Ronan Browne

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Ronan Browne is an Irish musician and composer who plays the uilleann pipes. He is the grandson of Delia Murphy. He is the Uilleann Piper and Singer with Cran. He plays in a duet with Peter O'Loughlin. He was the original piper with both Riverdance and the Afro Celt Sound System. He has contributed music to the film soundtracks of Circle of Friends, Rob Roy, Robin of Loxely, The Secret of Roan Inish, Streets of Gold, Gangs of New York. and the TV series Bringing It All Back Home.


Ronan was born in Dublin in 1965 into a very strong musical background. His grandmother Delia Murphy was renowned for recording and popularising many Irish songs in the 1930s and 1940s such as "If I Were A Blackbird", 'The Spinning Wheel', and Three Lovely Lassies From Bannion'. Delia, the wife of Dr. T.J. Kiernan, Irish Ambassador to the Vatican, Australia, Germany, America and Canada, brought Irish musical culture to audiences throughout the world.

Musicians such as Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy and Denis Murphy were regular visitors to Ronan's family home over the years. He began playing the pipes at the age of seven and was quickly taken under the various wings of the old masters, his main influences being pipers Willie Clancy, Johnny Doran and Séamus Ennis, whilst fiddlers Denis Murphy and Tommy Potts also played a strong role in forming his early style.

Ronan has toured extensively in Europe and in the US, as well as playing in Russia, India, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan. He gives master classes throughout the world.

He has been involved in over 75 album recordings since his first venture into the studio in 1982 and has collaborated with many of the top artists playing traditional Irish music, classical, pop, jazz and Country. These include people such as Anúna, Donal Lunny, Finbar Wright, Alan Stivell, The Indigo Girls, Tommy Hayes, Sean Tyrrell, Bill Whelan, Elvis Costello, Nightnoise, Michael Kamen, Paul Brady, Bill Laswell, Sinéad O'Connor, Peter Gabriel and Deep Forest.

After releasing the easy-listening album Celtic Moods in 1997, Ronan released a solo traditional CD The Wynd You Know in 2001, with Claddagh Records. 2005 saw the release of a third solo CD Salute to the Brave, mostly of his own modern compositions.

Duet with Peter O'Loughlin[edit]

To this day Ronan's friendship and musical collaboration with Peter O'Loughlin is fêted as one of the most enduring partnerships in Irish music. Their strong combination of mid-19th century flat-pitch uilleann pipes and tuned-down fiddle, playing the old dance music of Ireland, makes for a rare and thoroughly enjoyable evening's entertainment. Their 1988 duet album with Claddagh Records, 'The South West Wind was received with critical acclaim, and in 2002 they released an even more popular 2nd CD called 'Touch Me if You Dare'. They have recently recorded a third album which awaits release. With Arts Council DEIS funding, they recently recorded a series of interviews of Peter recalling his personal knowledge and friendship with many of the important musician and singers of the 20th century.


Ronan is a member of the group Cran with Seán Corcoran and Desi Wilkinson. Cran has released five CDs and tour worldwide. The core of their repertoire is native Irish material – dance music or slow airs on flute and pipes, and vocals ranging from the highly ornamented sean-nós songs of Conamara to the rollicking port a' bhéil or mouth music of Donegal. Their Hiberno-English song repertoire (songs from Ireland in English) covers the entire gamut from the old story-telling "long ballads" to lively comic songs of "pure divilment and rascality". They also include material from the related Scots-Gaelic tradition and from the other Atlantic Celts, the Bretons.

Cran have released five CDs: [The Crooked Stair (1993, reissued 2005); Black Black Black (1998); Lover’s Ghost (2000); Music from the Edge of the World (2002); Dally and Stray (2014)].

Over the last 20 years, Ronan has established a duet with fiddle player Kevin Glackin; Kevin regularly joins Cran for recordings along with Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill (Bothy Band).


Ronan was the original piper for the Eurovision interval performance of Riverdance in 1994 and his recording has featured in almost every show since. He chose not to join the teeming cast when the show went on the road, preferring instead to concentrate on his personal projects and to leave the touring to pipers with more time on their hands. This left him in a position to concentrate on Cran, the Afro Celt Sound System.

Afro Celt Sound System[edit]

In the mid-1990s Ronan was asked if he would like to join a project which was starting up revolving around Peter Gabriel's 2nd "World Music Recording Week". Musicians converged from all over the planet to ramble from project to project being recorded in up 7 recording setups in Real World Studios. Out of this intense meeting of musicians was born the Afro Celt Sound System which went on to become Real World's most successful venture. It was a meeting of African and Irish musicians in the convivial company of some of the top London programmers.

