Making Music with The Unwanted: the Roscommon Teaching Residency

Making Music with The Unwanted: the Roscommon Teaching Residency

Making Music with The Unwanted: the Roscommon Teaching Residency
Music Network and Roscommon County Council Arts Office invited County Roscommon residents aged 60 and over to join an exciting music project with renowned group The Unwanted, featuring Cathy Jordan, Seamie O’Dowd and Rick Epping.

The focus of this project is on returning to playing an instrument and sharing the joy of group music-making.

Participants are currently receiving tuition on fiddle, guitar, harmonica or bodhrán from members of The Unwanted between January and May 2022. Tuition is free of charge and instruments have been provided where necessary for the duration of the project. In addition to playing an instrument, there is also plenty of opportunities to sing with Cathy, Seamie and Rick for any participants who enjoy singing.

Applicants must be aged 60 or over, resident in County Roscommon, and have some previous experience of playing music. The ability to read music is not essential.

The project will be based primarily at King House, Boyle, but additional venues around the county may also be used.

Making Music with The Unwanted: the Roscommon Teaching Residency is presented by Music Network and Roscommon County Council Arts Office. Music Network is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. This initiative is supported by the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts.


Between January and March 2022, participants will receive eight one-to-one instrumental lessons with the relevant member of The Unwanted, held primarily on Mondays. Group instrumental lessons will also be held on Mondays during April where participants will play in small groups with the relevant member of The Unwanted.

The project will conclude with three large ensemble sessions on 9th 16th and 23rd May, where all participants will join together with The Unwanted to play the music learned during the project (exact times of group lessons and ensemble sessions to be announced).

Please note, while the preference is for in-person events wherever possible, lessons may take place via video call if necessary, e.g. in line with public health directives. Technical support to enable online learning will be provided to participants if necessary.

Places are limited to 15. Priority will be given on a first come first served basis, however additional criteria that will be taken into account for selection include availability of teaching slots, availability of instruments, ability to partake in the full programme and geographical spread throughout the county.

*Please note, some dates may change with the agreement of artists and participants

Introductory Session
5 January
Lesson 1
10 January
Lesson 2
17 January
Lesson 3
24 January
Lesson 4
31 January
Lesson 5
7 February
Coffee Session 1
14 February
Lesson 6
21 February
Lesson 7
28 February
Lesson 8
7 March
Coffee Session 2
23 March
Group Lesson 1
4 April
Group Lesson 2
11 April
Group Lesson 3 & Coffee Session 3
25 April
Ensemble Session 1
9 May
Ensemble Session 2
16 May
Ensemble Session 3
23 May

Watch The Unwanted perform

Cathy Jordan (guitar, bodhrán)
Seamie O'Dowd
(guitar, fiddle)
Rick Epping

From the rich traditions of both sides of the Atlantic has come the source and inspiration of the music of The Unwanted – three amazing musicians with exceptional talent and a lifetime of dedication to their music. Together, The Unwanted demonstrate a deep understanding and appreciation of the music of both the old world and the new and have created a seamless fusion of musical styles.

Roscommon-born Cathy Jordan has been a professional singer with traditional group Dervish for nearly 30 years. She also plays guitar, bouzouki, bodhrán and bones. Cathy has led Dervish as front woman through thousands of concerts in hundreds of cities in nearly 40 countries and has 16 albums under her belt. During the Roscommon Teaching Residency, Cathy will teach bodhrán and guitar.

Seamie O’ Dowd is an exceptional guitarist, singer, and songwriter who also plays fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, and a number of other instruments. He has travelled worldwide playing music and has shared stages and played with many great musicians including Christy Moore, The Chieftains, Matt Molloy, Liam O’Flynn and Tommy Emmanuel. His experience also includes recording production, teaching and more recently, film soundtrack work. During the Roscommon Teaching Residency, Seamie will teach fiddle and guitar.

Rick Epping, a California native living in Sligo, has been moving back and forth between the United States and Ireland for over forty years and has been playing the music of both lands since childhood. He was a founding member of the well-known '70s folk group Pumpkinhead and in 1975 he won the All-Ireland Championship for harmonica. Since 2006 he has taught harmonica every year at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy in Miltown Malbay, and since 2017 at the South Sligo Summer School in Tubbercurry. During the Roscommon Teaching Residency, Rick will teach harmonica.

The tuition programme will offer participants the opportunity to experience an array of musical styles and techniques benefitting from the combined musical backgrounds of The Unwanted members.