Clan McPeake

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This family from Belfast, Northern Ireland, were at one time, the sole exponents of the uillean pipes in the north. Particularly influential in the 50s and 60s, they were unable or unwilling to cross…
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This family from Belfast, Northern Ireland, were at one time, the sole exponents of the uillean pipes in the north. Particularly influential in the 50s and 60s, they were unable or unwilling to cross over into the more lucrative commercial market. The McPeakes still perform and play at folk clubs and festivals. The original trio of Francis McPeake (b. 4 May 1885, Belfast, Northern Ireland; uillean pipes, d. 17 March 1971), Francis McPeake II (b. 20 January 1917, Belfast, Northern Ireland; uillean pipes, d. 7 July 1986), and James McPeake (b. 9 August 1936, Belfast, Northern Ireland; harp), took Irish folk music to Russia in 1959, and won the Welsh International Eisteddfod in 1958, 1960 and 1962. During this time, they released The McPeake Family Of Belfast on Prestige Records in the USA. In 1962, the three were joined by Francis McPeake III (b. 30 April 1942, Belfast, Northern Ireland; uillean pipes), Kathleen McPeake, daughter of Francis II, (b. 18 June 1946, Belfast, Northern Ireland; harp), and cousin Tommy McCrudden (b. 16 April 1930, Belfast, Northern Ireland; bass). That same year, The McPeake Family was released on Topic, featuring all six members of the same family. After only three more releases, on Fontana and DTS Records, the group broke up in late 1967. They once again reverted to a trio, this time comprising Francis I, Francis III, and Kathleen. Kathleen left to get married in 1968, and three years later, Francis I died. After a long break, it was left to Kathleen to re-form the group, following the death of her father, Francis II, in 1986. Renaming themselves Clan McPeake, the group now comprised Kathleen (harp), her sons John McIlduff (b. 21 October 1968, Belfast, Northern Ireland; uillean pipes), and Francis McIlduff (b. 28 April 1971, Belfast, Northern Ireland; pipes), nephew William McKee (b. 23 December 1963, Belfast, Northern Ireland; bodhran), and family friend Kiven Dorris (b. 2 March 1967, Belfast, Northern Ireland; bouzouki). As Clan McPeake, they are again working the folk club and festival circuit, keeping alive the traditional music of the north as the family has always done.