Songbird – an Irish / Nepalese collaboration

Songbird – an Irish / Nepalese collaboration

Songbird – an Irish / Nepalese collaboration
Songbird sees accordionist and Gradam Ceoil TG4 2020 Composer of the Year Josephine Marsh join forces with outstanding Nepalese musician and composer Hiralal Gaine to present brand new music drawing on their respective traditions.

Exploring themes of friendship, separation and family, this performance offers a rare opportunity to hear an exquisite musical interplay between both cultures. With these two talented artists collaborating as composers for the first time, this concert promises to be a sublime exploration of the musical language of Ireland and Nepal.

Josephine Marsh accordion, fiddle
Hiralal Gaine


Ramji Gaine madal
Mick Kinsella
harmonica, concertina, percussion
Declan Corey

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.

TG4 Gradam Ceoil Composer of the Year 2020 Josephine Marsh is an accordion player, multi-instrumentalist and award-winning composer with musical roots in both East Clare and County Meath. Described by The Irish Times as ‘a player of outstanding ability’, Josephine is a consummate and highly regarded traditional musician of great style, presence and originality.

A composer of note, Josephine has been commissioned to create music for Irish television radio, and national touring, and her work has been recorded by leading artists such as Cherish The Ladies, Mike McGoldrick and The London Lassies. In addition to her own band, she has performed and recorded extensively, including in collaborations with Niamh Parsons, Mick Hanly, Sean Tyrrell and Tim Flannery. She has travelled widely throughout Australia, America and Europe both as a performer and a music teacher, , with her music featuring regularly on local, national and international television and radio.

Josephine has four acclaimed albums to her name, the most recent being Music in The Frame (2018) featuring nine of her own compositions in addition to music sourced from the traditional canon.

Nepalese musician Hiralal Gaine is a highly regarded sarangi player, a 4-stringed wooden instrument played with a bow. His music has been described as pure, melodic, rhythmic and haunting, with the sweet sound of his sarangi resembling the human voice. Hiralal hails from the Gandharba caste of travelling musicians and music teachers of Nepal, whose folk songs are based on stories of their culture, history, love, Krishna and the mountains.

A chance encounter in Nepal with Peter Curtin and some Clare musicians brought Hiralal to Ireland in 2000, when his sonic adventures with the country and its musicians began. Since then he has gone on to perform, with his brother and musical collaborator Ramji, at many festivals and events in Ireland and collaborated with numerous Irish musicians including Josephine Marsh, Paul Dooley, Tommy Peoples, Liam O’Maonlaí, Mick Kinsella and Sean Tyrrell. He has recorded several albums including the wonderful Gandharba and the Roadside AllStars, a gorgeous fusion of Nepalese and Irish music.

Nepalese musician Ramji Gaine is an established and well-respected player of the madal, a percussion instrument made from a hollow log with goat skin at both ends, strapped around the waist and played with the hands.

Hailing from the Gandharba caste of travelling musicians and music teachers of Nepal, Ramji regularly performs with his brother Hiralal, sharing their unique folk music and bringing the culture, history and stories of their home country to ever growing audiences. []. In 2000, Ramji came to Ireland with his brother and immediately fell in love with the country, embarking on many successful musical journeys with Irish musicians which continue to evolve and uncover new creative paths over 20 years later.

Mick Kinsella is an Irish harmonica player from Carlow, now living in County Clare. He was a drummer in rock bands and showbands for many years before switching to the instrument. His first solo album, Harmonica, cemented his reputation as the most innovative contemporary Irish harmonica player currently in Ireland. On the album, which features some of his own compositions, he plays many styles on chromatic and diatonic harmonicas. He has also played on 50 albums with top artists such as Altan, Antonio Breschi, Martin Murray and Cormac Breatnach.

Declan Corey is a virtuoso mandolin and bouzouki player hailing from a musical family in County Tyrone. He has toured extensively in the USA, Canada, Europe and the UK with his own bands Gan Ainm and Lia Luachra, and with The Josephine Marsh Band. Declan has featured on numerous TV and radio programmes and guested on many albums with renowned artists such as Máirtín O’Connor, Sharon Shannon, Tommy Peoples and Mick Hanly. He is also a talented composer, with his tunes featuring in numerous tune books and recordings by artists including Steve Wickham and No Crows.