“Noel’s soulful playing of the old song-airs of Ireland is the perfect introduction to his art; from the life affirming detail of his dance music to the plaintive long notes of the slow airs, and all created on a musical instrument – smaller than a shoe-box, between his hands.”

“In his hands the concertina is a new instrument, yet resounds with the integrity of generations, for Noel Hill makes the music new not through experimentation in other genres, but through consummate exploration and illumination from within Irish Traditional Music.”

-Tony McMahon

Noel Hill was born in Caherea in West County Clare, Ireland and has been a professional musician for the past 49 years. In County Clare  the concertina tradition is so strong the instruments was nicknamed “the Clareman’s Trumpet” and legend has it there was once a concertina in every second house. It was into one of these households that Noel Hill and his 7 siblings was born. His parents, grandparents and grandaunts were all concertina players. He was particularly influenced by his uncle, Padraig A Chnoic (Paddy Hill), who also played the concertina. Noel lived in a house which was the last in the area to hold the traditional House dances, where musicians were always welcomed; particularly towards the end of the year when farm work was done. It was at these events he learned his early music. He started playing at the age of 8. Noel was lucky to have heard endless hours of Willie Clancy, Paddy Canny, Peter O’Loughlin and Paddy Murphy and much of the music in his repertoire today comes from the music learned as a child from these great players. Noel always said he wanted to be a uilleann piper but pipes were not readily available.

Noel has taken the humble concertina from the house dances of County Clare to the big stages throughout the world. He has single handedly elevated the instrument’s popularity, which now has enjoyed tremendous development for the past four decades. This popularity is not only because of Noel’s awe-inspiring performances, along with being a highly respected authority on Ireland’s Traditional Music, but also because of his many years as a committed teacher.

In 1975 Noel Hill teamed up with Tony Linnane, Tony Callanan and Kieran Hanrahan to form the group “Inchiquin”. They recorded one album. Hanrahan and Callanan subsequently left to form Stockton’s Wing and Noel went on to record one of his most celebrated albums “Noel Hill and Tony Linnane” (1978) with Tony Linnane (fiddle), Matt Molloy (flute), Alec Finn (bouzouki and mando-cello) and Micheal O’Domhnaill (harmonium). Inchiquin continued for a time and toured Ireland and Germany with Noel, Tony and Barry Moore (now Luka Bloom).

“Ireland is full of great musicians, but only a few set standards.”

“Noel Hill is one of those standard-setting voices in Irish music today. Few musicians in any field or in any generation achieve a position where both audiences and experts agree on their preeminence and mastery of an instrument; Noel Hill’s virtuosity has firmly established him as the defining Irish concertina player of our time.”

-PJ Curtis, Notes from the Heart

His main recordings are:

Noel Hill and Tony Linnane (1978).

Í gCnoc Na Graí (In Knocknagree)” (1985), together with button accordion player Tony MacMahon, recorded live in Dan O’Connell’s pub, Knocknagree, Co. Cork with a group of Clare set dancers.

The Irish Concertina One (1988) which was voted the “Irish Folk Album of the Year” in 1988.

Music of Dreams (Aislingí Céoil)” (1993) with Tony MacMahon and singer Iarla Ó Lionáird.

The Irish Concertina Two (2005) with Alec Finn, Arty McGlynn, Brian McGrath, Liam O’Connor and Steve Cooney.

The Irish Concertina Three “Live in New York” (2016).

Noel has toured extensively worldwide; Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and Hong Kong.

He teaches concertina at The Noel Hill Irish Concertina Schools in Ireland and in the United States.

“He is to Irish traditional music what WB Yeats was to a generation of Irish poets, a one-in-a-generation player who casts a long shadow”

-Brian O’Connell, The Irish Times

“Noel rises fully to his audience’s expectations and gives them all that energy he is famous for, and more in terms of variety of tunes, variety of moods, subtlety of interpretation and drive of playing.”

-Journal of Music

“Through his dedication, talent, and artistry, Noel produces one of the most powerful and beautiful expressions of our culture I know.”

-Tony McMahon