Born in Northampton, England in 1954, world-class fiddler Brendan Mulvihill immigrated to New York when he was eleven. On the night of his arrival in the states, Mulvihill attended a session, and from that moment on he dedicated his life to playing Irish music.
At the age of seventeen, Mulvihill moved back to England, where he stayed for years playing with the Birmingham Ceili Band. In the next few years, Mulvihill won both the junior and senior All-Ireland fiddle championships as well as the Senior All-Ireland duet with Brooklyn-born accordionist and friend Billy McComiskey.
In 1975, Mulvihill returned to New York and began playing with McComiskey and Co. Kerry immigrant Andy O’Brien, forming the trio The Irish Tradition. The trio moved to the Washington D.C. area after a few gigs, and has been based there ever since. They have since been accredited with enhancing the area’s rich Irish cultural life that has blossomed since the trio’s arrival.
After several years and more albums, the trio disbanded, though stayed in the D.C/Baltimore area. In the time that followed, Mulvihill played with musicians such as Paddy Keenan, Martin Hayes, and John Williams before touring with pianist Donna Long as part of the Masters of the Folk Violin Tour. Specials with PBS and NPR, White House performances, and a stint with the Green Fields of America all-star tour followed.
Donna Long, a Los Angeles native and diverse keyboardist, started playing classical piano at the age of five, and was subsequently exposed to all manner of music. From jazz and classical to Scottish, Indian, and African, Long began to embrace traditional music even as a child.
When Long moved to the Baltimore/DC area n 1978, she began taking Irish fiddle lessons from Brendan Mulvihill after hearing him in concert. Soon, Long began to accompany Mulvihill on piano regularly, and is now considered to be one of the finest Irish-style pianists. Long was a member of the famed Irish group Cherish the Ladies, for several years, with which she recorded five albums.
In 2000, Long was asked to represent Irish Music in the Smithsonian Institute’s Piano Traditions series, and in 2001, she was commissioned by the Library of Congress to compose a piece for piano and fiddle. 2003 brought Long’s first solo effort, Handprints, featuring accordionist Billy McComiskey among others. Long has also produced her son Jesse Smith’s debut album and was a guest artist on the soundtrack for the motion picture “Out of Ireland”.
Currently a sought-after Suzuki, Irish piano, and Irish fiddle teacher in the Baltimore/DC area, she has recorded two duet albums with Mulvihill: The Steeplechase and The Morning Dew.
JOANIE MADDEN is the Grammy Award winning whistle and flute player who has been the leader of Cherish the Ladies since its inception. Born in New York of Irish parents, she is the second oldest of seven children raised in a musical household; her mother Helen, a dancer of traditional sets hails from Miltown Malbay, County Clare and her father Joe, an All-Ireland Champion on the accordion, comes from Portumna in East Galway.
Joanie received her musical training early in life listening to her father and his friends play music at family gatherings and social events. She began taking lessons from Jack Coen, and within a few short years she had won both the world Championship on the concert flute and whistle. During that time, Joanie also became the first American to win the coveted Senior All-Ireland Championship on the whistle.
Throughout her stellar and luminous career, she has amassed a plethora of awards and citations to her credit including; the youngest member inducted into the Irish-American Musicians Hall of Fame, voted twice as one of the Top 100 Irish Americans in the Country by Irish America Magazine, recipient of the Wild Geese Award, named the top traditional musician of the year by the Irish Echo Newspaper, and recently she became the youngest person – and only the second female to be inducted into the Comhaltas Traditional Musicians hall of fame, all for her contributions to promoting and preserving Irish culture in America.
She is in constant demand as a studio musician and has performed on over a hundred albums running the gamut from Pete Seeger to Sinead O’Connor. Joanie has played on three Grammy award-winning albums and her involvement on the Hearts of Space labels’ “Celtic Twilight” CD led to a platinum album with over 1,000,000 sales. In the past years she has toured with the Eagles’ Don Henley and was also a featured soloist on the final Lord of the Rings soundtrack.
In addition to being considered a character, Joanie is also the top selling whistle player in history having sold over 500,000 albums. She has recorded three highly successful solo albums; “A Whistle on the Wind”, “Song of the Irish Whistle” and “Song of the Irish Whistle 2”.
