Niall Vallely was born in Armagh in 1970 and began learning the concertina at the age of seven, taught by his parents Brian and Eithne Vallely, founders of the Armagh Pipers' Club.  Over the years he has developed a unique approach to playing the instrument and has established himself worldwide as one of Ireland’s most significant musicians.

A resident of Cork since 1988, Niall completed a degree in music at University College Cork in 1992.  He has recorded two albums with Nomos, a solo album, “Beyond Words” and a duet album with his brother Cillian, as well as two albums with his newest band Buille. Since 2000 Niall has been touring and recording as part of the Karan Casey Band as well as being in involved in projects with the likes of Tim O’Brien, Paddy Keenan, Mel Mercier and Asturian band Tejedor.  Over the past number of years Niall has also established himself as an accomplished record producer working with acts such as Karan Casey, North Cregg, Barry Kerr and Caoimhín Vallely.

Since the early 1990s Niall has been working at composing traditional-style tunes.  As well as recording these on his own albums, his tunes have been recorded by leading acts such as Lunasa, KAN, Michael McGoldrick, John Mc Cusker, Allan Kelly and Scottish acts the Poozies, Daimh, Gabe McVarish and Duncan Chisholm as well as bands from Europe, Asia and the US, while some of them have become ‘standards’ in sessions throughout the world.  In more recent years he has been expanding the scope of his compositions to embrace larger scale forms and instrumentation.  “The Singing Stream” written for four sets of Uilleann Pipes was commissioned by the William Kennedy Piping Festival and had performances in 2002 and 2003.  Major works since then have included “Flight-Imeacht” – a 20-minute piece for traditional instruments, chamber orchestra and piano, commissioned for a BBC documentary and premiered at Belfast’s Grand Opera House at the Belfast Festival in 2007; “Rakish” a multi-media piece based on the music of piper Johnny Doran and poet Gearóid Mac Lochlainn; “The Red Tree” for concertina and strings was commissioned by RTE Lyric FM and was premiered at the Cork Folk Festival and subsequently performed at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections; “Ó Riada Room”, a new work for concertina and String Quartet was commissioned by University College Cork and was premiered by Niall and the RTE Vanbrugh Quartet at the Glucksmann Gallery; “Sondas” a piece for cello and tape was premiered, has subsequently been widely performed by Kate Ellis and was released on her debut album in 2014; “Nothing Else” for solo violin was premiered by Clíodhna Ryan at the NCH in 2013.

In 2012 Niall arranged a programme of music which was performed by Lunasa and the RTE Concert Orchestra at the National Concert Hall and was released on CD in March 2013. The NCH was also the location for a performance of traditional songs arranged by Niall for Iarla Ó Lionáird and the RTE Concert Orchestra.

March 2014 saw the World Premiere of “Time Flying” at Cork Opera House performed by Niall and the Crash Ensemble. Also in March 2014 Niall composed an original soundtrack for a TG4 documentary on the life of Belfast poet Joseph Campbell.

Niall is currently Traditional Artist in Residence at University College Cork and has just published a book of his tune compositions. He is working on a new album with Buille and an album with the Irish/Scottish/Scandinavian collective The Secret North as well as a new commission for the Vanbrugh String Quartet.


1995   - Áine Uí Cheallaigh - Idir Dhá Chomhairle/In Two Minds (Gael Linn)

- Various - River of Sound (Virgin CD + BBC Video)

1995 - Nomos - I Won't Be Afraid Any More (Grapevine/Green Linnet)

1997 - Nomos - Set You Free (Grapevine/Green Linnet)

         - Various - Sult, Spirit of the Music (Hummingbird)

1998 – Gael Force DVD

1999  - Niall Vallely - Beyond Words (Beyond Records)

- Various - Mega Celtique

- Paddy Keenan - na Keen Affair (Hot Conya Records)


2000 - Karan Casey & Friends - The Seal Maiden (Music for Little People)

2001 - Various - Celtic Christmas, Silver Anniversary Edition (Wyndham Hill)

         - Lewis Nash & David O'Rourke's Celtic Jazz Collective (Mapleshade)

         - Tim O'Brien - Two Journeys (Howdy Skies/Sugarhill Records)

         - Karan Casey - The Winds Begin to Sing (Shanachie)

2002 - Niall and Cillian Vallely - Callan Bridge (Compass Records)

         - Various - Live From The Katharine Cornell Theater

2003 - Various - Celtic Compass (Compass Records)

- Karan Casey - Distant Shore (Shanachie/Vertical)

- Donal Donnelly and Brian Hanlon – Driven

2004 - Various - Masters of the Accordion (Arc)

- Various - Very Best of Celtic Christmas (Wyndham Hill)

- Various - Live Recordings From The William Kennedy Piping Festival

- Various - Other Voices, Songs from a Room 2

2005 - Karan Casey - Chasing the Sun (Shanachie)

- Caoimhín Vallely – Strayaway

         - Barry Kerr – The World Looks Away

2006 – Tejedor – Música na Maleta (Arís Música)

2007 - Niall Vallely, Paul Meehan, Caoimhin Vallely - Buille (Vertical Records)

- Various - Excalibur II: The Celtic Ring (EMI)

- Various - Armagh Pipers Club 40th Anniversary

- Various - A Christmas Celtic Sojourn Live [CD and DVD]

2008 - Karan Casey – Ships in the Forest (Compass/Crow Valley Music) 

         - Various - Anglo International

2009 – Buille – Buille 2 (Crow Valley Music)

2010 – Transatlantic Sessions 4 [CD and DVD] (Whirlie Records)

         - Daimh – Diversions (Greentrax)

2011 – Tejedor – Positivu

2012 – Cathy Ryan - Through Wind and Rain

         - Suzy Joubert – Half Light

2014 - Karan Casey - Two More Hours (Crow Valley Music)

“Niall Vallely’s technical mastery and genius for improvisation are matched by apparently inexhaustible creative reserves.

Nuala O’Connor, The Irish Times

“Niall is one of the most original and virtuosic concertina players in the history of Irish music.”         

Don Meade, Irish America Magazine

“It's seldom that instruments are reinvented by individual musicians. Larry Adler did it with a harmonica; so did Pierre Bensusan with his acoustic fingerstyle guitar. And now Niall Vallely has done it again with the humble concertina.”

Siobhán Long, The Irish Times