King of the Pipers at White Horse Black Mountain on Oct. 12

Traditional Irish musician Paddy Keenan, who plays the uilleann pipes, will take the stage at White Horse Black Mountain on Saturday, Oct. 12. 8 p.m., $15.

From a press release:

Keenan was born into a deeply musical Irish Traveller family and schooled in the pipes by his father. Upon leaving home for the bright lights of London he discovered that his pipes earned him better tips as a street musician than guitar did, so he returned to Ireland and immersed himself in the burgeoning Irish traditional music scene. In 1975 Irish music great Donal Lunny had left the seminal band Planxty, and invited Keenan to join his new group,The Bothy Band. The list of greats who played in the band is a who’s-who of the contemporary Irish trad world, and their expert playing of tunes and songs backed by a driving rhythm section and intricate arrangements made them an international phenomenon.

Through all lineups of The Bothy Band, Paddy Keenan’s piping was central to the sound. Unlike the more familiar Scottish bagpipe, the bag of the uilleann, or “elbow” pipes is inflated by a small bellows strapped to the player’s arm. Meanwhile, the other arm regulates bag pressure, both hands play melody on the chanter, and the wrist can play chordal accompaniment on the regulator keys of this most sophisticated of bagpipes. Keenan is a master of the open style of fingering, which produces a smooth, flowing effect in his playing of lively dance tunes and beautiful slow airs. Although he’s wary of the ‘King of the Pipers’ nickname bestowed on him by others, Paddy Keenan surely rates as Irish musical royalty.


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