Gavin Whelan is widely regarded as one of the finest exponents of the tin whistle in Ireland today. His eponymous debut recording propelled the tin whistle to centre stage, winning high praise from critics for his crisp, uncluttered phrasing and bright, clean tone.
The album, released in 2001, was hailed by one critic as "beautiful, captivating and formidable". Since then Gavin has released three other albums, Another Time In Full Flight and Homelands. 2010 saw the publication of a collection of popular session tunes along with some of Gavin’s own favourite tunes. This comprises a book plus three accompanying illustration CDs.
As well as being a virtuoso on the whistle, Gavin is also a master of the uillean pipes. In his early days, he was influenced by various pipers including Paddy Kennan, Ronan Browne, and Diarmuid Moynihan to name but a few. Gavin was a founder member of Dál Riada along with Mick Brodrick on bouzouki, Tristan Rosenstock on bodhrán, Frances Cranny on lead vocals, and Zöe Conway on fiddle and backing vocals. The band was a great success and performed at numerous festivals throughout Ireland and abroad. He also featured as lead instrumentalist on many TV shows including Geanntraí, Open House, and The High Reel. He has toured Ireland extensively as a solo artist appearing at such prestigious venues including The Cobblestone, Smithfield, Dublin; Whelans, Wexford St., Dublin; The Sprit Store, Dundalk; The Lobby,Cork; The Wexford Arts Centre; An Cultúrlann, Belfast; and The Civic Theatre, Tallaght.
In November 2002 Gavin was invited by music network to take part in Music of the Northlands Tour which included many well-known musicians from England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Faro Islands. The tour culminated in a concert in the Purcell Rooms on the South Bank, London. He has taken part in many other festivals including the Finnish Irish Festival in 1998 1999 and 2002; Lapua Folk Festival, Finland; Tel Aviv Irish Festival, Isreal; Gutenbrunn Folk Festival, Austria; Music under the Mountains, Hollywood, Co Wicklow; Skeries Irish Music Festival; Phil Murphy Festival Carraig-onBannow, Co. Wexford; Beo Celtic Music Festival, National Concert Hall, Dublin; UCC Tradfest, Cork; Feakle Traditional Music Festival, Co. Clare. In 2004 he was asked to headline the prestigious Music Network Tour -The Next Generation.
Since graduating with a Higher National Diploma in Irish music performance from the Senior College, Ballyfermot, Gavin has been actively involved in the teaching of Irish traditional music in primary schools in the Dublin area. He is also much sought after as a teacher at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay as well as other schools including The Des Carty Weekend, Tallaght; The Phil Murphy Weekend, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford; Skerries Irish Music Festival; master classes in whistle in University of Limerick; workshops in Inishowen, Culdaff, Co Donegal; Joe Mooney Summer School, Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim In 2002 he was nominated by Irish Music Magazine for Best Traditional Newcomer for that year.