The Rowsome Tradition.
5 Generations of Uilleann Piping
1. The Limestone Rock / The 5 Mile Chase
2. The Woods of Kilkenny / Young Roger Was a Ploughboy
3. The Broken Pledge / The College Groves
4. The Wexford Hornpipe / Murphy’s
5. The Woodcock / Put Your Clothes On
6. Up and About in the Morning / Old Man Dillon
7. The Dublin Lasses / John Doherty’s
8. Blind Mary
9. Kilcooley Woods / The First of May
10. Lament for Staker Wallace
11. Kitty’s Rambles / Fraher’s
12. Trip to Bantry / The Coming of Spring
Archive Recordings from Rowsome Family Archives
13. O’Donnell Abu / The Boys of Wexford
14. The Liverpool Hornpipe
15. The Irish Rover
16. Freedom for Ireland Polka Set
17. Ar Raibh tu ag an gCarraig
18. The Coolin
Click on underscored titles to hear MP3 sound samples.
We are delighted to announce our release of this classic CD.
The Rowsome Tradition.
5 Generations of Uilleann Piping from Ireland's foremost musical family.
Folk World #33
Five generations of uilleann piping: The Huguenot family "Rousome" came to Ireland in the late 17th century and settled in Co. Wexford. Samuel Rowsome of Ballintore (*1820), a prosperous farmer, introduced piping into the clan, but it was piper and pipe maker Leo Rowsome (1903-70) who is widely regarded as "Rí na bPíobairí" (King of Pipers). Leo performed on the opening of Irish radio in 1926. He co-founded Cumann na bPíobairí Uileann in 1934 and he recorded the very first LP for Claddagh Records in 1959. His pupils make a hall of fame: Liam O'Flynn (Planxty), Willie Clancy, Joe McKenna, Paddy Moloney (Chieftains), Peter Browne (Bothy Band, Afro Celts), Gay McKeon, Al Purcell. The latest offspring of that talented family, Generation 5, grandson Kevin Rowsome (Kevin Rowsome) continues the family tradition. Kevin took his first lessons from his grandfather when he was six years of age. "The Rowsome Tradition" presents a terrific mix of classical pipe tunes, displaying delicate skills on both chanter and regulators, joined occasionally by fiddler (and wife) Lorraine Hickey and backed gently by bouzouki and guitar. Kevin plays a concert pitch (D) set of pipes made by Leo about 1948 and a C-sharp pitched set made by great grandfather William about 1898. Boths sets were restored by German pipemaker Andreas Rogge. Generations 3 and 4 provide six bonus tracks from the archives (1957-69): grandfather Leo, father Leon, and uncle Liam (fiddle) Rowsome. Walkin' T:-)M
Musical Traditions Web Site
There is, at the end, no doubting the accomplishment on this CD: of its kind well judged in setting Kevin Rowsome's own contribution in the grand line which he is at pains to emphasise at all points, finishing with a dedication to his parents. Roly Brown
Living Tradition Sept/Oct 2000
Kevin Rowsome is the grandson of Leo, known as “The King of the Pipers”. A celebrated Irish piper, maker and teacher, Leo Rowsome taught many of today’s great pipers; his pupils included Liam O’Flynn, Paddy Moloney, Joe McKenna and the late Willie Clancy. Kevin learnt his piping from his grandfather and father and has acquired the Rowsome style and repertoire. As well as a dozen tracks of his own high-quality piping, Kevin’s debut album includes six archive tracks featuring Leo Rowsome and his two sons. All this is squeezed into 53 minutes, with very informative notes and some old family photographs. There’s a broad range of traditional tunes here, from 17th century compositions to tunes written in living memory, all great melodies which fit comfortably on the pipes. Kevin plays three sets of uillleann pipes, in C. C# and D, each producing a different tone. The pipes are temperamental at best, and he occasionally struggles to keep them in order, but his playing in generally a pleasing combination of fluid and staccato styles. Accompaniment is appropriately sparse; the tunes speak for themselves, a mixture of reels, jigs, hornpipes and airs gives plenty of variety.