East Galway and East Clare-a region rich in Irish traditional music and players of legendary caliber. Three of East Galway and East Clare–a region rich in Irish traditional music and players of legendary caliber. Three of those players–Woodford, Galway, flutist Jack Coen, Eyrecourt, Galway, button accordionist Martin Mulhaire, and Killaloe, Clare, fiddler Seamus Connolly — join forces to celebrate the native Irish musical heritage they share.
Killaloe, Co. Clare, fiddler Seamus Connolly, is the most successful solo competitor in the history of the All-Ireland Championships, winning an unprecedented ten fiddle titles. As a boy, Connolly traveled Ireland, learning from the topmost legends of Irish music, including Willie Clancy, P.J. Hayes, Padraig O’Keeffe, and Junior Crehan among others. As a youth,Connolly rose to national fame through Irish radio and television, and lateras a member of the Kilfenora and Leitrim Ceili Bands.
As member of the first Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann (CCE) tour, Connolly visited the US for the first time in 1972. A few years later, he immigrated to Boston and taught at the local CCE branch, where his students flourished; going on to win the same awards he captured 25 years before. Connolly has represented Ireland on three “National Council for the Traditional Arts” tours, performed on the nationally broadcast NPR series “Folk Masters,” and has even played on the “Today Show.”
Highly involved with Boston College, the “Sullivan Artist in Residence,” directed the Gaelic Roots Summer School and Festival there from 1993 – 2003 and has since organized the Gaelic Roots Series of free concerts/lectures by visiting artists throughout the academic year. With Larry Reynolds, Connolly initiated, produced and co-hosted CCE’s ongoing weekly radio program of traditional Irish music.
Named the 2002 “Traditional Musician of the Year” by The Irish Echo, Connolly was subsequently inducted into the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Hall of Fame.
His recordings include his two solo CDs and a trio with Green Linnet/Tayberry Records:Notes from My Mind and Here and There, and Banks of the Shannon, as well as the album Warming Up, with accordionist/composer Martin Mulhaire, flutist Jack Coen and pianist Felix Dolan. Connolly released The Boston Edge with Joe Derrane and John McGann, and later produced a book of tunes with two accompanying CDs with colleague Laurel Martin, Forget Me Not: A Collection of 50 Memorable Traditional Irish Tunes (Mel Bay Publications, 2004). As of 2009, Seamus was working on a book of tunes with recordings of over 300 new and rare compositions to be released at a later date.
Eyrecourt, Galway-born button accordionist and composer Martin Mulhaire was, like many of the great Irish musicians, born into a highly musical family. Mulhaire’s father was a fiddler and whistle player, and though Mulhaire began on the fiddle, he found his love for the accordion at the age of fourteen. Largely self-taught through recordings and listening to friends, Mulhaire eventually went on to win All-Irelands in the 1950s.
In 1958, Mulhaire visted the U.S. with The Tulla Ceili Band and “stayed on.” Mulhaire’s album Warming Up (Green Linnet, 2006), features seven of his compositions, and many of his tunes have found their way into session on both sides of the pond.
Born in 1925 in Co. Galway, flautist, teacher, and flutemaker Jack Coen began his musical instruction on the tin whistle, graduating to the fife, and then to the wooden flute by young adulthood. In 1949, Coen moved to the US with the intention of returning soon to Ireland. However, once immersed in New England’s Irish music scene in the late 1950s, he became attached and joined the New York Ceili band, which won the 1960 All-Ireland championship.
In the 1970s, discouraged by his flute students’ attraction to the silver flutes, Coen began to carve wooden flutes for them, determined to keep the tradition alive.
Tom Doherty, born in Mountcharles, Co. Donegal, in 1913, was one of the last of the great melodeon players in America who played in the old-country style long since vanished from the Irish traditional music mainstream.
Both of Tom’s parents were musicians; his mother played the fiddle and his father, who was a farmer, played the single-row melodeon. His area of Donegal was filled with music, particularly fiddle and accordian. People would get together for music and singing at house parties during the winter and during the summer the musicians would play for crossroads dancing.
Doherty started on the fiddle but was much more successful with the melodeon. He never had any formal lessons on the instrument, but picked it up on his own, putting in long hours of practice, and from listening to other players. In 1948, Tom emigrated to New York City because there was no work in Donegal. He got a full-time job in the cold storage business and on weekends played music, often appearing at some of the famous Irish dance hall in New York. In 1952, Tom married Mary Philbin, from Castlebar, Co. Mayo, and they settled in Brooklyn where he lived until he passed away.