The Afro Celts toured the world and Ronan remained with the band for the first two albums, writing and recording in various locations between Ireland and England. Tracks were licensed for countless documentaries, ads and films, the strangest of which was Farrah Fawcett sculpting nude in a Playboy video to the sound of Ronan's opening track on the 1st Afro Celt CD!


Ronan has played many prestigious concerts in Ireland and abroad as a solo musician and has also been a guest member to a wide variety of groups.

Although best known as a traditional musician, Ronan is also keenly interested in exploring other musical genres particularly in film and television. Ronan has written and performed music for fashion shows in London and Paris by designers Lainey Keogh and John Rocha.


Ronan has been teaching the pipes, flute and whistle worldwide for the last 25 years and has recently developed a much sought-after music appreciation/listening class. In 2005 an Arts Council DEIS grant enabled him to make his class completely portable and has proved a huge addition to his teaching capabilities.

Film Music and Television[edit]

Along with Michael Kamen, Ronan composed the soundtrack for the documentary film The Dolphin's Gift, directed by Kim Kindersley. More recently, the two of them collaborated on the score to Circle of Friends, the film dramatisation of Maeve Binchy's novel.

Ronan has also contributed music to the film soundtracks of Robin of Loxely, Rob Roy, Fierce Creatures, The Secret of Roan Inish, Streets of Gold and Gangs of New York.

On Anjelica Huston's Mrs. Browne, Ronan was Traditional Irish Music Director.

He composed and recorded scores for the audio-visual displays at the National 1798 Visitor Centre in Enniscorthy, at the Waterford Treasures museum and at King John's Castle in Limerick city.

TG4, the Irish TV station, commissioned Ronan to write the music for the daily news program Nuacht, a six-part drama series Geibheann and the drama An Gaeilgeoir Nocht. The Ronan appears regularly on Irish music and magazine programmes on national television and radio. He has also played for numerous television advertisements.

He appeared on ABC Network's 65 million-audience Good Morning America playing the Uilleann Pipes with Dónal Lunny, Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn. He played on the theme music to the six-part series Bringing It All Back Home – an independent television programme dealing with the influence of Irish music on American folk and contemporary music.

Ronan featured on Hummingbird's Rivers of Sound, which explored many aspects of traditional Irish music.


Ronan worked with Tommy Hayes, on the writing and performance of music for the Abbey Theatre productions of The Playboy of the Western World and Macbeth. He joined forces again with Tommy and dancer Cindy Cummings to give off-beat improvised performances.

The Olympia Theatre performance of The Tailor and Ansty with Anna Manahan and Frank Kelly saw Ronan playing music and acting a small role.

Ronan's version of the Blasket Island air Port na bPucaí was chosen by Limerick's Daghda dance group for their part in the huge Famine commemoration held in Millstreet in 1997.

Ronan Browne Discography[edit]


  1. Celtic Moods – "Haunting Melodies of Ireland" (CRIMCD72) 1997
  2. The Wynd You Know – Traditional Pipes solo CD (CC64CD) 2001
  3. Salute to the Brave – Ronan Browne & the Patriot Corps (BCI40945-2) 2005


  1. The Crooked Stair (BRRCD001) 1995/2006
  2. Black, Black, Black – 2nd CRAN CD with Shel Talmy (CC63CD) 1998
  3. Lover's Ghost (BRRCD003) 2000
  4. Music from the Edge of the World (BRRCD004) 2003
  5. Dally And Stray (BRRCD005) 2014

Ronan Browne and Peter O'Loughlin[edit]

  1. The South West Wind (CC47CD) 1988
  2. Touch me if you Dare (CCF35CD) 2002
  3. Third CD with Peter O'Loughlin (CCF**CD) 2007

Afro Celt Sound System[edit]

  1. Afrocelt Sound System Vol I – (Sound Magic) (CDRW61) 1996
  2. Afro Celt Sound System Vol 2 (Release) (CDRW76) 1999

Ronan Browne Full Discography[edit]

Records and CDs on which Ronan has worked.


  • Dysart Tola – Music from Dublin and Clare.




  • Five Guys Named Mo – Canadian pop group.



