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Gradam Ceoil TG4

Mick O’Brien – Musician of the Year


Piper and tin whistle player Mick O’Brien was born in Dublin in 1961 and began learning to play the pipes at age 9 from Leo Rowsome, Seán Seery and Mick Touhey at the Thomas Street Pipers’ Club. He later attended classes at Na Píobairí Uilleann and became inspired by the playing of Patsy Touhey. His father, the influential accordion player Dinny O’Brien, was also a significant source of inspiration. Throughout his career, he has conducted masterclasses on the pipes across Ireland, Europe and the US, and performed regularly as a solo artist and with other musicians including the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and also with Norwegian groups Vamp, Hanne Krogh, and Secret Garden.

He is also a successful recording artist and has featured on recordings with The Dubliners, Altan and Charlie Lennon, as well as his own albums May Morning Dew (1996) and The Ancient Voice of Ireland (1999). His 2003 record Kitty Lie Over with fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh is widely recognised as a major contribution to traditional music in recent decades, as is their 2011 album Deadly Buzz.

In recent years, O’Brien has performed as part of a trio with flute player Emer Mayock and fiddle player Aoife Ní Bhriain. The group has released two albums – Tunes from the Goodman Manuscripts (2013) and More Tunes from the Goodman Manuscripts (2021) – as part of a project focused on music collected by James Goodman in the southwest of Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century.