Uillean piping + singing?

Uillean piping + singing?

Hello all,

I’m wondering if any artists sing and play Uillean pipes at the same time.

- If you know of any please chime in.

- If there are none, then why not? It seems it would be a natural extension of playing pipes without having to use the breath.

- What does the word ‘uillean’ mean?

Thanks!
Aldon

Re: Uillean piping + singing?

Was in Wicklow last year and met a lovely lady playing a C Froment set and singing along with it. She had a bunch of CDs you could buy. Didn’t catch her name.

Cheers,

Melany

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Re: Uillean piping + singing?

Jarlath Henderson does.

Re: Uillean piping + singing?

> What does the word ‘uillean’ mean?

It literally means ‘elbow’. It’s actually a made up term, by a Victorian amateur musicologist who was determined to prove that anything and everything to do with the pipes had an ancient Irish origin, but it has become ubiquitous.

As for singing, not many. Reasons? It’s not a great key for the male voice, perhaps, and a concert set is quite competitive in volume. And I know it’s a circular argument, but there’s no tradition of doing so, so people tend not to try and copy it.

It’s more common on Scottish smallpipes, where the volume is more appropriate and (perhaps) the mental demands of playing the thing are fewer.

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Re: Uillean piping + singing?

I was in Slattery’s in Capel Street about 40 years ago and I saw Seamus Ennis sing and play at the same time. I think he sang a verse of the air Easter Snow and played with it. I was very impressed . We had gone into Dublin to see him. As far as I can remember there was a Tradional Music club run by some very well known musicians upstairs in Slattery’s pub.

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Re: Uillean piping + singing?

At least in my dictionary, "uillinn" is the singular noun elbow while "uilleann" is belonging to or pertaining to an elbow, or elbows. "Of-elbows pipes" I suppose.

There was a fellow here years ago who played and sang songs simultaneously on either the uilleann pipes or the Northumbrian smallpipes; he was quite good. He sang in Irish, English, and Welsh. (I think he grew up speaking Welsh and English and learned Irish as an adult.)

It is odd to me how playing uilleann pipes and singing is relatively rare, given that it’s not uncommon in some piping traditions, even with mouthblown pipes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI36snntGJE

Re: Uillean piping + singing?

I’d have thought that it would be nice to play an intro and an instrumental break between verses, with maybe just a drone background while singing? Otherwise, as Calum says, unless you’ve got a VERY big voice, you’re in danger of drowning yourself out.
(And this happens with other instruments too!)

Re: Uillean piping + singing?

"Was in Wicklow last year and met a lovely lady playing a C Froment set and singing along with it. She had a bunch of CDs you could buy. Didn’t catch her name."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNMISpUQRbs

Pat Connery, it’s a Geoff Wooff set.
Mick Coyne also sings while playing.

Re: Uillean piping + singing?

Why not/Why isn’t it more common?

I don’t, or at least I don’t do it very often, mainly because my piping is much better than my singing. I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard. Also…there is great satisfaction in just playing the pipes well, no small feat. Singing and playing at the same time is something certain people do, and do well, but it sure isn’t required or expected like it may be in some Central European bellows pipes traditions.