Feel free to listen to Irish Fest performers past and present in our music player. Note that several of the musicians featured in the player will not be performing at the 2017 festival. The bios listed below the player, however, do represent a partial list of our current year's line-up.
After nearly two decades and more than 3,000 live shows, Gaelic Storm — the chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band — is looking sharper than ever with their latest release, Matching Sweaters. The new album mixes traditional Irish music with modern influences, creating a sound that's as wide-ranging as the band's own audience.
From bluegrass fans and country cowboys to Deadheads, rock & rollers and Celtic fanatics, Gaelic Storm has built one of the most diverse fan bases in modern music. Matching Sweaters helps explain the broad appeal. Rooted in the songwriting of founding members Patrick Murphy and Steve Twigger, the album moves from drinking songs ("Another Stupid Drinking Song") to energetic instrumentals ("The Narwhaling Cheesehead") to rootsy pop/rockers ("Whiskeyed Up and Womaned Out"), gluing everything together with the spark and spirit of a band that's spent close to 20 years on the road.
"We're a touring band," says percussionist Ryan Lacey, who joined the lineup in 2003. "That's how this band works. Matching Sweaters is one of the most complete albums we've done so far, because it taps into every facet of our live show."
Those live shows date all the way back to the mid-1990s, when Gaelic Storm kicked off its career as a pub band in Santa Monica, California. By the end of the decade, the musicians had appeared in the blockbuster film "Titanic" (where they performed "Irish Party in Third Class") and laid the groundwork for a career that would eventually find them topping the Billboard World Chart five times, making appearances at mainstream music festivals such as Summerfest, Telluride and The Rock Boat Cruise, and regularly headlining the largest Irish Festivals across the country, all the while gaining a reputation as a genre-bending Irish band whose songs mix Celtic traditions with something new and unexpected. Now, with the band's 20th anniversary on the horizon, they're putting even more emphasis on those newer directions.
"We'll push the envelope, then reel it back in, then push it again," says Murphy. "There's a lot of variety here, and that's why we can play country festivals, bluegrass festivals and rock festivals, and still fit in perfectly with each one. We wanted Matching Sweaters to reflect that range, so people could buy the CD and hear everything we're able to do in concert."
When it came time to write Matching Sweaters' 12 songs, Murphy and Twigger teamed up with longtime friend and co-writer Steve Wehmeyer. Together, the three found inspiration in everything from old Irish newspapers ("The Rustling Goat Gang," whose details were gleaned from an article about a vanishing goat herd from Waterford) to bits of conversation overheard in local pubs ("Paddy's Rubber Arm").
In addition to writing new songs, the musicians have continued to play new markets every year, taking the chance to stretch their boundaries — and widen their audience — whenever possible. It helps keep them on their toes.
"Playing for a new crowd is great," says Twigger. "It takes you back to those early days, where you've got something to prove. We could just do Irish festivals, but why not play a crossover show where 90% of the audience doesn't know you, and you have to make them know you? That's what makes your band good."
Matching Sweaters follows in that hard-working tradition, dishing up all the ingredients fans have come to expect from Gaelic Storm — the drinking songs, sea shanties, furiously-strummed instrumentals and sing-along melodies — while spiking the mix with newer flavors. Eat it up, but make sure to save some room! There's plenty more where this came from.
The Prodigals are one of the most successful bands to emerge from the East Coast Irish scene. The band combines original lyrics and melody with a genuine passion for the traditional music of Ireland and a funky energy that is pure New York. The roots of the music are unmistakably traditional Irish; the branches that shoot off delve into rock, worldbeat, jazz and punk, and the result has been called “the best Irish trad-rock band.”
"It is simply impossible to imagine an audience that wouldn't enjoy what they do", says the Boston Globe speaking of Cherish the Ladies, the long-running, Grammy-nominated, Irish-American super group that formed in New York City in 1985 to celebrate the rise of extraordinary women in what had been a male-dominated Irish music scene and has since toured the world, played the White House and the Olympics, recorded 16 outstanding albums including "An Irish Homecoming", a live recording of their Emmy winning Public Television Special that aired across America and Ireland.
Under the leadership of the dynamic and irrepressible flute and whistle champion Joanie Madden, these ladies create an evening that includes a spectacular blend of virtuoso instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements, and stunning step dancing. Their continued success as one of the top Celtic groups in the world is due to the ensembles ability to take the best of Irish traditional music and dance and put it forth in an immensely entertaining package.
