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Tel 01202 434280 Alex or Noeleen

Meet the Musicians

Gill and Richard are our lead (or tune) players on fiddle and accordion and they lead the line extremely well. Both strong players, they come together beautifully for rich melodies and harmonies. They are underpinned by Noeleen and Alex on guitar /whistles and Bass/ Mandolin, who provide a full and driving rhythm to keep the whole together. There's nothing really clever about what we do, it's just 'full' and makes for an easy and exciting dance experience. With Richard and Noeleen you also get two great vocalists, so the band perform traditional songs between dances giving an added dimension to the evening.

pictures courtesy of Ben Stoney Photography


Noeleen Ryan-Smith

Guitar, vocals, bodhran, whistles and caller

Born in Plymouth of Irish parents, folk music is in Noeleen's blood and she learned her first songs at the knee of her accordion playing father. She started her musical career learning the recorder at the age of seven, which naturally progressed later to the whistle. She has played the guitar from the age of eight and also learned viola, but did not discover her singing voice until sixteen, initially singing in a church youth group. She was also an award winning ballroom,latin american and 'disco' dancer when young, till knee problems prevented her from furthering this particular talent. After years of singing in musicals and cabaret shows, both solo and in duos, she rediscovered her folk roots when Bob Smith asked her to join 'The Highly Strung Band', the forerunner of Murphy's Lore. She added the bodhran to her range of instruments and is now also calling for the band on a fairly regular basis. Noeleen finds playing music is much needed stress relief from her day job of secondary school teaching!


Gill Collins

'Sonic' Fiddle

Gill has been playing the fiddle since she was 13, also learning piano and the clarinet. Her mother was a singer and piano teacher and both Grandfathers had played the violin. It was all too easy to pick one up one day and she took to it straight away. In 2004, she heard about an Irish music session in a local pub, turned up one night and hasn't looked back since. "There are an endless supply of tunes, the audience can't sit still when they hear the music played and I get to play standing up for the first time!" she says.

We were made aware of Gill by our good friend Titch of 'Black Sheep' fame, she initially 'depped' with us, but became our regular fiddle player in 2008 and we haven't looked back since. Her enthusiasm is boundless!!


Alex Smith

Bass guitar, guitar, mandolin,stompbox and backing vocals

Brought up on a feast of folk music from an early age as Dad played in the local ceilidh band 'The Old Pull and Push', he broke with tradition during his rebellious teenage years and moved to the 'dark side' of electronic music. He began experimenting on keyboards and then guitar, and found himself playing with local band Small Time,Big Time. They had a near brush with minor stardom, most notably with an appearance (badly) at The Mean Fiddler and with more success at The Rock Gardens (twice). Well that's how he remembers it!

He was invited to play guitar by his Dad, Bob Smith in 'The Highly Strung Band' and is now a firm 'born again folky' although he still has a soft spot for eighties electronica and indie music. He gained some training in music whilst learning violin at an early age, but his guitar and keyboard techniques are mainly self-taught (he did a good version of Gary Numan's 'Down in the Park'!).


Richard Wirdnam

Accordion and Vocals

Venerable and wise accordion and keyboard player. Over the years he has been involved with many local dance and folk bands most notably 'Diggory Venn'. Richard is also a prolific composer of original and excellent tunes which reflect his diverse interests and influences, ranging from English Morris, through Celtic to East European Klezmer for which he has particular love. His original composition 'Estampie' which has a Breton feel has become one of our favourite ways to end the night. Also known to sing a song or two when in the mood (most weeks) and has a penchant for corny old jokes!! Always seen with a smile on his face. Also joined us us permanently in 2008 giving us an extra dimension.


