Pipedance’s core is husband-and-wife team Gary Burman and Nora Parker, who have been playing together for about 10 years. Gary has been playing music for as long as he can remember, and his primary instrument is currently the uilleann pipes. He’s also accomplished on flutes, whistles and various stringed instruments including guitar and mandolin. Nora comes to the Irish music via dance. She’s a retired champ Irish step dancer and an award-winning sean-nós singer who also plays penny whistle and bodhrán, as well as sean-nós foot percussion.
Their musical partnership is a happy accident. Gary had plenty of people willing to play music with him until he started playing the pipes. The first few years it sounded like he was “boiling cats,” to quote one of his beleaguered neighbors. His friends headed for the hills and his musical life became quite lonely. He asked his dancer wife, Nora, to sit with him and play the lowly bodhrán. With her dance background, she was quickly able to play basic rhythms and the result wasn’t too awful. Fast-forward 10 years later, and the pair are playing gigs and festivals here and there, and have finally produced an album: The Pleasures of Hope.
Gary is also an accomplished craftsman who builds some of his instruments and makes all of his reeds.
Joining Gary and Nora to round out the sound on The Pleasures of Hope are young phenom Sky Kelsey, fiddle/flute/banjo, and seasoned pro John Mullen on bouzouki.
The tunes they play are drawn from traditional sessions and include reels, jigs, slip jigs, hornpipes, polkas, etc., with the occasional aire thrown in for good measure. They also sing ballads and sean-nós style songs.
Buy CD: The Pleasures of Hope
Download MP3: The Humours of Ballyloughlin
Hometown: Lincoln City, OR, U.S.A
Similar Artists: The Chieftains, The Bothy Band, Eithne Ní Chatháin, Mick O’Brien, Caovmhin O’Raghallaigh, Matt Molloy and Paddy Moloney
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