Andy Irvine is quickly achieving the status of folk legend, having already been hailed as a folk hero. It’s Andy’s turn for heroes, however, as he tells the stories, in song, of his own heroes through history — heroes like Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazi death camps, and James Connolly, famous Irish labor leader who was severely wounded during the uprising of 1916 and subsequently executed, and of course, Woody Guthrie himself. Featuring such artists as Davy Spillane,Arty McGlynn, and Rude Awakening rank this as the most eloquent album of 1991, if not the decade.
In 1961, Irish fiddle virtuoso Martin Hayes was born into one of the most influential musical dynasties ever to exist in Irish music. Raised in East Clare, Ireland, Martin was surrounded by exquisite world-class music, supportive family and friends, and both performance and competition opportunities, all of which proved to be the perfect formula necessary to create, arguably, one of the world’s finest Irish fiddlers.
Hayes’ father, the celebrated fiddle player P.J. Hayes, who was the leader of the legendary Tulla Ceili Band, was instrumental in his son’s early musical development. His uncle, national fiddle champion Paddy Canny, was likewise influential in the creation of his inimitable musical style.
Hayes toured with his father in the Tulla Ceili Band from the age of thirteen and was very active in Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the worldwide organization devoted to the preservation of Irish music. During his years competing in Comhaltas music competitions, Hayes took home six All-Ireland championships, the highest level of individual competitive achievement, and by the age of twenty, he had won every competition that Irish music had to offer.
The 1980’s saw Hayes moving to Chicago to take up commercial fiddling. Experimenting in the diverse musical styles of the city, he spent three years playing locally in various rock bands, including the electric/Irish/rock fusion band Midnight Court, where he met his current musical partner, guitarist Dennis Cahill. When his now-manager convinced him to record an all-Irish fiddle album, Hayes recorded his self-titled first US album on the Green Linnet Label, in 1993.
That album was greeted with such extensive critical acclaim that he became an almost instant household name among Irish music connoisseurs, and the album won Ireland’s National Entertainment Award. Hayes’ second album, Under the Moon, was released in 1995, and in 1997, he, along with Dennis Cahill, created an album that would enrapture audiences across the globe and reach over genre divides with expressive candor and natural grace, entitled The Lonesome Touch.
Now living in Seattle, WA, the two tour extensively having released Live in Seattle in 1999, and Welcome Here Again in late 2007.
“No one has succeeded more in taking this once vital part of Irish American culture out of musty archives and moldering dissertations and placing it afresh on CD and concert stage than Mick Moloney.” – Earle Hitchner,The Irish Echo
Musician, singer, anthropologist and musical historian Mick Moloney celebrates the joyous and creative era in American popular song from the early 1890’s to the end of vaudeville and the start of the Great Depression on his new release If It Wasn’t For the Irish and the Jews. Each of the album’s 14 tracks is notable for having been created in a collaboration between Irish and Jewish lyricists and composers. Irish/Jewish Tin Pan Alley collaborations were commonplace in the heyday of vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley, and, though there were doubtless the usual business break ups and make ups, these collaborations represent a charming story of decades of good natured ethnic flux, competition and cooperation which left a lasting imprint on the history of American popular music. The end result is a fascinating and highly entertaining look at a historically critical point in American music.
Equally qualified as a musician and anthropologist, Mick Moloney brings the perfect balance of historical insight and musical relevance to these songs. Born in Ireland, Moloney came to America in 1973 and pursued a career that uniquely combines the roles of musician, folklorist, author, presenter, radio and television personality, and educator. He holds a Ph.D. in folklore, and teaches at New York University in the Irish Studies program. Mick Moloney has been featured on Fresh Air with Terry Gross, in the Village Voice and in Irish Music Magazine. He is also the recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA, the highest honor a traditional artist can receive in the United States.
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.
The Kips Bay Ceilidh Band, an Irish Trad-fusion quartet, hailed from the Kips Bay district of New York City. The innovative group was a powerhouse of Irish-American and immigrant talent, and recorded three albums, Kips Bay Ceilidh Band (1993), Into the Light (1996), and Digging In 2000.
Band members included Pat Kilbride on guitar, cittern, and vocals, John Whelan on button accordion and keyboards, Steve Missal on percussion and vocals, and Richard Lindsey on bass guitar.
Various special guests on their two albums included John McGann on electric guitar, mandolin, and dobro, fiddler Tony De Marco, Joanie Madden on tin whistle and flute, and the bandâ€™s producer, John Simon, on keyboards and percussion.
