Tomás Ó Canainn

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Tomás Ó Canainn (1930 – 15 September 2013 [1] ) was an Irish Uilleann piper, accordion player, singer, composer, researcher, writer and lecturer in both electrical engineering (principally control engineering) and music. He was a founder of the group Na Fili with fiddler Matt Cranitch and whistle player Tom Barry in the late 1960s and 1970s. They gained considerable popularity and recorded several albums.



Ó Canainn was born in Pennyburn, Northern Ireland outside Derry but later moved to Cork where he became Dean of Engineering at the University College Cork (UCC). He took over the Irish music lectures from Seán Ó Riada at the college after his death in 1971 and taught music at the Cork School of music. Ó Canainn's daughters also play, violin, viola and cello and all 3 three appear with him on his last solo release. Tomás died in The Mercy Hospital in Cork City on 15 September 2013. He was 82 years old.


With "Na Filí"
Other or solo


"Traditional Music of Ireland", Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978 New Tunes For Old, 50 original Irish dance tunes by Tomas O'Canainn (Ossian Publications. Book/Cassette. 1985) Traditional Music in Ireland (Music Sales Corporation. January 1997)
Tomás' Tunebook (Ossian. 31 December 1997)
Traditional Slow Airs of Ireland(Ossian. 31 July 2005)
Songs of Cork (Gilbert Dalton, Ltd. 1978)
Home to Derry (Appletree Press (IE) January 2004)
A Lifetime of Notes Tomás' own autobiography. (Collins Press. 1 January 1996)
Seán Ó Riada: His Life and Work (Collins Pr. 30 June 2004
Melos a book of Tomás' poetry in English. (Clog; First Edition 1 January 1987)


Tomás Ó Canainn won the All-Ireland solo piping title and is known as "The Pennyburn Piper". Hence the title of his album recorded in 1998 with Neil Martin The Pennyburn piper presents: Uilleann Pipes, on which he also sang.

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