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April 2002
Young uilleann piper carries on family tradition
Mikey Doran

Mikey playing in the Jolly Miller, his uncle's pub

This 12-year-old fifth generation uilleann piper from a family of travellers was taught by his father who was taught by his father, the late great Felix Doran.

Twelve-year-old Mikey Doran is carrying on his travelling family's tradition of uilleann pipe playing, following in the footsteps of his famous grandfather Felix Doran.

How I came to this music
"I was born in England but my background's Irish. We just came back to Coalville last summer for a break really, just to get off the road. But we've been travelling basically all our lives. When we first started playing it all came from John Cash. Then John Cash learned me granduncle Johnny Doran then me granduncle learned me grandfather which is Felix Doran.

ham and guiness

Rich pickings in the pub

Then me grandfather learned me father and me father learned me. That's how I got my music. Felix was very famous, very well-known. One of the greatest in the world. He made hundreds and thousands of tapes. Just try and get your hands on one of them. One of them was The Last of the Travelling Pipers. Obviously that's not true now because I've just taken the business over. I started playing nine or 10 months ago.

Mikey and his father Mikey

Mikey Snr and Mikey Jnr

I was taught by my Dad Mikey Doran. My grandfather got the full set of pipes made for me father. He doesn't play much any more so he pass them onto me. The air comes from the bellows and into the bag and then there's a reed in the chanter that makes a sound. You just put your fingers on the holes and make a tune."

Where I play
"The uilleann pipe is very popular in Ireland. And very popular with travelling people.

pub singers

At the Jolly Miller, everyone takes a turn at singing

I don't know why it is. We're Irish, we just like our music. Some people play in bands and some people play for their own pleasure. I just play for me own pleasure and hopefully I'll make it professionally one day. It's a hidden talent. I've played in pubs and sessions. I haven't played in any bands yet."

A favourite song
"I play all Irish tunes. I can play songs but I prefer tunes. I started to play easy ones then the hard ones then the easy ones became better. I play the Ashplant - that's one of my grandfather's favourites."


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