Piper and Guitarist

Five Ponds Music




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Hallo, agus fàilte dhan làrach-lìn agam!  Thank you for visiting my site!

I play Scottish and Irish music on Highland pipes, Scottish smallpipes, and guitar.  I've performed at almost every kind of event, function, and ceremony there is – whether private, public, or corporate.

Besides playing the Highland pipes for weddings and funerals, I also provide music for cocktail hours and ceremonies using just my smallpipes and guitar.  As a guitarist, I play out fiddle tunes, pipe tunes, and Gaelic song airs, and because I use finger style for most of my guitar solos, I get a fullness of sound and softness of tone that is perfectly suited for smaller rooms and quieter occasions.

When a bigger musical presence is called for, I am joined by other traditional musicians to form small, hand-picked, ensembles.  Fiddle, Irish flute, Celtic harp, piano, guitar, and other sounds are chosen appropriately, and the various melody instruments, pipes included, trade leads while the others provide backup.  These small groups – usually trios, but sometimes more as needed – really bring a lot of life to a party!

So, have a look around the site and listen to some samples.  My phone number and email address are listed above, and there is more detailed information on the contact page.  Please don't hesitate to call or email me at any time.


I look forward to talking to you!

Michael Kerr, Cambridge, MA

I marvel at Michael's gifts and his blessed ability to communicate ancient thoughts and curvatures of form to new ears.  May he do this for many years to come!

~~~ Paula Robison, flutist (2014)





Fàilte Dhuibh

Michael Kerr is a Highland piper with a style of piping that is undeniably his own.  Born in the St. Lawrence Valley along the US-Canadian border, Michael is descended from Scotch pioneers who settled in the remote northwest corner of New York State's Adirondack Mountains.

His father and grandfather were old-style, ear-taught, Scottish fiddlers.  So was his great-grandfather, before them.  They played at dances and house parties, at work in the lumber camps – and in the home.

Michael Kerr at Edwards Scots Heritage Festival, Edwards, NY
Willard Kerr, Briggs' Switch, NY (1916)

The family's musical heritage goes back to Scotland, the north of Ireland, Gaelic Ontario, and Cape Breton Island, leaving Michael with a musical inheritance that is rarely found among pipers today.  His playing is said to capture much of the style of those older musicians with their drive, lift, and highly developed musicianship.

Michael has a lifetime of experience playing Scottish and Irish music.

Willard and Randolph Kerr (Sep 08, 1948)


Michael Kerr (1975)

He started when he was six years old, when his father began teaching him tunes on the tenor banjo.

He took up the pipes before he turned 14, and his repertoire is drawn heavily from fiddle music and Gaelic song.  He is also a writer of tunes in the traditional style.

He is a talented guitarist, too, and has been billed in many formal concerts – playing pipes and guitar on stage with, among others, Kinnon Beaton, Brenda Stubbert, John Campbell, Séamus Connolly, Liz Doherty, Áine Minogue, Tony Cuffe, J.P. Cormier, Aonghas Grant, Gordon Mooney, Frank Ferrel, and the Wrigley Sisters. 

He has done the same on live radio (with Doug Lamey), and his guitar music was featured in a one-hour interview with live performance on WZBZ radio out of Boston, Massachusetts.

Michael Kerr, Natalie MacMaster, John McCusker
Michael Kerr, smallpipes
He appeared in Áine Minogue's TV Special, "A Winter's Journey" (2001), which earned a New England Emmy nomination (Best Producer).  Besides these, he has played at countless dances, ceilidhs, and sessions, as well as at a wide range of private and corporate events.
He was a founding member and first president of the prestigious Grade II Tulach Àrd pipe band and, before that, was a member of the Greater Boston Pipe Band and Worcester Kiltie Band.  He also played pipes and banjo in the popular Boston-based techno-Celtic band, Green Zeek.
Michael was sole instructor of Highland bagpipes at the renowned Gaelic Roots 2000 summer school and festival, and has led a series of day workshops on piping.  When teaching, Michael helps his students to learn how their music fits into a traditional cultural context that includes dance, fiddle music, and Gaelic language and song.  With emphasis on these elements and their interplay with piping in traditional communities, he helps students to become more musical in their own playing.  Michael currently gives private lessons out of his home, via Skype, and as an instructor with the newly-launched resource for online traditional music lessons, TradLife.com.
Charlie Kerr family at Briggs' Switch, NY (1922) and Michael Kerr family (2013)
Michael and his wife, Lisa, live in the Boston area where they are raising three (musical) children.  For a period of time, he did not play much outside of his home and small circle of friends – but he is now re-emerging on to the traditional music scene.
Michael Kerr's love and understanding of traditional Scottish and Irish music is a part of his very makeup.  It permeates almost everything he does and he is committed to communicating that passion and knowledge to others through performance and teaching.

                                       An fhìdhleireachd gam chur a' chadal,
                                          A' phìobaireachd mo dhùsgadh maidne.

                                             Fiddle playing to put me to bed,
                                                Piping, my waking of a morning.

                                                                            Màiri Nighean Alasdair Ruaidh (17th century)