The New York Times calls their music "passionate, tender, and rambunctious", and the Washington Post praises their "astonishing array of virtuosity", They've won recognition as the BBC's Best Musical Group of the Year and named the Top North American Celtic Group by both the Irish Music Awards and NPR's Thistle and Shamrock - not to mention having a street named after them on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx; Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies! Over the course of 30 years, the Ladies have performed thousands of concerts and have collaborated with such notable musicians as The Boston Pops, The Clancy Brothers, The Chieftains, Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith, Pete Seeger, Don Henley, Arlo Guthrie and Maura O'Connell as well as being the featured soloist with over 300 performances with symphony orchestras.
They are in constant demand worldwide as their reputation and admiration from both fans and critics alike continues to grow. Their name may come from a traditional Irish jig but after thirty years, they've proven that the jig is still not up as these ladies blaze forward into another decade of music making!
Karan Casey has long been one of the most innovative, provocative and imitated voices in Irish traditional and folk music. Her career has spanned twenty five years from the early days as a jazz performer in George’s Bistro in Dublin to her heady days in New York with the band Solas to her now established solo career and she has sold over half a million albums.
Karan released her first album with the group Solas, which quickly became the most celebrated Irish band in the U.S., and her four years with the group were pivotal. Since embarking on her solo career Karan has released 6 solo albums, a duo album (with John Doyle), an album for children and numerous contributions to other artists' projects – appearing on more than 50 albums in total. She has toured constantly throughout North America, Europe and Japan, performing solo, with her own band and with many other diverse artists. Recent years have seen Karan appearing with Folk legends James Taylor, Liam Clancy, Peggy Seeger, Mick Moloney and The Dubliners and Imelda May as well as performances with Solas, Lunasa, Tim O’Brien and Capercaillie’s Karen Matheson and collaborations with pianist/composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and with Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot’s "Voix de la Terre". Other ventures have included The Vallely Brothers Big Band and Niall Vallely's “Turas na dTaoiseach/Flight of the Earls” event, which was premiered in Belfast's Grand Opera House and later performed in Louvain, Belgium. She was also involved in Tommy Hayes’s “Apples in Winter” multimedia project. She presented a program on Irish National Television exploring the songs associated with the Irish Labour Movement.
Karan has won awards for “Best Folk Album” and “Best Folk Female” from Irish Music Magazine and been nominated for the BBC Folk Awards and the Danish Grammys and was a key member of Paul Winter’s Grammy-award winning “Celtic Solstice”. She has appeared at festivals in Europe and the US such as WOMAD USA, the Cambridge Folk Festival, Celtic Connections, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Festival Cornouaille, Festival Interceltique Lorient, Milwaukee Irishfest and Merlefest as well as appearing at many prestigious venues including the Kennedy Centre (Washington DC), New York’s Symphony Space, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, the Hollywood Bowl, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, the Cathedral of St John the Divine, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and many others. She has made many TV and radio appearances on both sides of the Atlantic and has been a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio and TV shows such as Garrison Keillor’s ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ and “Mountain Stage”.
In 2009 Karan released her fifth solo album entitled “Ships in the Forest” on the Crow Valley Music label. Produced once again by Donald Shaw, this album focuses largely on the traditional repertoire.
"Exiles Return" a duet album with former Solas band-mate John Doyle was released to widespread critical acclaim in early 2010 and was named in the Top 5 albums of the year by The Irish Echo newspaper. Karan continues to tour with her own band and as a duo with John Doyle. Over the past 2 two years Karan has: performed with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall; appeared on television with Imelda May and legends The Dubliners; toured in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden with the Celtic Super Night featuring Lunasa, Martin Hayes and Máirtín O’Connor; guested with Spanish band Tejedor at the Festival Interceltique Lorient in France; toured Ireland and the US with Buille and toured in the US with John Doyle.
Two More Hours is Karan's sixth solo album and her first entirely self-penned album. Contemporary in tone it takes a much more personal approach to her writing and singing. It features a duet with Irish chart-topper Mick Flannery as well as contributions from Abigail Washburn and Aoife O’Donovan and was produced by Niall Vallely. A departure from the traditional music she has focused on for many years Two More Hours draws on Karan’s life-long love of R&B, Jazz and Blues in creating a vibrant new mix of sounds. Vallely’s string arrangements help meld together a stellar cast of Ireland’s finest musicians from the worlds of Classical, Folk and Rock music including Ken Rice, Kate Ellis, Sean Og Graham, Trevor Hutchinson, Eoghan Regan, Danny Byrt and Caoimhín Vallely.
