The Best of Irish ‘Roots and Relations’ TourMairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, fiddle and vocalist Dermot Byrne, accordion Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, fiddle
Music Network kicks off the first of two Best of Irish traditional music tours this season with the electrifying fiddle music of Donegal—a pulsating style that is marked by a swing and exuberance that distinguishes northern fiddlers from their southern counterparts. As members of Altan, fiddler and vocalist Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and accordion player Dermot Byrne need little or no introduction to traditional music audiences. Joining the duo for a nine venue tour of Ireland will be Mairéad’s nephew and TG4’s young musician of the year 2003, fiddler Ciarán Ó Maonaigh. Under the banner Roots and Relations, the ensemble performs January 13-22, 2005. Music Network tours are funded by the Arts Council and are presented in association with The Irish Times and RTÉ lyric fm. Further information from Music Network at (01) 671 9429 or www.musicnetwork.ie.
Fiddler Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh was born and raised in the Donegal Gaeltacht of Gaoth Dobhair. Her first language was Irish, and from an early age was surrounded by music and song. Now one of the leading exponents of Donegal fiddle music, she received her start on the instrument from her father, Francie, a great fiddle teacher with a wealth of unusual local tunes, many learnt in turn from his mother, Roise. She also received tuition and inspiration from fiddler, Dinny McLaughlin, who was a frequent visitor to their home. Mairéad has always had a great love of singing and again learnt many songs from neighbours and friends in Gaoth Dobhair. As well as her work with Altan, Mairéad over the years has presented traditional music programmes on radio and television, including the classic radio show, The Long Note and the television series, The Pure Drop. www.altan.ie
Accordion player Dermot Byrne, also a native of Donegal, guested on two Altan albums, The Red Crow and Island Angel before joining the band in 1994. Like Mairéad, Dermot first learned music from his father, Tomás O’Beirn, who was from the Gaeltacht area of Teileann, and from an early age was exposed to the great Donegal fiddlers including the Dohertys, Cassidys and Byrnes. A renowned accordion player before he reached his teens, Dermot has played and recorded with many great musicians including Séamus and Manus McGuire, Frankie Gavin and Pierre Schrye, as well as producing a solo recording.
From Gaoth Dobhair in County Donegal, 21-year-old fiddler Ciarán Ó Maonaigh is already established as one of the most talented young musicians in Ireland and has just released Ceol a' Ghleanna, his first highly acclaimed album of traditional fiddle music. A grandson of Proinsias Ó Maonaigh, the highly regarded fiddle player and teacher from Gaoth Dobhair, Ciarán grew up in a musical household where he learned music from his grandfather while absorbing much of the music from the great names of the Donegal fiddling tradition. www.comfiddle.com
Thurs 13 Jan Listowel St. John’s Arts Centre
Fri 14 Jan Ballyvourney Ionad Cultúrtha
Sat 15 Jan Waterford Christ Church Cathedral
Sun 16 Jan Tinahely Courthouse Arts Centre,
Mon 17 Jan Clifden Alcock and Brown Hotel
Wed 19 Jan Dublin Coach House, Dublin Castle
Thurs 20 Jan Monaghan Market House
Fri 21 Jan Cavan Gravity at Mustang Sally’s
Sat 22 Jan Lanesborough St. Mary’s Hall