Kathleen MacInnes, Brian Finnegan, Dermot Byrne and Mike Vass’ workshops with Irish musicians

10 September 2015

Singer Kathleen MacInnes is from the Outer Hebrides, and was immersed from her earliest years in the Gaelic language, piping, and Latin hymns. Scottish musician Mike Vass began learning fiddle at school, and between the ages of 11 and 14, he won two gold medals at the Royal National Mod, and was voted Most Promising Musician at the Oban Music Festival. Whistle and flute player Brian Finnegan, from Armagh, is inspired both by his native tradition and his love of a wider musical tapestry in his music. The three award-winning musicians came together for the first time with accordion player Dermot Byrne for a specially curated Music Network tour in September 2015. 

As part of the tour, Kathleen, Brian, Dermot and Mike will host a number of workshops for young Irish musicians in Dublin, Tipperary, Drogheda and Letterkenny. Music Network is committed to connecting tours to music education programmes to give children and young people rich, holistic musical experiences.

Waltons New School of Music
The first workshop took place in Waltons New School of Music, Dublin, on 9th September 2015. Kathleen and a group of vocal students worked on a variety of Gaelic songs from the Hebrides. Brian and Mike worked with whistle, flute, fiddle, concertina and mandolin players. Following group sessions, the vocalists and instrumentalists had some joint workshop time. Kathleen's group performed their pieces for the instrumentatists, after which Brian and Mike's group played the new tune they had learned for the singers. Folllowing a short performance from Kathleen, Brian and Mike, a Q & A session covered topics from translation, to the relationship between Scottish and Irish languages, and a discussion on musical instruments.


Photography at Waltons by Seán Laoide Kemp

In Tipperary


"The best thing about the class was the famous teachers." - Dublin participant

"I liked breaking tunes down and reconstructing them." - Dublin participant

"The small group was good: we could cover the new tune and some technique" - Dublin participant

"This was an opportunity for participants to learn from these renowned musicians in an intimate setting. It was a pleasure to work with Music Network on this workshop." - Dublin co-ordinator

"Learning how musicians arrange music was interesting." - Letterkenny participant

"I got a lot out of this masterclass and I would definitely want to do more on arranging after it." - Letterkenny participant

"The workshop had an easy informal atmosphere and good pacing" - Drogheda participant


Read more about the tour here.