Karan recently completed a sold-out Music Network tour of Ireland with Maura O’Connell and a tour of the US with Lúnasa as well as performances with A Stór Mo Chroí (featuring John Spillane, Lumiere and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh). Upcoming performances include concerts in the US with her own band and with Solas as well as two appearances at Boston's Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
“….the Irish equivalent of Emmylou Harris.” WASHINGTON POST
”Casey’s voice is among the loveliest in folk music and she’s a wonderful interpreter of both contemporary and traditional material.” BOSTON GLOBE
“Setting her clear voice in arrangements that mix traditional and modern instruments, she maintains the taut, quivering ornamentation of old ballad style, singing tales of love, war and murder with a gentle gravity.” NEW YORK TIMES
A special group of Irish men and women have been responsible for preservation of the tradition of Irish ballad singing over the past 50 years. Derek Warfield is a distinguished name among them. Derek Warfield and They Young Wolfe Tones are bringing that musical tradition forward with a reverence for Ireland’s past and the energy and optimism of a new generation of Irish musicians.
“We’re presenting an old tradition in a new package – and I’ve the same passion for it now as I had when it all started 50 years ago!”
DEREK WARFIELD (New York Society Dublin Man of The Year 2013) DEREK WARFIELD & THE YOUNG WOLFE TONES (Official performers for ‘2015 The Friends Of Ireland St Patrick’s Day Luncheon in Capitol Hill) for President Obama, Vice President Biden, Taoiseach Enda Kenny & many other distinguished friends of Irish America.
After spending nearly 40 years as founder, leader and front man of the legendary Wolfe Tones (named after the 18th century Irish Revolutionary Theobald Wolfe Tone), Derek Warfield is revered as a singer, songwriter, historian and entertainer in all parts of the world where Irish roots have been put down. The Wolfe Tones enjoyed phenomenal success with 13 best-selling albums, 3 number one hits, many television appearances and shows in esteemed venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall in London.
Derek has been proudly presented with the keys to San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles for his contributions to Irish Song & Music over the years and was honoured as “Dublin Gael of The Year 2013” by the New York Dublin Society.
Since breaking away from the Wolfe Tones in 2001, Derek’s solo career has yielded 11 albums to date, the most successful of them being “A Nation once again” “On the One Road”, “Sons of Erin” ‘The Bonnie Blue Flag” “Washington’s Irish” and “Let Ye All be Irish Tonight”. With the formation and ongoing success of The Young Wolfe Tones, the legend of Derek Warfield continues.
LEGACY – THE YOUNG WOLFE TONES
In 2001, after nearly 40 years performing, the legendary Wolfe Tones parted with their founder and leader – Derek Warfield. No other Irish folk group, before or since, told the story of Ireland so completely and unapologetically. But for Derek’s hunger and desire to continue to further the story of Ireland through song, an ancient tradition might have lost perhaps its most iconic figure. In 2005 Derek put together a band containing some of the finest musicians and singers in Irish music – The Young Wolfe Tones.
Damaris Woods - Banjo
Damaris Woods from Co. Meath and is recognized as one of the foremost banjo players in Irish music.
She has made a major contribution in popularizing the banjo within Irish traditional music. Damaris has performed an extremely hectic touring schedule over the last decade across the world. She has appeared on the Irish Spring Tour in Germany and been part of performing groups in North America, Australia and the prestigious Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Briton, Canada.
Damaris has appearances on many radio and television shows including Ireland’s The Late Late Show (RTÉ).
Damaris is also a gifted music and many of her students have been prominent prizewinners in traditional music competitions over the last number of years. On an annual basis Damaris organizes the hugely popular traditional arts camp – The Ag Seinm Traditional Arts Camp in Co. Cavan, Ireland.
Despite her own hectic schedule she still manages to find time to teach at the Joe Mooney Summer School in Drunshambo every year as well as The University of Ulster, Coleraine.
Peadar Hickey – Guitar and Vocals
Dublin’s Peadar Hickey has been delivering the songs of Ireland’s history to audiences at home and abroad for over a decade. A regular fixture on the Dublin city folk and traditional music circuit, Peadar learned his trade on stage at The Arlington Hotels, Oliver St John Gogarty’s and The Temple Bar in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter.
