Emer Mayock and Donal Siggins met in Dublin in the 1990s amidst the busy music session scene in the city at that time. They have played music together since then, recording and touring extensively in Ireland and abroad. After meeting fiddle player Steve Larkin in the mid-90s, their shared interest in repertoire from distinct regions and their enthusiasm for newly composed material signalled a musical connection which has since developed between the three musicians. They have now put together a group with singer & songwriter Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola whose deeply rooted sean-nós singing style of Inis Oírr is counterbalanced by her innovative approach to Irish music.
Emer Mayock is a traditional musician and composer from Co. Mayo. She began to play traditional music during her childhood on a range of instruments including the Flute, Low Whistles, Fiddle and Uilleann Pipes. She has recorded two CDs: ‘Merry Bits of Timber’ and ‘Playground’ - the latter continuing her interest in writing new music and containing mostly her own compositions.
She has worked with numerous Irish traditional musicians and artists from other musical genres including Donal Lunny, Paddy Glackin, the late Michael O’ Domhnaill, Cormac Breathnach, jazz musician Michael Buckley, French music producer Hughes de Courson, Breton harpist Alan Stivell, The Irish Chamber Choir, Italian baroque ensemble il Giardino Armonico, Greek singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Breton flutist Jean-Michel Veillon and the Grammy nominated Afro Celt Soundsystem. Emer has written and recorded arrangements for traditional and jazz musicians as part of the ‘Translations’ program on RTÉ Radio One and presented a nine-week series on Radio One entitled 'The Wider Embrace', a non genre-specific programme exploring music from a range of diverse sources. Emer also composed the music for 'Winter Pictures’, a play for children which has toured Wales and completed a run at The Ark in Dublin and Glór Irish Music Centre, Ennis.
Emer is currently working with uilleann piper Mick O’ Brien and fiddle player Aoife Ní Bhriain, exploring and recording tunes from the Goodman Manuscripts collected in Munster in the 1880s. A CD of this music will be released in Summer 2011.
Donal Siggins is from Dublin and plays guitar and mandolin-family instruments. He began a full time involvement in the Dublin traditional music scene from 1993, later becoming active in touring and recording. Amongst the musicians with whom he has performed are Emer Mayock, Jean-Michel Veillon, Cormac Breathnach, Mick Kinsella and Iarla Ó’Lionáird. He has received commissions from the Contemporary Music Centre Dublin, Context Galleries Derry and the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Recent work includes performing at the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival with fiddle player Paddy Glackin in 2009 and arranging music for Robert Flaherty’s 1934 classic film ‘Man of Aran’ at the Cervino film festival, Italy in 2010. He features with Emer Mayock on the 2008 CD Masters of Tradition.
Lasairfhíona (pronounced Lah-sah-reena), the singer/songwriter from the West of Ireland has made quite an impression on the folk and world music scene in recent years. Deeply rooted in the sean-nós singing style of her native Inis Oírr on the Aran Islands, she is equally at home in a more innovative approach to Irish music. Lasairfhíona’s new slant on traditional singing makes her endeavours very appealing, culminating in a magical mosaic of sound as refreshing and as unpredictable as a showery day on Aran. She is a native Irish speaker and learnt many original songs from her family, thus continuing the rich singing tradition of the Aran Islands. Described by fRoots magazine as “one of the most sumptuous traditional albums to have emerged for some time,” Lasairfhíona’s debut album An Raicín Álainn (pronounced An Rackeen Ah-lyn), launched in 2002 at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, generated a very favourable response in Ireland and abroad. Appropriately called Flame of Wine, a literal translation of her name, her second solo album was released in 2005 and was also well received; tracks from Flame of Wine were used on the award winning BBC programme Coast. Lasairfhíona appeared on television programmes, such as The Late Late Show, Up For The Match and she was also the subject of a special television documentary called Léargas. Her singing can be heard on IBM’s Porto Media web documentary called Stories of Innovation.
Steve Larkin learned his fiddle playing from local musicians in north County Wexford where he grew up. He has made two records with piper Eoin Dillon, Des Cahalan and Frank Tate. A new record with harmonica player Mick Kinsella is due for release in 2011. He has been involved in a variety of projects such as ‘Sounding Boxes’, a composition examining proportion in music and architecture as part of UCD’s Now What series with Donal Siggins among others; in Concerts in Fine Irish Georgian Houses supporting acoustic research at UCD by Aine Nic An Riogh; in ‘Running Beast’, a theatre piece by Donal O'Kelly and Michael Holohan; and in Billy Connolly's 'World Tour of England, Ireland and Wales'.
"Polymath that she is, Emer Mayock not only pushes musical boundaries but also manages to fly a magnificent flag on behalf of her (all too few) sisters in trad with this gem of an album. We've had a long wait since her 1996 debut; with no less than a dozen tunes hewn from within, Mayock fuses past and present with an ear ever trained on a seamless rendering. Consorting lithely with flute, cello, pipes, whistle and fiddle, she waltzes, reels and jigs like few others. Exceptional music, remarkable musician."Siobhan Long, Irish Times
"Solo Flute in oxbow, riverine tunery. "Dogs on Rope" nudges the familiar in snazzy syncopation, bodhran neatly tucked behind the beat, but slips the leash into dreary cyberspace. Jean-Michel's dips to a pleasant furriness, beautifully developed with whistles, and nips of triangle and uilleann pipes. Greeny lays back ino a tedium of clip-clops, and the finale Home Time's discordant guitar gives a Hey Jude jazzy feel that is made real by harmonica by altering the mood. Mayock has total control, and her team weaves an ingenious backcloth upon which she stitches pastels superbly, but brazenly blindfolded. Polished Teflon, yes, but in her ornament of passionate breath-dynamics, terrifically-sustained tone, and relentless energy she breaks flute out into a new world."Fintan Vallely, Sunday Tribune