Gavin Whelan (Biography courtesy of the Artist's site, 2006)
Gavin Whelan was born and raised in Dublin and still lives in Tallaght on the south side of the city. Gavin’s interest in traditional Irish music began when he was a young boy when he regularly travelled, with his parents, to Co. Clare. His dad would also frequently bring him to venues in Dublin were music was played. His dad claims to have taught Gavin his first tune although not a whistle player himself, it was a tune he had learned from the late Micho Russell from Doolin Co Clare. Although he picked up the tune very quickly it wasn't until the following year in school when all the students in his class were asked to buy a tin whistle and a tutor book that Gavin took up the whistle seriously. The book was supposed to last two years but Gavin learned all the tunes in just two weeks. This is where Gavin’s hunger for Irish Traditional music began.
It was at this this stage that his trips to Clare, and Doolin in particular, became more frequent. It was on these trips hat Gavin met and learned many a tune from Micho Russell, the renowned whistle player from Doolin. There were many other musicians in Doolin that encouraged and influenced Gavin at this early stage in his career, such as Eoin O’Neill, Terry Bingham, Kevin Griffin, Michael Qually and Noel O'Donohoue to name but a few. Annual Trips to Miltown Malbay for the Willie Clancy week followed with lessons from Brid o Donogh, Sean Ryan and Vincent Vallely.
Gavin took up the uilleann pipes at the age of eighteen commencing with a practice set from Dinney Quigley he now plays a half set made by Donnacha Keegan. Gavin is self taught but got some tuition from Ciáran O'Mallie, Joe Doyle and Nollaig McCartaigh. Hi main influences are the playing of Ronan Browne, Dermuid Moynihan and Paddy Keenan. Áras Chrónáin, Irish Cultural Centre in Clondalkin, Dublin, was another source of music and musicians that influenced Gavin.
Gavin and some fellow musicians formed the band Dál Riada in ????, In addition to Gavin on whistle and uilleann pipes,the band consisted of Mick Brodrick on bouzouki, Tristiean Rosenstock on bodhrán, Frances Cranny on lead vocals and Zöe Conway on fiddle and backing vocals. The band was a lot of success performing at numerous festivals throughout Ireland and abroad, eventually departing to concentrate on there own solo careers. _For the past two years Gavin has been studying a H.N.D in Irish traditional music performance in the Senior College, Ballyfermot, he has also been actively involved in the teaching of Irish traditional music in primary schools in the Dublin area, Gavin has also taught and performed at the prestigious Willie Clancy Summer School, In Miltown Malbay Co Clare, and in other workshops around the country and abroad.
2002 saw the release of Gavin’s first solo album, simple titled 'Gavin Whelan', on his own label (Tallaght Records), The album which Gavin also produced, features a host of musicians that influenced Gavin over the years, musicians such as Zöe Conway a great young Fiddle player from Dundalk, Aogan Lynch on Concertina Eoin O'Neill and Ian Lamb whom he has met through sessions in Doolin Co Clare.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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