Nóirín Uí Shúilleabháin is one of the finest exponents of whistle playing in the world of traditional Irish music. Her playing is characterised by its effortless flow, clarity and musicality, which, to the discerning ear, is based on an underlying mastery of technique, command and control of her instrument, the whistle. So many young musicians start their musical journey by ‘learning the whistle’, an instrument which is potentially one of the most ‘simply complex’ of instruments – Nóirín’s musicianship illustrates the full potential of this most ‘intimate’ of traditional instruments. Nóirín Uí Shúilleabháin is also known nationally for her detailed and dedicated commitment to teaching Irish traditional music at all levels. She has been a highly respected senior tutor at Scoil Éigse for many years, a tutor on CCE’s TTCT Teachers Course and has also contributed very significantly to the SCT exams initiative.
Siobháin Ní Chonaráin, writing in a recent issue of TREOIR magazine.
She has been playing music since the age of 5 and teaching music In the Connemara Gaeltacht for over 30 years. Noreen is a music examiner for the new syllabus in Irish traditional music, SCT, run by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and has tutored music teachers in their Teastas i dTeagasc Ceolta Tíre (CCTT) program. She teaches master classes in whistle at Scoil Éigse, prior to Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann, and adjudicates at Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann, various provincial fleadhanna, féiseanna and An Oirechtas competitions. For a number of years, she taught whistle at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France and give regular workshops at music festivals throughout the country. In addition, her family have kept the flame of traditional music alive for generations. Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers played concertina. Her parents played fiddle. Noreen’s brother, Sean Gavin, is an All-Ireland champion on the button accordion. Her younger brother is Frankie Gavin, virtuoso fiddler, founder of De Danann and international recording artist.