The Best of Uilleann piping from Australia - Official launch of Matthew Horsley’s ‘Australian Waters’

In late 2015 Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist Matthew Horsley released his debut album of Irish traditional music called Australian Waters.  It consists of a selection of jigs, reels, hornpipes, slow airs and more, ranging from classic piping repertoire to tunes never before recorded on the pipes. Inspired by the classic recordings of Irish pipers, Matthew says that it “aims to capture the simultaneous tenderness and rawness of the instrument, and the ambience of an intimate acoustic space.” While primarily a solo outing, the album features cameos from some of Australia’s finest Irish traditional musicians including Ado Barker and Mairéad Hurley.

Matthew is a multi-instrumentalist and composer and holds a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and a Master of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts. He has an avid interest in Irish traditional music, with a special interest in the uilleann pipes which are featured on this album. He has also performed extensively across other genres including classical, experimental, popular, jazz and folk, and has worked with artists such as Steve Reich, the Australian Art Orchestra, Speak Percussion, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Topology and Clocked Out.

Included below is Track 1 from the album, called The Rolling Wave. He says that The Rolling Wave is a classic piping jig, recorded by the great Willie Clancy and many others. “At some point it started to remind me of some of the old clan marches that remain in the piping repertoire so I've taken to playing it rather more slowly and emphatically than usual. I also throw in a key change that's unlikely to have been standard practice for the old clan pipers but provides interesting options for both chanter and regulators.”

As the recipient of a mentoring grant, he traveled to Ireland in 2014 where he studied with renowned piper Mikie Smyth. In the liner notes Mikie sets out some interesting background to his time with Matt in Ireland and the enthuasium that Matt showed.  He received an email from Matt in August 2013 explaining how he was keen to improve his piping and was in the process of applying to the Australian Government for funding to allow him to travel to Ireland to meet with fellow pipers and to attend various summer schools. However the main purpose of the grant was to provide him with a mentor and this was where Mikie Smyth got involved.

In late 2014 they spent a number of weeks immersed in piping and music. Mikie says “I must admit if it weren't for Matt's infectious energy I would not have had the stamina to keep going! How someone who is so far away from the shores of Ireland, with no connections to Ireland as such and from a musical background completely unrelated to uilleann piping could engage in detailed conversations about the piping of Clancy, Reck, Ennis, Conroy, Touhey and Rowsome and so many more, is not just a testament to the musical ability of these master musicians but to the musicality, attention to detail and the determination of Matt.”

“The fingerprints of these piping legends are present in Matt's playing on this album and are no doubt a continuing source of inspiration for him. In piping lore it takes 7 years learning, 7 years practice and 7 years playing to master the instrument. It has taken Matt just seven years to provide us with this wonderful example of Irish Piping. I eagerly await his return to Ireland!”

As one of a relatively small number of uilleann pipers in Australia, Matthew performs extensively around Melbourne and on the Australian folk festival circuit. As well as his solo piping activities, he performs with the band Trioc (who appear on the album) and is involved with the Celtic Piping Club which presents a range of events around Australia.


Australian Waters is now on general release and today we add it to our Download Centre where broadcasters can download it for free.


You can purchase the album on Bandcamp and will find out more on


The album is also now available as a free download for broadcasters that are members of our Download Centre. ( You must be logged into your Tradconnect account to access this link)


Matthew Horsley – uilleann pipes

Ado Barker – fiddle (2)

Mairéad Hurley – concertina (5)

Elliott Folvig – electric guitar (7)

Allan Evans – harp, whistle (12)

Cameron Hibbs – fiddle (12)

All tunes traditional except The Porthole Of The Kelp (Bobby Casey), The West Clare Railway (Junior Crehan), The Centenary March (Arthur Kearney) and The Bantry Hornpipe (Edward Cronin)

Engineered, mixed and mastered by Myles Mumford

Recorded at Third Eye Studios in August 2015

Photography by Lucy Spartalis Photography

Graphic design and liner notes by Matthew Horsley

Matt plays a set of pipes pitched in C made by Derrick Gleeson

Ado plays a fiddle made by Warren Nolan-Fordham

Mairéad plays a concertina made by C & R Dipper & Son

Allan plays a harp made by Andy Rigby and a low C whistle made by Colin Goldie


Tradconnect's Worldwide Launch Articles are commercial pieces that mark the addition of an album to our Download Centre, where broadcasters can access the album and download it for free to play on their various radio stations. Content for these articles is sourced from the artists press release and liner notes, supplemented with additional content from the artist as required. If you would like to find out more about this initiative please contact us.


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