Renowned and highly respected Uilleann Piper Dicky Deegan's mellifluous tones have been heard in pubs and parlours throughout the British Isles. He has performed at European, UK, Irish and Australian Festivals, on major TV and radio stations including the BBC.
He has played with many bands and artists including Maireid O'Sullivan,
the late Billy Moran, The Crack, Rakish Paddy, Donal Lunny and Jackie Daly.
He has also been recorded for the Traditional Irish Archives; many have been
privy to the sound of his finely pitched pipes.
A few years ago he could be seen fantastically playing atop one of the sails of the
Sydney Opera House.
The sound of the Uilleann Pipes has been made popular through
their extensive use in film music, movies such as The Last Of The Mohicans,
Michael Collins, Braveheart and more recently the multi-award winning Lord of the
Rings Trilogy helping to aurally recreate the Gaelic/Celtic fervor.
During this time he has released a number of fine recordings including Music of the
Irish Celts a copy of which Dicky gave me one night outside a Hull night club a
few years ago. Dicky Deegan has recently signed a distribution deal with
Paul Cooke, Diamond Life Records (latterly of Sade fame)
He has released a
special collection of Dicky's music Celtic Soul Rebels Vol 1 via iTunes and
other major download sites.
Since returning from Hobart, Tasmania in 2002, Dicky has made East Yorkshire his home.
He is now and again to be found taking in the ambience and hospitality of selected Hull's old town hostelries.
Dicky Deegan of Irish parentage was born in Hitchin, North London in 1958.
He was a student of Traditional Irish Music at St. Josephs, Luton, and attended the Irish Centre,
Camden Town in the 1970s.
He has been a pipe player for the last 25 years, yet in his earlier years he charmed the punters of the Irish working mans clubs of Camden Town with the flute. Nowadays he is more likely to be found delighting the rich and the famous of the Mayfair set, at Guy Ritchie's Punchbowl.
It would appear that the notable British film director is quite a fan of the sound of Uilleann Pipes.
In his new residence atop of Haworth Hall, self taught piper Dicky Deegan has laid out all the
different component parts of his set of pipes. His warm smile, flat cap and cheery
countenance, reminds me rather of Tinker Dill the lovable rogue from BBC's Lovejoy series.
The correct pronunciation of the instrument; the "u" sound in Uilleann is silent so
the word is actually pronounced ill-ee-an.
The word Uilleann means elbow or more
specifically it refers to a right angled joint.
The instrument is played using both elbows; one to pump the bellows, the other
to squeeze and control air flow from the bag.
The large pipe played with the fingers, is called the chanter and airflow is increased or decreased by covering up the bored out pipe with the leg. The set of curved pipes are called regulators and the keys there-on are played using the wrist.
Uilleann Pipes are dry-blown and are not blown using the mouth. "Nor do you want to go spilling Guinness on them,"
Dicky adds with a knowing smile.
Any moisture from the mouth, getting into the pipes or reeds will
prove detrimental to the overall tone.
Unlike bagpipes these instruments were not used in connection with the military forces. Dicky explains it would be pretty hard to go marching while trying to work both the bellows and the bag, and using the leg to produce different chanter tone.
Dicky's own set of pipes are made from ebony and walnut with ivory fittings some of which have over
the years been replaced with plastic ones.
The bag now positioned under his left elbow, was made by the renowned French bag-maker
Didier Durrasier from leather or more specifically calf's hide.
The chanter is bored out to 0.05 ml and the pipes are pitched at C sharp.
The set of pipes have within them seven reeds, three single reeds and four double.
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