I’m Brian Stafford, I’m originally from Derry and lived in England for many years, having studied at university there. Recently I have moved back to Ireland and currently live in Belfast.
My principal instrument is uilleann pipes but I also play whistle and flute on occasion. My initial influences are (as always with pipers) Seamus Ennis and Willie Clancy but my style of playing has more in common with Finbar McLaughlin who both taught me to play and made my pipes, and to a limited extent from that connection Sean McAloon. As I get older I find myself gravitating to older repertoire and styles of playing, especially the continuous regulator vamping of Rowsome, O’Mealy, Andrews, Walsh et al. though I’m not dogmatic about this. It’s a real shame only poor quality recordings remain for these people, to have heard those players in real life must have sounded incredible.
Flute is an occasional interest for me, I have always impressed by the playing of Cathal McConnell, Gary Hastings and Paddy O’Neill, all of whom I have known personally. You will go a long way to hear better. Many years ago I joined the band Quilty with Malcolm Wray, Ian Stevenson and Mike James and subsequently played with the Welsh band Yr Hwntws. I spent years playing for ceilis around Yorkshire and was also involved in the Arts Barge project in York.
Since returning to Ireland, I have performed for the President at Áras an Uachtaráin and also at the European Parliament in Brussels, tutored at the Scoil Eigse, participated in cross community workshops and have even toured Switzerland and Romania as uilleann pipes soloist with two orchestras!
I currently perform as a duo with Clare fiddle player Josie Nugent.