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DESI WILKINSON (flutes & vocals)
Desi is one of the leading exponents of the traditional Irish flute ("the timber flute") and a fine singer, to boot. Originally from Belfast, he was inspired to get involved in Irish music through the playing of Fermanagh fiddler, Tom Gunn, a near neighbour. It was from Tom that he learned his first tunes.
His first solo album, THE THREE-PIECE FLUTE (Spring Records), received rapturous reviews. "..A dazzling display of virtuosity and quirky genius.." (-IN DUBLIN ).
Desi has worked and toured with most of the best-known musicians and groups on the traditional Irish music scene, like Dé Dannan, Donal Lunney, Liam O'Flynn, Máirtín O' Connor and Andy Irvine. He has toured the U.S.A. as guest star with Dé Dannan and has arranged and performed music for the theatre. (He even did a bit of acting in the Eden Court Theatre Company of Inverness' production of THE BRAHAN SEER) From 1992 - 1994 he lived in Britanny, learning, playing and studying Breton music. Desi speaks French fluently.
In 1993 he was part of a pan-European music project, HENT ST. JAKEZ, based on the medieval pilgrimage to Santiago, in which he performed all over Spain, Portugal and France and also composed three items in the piece. These can be heard on the C.D. Hent St. Jakez, Shamrock Records,1993. Desi can also be heard on COSA GAN BHRÓGA, on the Gael Linn label. His latest solo album, SHADY WOODS was released in March 2001. Desi has an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Queens University, Belfast, where his thesis was on Sligo-Leitrim flute styles and a doctorate (Ph.D) from the Irish World Music Centre in Limerick University where he wrote a doctoral thesis on Breton music. He is also the main researcher for the TV series BANISH MISFORTUNE. Desi recently appeared at the Kennedy Centre Washington as part of the ISLAND festival.