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Gay McKeon

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Gay took an interest in uilleann piping in the 1960s under the tutelage of Leo Rowsome at the Piper’s Club on Thomas Street in Dublin’s city centre.

Since the mid 1970’s Gay has toured and recorded extensively including contributions to piping releases The Piper’s Rock, and The Ace and Deuce of Piping Vol. 2. He has published two solos album, Irish Piping Tradition in 1997, The Turning of the Geese in 2019 and a trio CD The Dusty Miller with his sons Conor and Seán in 2005. Whilst living in London in the 1970s, Gay recorded Music from West Clare and Galway with Bobby Casey, Raymond Roland, John Roe, and Liam Farrell. Gay has toured with Christy Moore and recorded on his Iron Behind the Velvet album and Gay also appeared on Maddy Prior and June Tabor’s ground-breaking album, The Silly Sisters.

Gay has taught piping for over 45 years, at The Pipers’ Club in Thomas Street and Na Píobairí Uilleann and has established piping classes at locations throughout Ireland, in addition to teaching at schools and festivals in Ireland and internationally. Gay has performed on three volumes of the acclaimed tutor series The Art of Uilleann Piping, which has provided an introduction to thousands of aspiring pipers globally. He has also devised, produced and directed publications including Traveller Piper and The Piper’s Choice DVD series and numerous CD recordings including three volumes of recordings of young emerging pipers. Gay has spearheaded many educational projects including the establishment of the Na Píobairí Uilleann’s PipeCraft pipemaking training centre.

As CEO of Na Píobairí Uilleann and as part of NPU Gay has worked to source funding for the restoration of NPU’s headquarters at 15 Henrietta Street , Dublin, the establishment of the PipeCraft instrument making training centre and the securing UNESCO recognition for uilleann piping. He established a regular series of performances and lectures including Session with the Pipers, Notes and Narratives, Ceol sa Chlub and International Uilleann Piping Day. Gay has produced many of NPU public performances and concerts including Piperlink, the annual Ace and Deuce of Piping and the Sound of Ireland concerts.

Gay’s two sons Conor and Seán are also uilleann pipers and were recipients of TG4 Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana awards in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

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