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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

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

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

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

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

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


Peter

Peter

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.

Steve

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

Guitar

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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Review

"Thank you so much, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening which was made by you guys!
Katherine, after her brother's Birthday ceilidh.November,2019

"Brilliant evening, again!
Shelagh, after Milford on Sea Community Autumn ceilidh.October,2019

"Thank you for such a wonderful evening last Saturday, everyone had a fabulous time dancing, some who have NEVER danced with their partners before so that was a great achievement. We loved the atmosphere, the music and especially the dancing, everyone should experience a ceilidh it’s magical, a great way to celebrate 25 years of marriage with family and friends.
Linda and Lester after their anniversary ceilidh.September,2019

" You were all incredible. I think it is the best Ceilidh we have done, so thank you.
Louise after the Pavillion Dance South West ceilidh. August,2019

"Just want to say a massive thank you to you all for your amazing set at our wedding! It really made the night perfect and everyone loved it! We will definitely be using you again for other family events!!! Love from the new Mr & Mrs Trent
Leanne and Chris after their wedding ceilidh.June,2019

"Fabulous evening, as always. Murphy's Lore you are a joy. Thank you. xx
Jan after the annual St.Anthonys Social.May,2019

"just wanted to say a big thank you for Saturday night, everyone really enjoyed, you were excellent!
Julie, Landlady - The Dolphin Inn, Gillingham after their re-opening night.April, 2019

"Another great evening at Milford with Murphy's Lore - thank you!!
Sue, Milford Community Centre St.Patricks Ceilidh.March, 2019

"Great evening!! haha! was lots of fun!
Thanks so much for a brilliant night guys, you were fantastic!

Helena and Emma, after Emma's birthday do.Feb, 2019

"I can highly recommend this band. Beautiful singing from Noeleen, great music from the band and Julian calling the dances was absolutely brilliant. We all had a fantastic time. Thank you Murphy's Lore!
Jenny, after her birthday do.Jan, 2019

"Brilliant night, Thank You. Could take me a while to recover !
Gail, after Leannes's birthday ceilidh. Dec 2018

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