“Pittsburgh Irish-music super group.” Pittsburgh City Paper
Photo: Hooley at Johnstown FolkFest
Hooley at Johnstown FolkFest 2002, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Photo by Jim Alexander

Welcome to Hooley’s website

Hooley ('hoo·lee) n. 1. a party or celebration, a céilí (Ireland), 2. a boisterous party; a noisy, merry party (New Zealand), 3. a wild party (Australia), 4. Irish surname (variant of Whooley), 5. a village in Surrey, England, 6. an 1890s London (Islington), England gang, 7. US congresswoman from Oregon’s fifth district (Darlene Hooley), 8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s traditional Irish music and dance ensemble since 1991.

Hooley’s music

Traditional Irish music is what you hear in the homes, pubs, dance halls, festivals and competitions of Ireland. And popularized with American audiences in movies such as The Titanic and on stage with Riverdance. Today, traditional Irish and other Celtic recordings continue to lead world music charts.

Hooley is a collection of Pittsburgh’s finest traditional Irish musicians and dancers who perform at concert halls, festivals, colleges and high schools, clubs and pubs, dances, receptions, and weddings throughout western Pennsylvania and the Ohio valley.

Hooley has appeared on local televison and radio, established concert attendance records at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s courtyard series and Allegheny Portage Railroad National Park’s amphiteatre series, and opened for Steeleye Span and twice for Altan.

Hooley’s performances center around expertly-played traditional Irish instrumentals ranging from toe-tapping jigs, reels, polkas, slides and slip jigs to slow airs and stately hornpipes and marches. Interspersed throughout each concert are rousing traditional and original Irish songs, stirring recitations, intricate Turlough O’Carolan compositions, and virtuoso hard- and soft-shoe old-style Irish step dancing.

Hooley’s performers

The musicians in Hooley are Oliver Browne on fiddle; Bruce Foley on guitar, uilleann pipes, low whistle, tinwhistle, and vocals; Les Getchell on percussion; Bruce Molyneaux on banjo, mandolin, cittern, and button accordion; Ray Werner on concertina, vocals, and composition; and Richard Withers on flute, tinwhistle, vocals, and composition. They are occasionally joined by Maggie and Sally Folan on feet.

Hooley’s guest artists have included Cathal McConnell of Boys of the Lough fame and popular local Irish vocalists Mike Gallagher and Matthew Craig.

Hooley in-depth

In 2001, Hooley released its favorably-reviewed compact disc, Cuts from the Turf. For complete liner notes, lyrics and audio samples of the CD, go to the recordings page. To buy it, go to CD Baby.

To see where Hooley will be playing next (and other select Irish events in Pittsburgh), go to the calendar page.

To see where Hooley has played, go to the tour history page. For what presenters had to say about Hooley’s performances, go to the comments page. To get an idea of what Hooley plays in performance, go to the sample set list page.

For more about Hooley’s musicians, go to the bio page.

For an overview of traditional Irish music and its instruments, go to the glossary page.

Hooley’s availability

To book Hooley for performances, dances, receptions, studio work, workshops and private lessons, contact us by email or phone. Complete promotional material is available on the press kit page.

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© 1991–2014 Hooley. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Updated January 20, 2014. Site credit.