Brian McNamara hails from County Leitrim, a musically rich rural region of Ireland which has produced notable musicians past and present and which has been prominently associated with the preservation and performance of Irish Traditional Music. Introduced to the uilleann pipes in 1979, Brian has become renowned nationally and internationally for his unique musical style and repertoire. As a winner of multiple All-Ireland titles at Junior and Senior level during the 1980s, he became a regular member of concert tour groups and has travelled extensively as a solo performer and tutor.
Brian is noted for playing both ‘concert’- pitched and ‘flat’- pitched pipes as evidenced on his recordings. He is grateful to his instrument makers, particularly David Quinn and Benedict Koehler and Geoff Wooff, for crafting instruments that have enabled him to express and develop his personal musical style, which is regarded as unique and clearly identifiable. It has been described as a beautifully sweet, articulate, controlled, staccato yet flowing, underpinned by definite phrasing and strong rhythm.
Brian has recorded multiple CDs including Leitrim’s Hidden Treasure, recorded with his family in 1998,. This recording brought to prominence the rich musical legacy and repertoire of the south Leitrim and adjoining country areas, including the uilleann piping tradition. This milestone CD was followed by a number of solo recordings, including A Piper’s Dream (2000) and Fort of the Jewels (2004). In 2007 Brian recorded a duet album with concertina player Tim Collins entitled Reed Only.
Brian has travelled the world as a performer and tutor of the uilleann pipes. In his formative years, Brian competed successfully in Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann at junior and senior level and toured as a member of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. He subsequently became a regular tutor at all of the most prominent schools of music and pipers’ gatherings in Ireland and the USA. Guest international appearances have taken him across the world, including to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and continental Europe. He has also accompanied dignitaries including former President Mary McAleese on International visits. Brian presently lives in Summerhill, County Meath, with his wife and two daughters and continues to pursue his chosen professional career as an educator.
Instructor – Uilleann Pipes
2014, 2015, 2019