In 2010, Peadar moved to New York City and now performs mainly on the Irish American circuit, teaming up with notable musicians such as Pio Ryan (banjo), Matt Mancuso (fiddle) and Vonnie Quinn (fiddle).
On St Patrick’s Day 2013, Peadar was invited to join All-Ireland winning accordion player Martin O’Connell in a performance at the New York Mayor’s residence – Gracie Mansion.
Peadar is currently an instructor of guitar for traditional Irish accompaniment at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan.
Daniel O’Sullivan – Uileann Pipes and Vocals
Daniel is from Kilcullen in Co Kildare. He has been playing music from a very young age. His mother was a music teacher who taught classical music and taught him various instruments since the age of 5. At the age of 13 Daniel picked up the tin whistle which gave him a love of traditional music. Very soon afterwards he took up the Uilleann Pipes under the tutelage of legendary Uilleann Piper, Ronan Browne. Such was his enthusiasm for the instrument that only 4 years later at the age of 17 he won the All Ireland Fleadh Ceol for his ‘air’ playing in Ballina. He also won the all-Ireland Slogadh competition as part of a band. Daniel also performed as a piper with ‘Riverdance’ in Norway in 1998. He also enjoys writing his own instrumental music which he performs on the pipes.
Daniel is a Civil Engineering graduate and worked on Oil Rigs in India and Turkmenistan for 2 years. In 2007 he left this work to embark on a more musical career. Since then he has played at popular music venues all around Dublin, Europe and the USA as both a singer and an instrumentalist.
Daniel has a great passion for all aspects of Irish culture and in 2007 he founded an Irish Music and Dance Show which includes Irish Dance lessons called ‘The Irish Dance Party’. This show which operates in Templebar, Dublin now attracts thousands of visitors every year and is rated highly on ‘Tripadvisor’.
Daniel has recently joined ‘Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones’ and is very excited at the prospect of singing and playing instrumental music with such a diverse and eclectic group that has such a passion for Irish culture and history, as well as performing to a wider audience.
Garry Gormley – Bass, Vocals
Garry Gormley from Co. Tyrone has spent his entire life emerged in the ballads of Ireland. Over the last decade, Garry has performed with many bands including The Dicey Reilly’s, Folk That and many more.
Garry has recently joined “Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones” and is very much at home performing the Patriotic Songs Of Ireland with the passion and enthusiasm that only a Co. Tyrone man could deliver.
Derek Warfield’s 50 years of experience coupled with the talent and energy of The Young Wolfe Tones brings the old tradition of Irish balladry into a new age. The story of Ireland is transmitted in their music and song and illuminated by the outstanding musicianship of three wonderful ambassadors of a new generation of traditional players. Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones deliver Ireland’s traditional music and folk songs with an energy and skill that shows the quality of contemporaries within that tradition. The patriotic spirit of Irish music carried through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s by the Wolfe Tones now marches on in the dynamic sound of The Young Wolfe Tones.
Irish festivals all over the United States have been host to Derek Warfield & The Young Wolfe Tones since 2007. Currently the band plays between 20 and 30 Irish festivals per year all over the country. In addition to musical performances, Derek also delivers lectures on Irish history and the history of the Irish in America. These lectures feature acoustic performances of ballads relevant to the subject matter. Perhaps most notably, the band performed at the great Milwaukee Irish Festival in 2011 - the biggest Irish festival in the world.
Pat Byrne from Columbus Ohio, one of the organizing committee at the Dublin Irish Festival in Ohio, had this to say “Derek has always set high standards for his performances and this band raises the bar. The people loved them and gave them an unbelievable rousing and appreciative reception. These Young Wolfe Tones and their legendary leader were given a standing ovation, The Dublin Ohio festival were delighted to have them … they’re as good as it gets!”
Australia was the destination in April of 2011. The band played twelve concerts in two weeks with the highlight being four days performing at the National Folk Festival in Canberra. The same year saw the release of “Far Away in Australia” – a CD to coincide with their Australian visit. With 19 tracks the collection is a mixture of classic Irish songs music and literature that connect the two countries. “Far Away In Australia” fittingly highlights the Irish contributions to Australia in song and music.
They perform regularly at the Rí Rá Irish Pub at Mandalay Bay Casino, Las Vegas and are certainly regarded as a unique stalwart among Las Vegas’ many musical acts.
AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY AND CIVIL WARS
Many of the Irish festivals around the United States every year also play host to lectures/musical performances on the songs of the Irish in the American Revolution and Civil War by Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones. Derek deals with ballads of regret, joy, victory and defeat and clearly illustrates Ireland's hand in defending the promise of the Declaration of Independence. The lecture/show has been an eye-opener for many folk and history enthusiasts from Ireland and America alike. The response and feedback throughout the festival circuit here has been wonderful and has added such a wide and important aspect to the legacy of Derek Warfield and his part in the history of Irish balladry. It is a rich legacy that was almost entirely neglected before Derek began putting together “Sons of Erin”, “Bonnie Blue Flag”, “Faugh-a-Ballagh” and “Washington's Irish” — four albums dealing with the Irish in the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars. He has also written a book, The Irish Songster of the American Civil War.
He comments on the literature of the Civil War: “Looking at the tremendous quality of the songwriting and poetry among the Irish over generations in the United States, as recorded in libraries and collections across the country, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Ireland lost some of its greatest talent in these years, that loss was greatest after the “Act of Union” and during the “Great Hunger”.
“I hope my labor of love will inspire others with greater resources to further research of the Irish Involvement in American History. Meanwhile my modest productions will help to keep alive the memory of the many Irish men who fought on both sides in the Civil War.”
Derek Warfield’s lifelong passion for engaging people in the music and story of Ireland is also very present in the other band members: “Communication with a live audience through music is what I believed to be of primary importance when I founded the Old Wolfe Tones in 1963. In performing with The Young Wolfe Tones, I continue to communicate with audiences while also passing on an important tradition to a new generation. But perhaps most importantly, it has been fun and enjoyable and every performance gets better. The experience has reinvigorated me and given the young players and singers the opportunity to display their skills and talents around the world”
And I believe that I am passing on an ancient Irish bardic tradition worthy of preservation to a younger generation.
“Derek has always set high standards for his performances and this band raises the bar. The
people loved them and gave them an unbelievable rousing and appreciative reception. These
Young Wolfe Tones and their legendary leader were given a standing ovation. The ‘Dublin Ohio Festival ‘were delighted to have them perform and the band were thrilled to be here, and that’s as good as it's gets for any band.”
Dublin Ohio Festival Organising Committee
“Since the Old group disbanded, The Wolfe Tones’ front man and founder member Derek Warfield has hit a particularly creative streak. The impeccable versatility of ‘The Young Wolfe
Tones’ propels fresh and invigorating workings of old and new numbers with masterful
Arrangements of songs and highly absorbing tune sets.”
Editor of Rock ’N’ Reel Magazine
“Derek has performed at festivals for The Irish Cultural Club of Florida for over twenty years and he has delivered some memorable performances with his old band. With his new band ‘The Young Wolfe Tones’ he brings a youthful and energetic passion and spirit to the music and songs of Ireland.”
Director of West Palm Beach Irish Festival
“They had an audience of four thousand students singing swinging and cheering after the first
song and they stayed that way for over an hour. The reaction to their music was electric! The UCD Ball has never seen or heard anything like it.”
UCD Students Union
“Derek has long been the best front man in the country. There is no performer that can move an audience with words and song with such natural ease. His talented young band ‘The Young Wolfe Tones’ are the best ballad band in Ireland and lends an extra dimension to Irish song, music and history.”
Former National Editor of Hibernian Digest
“Ireland has lately been full of compliments to our Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, who has just celebrated his 70th birthday. Lyric poetry is a grace, said Famous Seamus, who hails from Derry. Quite so. But there are other kinds of poetry and when a national identity is challenged, all poetry becomes political. As you might expect, there’s no lack of it here, and since Derek has got this fine professional group together, it’s proof there’s no lack of an audience.”
Irish Music Magazine
“The Young Wolfe Tones bring a youthful energy to songs like Some Say the Devil Is Dead and
Get out Ye Black and Tans I happened to be in the audience with my parents and two daughters who liken Irish music to Chinese water torture. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and it is a rare feat indeed to keep three generations of Irish people engaged. Some say this devil is dead, but I say he would be a welcome addition to your festival.”
“What an unbelievably gifted duo, the train is just gathering steam and leaving the station on these new stars. It is going to be a glorious journey, and it is already well-begun." –Live Ireland Radio- Dublin, IR
Cassie and Maggie MacDonald encompass everything you could ask for in a musical act, their talent is only surpassed by the joy with which they so generously share it. Exciting and innovative, they have found the perfect balance between musical integrity, and sheer entertainment. While still staying true to their Celtic roots, they have explored and tested the boundaries of traditional music, bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre with their original compositions and arrangements. Sisters, cohorts and collaborators, Cassie and Maggie have been enchanting audiences far and wide with their infectious energy, driving rhythms and lilting melodies.