  • Bringing it all Back Home – Accompanying the television series. (CD BBC CD 844)
  • 'The Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon – Music for Japanese video game. (N30D-006)


  • Next Generation – The Irish Folk Festival duet with Kevin Glackin. (TÜT CD 72.7492)
  • The Indigo Girls – American pop duo


  • Angel Candles – with Máire Breatnach. (SCD 593)
  • Browne / Glackin / Tyrrell – one-off for European Tour (Not commercially released)



  • Secret of Roan Inish – soundtrack to the film.
  • River of Sound – Accompanying the television series. (Hummingbird)
  • Riverdance – The Show. (KCD 370)




  • Black, Black, Black – 2nd Cran CD produced by Shel Talmy (CC63CD)
  • Art of Magic – CD Rom game with members of Afro Celts
  • 1st Celtic Tenors CD
  • The Seer – German pop group
  • Claddagh's Choice – Compilation (CC40-65CD)



  • Melody of Legend I – Japanese game music hits performed solo
  • Melody of Legend II – Japanese game music hits performed solo
  • 2nd Celtic Tenors CD
  • Siol/Seed – various artists (Magherbaun Records OPP CD2)
  • Come dance with Me in Ireland – Compilation (Atlantic 83273)
  • Pure Bodhrán – compilation track with Tommy Hayes (BBM 001)
  • Alison Hood CD – Cellist
  • Lover's Ghost – 3rd Cran album (BRRCD003)


  • Journey – Best of Dónal Lunny: 3 April track (HBCD0024)
  • Rua – Contemporary Irish Vocal Duo
  • The Irish Tenors – Ellis Island Guest
  • The Wynd You Know – solo CD (CC64CD)
  • Yoko Ueno CD – Japanese Singer / arranger


  • Touch Me If You Dare – 2nd Duet album with Peter O'Loughlin
  • Celtic Tenors – So Strong: Pipes on The Green Fields Of France and Mull of Kintyre


  • Gaelic Ireland – compilation with Cran: Na Ceannabhain (EUCD1821)
  • Music from the Edge of the World 4th Cran album (BRRCD004)
  • Songs, Jigs & Reels – Browne, Glackin, Tyrrell (Not commercially released)



  • Rough Guide to Irish Music, 2nd – Comp: Cran Taimse 'n Arrears (RGNET1148CD)
  • Salute to the Brave – Ronan Browne & the Patriot Corps (BCI40945-2)
  • Beginners Guide to Ireland – Comp Cran: Na Ceannabhain Bhána (NSBOX012)
  • The Humours of Holland – Piping Compilation
  • Balance – BEUC Creative Commons Comp: Ronan track: Solas
  • Celtic Tiger – Soundtrack to Flatley show (B000B8GT9M)


  • The Crooked Stair – Re-mastered 1st Cran album (BRRCD001)
  • The Hop Down – Breda Keville Solo CD Engineered by Ronan (BKCD 205)
  • Wooden Flute Obsession 3 – Flute Compilation (ITMS0601)
  • Geantraí – CD & DVD: TV performance with Peter O’Loughlin (CRFCD 189)


  • Má Bhionn Tú Liom – Róisín Elsafty. Guest playing flutes & whistles (VERTCD080)
  • Far From the Hills of Donegal – with Oisin McAuley – Pipes on Ask My Father & Port na bPucaí (Compass 4446)
  • Sean Ryan – Solo CD Engineered by Ronan
  • Experience Ireland – compilation CRAN, Tyrrell/Glackin/Browne, and Solo tracks (EXPRCD008)
  • Transatlantic Sessions 3 vol 1 (WHIRLIECD12)
  • Transatlantic Sessions 3 vol 2 (WHIRLIECD13)
  • Transatlantic Sessions 3 DVD (WHIRLIEDVD1)


  • Piper's Choice Vol 1 Music & Interviews (NPUDVD006)
  • Masters of Tradition compilation – 2 tracks, 1 solo & 1 with P. O'Loughlin
  • Irishman in America – Johnny Logan. Whistle on track "Sorry"(M20163-2)



  • agus rud eile de – Ronan Browne & Louis de Paor. Poetry & "soundscapes" (
  • Ring Christmas Bells – Coláiste Éinde Choir CD. Engineered & sleeve design by Ronan Browne
  • Side by Side – The Kane Sisters. Engineered by Ronan Browne (DM003)
  • Nature of Love – Johnny Logan. Pipes and whistle on tracks 6, 7 & 10 (Sony 88697712602)


  • The Mermaid's Purse – 50 young Conamara kids recorded by Ronan
  • The Celtic Connection – Compilation with CRAN track (WKR-002)
  • and so the story goes... – Tyrrell Glackin & Browne trio CD (CICD185)


  • Dally And Stray 5th Cran album (BRRCD0054)

External links[edit]