Julian Gurr

Our regular caller, Bodhran

Julian bought his first mandolin in 1989 before a six-month trip to India, simply because he thought it would be lighter and take up less space than his guitar (he was right!) Little did he realise that this was the first step along a completely new musical path. His love of traditional music extends to the dancing for which much of it is intended, and he is our most regular caller. It also led him to form the duo "Four Hand Reel" with Andy Stone now sadly defunct. He has also in the past written about Celtic music for Folk on Tap, The Living Tradition, and Irish Music Magazine.
He brings massive energy to a nights dancing and is possibly best known for his use of the scissor kicks during his favourite, end of night 'Serpent Dance'

This our usual line up, although we have a small pool of reliable and talented musicians who are very able to fill someones shoes, often bringing a small piece of their repertoire and style to the evening



Accordion and Keyboards

A quirky, talented box player. Has a vast knowledge of all things, especially music and PA - Just don't get him started! Covers for Richard and gigs nearer Southampton.


Fiddle and Vocals,

A great and energetic fiddle player who also sings and has a love of traditional music. He can be seen and heard in many guises ably supporting other ceilidh bands, as well as performing with local 'comedy' outfit The Polly Morris Band. A regular at local folk clubs as a solo performer but also known to duet with his Mum Ruth, who was the original Sara in 'Sinnermen and Sara' fame

John Reeks


John occasionally helps out as a guitarist when Noeleen calls and we need a 5 piece band and he is not engaged with other acts. A great player who also plays with 'Celtic Confusion' and Swing Your Partner. In previous years has played with 'The Waifs and Strays' and 'The Bushwackers' He is well known amongst the local folk session scene.

Ceol agus craic!

Follow us...

3 Mar 2018

Milford on Sea. Private -Annual Hurst Castle Sailing Club Ceilidh

17 Mar 2018

Milford On Sea - St.Patricks Day Ceilidh. Open to the public, this is a great event that always sells out. 2 course meal and songs, tunes and dancing with us. Ticket details nearer the event.

24 Mar 2018

Bournemouth FC. Private - Birthday Barn Dance.

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"Thanks for an amazing evening guys! We had a blast! And consider that willow fully stripped!!
Thank you for an awesome night!!
What a great night it was! Thank you everyone..

Jon,Fiona and Karen after Jon and Jay's wedding ceilidh. November 2017

" I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people you guys got up dancing!! It was a brilliant night. I have had many good comments. So a big THANK YOU to you guys.
Kate, after The Captain's Barn Dance at Dudsbury Golf Club. September 2017

" It was a fabulous night! I so enjoyed Murphy's Lore! A brilliant variety of music with Noeleen and Alex proficient on so many different instruments..and also accordion and violin. Great Ceilidh Calling too. Great Fun!
Polly after Cyril and Ruth's anniversary ceilidh. September 2017

"Thanks again for your amazing music- sensational!
Rosie after her anniversary barn dance. September 2017

"Me and Michelle would like to say a big thank you to you and the band..Despite the sweltering heat you managed to get people up and dancing even those that were more than reluctant. It really did make a fitting end to the night and will of course recommend you to family and friends in the future.
Lewis and Michelle after their wedding ceilidh. August 2017

"I can't believe it's already over a week ago. Thank you so much, the band was absolutely fantastic and lots of people have said how much they enjoyed the band and the dancing! I'm so glad we had you, it really made the evening special. !
Chloe and Patrick after their wedding ceilidh. August 2017

"A terrific effort from the band. Great, enthusiastic calling; speedy set up without fuss; and excellent playing. I know we had to pack it in given the time, but everyone I talked to loved it. Bravo!
Andy, after his and Chloe's wedding ceilidh. July 2017

"I must say the most enormous thank you, we had the most amazing time dancing to your band - you absolutely made our wedding the most special day ever. xx
Lois and Angus after their wedding ceilidh. June 2017

"We had another fabulous evening with Murphy's Lore. Such a brilliant band. Enthusiastic and constantly helpful, patient, and FUN!
Jan after Church Parish Social evening. May 2017

"Thank you Murphy's Lore, we couldn't have done it without you! We raised the fantastic total of £1,409 ! Great result ! Next time, a football stadium!!!!!!
Margaret after a fundraiser Barn dance. April 2017

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