Born to a family with a rich musical heritage and raised in Nova Scotia, a province steeped in musical culture and traditions, the girls have used their unique up bringing as a springboard for their own brand of Celtic Roots music. Equally at home playing tunes passed down through generations of musicians, as seamlessly weaving themes from the Moonlight Sonata into sets of sure fire reels, Cassie and Maggie are turning heads wherever they go. And the music community has taken note; 2015 Live Ireland Radio “NEW GROUP OF THE YEAR”. 2015 “Emerging Artist Album of the Year” winners from the Chicago Irish-American News, “WORLD SONG OF THE YEAR” nominees at the Independent Music Awards, Galaxie Radio Rising Star award winners, Canadian Folk Music Award nominees for “Young Performers of the Year”, two time East Coast Music Award nominees for Traditional Album and Trad/Roots group album and double Music Nova Scotia Award nominees for New Artist and Roots Album of the year, their accolades and awards speak of a young duo that will surely continue to do great things.
Appearing on stages across Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Bermuda and the UK, the list continues to grow as people are beginning to know the names Cassie and Maggie MacDonald. Since their first festival performance at the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in Ontario, the girls have gone on to be soloists in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo and International Polizi Show in Hamburg, Germany, perform for the French Ambassador in Paris, France, tour across Austria, Italy and Germany, play at the independence day celebrations on Bermuda Island, the Milwaukee Irish festival, Dublin Irish Fest, Philadelphia Folk festival, the Celtic Colours International festival, the Lunenburg Folk Harbour festival, Celtic Classic festival, Stan Rogers International Songwriters festival, Festival Memoires et Racines in Jolliette, QC to name a few. This year will prove to be the busiest and most exciting yet with the release of “Sterling Road” their award winning second studio album, an extensive touring schedule including appearances at numerous festivals and concerts throughout North America.
"There is truly a mystical quality to their playing. They create a lyrical sound that is at once unique as well as seamless." – Lori Lander Murphy, Irish Philadelphia
RUNA draws on the diverse musical backgrounds of its band members and offers a contemporary and refreshing approach to traditional and more recently composed Celtic material. Through their repertoire of both highly energetic and graceful, acoustic melodies, along with their fusion of music from Ireland, Scotland, Canada, and the United States, this vocal and instrumental ensemble gives its arrangements of traditional songs and tunes a fresh sound.
"Best of all, RUNA sounds like no one else." – Travis Rogers, Jr., Music Life and Times
Members of RUNA have played with Solas, Riverdance, Slide, Clannad, Fiddlers' Bid, Moya Brennan, Eileen Ivers, Hazel O'Conner, Full Frontal Folk, Keith & Kristyn Getty, Barcó, Téada, and the Guy Mendilow Band.
RUNA consists of vocalist and step-dancer, Shannon Lambert-Ryan of Philadelphia, Dublin-born guitarist, Fionán de Barra, Cheryl Prashker of Canada on percussion, Dave Curley on mandolin, vocals, bodhrán, and step-dancing, and Maggie Estes of Kentucky on the fiddle. The band often performs with world-renowned, guest musicians, including Ross Holmes (Mumford & Sons, Cadillac Sky, Chessboxer) on fiddle, Matt Mancuso (Cathie Ryan Band) on fiddle, and Isaac Alderson (The Yanks, Comas) on the uilleann pipes, flutes, and whistles.
RUNA was recently recognized on an international level in the Irish Music Awards for 2013, winning Top Group (US, IRE, EU, UK) and Top Traditional Group in a Pub, Festival, Concert, and a nomination for Best Female Vocalist (2013, 2012), and in the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards, winning both the fan ballot and judges' votes for Best Song in the World Traditional Category for "Amhrán Mhuighinse" (Somewhere Along the Road). The band won several awards at the 2010 Montgomery Buck Music Awards, including Best Entertaining Band, Best Folk Artist, Best Female Vocalist, and Best Album – "Jealousy". Jim Allford of PA Music Scene writes, "The band is going to be reckoned with and I really feel they are Grammy bound within time."
RUNA recently released their third album, Somewhere Along the Road – hailed by Irish Philadelphia as "an inspired group that has found its voice, and its place, in the world of Irish music".
