Frequent headline performances by Téada at major music festivals throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Israel and Australia has seen Irish Music Magazine’s “Best Traditional Newcomers 2003” evolve into one of the busiest Irish touring acts worldwide with an established reputation for knock-out live shows. Recent performances have ranged from a 30,000-audience headlining appearance alongside Carlos Nunez in Brittany, to closer to home Irish festivals such as Kilkenny Arts Festival.
The new CD/DVD from Teada, Inne Amarach (In-ay A-moor-ak), which is Irish for “Yesterday/Tomorrow”, brilliantly showcases their uncanny ability to blend the modern with the traditional. Although no words are spoken, stories are certainly being told through the eleven sets of reels, jigs, marches, polkas and slips. Outstanding and electrifying tracks include the hornpipes on “The Ebb Tide/Peter Wyper’s” and the slip jog/hop jig set starting off with “The Tenpenny Piece.” The accompanying DVD is an additional window into the band’s influences, live performance style, and their connection to Sligo.
Founded by Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, Téada first came together in 2001 to make an appearance on the innovative Irish television series ‘Flosc’. The young musicians shared a passion for a deeply traditional approach, and following an initial gig opening for the Sharon Shannon band at Dublin’s Celtic Flame festival in February 2001, Téada was off and running. Their self-titled debut CD in 2002 brought popular and critical raves, with THE IRISH TIMES applauding the band for “keeping the traditional flag flying at full mast.”
Most of the group’s members grew up in rural Ireland, assimilating the tradition through local classes and by listening to older musicians. With Téada, the group strives to capture some of the rawness and individuality of the solo artist within a modern group context. Oisín, on fiddle, was joined in the band initially by John Blake on guitar and later flute, Seán McElwain from Monaghan on banjo and bouzouki, and Dubliner Tristan Rosenstock on bodhrán. Following a growing popularity, particularly in the US, which had seen the band becoming a full-time worldwide touring act by early 2003, the band sound was augmented greatly by the joining of Co. Laois accordion-player Paul Finn. The end of 2004 saw founding member John Blake depart the band for other pursuits as Sligo flutist Damien Stenson became the most recent addition to the line-up.
Oisin Mac Diarmada (fiddle)
At 28 years of age Oisín Mac Diarmada is an honours graduate in Music Education at Trinity College, Dublin/RIAM. Growing up initially in County Clare and then later in Sligo, he began playing fiddle at age six and won the All-Ireland senior championship in 1999. Oisín released an acclaimed solo album, “Ar an Bhfidil” (Green Linnet) in 2003 and was subsequently featured in renowned US magazine “Strings”. He is also respected as a fiddle tutor and for his journalistic, lecturing and production work. THE IRISH ECHO’S Earle Hitchner calls him “one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today.”
Paul Finn (button accordion)
Paul Finn from Co. Laois is one of the rising stars of button accordion playing in Ireland. Known for a pulsating and rhythmic performance style, his playing featured prominently in major international touring dance productions, as well as in the indigenous session scene in Ireland, prior to his joining Téada.
Damien Stenson (flute)
Hailing from the rich musical environment of Co. Sligo, 27-year-old Damien Stenson is noted for his extensive repertoire and flowing style of playing, honed by many years of extensive musical activity. He is featured on a number of recent albums including the compilation “Wooden Flute Obsession Vol. 2”, Oisín Mac Diarmada’s solo album “Ar an Bhfidil”, along with a recent bodhrán album by Junior Davey.
Seán McElwain (guitar/bouzouki)
Seán McElwain from Monaghan brings a strong string dimension to Téada through his energetic contributions on guitar and bouzouki. Touring performances have seen Seán gaining growing accolades for his accompaniment and melodic skills. Along with developing websites for a number of leading Irish musicians, he nevertheless has found time to guest as accompanist on a number of recent albums.
Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán)
From Glenageary in Co. Dublin, Tristan picked up the bodhrán at the age of 10. His playing encompasses a distinctive musical sensitivity, evident on a number of recordings and tours with which he has been involved. Prominent in Dublin musical circles, Tristan also possesses a deep knowledge of the Irish language.