Weaving the traditions of Dance, Music, Art & Language

Celtic Junction Arts Center

Best Cultural Center in North America –IrishCentral, 2018

836 Prior Avenue, St. Paul, MN, 55104

A 501(c)(3) organization

GNIPC 2014 Tionol Concert, September 27

Music starts at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12 at the door, $10 in advance for non-GNIPC members, and $9 in advance for GNIPC members. BUY TICKETS NOW FROM GNIPC

The Great Northern Irish Pipers Club is excited to announce its GNIPC 2014 Tionól Concert, an evening of Irish traditional music played on the Irish "uilleann" pipes. This year's concert features three of the finest uilleann pipers living in the United States: Joey Abarta, Tom Klein, and Tommy Martin. All three are masters of the long, rich traditions of this unique instrument (and of Irish dance music in general), but each also has a flair for connecting those traditions with modern audiences: concertgoers will be treated to diverse styles, idioms, and sensibilities. 

Joey Abarta
has spent the last ten years touring North America, Europe, and Asia, teaching and performing music on the uilleann pipes. A Los Angeles native, he first received instruction on the pipes from Dubliner Pat D’Arcy, a founding member of the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club.

Joey's musical skills have been further honed by several visits to Ireland, a year-long stint working in Japan, and continuing relationships with master pipers. In August of 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him an All-Ireland championship, placing second worldwide at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. 

Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he tours with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America; while at home, he organizes the meetings of the Boston Pipers Club, teaches for Comhaltas’ Boston Music School, and organizes various traditional music concerts and events.  

Tom Klein has played the uilleann pipes for much of his adult life. He picked up piping technique and repertoire from whomever he could, with his biggest influences being Mick O’Brien and Benedict Koehler.

Tom is especially interested in expanding the sonic palette of the pipes. By weaving non-traditional tones into unusual settings of traditional tunes, he endeavors to explore the potential the pipes possess when taken out of their usual sonic space. 

Tom says about playing the pipes: 

“My first exposure to the uilleann pipes came with hearing the initial notes off Finbar Furrey’s LP Irish Pipe Music (1974). The sound of the instrument reached right down inside of me and grabbed hold of…something. Growing up playing classical music on woodwinds – and listening to bird call records – created in me a niche that the pipes were well suited to exploit. With this enigmatic pairing likened to an oboe with a curlew, I often feel that in playing the uilleann pipes I am merely attenuating the cry of a living thing.” 

Tommy Martin took his first Uilleann Pipes lesson from Dublin piper, Mick O'Brien in 1984 at the age of 12. By 1988, with the great help of Mick's tuition he won his first competition at the Annual Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann (traditional music competition festival), an event run by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann ("Traditional Musicians of Ireland").

His professional career started in 1990 when offered a place in the band for Jury’s Irish Cabaret, a position which he shared with Mick O’Brien. Then in 1996 Tommy took a job organizing and playing music in Irish pubs in Hong Kong. This led to work in other Asian cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore and Tokyo. Returning to Europe, Tommy was hired to play in almost every country, with many different bands, ranging from solo appearances to 5-piece folk bands. 

Subsequent engagements have been as diverse as being an Uilleann Pipes tutor in New Zealand, performing with "Riverdance" in New York, and recording with past members of the rock band "Thin Lizzy." In January 2004 Tommy had the honor to play a newly composed piece of music with the Chicago Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra.

As part of the Celtic Woman Christmas Symphony tour in 2011 Tommy performed with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, the Altlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and many others. His first solo CD, "Uilleann Piper", was released in 2000, followed by his second release, “Shady Woods” in 2005.

Tommy now lives in St. Louis Missouri. When not working with Ireland's Music Awards winners Teada, Irish Christmas in America, and Emmy-nominated Celtic Woman, he also makes Uilleann pipes and penny whistles.