"For contemporary Celtic music at its very best – do yourself a favor and check out RUNA.. brilliant!" – Gene Shay, co-founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival; WXPN-FM
Searson has toured for well over a decade and have the confidence and drive to continue with their musical careers more than ever before. Sisters, Erin and Colleen Searson have developed their own original style of high energy fiddling, passionate vocals and step dancing.
The sisters perform on a variety of instruments throughout their live show which includes Colleen on fiddle, vocals and Ottawa Valley Step Dancing while Erin performs on piano, vocals, Ottawa Valley Step Dancing and tenor guitar. Rounding out the live show is Danno O’Shea - performing and composing for over 17 years on drums and percussion with a jazz degree from Humber College - and bass/guitar player Fraser Gauthier, who has studied at Humber College and Capilano University, gradually gravitating towards roots music.
In May 2015, Searson did a National Television taping for a brand new series with CBC called 'Still Standing'. Searson will be featured representing the history and culture of The Ottawa Valley Fiddling & Step Dancing. In the episode, the host Johnny Harris (Murdoch Mysteries) speaks with Searson about their new release 'Stars Above The Farm' and showcases Searson's raw talent
In the past 10 years, Searson has toured throughout Canada, the United States, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland and the Caribbean. They have brought hundreds of fans with them on various bus tours while performing throughout Ireland.
Growing up in the Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada these sisters began to study music at a very young age, performing locally and competing at Step Dance & Fiddle Contests. Since the age of 4, Erin has been classically trained through the Royal Conservatory of music in piano. Colleen has been studying violin and fiddle methods from all styles around the world since age 9 while both began step dance lessons before the age of 9. This prepared the sisters to grow and expand as they became accomplished performers and musicians and increasingly began to tour across borders and overseas.
A love of incorporating the Ottawa Valley style music with Celtic, East Coast, Scottish and various other styles can be heard throughout the live show.
“The most satisfying part of performing live is seeing our fans singing along to songs that we’ve written and requesting fiddle tunes that we wrote.” Erin says, “There’s nothing better than seeing the audience emotionally involved in your live show.”
Sean Wilson began his musical career at the age of ten when his father bought him his first Accordian. After a few lessons from a local teacher, every one knew Sean had a great talent for the instrument. He then joined the family band playing local venues and further afield. One night Sean was asked to sing a song and everyone remarked what a great voice this young man had.
He developed his singing, along with his Accordian playing and was soon spotted by an Irish based record company. This was to launch Sean Wilson into the UK market and within a few months Seans album was selling like hot cakes all across the UK and Ireland, making him a household name. He duly received an award from the Federation of British traders, as being the biggest album seller that year.
After a few years Sean was signed up by the London based Prism label and this was to launch Sean Wilson on the global market. From then Seans life has been busy playing gigs all across England, Scotland, and Ireland with a few trips to the USA and Australia.
Having recorded 26 albums and ten videos Sean has signed a deal with a new London based record company H&H Music. His catalogue will now include six double CDs (all the previous recordings recompiled in CD format), and a double CD Irish Country Gentleman, plus his new double CD - A ROAD THAT NEVER ENDS. Sean also has 3 DVDs, BLUE SKIES AND GREEN FIELDS (all new recordings). WHEN YOU ARE SMILING (highlights from previous videos on DVD format). Plus his new release WORKING MAN. (highlights from previous videos in DVD format) This is a collection that should be in every Irish music lovers collection.
Sean is very busy all year round playing concerts and dances, so be sure to go along and see his wonderful show, I know you will enjoy it.
'Socks in the Frying Pan' are a multi-award winning trio from County Clare on the West coast of Ireland, the universal hub of Irish traditional music. Their dynamic vocal harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and their onstage wit has captured and captivated audiences the world around. One of the most sought after groups in Irish music today, the worldwide 'Sock Invasion' continues!
Socks in the Frying Pan comprises of Aodán Coyne on guitar and vocals and the accomplished Hayes brothers, Shane Hayes on accordion and Fiachra Hayes on fiddle & banjo.This youthful trio blend Irish traditional melodies with their own personal flair which has gained them critical acclaim and accolades including 'New Band of the Year' by the Irish Music Association. The group have been embraced in the United States, having been booked by every major Irish festival and praised for their modern traditional style and energetic approach to music. They have a clear love for live performance which only compliments the traditional essence in their shows and makes for a truly unique form of entertainment.
