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Tel 01202 434280 Alex or Noeleen

Meet the Musicians

Gill and Richard are our lead (or tune) players on fiddle and accordion and they lead the line extremely well. Both strong players, they come together beautifully for rich melodies and harmonies. They are underpinned by Noeleen and Alex on guitar /whistles and Bass/ Mandolin, who provide a full and driving rhythm to keep the whole together. There's nothing really clever about what we do, it's just 'full' and makes for an easy and exciting dance experience. With Richard and Noeleen you also get two great vocalists, so the band perform traditional songs between dances giving an added dimension to the evening.

pictures courtesy of Ben Stoney Photography


Noeleen Ryan-Smith

Guitar, vocals, bodhran, whistles and caller

Born in Plymouth of Irish parents, folk music is in Noeleen's blood and she learned her first songs at the knee of her accordion playing father. She started her musical career learning the recorder at the age of seven, which naturally progressed later to the whistle. She has played the guitar from the age of eight and also learned viola, but did not discover her singing voice until sixteen, initially singing in a church youth group. She was also an award winning ballroom,latin american and 'disco' dancer when young, till knee problems prevented her from furthering this particular talent. After years of singing in musicals and cabaret shows, both solo and in duos, she rediscovered her folk roots when Bob Smith asked her to join 'The Highly Strung Band', the forerunner of Murphy's Lore. She added the bodhran to her range of instruments and is now also calling for the band on a fairly regular basis. Noeleen finds playing music is much needed stress relief from her day job of secondary school teaching!


Gill Collins

'Sonic' Fiddle

Gill has been playing the fiddle since she was 13, also learning piano and the clarinet. Her mother was a singer and piano teacher and both Grandfathers had played the violin. It was all too easy to pick one up one day and she took to it straight away. In 2004, she heard about an Irish music session in a local pub, turned up one night and hasn't looked back since. "There are an endless supply of tunes, the audience can't sit still when they hear the music played and I get to play standing up for the first time!" she says.

We were made aware of Gill by our good friend Titch of 'Black Sheep' fame, she initially 'depped' with us, but became our regular fiddle player in 2008 and we haven't looked back since. Her enthusiasm is boundless!!


Alex Smith

Bass guitar, guitar, mandolin,stompbox and backing vocals

Brought up on a feast of folk music from an early age as Dad played in the local ceilidh band 'The Old Pull and Push', he broke with tradition during his rebellious teenage years and moved to the 'dark side' of electronic music. He began experimenting on keyboards and then guitar, and found himself playing with local band Small Time,Big Time. They had a near brush with minor stardom, most notably with an appearance (badly) at The Mean Fiddler and with more success at The Rock Gardens (twice). Well that's how he remembers it!

He was invited to play guitar by his Dad, Bob Smith in 'The Highly Strung Band' and is now a firm 'born again folky' although he still has a soft spot for eighties electronica and indie music. He gained some training in music whilst learning violin at an early age, but his guitar and keyboard techniques are mainly self-taught (he did a good version of Gary Numan's 'Down in the Park'!).


Richard Wirdnam

Accordion and Vocals

Venerable and wise accordion and keyboard player. Over the years he has been involved with many local dance and folk bands most notably 'Diggory Venn'. Richard is also a prolific composer of original and excellent tunes which reflect his diverse interests and influences, ranging from English Morris, through Celtic to East European Klezmer for which he has particular love. His original composition 'Estampie' which has a Breton feel has become one of our favourite ways to end the night. Also known to sing a song or two when in the mood (most weeks) and has a penchant for corny old jokes!! Always seen with a smile on his face. Also joined us us permanently in 2008 giving us an extra dimension.


Julian Gurr

Our regular caller, Bodhran

Julian bought his first mandolin in 1989 before a six-month trip to India, simply because he thought it would be lighter and take up less space than his guitar (he was right!) Little did he realise that this was the first step along a completely new musical path. His love of traditional music extends to the dancing for which much of it is intended, and he is our most regular caller. It also led him to form the duo "Four Hand Reel" with Andy Stone now sadly defunct. He has also in the past written about Celtic music for Folk on Tap, The Living Tradition, and Irish Music Magazine.
He brings massive energy to a nights dancing and is possibly best known for his use of the scissor kicks during his favourite, end of night 'Serpent Dance'

This our usual line up, although we have a small pool of reliable and talented musicians who are very able to fill someones shoes, often bringing a small piece of their repertoire and style to the evening



Accordion and Keyboards

A quirky, talented box player. Has a vast knowledge of all things, especially music and PA - Just don't get him started! Covers for Richard and gigs nearer Southampton.


