Songbird - an Irish / Greek collaboration

Songbird - an Irish / Greek collaboration

Untitled 650 555 px 1
Songbird sees one of Ireland’s leading traditional musicians, fiddle player Dónal O’Connor, join forces with soulful Greek vocalist and percussionist Chrysoula Kechagioglou, presenting brand new music inspired by Irish and Greek instrumental and song traditions.

Exploring contemporary and traditional compositions and new approaches to musical accompaniment, this promises to be a stunning cross-cultural collaboration, connecting the musical language of Ireland and Greece in fresh and innovative ways.

Dónal O’Connor fiddle, harmonium
Chrysoula Kechagioglou
voice, percussion

with

Maria Ploumi
lute
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
vocals, flute & whistles

Music Network is delighted to present Songbird, an exciting new commissioning project bringing three of Ireland’s leading traditional musicians together with three extraordinary international counterparts for new cross-cultural collaborations. These unique musical partnerships have created new work for a series of three concerts inspired by the music and cultures of Ireland, Greece, Colombia and Nepal, in a joyful celebration of the migratory nature of music.

The initiative is presented in association with Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda, Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar and Siamsa Tíre in Tralee this autumn.

Dónal O’Connor is a musician who comes from a long and distinguished line of Irish traditional musicians and singers. Described as a ‘fearless musical adventurer’ and ‘a renaissance man’, he has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading record and television producers and has played and recorded with the likes of Karen Matheson of Capercaillie, Duke Special, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, John McSherry, Davy Spillane, Four Men & A Dog, Steve Cooney, Mary Dillon, The Horslips, Darlingside, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Cathal McConnell, Bob Brozman, Harry Bradley, Ríoghnach Connolly and Niall Hanna.

Having inherited a musical legacy of at least five generations of fiddle playing, he has toured the world from a young age and his collaborations have variously included membership of Ulaid and At First Light, Lá Lugh and the Gaelic Song Supergroup A Stór Mo Chroí. He has composed music for theatre, television and film and has presented music shows for BBC ALBA, BBC NI, TG4, BBC Radio Ulster and Raidio na Gaeltachta.

Renowned Greek singer Chrysoula Kechagioglou (Chrysoula K.) has recorded and performed with numerous Greek, European and U.S. artists including Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Bruce Molsky, The Horslips, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, John McSherry and Donal O’Connor. She leads her own all-female band Chrysoula K & Púrpura, which aims to create a new sound, combining aspects of traditional and classical forms with compositions influenced by diverse musical cultures.

She has recorded two albums with Chrysoula k. & Púrpura ,Chrysoula k. & Púrpura (Australia 2018) and Lost City (Athens 2022) and toured extensively in Europe, Australia, USA, Egypt and Ireland. She is also a member of several other traditional and folk music groups including Iernis, the oldest Celtic band in Greece, and Rebetiko Music band Apodimi Compania. She was one of the initiators of Athens Celtic Festival (2014 -2019) which successfully connected and showcased the Celtic band scene in Greece.

Chrysoula released her debut album Sa Fylachto (Like a Talisman) in 2014, with lyrics and music by Lazaros Samaras. She recorded The Long and the Short of it (2019) with Andy Irvine’s group Mozaik with Dónal Lunny, Bruce Molsky, Rens van der Zam and Nikola Parov, and also performed with Andy Irvine on his recorded collection of Old Dog Long Road vol. II (2020).

Maria Ploumi is a Greek traditional lute player known for her dynamic style of playing. Having studied musicology and Greek traditional music, her interest in exploring diverse musical languages is apparent in her collaborations with some of Greece’s leading traditional musicians and singers, and in her String Theory Ensemble duo ‘ with pianist George Paterakis. She is a member of Greek folk bands Mitos and the all-female group Chrysoula K. & Púrpura, with whom she has toured extensively in Greece and internationally.

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is an award-winning traditional singer and musician from Corca Dhuibhne, West Kerry. Formerly lead singer and flute player with the Irish band Danú , Muireann recently recorded Róisín ReImagined, an album of sean nós songs arranged by contemporary Irish arrangers with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. She holds an MA in Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick and was awarded Amhránaí na Bliana at the TG4 Gradam Ceoil in 2011.