John Kelly's New Radio Play

John Kelly's New Radio Play

Starring Barry McGovern, Conor MacNeill, Steve Blount, Michael McElhatton, Kathy Rose O’Brien, Joe Taylor and Kerstin Aquaviva, The Pipes will air at 8pm on Sunday, 6 May on RTÉ Radio 1 in the 'Drama on One' slot.

Liam O’Flynn making new recordings of ‘An Buachaill Caol Dubh’ and ‘Queen of the Fairies’ for John Kelly’s new radio play.

A new radio play, The Pipes, by broadcaster and writer John Kelly, and featuring new recordings by piper Liam O’Flynn, will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday, 6 May.

Talking to The Journal of Music, Kelly explained that it is based on a Faustian or Robert Johnson-like story he published years ago, which he recently decided to rework as a break from other writing projects. ‘It’s totally rewritten. Only Liam remains, really.’

From the moment he started on it he had sound-effects in mind, Kelly says, and thought of collaborating with RTÉ producer Kevin Brew (of Si Schroeder and Headgear). ‘I knew he had the right “sonic sensibility” to help realise the ideas I had for it … Actually, I’d hesitate to call it a play. It’s more a “piece for radio”, in that it involves a level of DJ shadow work, sonically and musically, that only someone like Kevin … or maybe Brian Eno … could achieve.’

‘It’s about a young lad’s desire to be a master piper like his hero Liam O’Flynn, who is a God-like figure to him. He’s willing to go to any lengths, some very extreme, to get there. Even though it’s intended to be funny, and I hope it is, it is serious about music, about the power of music.’

Kelly, who has a number of novels to his name, says he is finding the collaborative process of drama very satisfying, exciting to be involved with, and a lot less of a struggle than the solitary work of novel writing, from which he is just emerging himself once again.

Starring Barry McGovern, Conor MacNeill, Steve Blount, Michael McElhatton, Kathy Rose O’Brien, Joe Taylor and Kerstin Aquaviva, The Pipes will air at 8pm on Sunday, 6 May on RTÉ Radio 1 in the ‘Drama on One’ slot.

O’Flynn plays newly recorded versions of ‘An Buachaill Caol Dubh’ and the hornpipe ‘Queen of the Fairies’.

Published on 2 May 2012

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