Fiddle and Vocals,

A great and energetic fiddle player who also sings and has a love of traditional music. He can be seen and heard in many guises ably supporting other ceilidh bands, as well as performing with local 'comedy' outfit The Polly Morris Band. A regular at local folk clubs as a solo performer but also known to duet with his Mum Ruth, who was the original Sara in 'Sinnermen and Sara' fame

John Reeks


John occasionally helps out as a guitarist when Noeleen calls and we need a 5 piece band and he is not engaged with other acts. A great player who also plays with 'Celtic Confusion' and Swing Your Partner. In previous years has played with 'The Waifs and Strays' and 'The Bushwackers' He is well known amongst the local folk session scene.

Ceol agus craic!

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26 Jan 2019

Harman's Cross. Private -Birthday Ceilidh

2 Feb 2019

Private. Milford On Sea. Birthday Ceilidh.

16 Feb 2019

Bournemouth. Private - Birthday Ceilidh TBC

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"Dear Alex, Noeleen and the Band Thank you so much for a great show on Saturday. The music and dancing crossed the generations and brought everyone together. We have had great positive feedback about how much they enjoyed your playing. Many thanks for making it a special evening.
Nick after his birthday ceilidh. October 2018

"Hi all at Murphy's Lore, We are still catching our breath from last night's dancing, but I just wanted to send you an email to thank you once again for such a wonderful night's entertainment at our wedding. You guys created something so special for us and our guests - the memories you gave us all will last forever. Having you there meant that guests who did not know each other at the start of the day left having danced the night away with new friends. Thank you also very much for Jess' personal tune from Richard - that meant so much. You are all wonderful and talented musicians and we wish you all the very best and hope to see you again at another 'do'! We will certainly recommend you to anyone that will listen! Keep Music Live! Much Love Jo and Jess. x
Jo and Jess after their wedding ceilidh. Sept 2018

"I can't believe it is one week since the Ceilidh evening 1st Sep at Milford for our German guests and their LITA hosts. I just want to say, many thanks for a fantastic evening. The music was superb, and Noeleen you got practically EVERYONE up dancing like pro's! (and well done for using German!) Lots of people have contacted me to say how much they enjoyed themselves...
Shirley after Lymington Twinning ceilidh. Sept 2018

"I had to be dragged to the dance floor to start off as I was feeling a bit frazzled after performing earlier, but glad I was, as ended up really enjoying it. Thanks guys what a fun night.
'Treek' after Chris and Sue's anniversary do. August 2018

" Best party ever!!! Thanks Clare & Murphy's Lore!!
Berni after Clare's birthday do. July 2018

"Hello. Thank you so much for a brilliant evening at my cousin Clare's 50th, Best night we have had in ages. I won't be able to walk tomorrow but the aches will be worth it. you were great x
Kathie after Clare's birthday do. July 2018

"Thank you so much Murphy's Lore for such a fantastic evening on Saturday and to everyone who came and made it that way too. To quote a friend's comment at the end (No names mentioned!) 'I hate barn dances and usually avoid them, but I had a great time!'.
Phillip after Jayne's Birthday Ceilidh.June 2018

"We would like to thank Murphy’s Lore for another wonderful evening! Our 30th wedding anniversary celebration was made very special by the band's contribution. We were pleased particularly by how the music and dancing drew everybody in and the feedback since has been universally positive. Murphy’s Lore certainly knows a thing or two about party spirit! Thanks again.
Irene and Karl after their anniversary ceilidh June 2018

"A great way to celebrate my 60th. What a fun night it was. Thank you so much Murphy's Lore....had a brilliant time. Thank you all.
Steve after his birthday Barn Dance. April 2018

"Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the dancing! We have some converts too,thank you for providing great entertainment!
Emma after her Wedding ceilidh. April 2018

"You were absolutely amazing, thank you so much. Loads of people have said how great you were. Thanks for making my 40th party for me! x
Caroline after her birthday Barn Dance. March 2018

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