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Davy Spillane

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Renowned Uillean pipes player was a founding member of Moving Hearts

About Davy Spillane


Davy Spillane (born 1959 in Dublin) is an Irish musician, songwriter and a player of uilleann pipes and low whistle.


Irish music[edit]

At the age of 12, Spillane started playing the uilleann pipes. His father encouraged him and inspired him with his love of all music genres. For the next three years he played at sessions and met many prominent Irish musicians. At the age of 16, he played in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Europe. In 1978 he began to write his own music. He starred as a gypsy in Joe Comerford's 1981 film Traveller.

Moving Hearts and solo albums[edit]

He was a founder member of Moving Hearts,[1] along with Christy Moore and Donal Lunny in 1981. Although each member had a strong pedigree of Irish folk music, the band played mostly original compositions, sometimes with a political edge and a folk-rock sound. Their final album The Storm (1985) was purely instrumental and had several slower pieces written by Spillane. He then made the surprise move of joining up with American musician Béla Fleck, the Englishman Albert Lee and others to record a "Davy Spillane" debut album of his new compositions and bluegrass and original blues, Atlantic Bridge.[1] There was a promotional touring band which also recorded Out of the Air in 1988, essentially a live version of Atlantic Bridge. Spillane then gathered together a new set of musicians, including Rory Gallagher and Kevin Glackin to record Shadow Hunter, an album of various rock and folk styles. This was followed by Pipedreams in 1991.[1]


Spillane played as special guest soloist in orchestral work in 1992 called "The Seville Suite", describing events in 1601 in Irish-Spanish history. Bill Whelan then worked for Spillane and Andy Irvine on the album EastWind. In 1993, Spillane collaborated with Canadian Artists such as Bryan Adams (MTV Unplugged), Daniel Weaver on his album Weeds as well and Celine Dion's My Heart Will go On. In 1994, Spillane was a special guest soloist in Riverdance. Spillane also collaborated with Rory Gallagher on the tracks "The Road to Ballyalla", "Litton Lane" and "One For Phil" as well as with Enya on her 1988 Watermark tracks "Exile" and "Na Laetha Geal M'óige".

Film music[edit]

In 1992, Spillane composed music for Peter Kosminsky's film Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and, in 1995, reached a larger audience with the film Rob Roy. Other compositions and guesting includes Kate Bush's Sensual World (1989), Mike Oldfield's Voyager (1996), Bryan Adams' MTV Unplugged, Van Morrison and Elvis Costello. Other films include Eat the Peach and The Disappearance of Finbar. Paul Winter's album Journey with the Sun (2002). Spillane was awarded a Grammy and also nominated for second one.

Spillane served his apprenticeship with pipe-makers Dan Dowd and Johnny Burke and now makes all his own instruments. In 2000, he recorded his only album of traditional tunes with Kevin Glackin, entitled Forgotten Days.

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Barry Mc Cabe wrote on 2005-07-18 00:00:00:
Davy was not only very kind in helping me record my CD "The Peace Within" but he helped me find my own sound through working with him. Brilliant musician and a really nice guy!
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