Well known pieces such as “The Broken Pledge” and “The Wexford Hornpipe” are treated very nicely here. There are no startling new tunes, but we must remember that much of the classic piping repertoire came from the playing of Leo Rowsome so Kevin is performing his family’s music. The link with previous generations of pipers is amply illustrated by the inclusion of six tracks from the 50s and 60s. These feature Leo, Leon and Liam Rowsome on amateur recordings. The two fiddle solos from Liam which end the album are quite remarkable for the time, but the quality of the other four archive tracks is only enough to whet the appetite. Fortunately, there are clearer recordings of Leo Rowsome available. Overall, this is a very interesting and informative CD which gives a good feel for the Rowsome piping legacy. Alex Monaghan
review 6/2/2000 The Rowsome Tradition
A wonderful evocation of the story of Irish concert and "flat" uilleann piping from a fifth generation master. A pity perhaps that guitar is ever-opresent, but over 12 tracks the playing is a neat balance of open and tight fingering, and solo on the air Staker Wallace, and jig Kitty's rambles is superb. Six archive items have grandfather Leo on The Liverpool with father Leon on piano, and are deeply nostalgic with honking regulator in The Irish Rover and a sad resonance on uncle Liam's fiddle
The Irish Times
Alongside recordings of his male near ancestors from the otherworld of the late 1950s, the modern Rowsome has an earnest, aisily swaggering style born of total co-ordination. Each set is a technical study, wandering down, say, an Ennis byroad with barping regulators on a hornpipe; always with that emphatic little upskip I associate with Liam O'Flynn (indeed Liam O'Flynn's pipes were made by Kevin's grandfather). He breaks for the ditches more on reels like, The Broken Pledge, neatly sideskips the ould beat of a jig, and is forever adding in the odd unprovoked squoozh of ornament.
Yeah, it it's pipes you're after, this steady stream of nuggets is a real pleasure. Mic Moroney
Traditions Web Magazine.
The result is a beautifully played and conceived CD which is a credit to the Rowsome tradition. Ron Kavana
Irish Music Magazine June 2000
There are names in piping that have pedigree; anything from a Rowsome, Ennis or Clancy is a must have. Kevin Rowsome is the current custodian of the family tradition.The five generations in the title refers to numbers 3,4 and 5 and samples the Rowsomes legacy over the twentieth century; from William Rowsome in 1902 to Kevin today.
The first 12 tracks are from Kevin; the treatment is mainly modern with the addition of guitar, bouzouki and (Pat March, Noel Ryan and Lorraine Hickey).These are post Bothy Band arrangements, tastefully done with the pipes always out front and sounding like pipes, no sound desk trickery at work here.
Then comes track four, a solo set of Hompipes (the Wexford and Murphy's), with lovely deft touches on the regulators, great taste and at a danceable pace.
There are also more complex and demanding solo pieces, The Lament for Staker Wallace and the hompipes KilcooleyWoods and The First of May.
If this isn't enough there are 6 archive tracks, (a CD within in a CD) These latter tracks were recorded between 1957 and 1969 the first four by his grandfather, Leo Rowsome, the latter of Liam Rowsome on fiddle.
Those looking for changes of style over the three generations will find much to discover in this album. Clothing is a good indicator of prevailing modes; Kevin is seen in white jeans and a red open necked shirt. His forelbear's are suited and be-tied. Fashions change, but the common thread is the gra for the pipes, it's a lovely album this, one for the top drawer. Sean Laffey.
Roots July 2000
Building on the tradition as well is a young man who has inherited skills andinstruments and the name of the afore mentioned, Leo Rowsome. His grandson, Kevin Rowsome has at last made a CD that pays homage to his grandfather and his late father, Loen, yet shows Kevin is his own man, influenced yes, but I think possibly the most skilful of them all. Leo, very much a man of the early 20th century, could play anything on the pipes that he was also adept at making., but his considerable recorded work included some awful turkeys and many of his 78s dont make easy listening because of the over-use of the regulators. Leon was a most able player, but I always got the impression that he wasn't that interested, preferring the piano accordeon. Kevin, however, has developed into quite a tasty player. He lived in England for many years, and busked on the London Underground, recorded with the Bristol based group, Afterhours, and generally honed his craft along with a little bit of pipe making on the way. He returned to Dublin and lives in the same area as his grandfather, Leo did.
