A native of Co. Armagh, Cillian Vallely is the product of an important traditional Irish music family. His parents Brian and Eithne Vallely founded the legendary Armagh Pipers’ Club, an organization that has fostered the revival of traditional music in the north of Ireland for over fifty years, and there, Vallely grew up surrounded by music. Taught by his father and local piper Mark Donnelly, he developed a distinctive approach to piping later influenced by the rhythmic, flowing style of Paddy Keenan. His mastery of chanter, drones and regulators has earned him a reputation as one of Irish music’s top uilleann pipers.
His budding professional career began in the 1990s, touring with groups like the New York-based Whirligig and the popular show Riverdance. Vallely joined Lúnasa in 1999 and with them has recorded seven albums and played over 1500 shows in 20 countries, including major tours throughout North America and Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. Lúnasa are considered true innovators in Irish music and receive universal critical praise. They have played in major venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, and the Bercy Arena in Paris, as well as every major folk festival, including Glastonbury, Womad, the Edmonton Folk Festival, and Lorient Interceltique.
With over 60 recordings to his credit, Vallely is an in-demand studio session musician. He has collaborated on traditional music projects including Callan Bridge with his brother Niall and On Common Ground with flute player and Lúnasa bandmate Kevin Crawford. Vallely has also toured and recorded with many notable artists outside the tradition including Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, Tim O Brien & Mary Chapin-Carpenter. To much critical acclaim, he released his first solo album “The Raven’s Rock” in 2016.
“[Vallely’s] piping is expressive and delicate, deft and technically excellent […] The Raven’s Rock is an album to savour.”Irish Music Magazine
“Vallely ticks all the boxes when it comes to the checklist of traits needed to be considered a 21st-century traditional music A-lister […] The Armagh man is a superb musician who not only has great technique and style but who has a deep understanding of the roots and emotions of the music he plays.”Irish News
“…a thoughtful, disciplined collection, [The Raven’s Rock is all about] lovingly crafted tunes played with both intensity and attention to detail.”The Irish Times
“…this is a lovely production with beautifully crafted and superbly played tunes. A must for lovers of contemporary traditional music […] the quality of both the music and the production are up there with the best.”Living Tradition