Skip Healy is widely regarded as one of America's finest fife and wooden flute players. His concerts throughout North America and Europe have left audiences spellbound, and his playing style, at once traditional and contemporary, breathes new life into a wide repertoire of tunes.
Wherever he plays Skip generates excitement. Whether at the Plough and Stars or Irelands 32 in San Francisco CA., the Town Crier or the Blarney Star in New York city, or at festivals such as the Snug Harbor Irish Music Festival (Staten Island, NY), Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival (Mystic, CT), the Festival of Pipers (Quebec City, Canada), the 700 year old Pfyffer Daj (Ribeauville, France), or at his home in Rosegreen, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, the music flows when Healy is in the room.
Skip has been successful in music competitions as well as on the concert stage. In 1980 he won both the Connecticut State and the Northeastern States Championships for solo fife playing. Concentrating on traditional Irish music, he also won numerous C.C.E. North American titles. In 1989, his home state honored him with the title of "Master Musician for the State of Rhode Island."
Collaborations & Teaching
Skip then became actively involved with the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (R.I.S.C.A.) Folk Arts Apprenticeship program, where he received several state grants to teach fife playing to local residents. A concert tour then led him to Basel, Switzerland, where he taught American fife and Irish flute for nearly a decade to scores of Swiss musicians. His reputation for unique teaching styles and theories (private, group, and master class settings) has also grown over the last 20 years. Now a frequent lecturer at the University level, Healy also hosts an annual wooden flute festival called Winds On The Bay in his hometown of East Greenwich, RI.
Returning home, his skills as a composer, arranger, and studio musician became even more in demand. Great Irish musicians including fiddler Liz Carroll and Lawrence Nugent, as well as the group Solas, have recorded Skip's flute compositions. He has performed and recorded with an all-star selection of traditional musicians including, Aine Minogue, Flynn Cohen, Johnny Cunningham (RIP), Michael and Triona O'Domhnaill, Robbie O'Connell, Mick Moloney, John Doyle, John Williams, Paddy Keenan, Paddy Reynolds, Kevin Burke, Phillip Donnelly, Lui Collins, Rhode Island-based band Pendragon, and many others.
Recordings & Solo Projects
While he has played on over 40 recordings and literally hundreds of international radio and television shows, his past three solo recordings, Grammy-nominated "Empty Pockets" (1985), "Live from New York" (1987), and "Farewell New England Shores" (1991), have won him both popular and critically acclaimed success. Healy's CD, "Purgatory Chasm", became available in February 2001. In 2003, he also released "Have Ye This One?", a compilation of thirty tunes played at different skill levels and speeds to accommodate students at any skill level. This CD also has an accompanying tunebook. Most recently, Skip formed "The Cartel", a spirited band featuring Healy, Marc Bernier, Mark Poloka, and others among the usual suspects. In 2006, The Cartel released its first self-titled CD.
The Healy Flute Company
Skip established the Healy Fife and Flute Company in East Greenwich, Rhode Island in 1993. He specializes in the designing and building of a wide variety of wooden flutes, fifes, and piccolos. Beautifully finished and trimmed with sterling silver, Skip has supplied these fine instruments to musicians all over the world.
More Honors & Current News
As of January 2000, Skip's recordings have been added to Ireland's Traditional Music Archive in Dublin. In June 2000, Skip was appointed curator of the James Mitchell Varnum House Museum in East Greenwich, RI.
"Skip Healy...regarded as the world's greatest fifer." - Yankee Magazine
"One of the finest Irish flutists in the U.S. today." - Irish Voice(N.Y.)