Ireland lost a musical giant this week

Irish music lost one of its legends this week, with the passing of Liam O'Flynn.

A player of the Uilleann pipes, O'Flynn, or as he was known by the Gaeilge iteration of his name, Liam Óg Ó Floinn, was born in 1945 to a family of musicians. In his youth, his piping earned him prizes at county and national levels, but it wasn't until he was in his thirties that he really hit his stride. As one of the founding members of Irish trad super group Planxty, O'Flynn helped to breathe new life to traditional Irish music by showing that it could be every bit as exciting and full of life as rock and roll. Without Planxty, there may not have been a Dexy's Midnight Runners; No Waterboys, Pogues, or Dropkick Murphys. We'd all be poorer for it. Plantxy's music left me with the impression, as a kid, that the tunes I played on the instruments I grew up with were cool. I had the privilege of meeting Mr. O'Flynn at a musical festival I was covering for a magazine back in the 1990s. He was pleasant and seemed genuinely pleased to make my acquaintance. The encounter left me feeling giddy for days afterwards.

One of my favorite songs by Planxty, Raggle Taggle Gypsy, has a tune lashed on to the end of it called Tabhair dom do laimh, which roughly translates as Give Me Your Hand. O'Flynn's rendition of the tune has been one of my happy places for decades. Read the rest

Make your own 'bagpipes' with a garbage bag and recorders

Maybe you don't want to shell out a heap of cash for real bagpipes.

Or maybe you just want to make a trash-bag instrument.

Whatever the reason, I'm not here to judge you or what DIY projects you jury-rig in your spare time. Source your bag and recorder and head on over to this 2009 Instructables tutorial to learn how to make your own bagpipe-like device today. (Spoiler alert: It won't sound like a real set of bagpipes.)

Thanks, Don! Read the rest

Jazz bagpiper Rufus Harley on "I've Got a Secret" (1996)

I wasn't expecting much from jazz bagpipe, but this is great.

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Bagpiper drowns out ranting street preacher

Scotland had a problem: an angry street preacher turning on his PA in St. Andrews. A local picked up his bagpipes to drown out the noise. Now Scotland has two problems.

The Courier's Richard Rooney reports:

Footage posted by Lachie Blair on the Overheard in St Andrews Facebook page shows a man using a small amplifier to shout out his message beside the fountain in Market Street.

Locals said his message was almost impossible to understand, but seemed to be aggressive and was ruining the atmosphere on a lovely sunny day in the town.

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Brian Kidd is the Unipiper: the unicycling bagpiper

In perhaps the most Portlandian combination of talents, a unicyclist wears a Darth Vader mask while playing flaming bagpipes, as Chris Higgins relates.