Davy Spillane

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Davy Spillane
Born (1959-01-06) 6 January 1959 (age 55)
Dublin, Ireland
Genres Celtic
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Uilleann pipes, low whistle
Years active 1970 – present
Labels Burrenstone music
Associated acts Moving Hearts, Andy Irvine
Website Davy's Official Website
Notable instruments
Uilleann pipes handmade by Davy Spillane

Davy Spillane (born 6 January 1959 in Dublin) is an Irish musician, songwriter and a player of uilleann pipes and low whistle. At the age of 12, Spillane started playing the uilleann pipes. His father encouraged him and inspired him with his love of all music genres. For the next three years he played at sessions and met many prominent Irish musicians. At the age of 16, he played in Ireland, Britain and Europe. In 1978 he began to write his own music. He starred as a gypsy in Joe Comerford's 1981 film Traveller.

Moving Hearts and solo albums[edit]

He was a founder member of Moving Hearts, along with Christy Moore and Donal Lunny in 1981. Although each member had a strong pedigree of Irish folk music, the band played mostly original compositions, sometimes with a political edge and a folk-rock sound. Their final album The Storm (1985) was purely instrumental and had several slower pieces written by Davy. He then made the surprise move of joining up with American musicians Béla Fleck, Albert Lee and others to record a "Davy Spillane" debut album of his new compositions and bluegrass and original blues, Atlantic Bridge. There was a promotional touring band which also recorded Out of the Air in 1988, essentially a live version of Atlantic Bridge. Davy then gathered together a new set of musicians, including Rory Gallagher and Kevin Glackin to record Shadow Hunter, an album of various rock and folk styles. This was followed by Pipedreams in 1991.


Davy played as special guest soloist in orchestral work in 1992 called "The Seville Suite", describing events in 1601 in Irish-Spanish history, Bill Whelan then worked for Davy Spillane and Andy Irvine on the music album EastWind in 1994, which inspired Whelan's Riverdance in 1995. Davy was a special guest soloist in Riverdance. Davy also collaborated with Rory Gallagher on the tracks 'The road to Ballyalla', 'Litton Lane' and 'One For Phil' as well as with Enya on her 1988 Watermark tracks 'Exile' and 'Na Laetha Geal M'óige'.

Film Music[edit]

In 1992 Spillane composed music for Peter Kosminsky's film Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and in 1995 reached a larger audience with the film Rob Roy. Other compositions and guesting he has done includes Kate Bush's Sensual World (1989), Mike Oldfield's Voyager (1996), Bryan Adams' MTV Unplugged, Van Morrison and Elvis Costello. Other films include Eat the Peach and The Disappearance of Finbar. Paul Winter's album Journey With The Sun (2002) Davy was awarded a Grammy and also nominated for second one. Davy served his apprenticeship with pipe maker Dan Dowd and Johnny Burke and now makes all his own instruments. In 2000 he recorded his only album of traditional tunes Forgotten Days, together with Kevin Glackin.


Solo Albums[edit]

  • Atlantic Bridge (1987)
  • Out of the Air (1988)
  • Shadow Hunter (1990)
  • Pipedreams (1991)
  • A Place Among The Stones (1994)
    The title track, 'A Place Among The Stones' is featured on solo albums by both Moya Brennan and Davy Spillane. The song is most commonly credited Máire Brennan featuring Davy Spillane and appears on Moya (Máire) Brennan's Misty Eyed Adventures album. The only difference between the two tracks is that Spillane's has an extra second of silence.
  • The Sea Of Dreams (1998)
  • Forgotten Days (2001)
  • Deep Blue Sea (2004)


  • EastWind (1992) (with Andy Irvine)
  • Calman The Dove (1998) (with Savourna Stevenson)
  • Forgotten Days (2000) (with Kevin Glackin)


  • Dancing With Strangers, Chris Rea (1987)
  • Watermark, Enya (1988)
  • Far from Home, Traffic (1994)
  • Seville Suite, Bill Whelan (1995)
  • Riverdance, Bill Whelan (1996)
  • Songs From A Secret Garden, Secret Garden (1996)
  • Voyager, Mike Oldfield (1996)
  • Journey With The Sun, Paul Winter (2000)
  • Dreamcatcher, Secret Garden (2001)



External links[edit]