Your friends in piping,

The Celtic Piping Club crew

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