Iona Abbey

Tyrone created and leads Iona Abbey, Seattle’s only Scottish acoustic ensemble, with Scottish Reel pipes or small pipes, with cello, fiddle, guitar, and bodhrán. The music of Iona Abbey offers a rustic, traditional fireside sound, elevating a unique musical experience with top musicians top in their field.  Aside from Tyrone, Iona Abbey’s featured musicians include Jan Martindale on fiddle;  Miriam Shames on cello; Robert McCaffery-Lent on guitar, and Kevin King on bodhran and banjo. Iona Abbey produced a 5-track EP early in 2001.

In a rare, 2011 critiqued performance of Tyrone on Small pipe and Miriam Shames on cello, a classically trained Scottish juror commented…

“A wonderful arrangement – lovely effect! Perfect tempo on the slow air and also the (hornpipe) — nice, steady playing on the pipes and beautiful, sensitive accompaniment on cello.”

Tyrone’s mission with Iona Abbey is to allow thoughtful discovery of the deep Scottish musical tradition through sympathetic exploration with instruments other than the Highland Bagpipe. The music is rarely explored in this way, even by present day music groups of Celtic origin. The tunes performed by Iona Abbey would often only be heard by Great Highland pipers in competition setting, and not usually with string and bodhrán accompaniment. With other instruments accompanying the Scottish Reel or Small Pipe, the tunefulness of the music is brought out with a sensitive air. The melodies become appealing for a wider audience, more up close than usually found with a traditionally abrupt unison performance of the Highland Pipe and Drum competition.