Traditional Irish Music
Irish music legend and uilleann piper Finbar Furey. Filmed at The Octagon Theatre in Perth, WA
Finbar's father, Ted, began him on the pipes while he was very young. He loved the instrument and spent all his spare time practising and soaking up knowledge from other pipers who would come to the house for sessions with Ted. It was normal for the likes of Leo Rowsome, Seamus Ennis, John Keenan, Felix Doran, Willie Clancy and Tommy Moore to be around to see Ted at their home in Ballyfermot.
By his teens he had won 3 All Ireland Medals The Oireachtas and many Feisanna - in fact he was the only piper ever to win the All Ireland, the Oirechtas medal and the 4 province titles in the same year.
His father had bought him a Kennedy set in E and eventually he needed a concert set for touring so persuaded a friend who was a teacher in metal work, Brian Howard, to make him a set in stainless steel, which he played along with a Rowsome chanter. The chanter he plays now is an old one given to him by Davey Spillane.
Finbar popularised the pipes worldwide while on tour with his brother Eddie in the 60's. Many bands followed in their wake, but the duo were awarded best Single of the Year by John Peel in 1972 entirely because of the unique sound the uilleann pipes and whistle made, in the context of what was, at the time, a modern pop sound.
They received many other accolades because they were the spearhead of contemporary music of that time. While there was an inevitable progression in Irish music, Finbar and Eddie brought a new Irish hipness to a worldwide audience which would have had NO ear for Irish music otherwise.
Before Finbar and Eddie, Irish music was for the converted ear. After Finbar and Eddie, it was blended into every other kind of "world" and popular music. It became once again, the music of youth and revolution, as folk had been generations before and also, a means of dealing with political and social problems which the world faced in that, it was a way for 'common folk', to stand together against real world injustices, such as pollution and abuses of government power.
The illumination they brought to a generation cannot be overstated.Subsequently of course the format was used everywhere from Planxty to River Dance, Braveheart to Hailey Westenra.
The pipes are now enjoying an explosion in popularity and Finbar is very active in trying to get facilities for pipes to be made more accessible to budding musicians; to get the means to have them made at a more reasonable cost, and without long, long waiting lists.
When the younger brothers Paul and George joined the fold, several years later, success and appeal remained as strong as ever and The Fureys soon reaped their reward and enjoyed a string of best selling records all over the world. These gems, with Finbar as lead singer of the Fureys, included When You Were Sweet Sixteen, Leaving Nancy, Tara Hill, Green Fields of France, Red Rose Cafe and The Lonesome Boatman. These were released alongside such albums as Sweet Sixteen, Golden Days, the End of the Day, Claddagh Road and Winds of Change. In Britain, they became one of the first Irish folk groups to play on Top of the Pops.
In 1997, with The Fureys at the height of their international popularity and after nearly thirty years as the group's front man, Finbar decided the time was right to follow his own path as a singer songwriter.
It was the ideal climate in which to step aside and pursue his solo career, to present his definitive one-man show and to explore new pastures as a singer, producer and writer. Since making his decision to step aside, Finbar's reputation has increased with every performance. He has toured extensively, bringing his rare talents to a world-wide stage and treating audiences to evenings of pure Irish magic, great music, good humour, and the charm and sparkling wit associated with one of Ireland's great raconteurs.
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