Three generations of Irish musicians, Mick Moloney, Eugene O’Donnell and Seamus Egan, come together to capture Irish-American musical history.
Seamus Egan (equally at home on flute, tenor banjo, uillean pipes, tin whistle and mandolin), the commanding vocal presence of Mick Moloney (effortlessly making the switch from humorous to serious songs), and the inimitable Eugene O’Donnell (more than ever a master of the slow airs and planxties which are the bane of many a lesser musician) round out the group.
For nearly a decade, Wolfstone’s music has brought its Highland spirit and youthful exuberance to the soul of Scottish tradition. What began as a traditional dance band has evolved into a Celtic rock extravaganza, crossing musical, cultural and age boundaries and winning fans around the world.
Fiddler Duncan Chisholm and guitarist Stuart Eaglesham first met in the late 1980s at a pub session in Inverness, Scotland, and formed a band for ceilidhs (Scottish dances). In 1989, they performed at the Highland Traditional Music Festival in Dingwall, fusing drums and bass with keyboards, pipes, guitar and fiddle. The combination was a hit. They were soon offered local gigs that expanded into tours up and down the length and breadth of the Highlands and the Islands.
Within two years, Wolfstone recorded its first album, Unleashed (GLCD3093), produced by Silly Wizard accordion virtuoso Phil Cunningham. During this time, the band was offered a support slot for the popular Scottish crossover group Runrig at Loch Lomond near Glasgow. The exposure and experience of playing for such a large audience catapulted them into a new circuit. They began playing larger venues and festivals, not only in the UK, but also increasingly in Europe, North America and Canada.
The follow-up album The Chase (GLCD3088) built upon their success and brought new members to their line-up. In 1992, drummer Mop Youngson, from Aberdeen and bassist Wayne Mackenzie, from Inverness, joined the pack. The thrill of the Highland bagpipes was added with piper Alan Wilson, later succeeded by the talented Stevie Saint from Pitlochry. In the meantime, Unleashed and The Chase went silver and gold, respectively, in Scotland.
In 1993, Wolfstone signed with Green Linnet Records and released Year of the Dog (GLCD1145) , marking their third collaboration with Phil Cunningham. They began a hectic touring schedule on both sides of the Atlantic, thrilling crowds at festivals and concert halls with their high-energy performances. Highlights included appearances at such major American festivals as Telluride, Strawberry, the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Milwaukee Irish Festival, and in Europe at Tönder (Denmark), L’orient (France), and Cambridge (England).
As their recognition increased, so did the demand for their presence, until they spent more time on the road than they did at home. After recording The Half Tail (GLCD1172) in 1995, keyboardist Stuart Eaglesham departed the band for a quieter life, and Youngson followed suit. The remaining Wolfstone members took this opportunity to limit their appearances to festivals and take a new direction with their music. In the meantime, a best-selling compilation Pick of the Litter (GLCD1180) was released in 1997.
In early 1998, Green Linnet released This Strange Place (GLCD1188) , an album featuring the accomplished acoustic guitarwork and introspective songs of Ivan Drever. Co-produced by Drever and Wayne Mackenzie, the recording represented a departure from their previous work and offered proof of the band’s versatility.
Since then, keyboardist Andy Simmers and drummer Tony Soave have stepped in, and Ivan Drever has moved on to pursue other projects. Stuart Eaglesham now leads the pack as vocalist, as well as penning four cuts on the group’s latest outing, Seven (GLCD1198). A diverse mix of Celtic pop and folk with a touch of rock & roll, the album marks new territory for the band. With a two year break from heavy touring, the sextet is charged with renewed energy, and looks forward to electrifying audiences around the world again in the coming months.
- Stuart Eaglesham (lead vocals, guitar)
- Duncan Chisholm (fiddle, backing vocals)
- Wayne Mackenzie (bass, backing vocals)
- Stevie Saint (pipes, whistles)
- Andy Simmers (keyboards)
- Tony Soave (drums)
With his stunning bottleneck slide guitar technique and smooth blues vocals, Brooks Williams has mesmerized audiences for over two decades. The Statesboro, GA native has recorded over a dozen albums, including Green Linnet releases Back to Mercy (1992) and Inland Sailor (1994).
A highly respected teacher when not on the road, Williams runs the Guitar for Kids program and is a regular on the summer guitar camp circuit.