Joey Abarta has spent more than half his life traveling, teaching, and performing music on the uilleann pipes. Originally from California, he first received instruction on the pipes from Dubliner Pat D’Arcy, a founding member of the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club.
In August of 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him a second place title worldwide at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. In the fall of 2014 Joey won first prize at the An tOireachtas, becoming the the first American uilleann piper to do so since 1969. In 2015 Joey was honored to be a recipient of a traditional arts apprenticeship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council meaning he was awarded a grant to teach his art to the next generation. This year Joey was awarded an Artist Fellowship in the Traditional Arts from the Massachusetts Cultural Council meaning he was recognized as a bearer and conduit of a cultural tradition by his peers and the state of Massachusetts.
Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he performs with his wife, old-style step dancer Jaclyn O'Riley, Nathan Gourley of “Life is all Checkered", and has toured with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America. He is currently the acting President of the Boston Pipers Club (1908-present) and through the club organizes uilleann piping workshops and concerts for its members and public. Joey is also the president of The Patrick J. Touhey Memorial Weekend which is an annual festival focusing on historical presentations and workshops based around early American piping styles and pipers. In 2018 Joey was invited by Na Píobairí Uilleann to represent piping in America by performing for the president of Ireland at the Abbey Theater in Dublin Ireland. The concert was a part of the country's celebration of uilleann piping being recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.