Grounded in the Celtic musical traditions, Rennie Pearson takes the listener on a journey through history, weaving together tunes and songs and the tales that accompany them to create an intricate and varied show. His engaging stage presence and storytelling opens the door for audiences to connect with the music, which he plays on the wooden flute, Irish tin whistles, guitar, bodhran and voice.
Rennie grew up in Wellington with Celtic music in his blood. Having heard the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland on his parents CDs as a baby, he grew up knowing he just had to learn to play like this. He picked up the flute at age 8, learning by ear in Irish sessions under the guidance of Galway born flute player Pat Higgins. With Irish music as the cornerstone of his knowledge, he then went on to delve deep into the traditional music of Scotland and maritime Canada, on the way to gaining proficiency in a wide range of different instruments.
Rennie has made a name for himself in the Irish music scene of New Zealand and Australia. He has performed with great traditional musicians such as John Carty, Catherine MacEvoy, James Kelly and more. He has taught throughout New Zealand and internationally, both solo and with a range of other musicians such as Rob Zielinski, Oscar West and Gillian Boucher. Most recently he taught wooden flute at Ceol Aneas (New Zealand’s Irish Music School), accompaniment at ScotStrings Camp (New Zealand Scottish Music School) and traditional music workshops at Auckland and Whare Flat Folk Festivals. In 2021 he toured with Irish dance sensation, Celtica, as their flute and bodhran player. He also released an album with fiddler and small-piper, Oscar West as the kiwi folk duo, ‘Polytropos’, in 2020. At the age of 19, he studied with wooden flute virtuoso Chris Norman on the east coast of Canada, as a live-in apprentice. He has since taught alongside Chris at many Boxwood Festivals in New Zealand and Australia on guitar, whistle and flute.