Kevin manages to avoid the overuse of the regulators and dubious choice of tunes that Leo was prone to. The album is a a delightfully varied mixture of playing finesse with a mixing of different keyed pipes giving different wood tones. The addition of Lorraine Hickey, a sparkling young Sligo fiddler on some tracks and unobtrusive, appropiate accompaniment makes for a first-rate album. In addition you get some rare archive recordings of Leo, Leon and Liam Rowsome.
The Irish Post
It is unusual, to say the least, for one recording to involve 3 generations of musicians from one family, but that’s one of the many boasts, The Rowsome Tradition can make. This album features the third, fourth and fifth generation of the famous Irish musical dynasty, a family which shaped the very way uilleann pipes are now played.
However, The Rowsome Tradition is by no means just a vinyl monument to academia – it’s full of some unforgettable music. Kevin Rowsome, who contributes 12 tracks to this album, is the grandson of the most famous member of the family, Leo. Kevin first gained recognition in 1991 by winning first prize at An t-Oireachtas, just 100 years after his great uncle; Tom Rowsome had won the same competition.
On this album he is joined by guest musicians Lorriane Hickey (fiddle), Pat Marsh (bouzouki) and Mark Lysaght (guitar). Kevin and Lorraine’s unison playing is faultless – note perfect, rhythm and pace steady. Many of the "big" reels are given an outing; The College Groves, The Broken Pledge and The Five Mile Chase.Jigs are well represented by such "heavies" as, Kitty’s Rambles and Fraher’s. Powerful Stuff.
The pipes are always heard to best effect on slow airs and there are two classics here, Carolan’s Blind Mary and The Lament for Staker Wallace. Here Kevin demonstrates his total command of the instrument – mastery of the chanter, sparing use of the regulators and rich ornamentation.
The Rowsome Tradition includes 6 archive tracks featuring Kevin’s grandfather, Leo Rowsome, his father, Leon and his uncle, Liam on fiddle --- recorded between 1957 and 1969. This is one of the most interesting pieces of music I‘ve heard in a long time. It is by no means an ancient recording (after all, by 69 the Beatles were thinking of calling it a day!), but it represents a direct link to the masters of Irish music of centuries past. The tracks feature Leo and Leon (on pipes and piano), plus Liam (Kevin’s uncle) on the fiddle.
This is a very important archive recording of one of Ireland’s greatest musical families, but chock full of stonking tunes as well. If you’re only going to buy one traditional album this century, I’d stick your money on this one. Malcolm Rogers The Irish Post
Hot Press 8/12/99
If Tradition means passing on and according due respect, then The Rowsome Tradition lives up to its title to a tee. Kevin Rowsome is lucky enough, by an accident of birth;
to belong to one of Dublin’s finest piping families.
This is a CD of two halves, Brian. The two are quite different beasts, differing in every aspect: size, hue and chronology. The first dozen tracks are snapshots of Kevin’s own playing, stylistically adventurous and imaginative. The last 6 bonus tracks are archive recordings of Kevin’s grandfather, Leo, his father Leon and his uncle, Liam, three stalwart pipers who were never afraid to put their own blas on the music either.
Kevin Rowsome’s own repertoire draws from a broad palette. The opening set of reels, from The Limestone Rock and The 5 Mile Chase with its gutsy guitar percussion underscoring Rowsome’s stealthy tracing of the tunes, to the more expected twinning of fiddle and pipes on Kilcooley Woods and The First of May (with Lorraine Hickey on fiddle) whisper of a player at home in his own musical skin.
The archive recordings fit seamlessly beside the contemporary pieces. With some technical wizardry (courtesy of Trevor Hutchinson), excess interference has been excised, revealing playing of immense virtuosity, skill and passion. Hearing O’Donnell Abu recorded at an impromptu session along with the almost music-hall ambience of The Liverpool Hornpipe with Leo on pipes and his son, Leon on piano is a timely reminder of the root and branch system of the music.
The Rowsome Tradition bears witness to the fiery past, and celebrates the rosy health of the present. A fine debut, auguring well for Kevin’s next excursion into the studio. Siobhan Long 10/12 Dice Dots. Hot Press