Born in Dublin on 6 January 1959, Davy Spillane started playing uillean pipes at the age of 12. At the age of 16, he played in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Europe. In 1978 he began to write his own music.
He was a founder member of Moving Hearts, along with Christy Moore and Dónal Lunny in 1981. Their final album The Storm (1985) was purely instrumental and had several slower pieces written by Spillane. He then made the surprise move of joining up with American musicians Béla Fleck, Albert Lee and others to record his debut album, featuring new compositions and bluegrass and original blues, ‘Atlantic Bridge’ (1987). With his promotional touring band he also recorded ‘Out Of The Air’ in 1988, essentially a live version of ‘Atlantic Bridge’. Spillane then gathered together a new set of musicians, including Rory Gallagher and Kevin Glackin to record ‘Shadow Hunter’, an album of various rock and folk styles. This was followed by ‘Pipedreams’ in 1991. Meanwhile, Spillane also did session work, including playing the uillean pipes on Kate’s songs The Sensual World, Never Be Mine and Sexual Healing.
In 1994, Spillane was a special guest soloist in Riverdance. Spillane also collaborated with Rory Gallagher on the tracks ‘The road to Ballyalla’, ‘Litton Lane’ and ‘One For Phil’ as well as with Enya on her 1988 Watermark tracks ‘Exile’ and ‘Na Laetha Geal M’óige’ and on Mike Oldfield’s album ‘Voyager’ (1996).
Spillane served his apprenticeship with pipe-makers Dan Dowd and Johnny Burke and now makes all his own instruments. In 2000, he recorded his only album of traditional tunes with Kevin Glackin, entitled ‘Forgotten Days’.