James Kilbane is now a multi-platinum selling Christian, country gospel and Irish singer. James Kilbane was the runner up in Ireland's national talent television show You're A Star in 2003 / 2004. Since then he has established his career with his mix of gospel, Christian, country and folk music.
Since his success in You're a Star, Kilbane has gone on to record and release a number of well received albums including King of the Road, Close to You, Hymns of Praise, Divine Love, Life's Miracle, Heart to Heart, Glory and Grace, and Songs Of Ireland, as well as his Christmas album titled The Christmas Collection. In March 2012 he released his ninth album Gravel & Grace. Songs of Faith, Life & Hope. The album was launched at Lorain Correctional Institution, Grafton Prison in Grafton, Ohio, USA following an invitation extended from the institutions inmates to James to give a special concert at the prison that took place during St. Patrick's week 2012. The Gravel & Grace album includes many popular songs and previously released radio singles. Many of Kilbane's albums are Nashville and Irish collaborations. One of these projects was in 2008 he released on his fourth Gospel album Heart to Heart was a new anthem for the House of the Virgin Mary titled "Mary's House, Our Lady of Ephesus". Mary's House is located at Meryem Ana Evi, Ephesus, Turkey. In March 2013 James released his first compilation album is released in association with Gold Eagle Music and Veritas Publications in Dublin, Ireland who are the leading Irish Christian publishers and retail group for religious publications, media and goods. For the Year of Faith James is the voice of Veritas. The album was released to celebrate the Year of Faith and presents 20 tracks giving a flavour of 200 years of Irish Christian and faith based music that many have held dear in prayer and in their spiritual lives.
James Kilbane is not a conformist and has not always aligned his work or beliefs to the usual practices of the Irish music industry. Grand Ole Opry legend George Hamilton IV bestowed Kilbane with the title "The Lone Ranger of country music" after hearing his music and story. Kilbane has experienced most of his success through working in an independent manner through the label Gold Eagle Music. Independently he has been able to explore and develop alternative music ideas to great success. For a number of years Kilbane was mentored by the double Grammy award winning and music legend Steve Popovich Sr. of Cleveland International Records. Popovich took a keen interest in Kilbane's career and contributed a great deal of knowledge and advice to Kilbane's development and to several of his album releases. Over the years Kilbane has worked with other leading music, media and production personalities as Gavin Murphy, Bill Shanley, Maire Breathnach, Ciaran Byrne and James Blennerhassett.
In 2012 Kilbane was voted "Irish Gospel Singer of the Year" for his music and work. In June 2012 James and his country band were invited to perform a selection of his Country Gospel music as part of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in RDS Arena in Dublin, Ireland. Kilbane continues to contribute to other major religious events in Ireland which include major events at the international shrine of Knock. He has been involved in Irish cross border religious music events and projects. He continues to record and tour at home and abroad. He is currently working on three major projects that will be worked and released in 2013 and early 2014. Over the past four years James has also been a leading member of the cast in the hit Irish Summer stage show "The Legend of Grainne Mhaol".
The Fitzgeralds are a family group consisting of fiddling and step dancing sensations – Tom, Kerry & Julie Fitzgerald. These siblings, from Canada’s renowned Ottawa-Valley, have come a long way from their small town musical roots. Featuring 3-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champions and Open Step Dance Champions, this unique act features high-energy fiddling and mind-blowing step dancing. Joining the siblings on guitar, lead vocals, and onstage antics is Nate Douglas (guitarist for Cape Breton’s Natalie MacMaster in 2013). It is the rare combination of exceptional musicianship, incomparable step dancing, audience interaction, evident love of performing, and genuine sibling connection that resonates with audiences of all ages and sets this group apart.
Although they call Cleveland home, this International
band's fans aren't limited to these parts. Irish
music lovers across the US, Canada, and Ireland
flock to see The New Barleycorn -- and for good
reason! They are one of Cleveland's greatest
The New Barleycorn will be touring Ireland from September 24th - October 4th, 2012 and you're invited. Click here for more information.
This family trio has traveled all over the U.S.
and Ireland performing their unique blend of
Celtic folk/rock music. Driving, creative fresh
arrangements, high energy and timely humor have
made Brigid's Cross a festival favorite!
A Celtic harpist, singer and storyteller, Dennis
Doyle has performed in Ireland, Japan, and throughout
North America. A veteran performer at most major
Irish, Celtic, and Folk festivals, he sings
in English, Latin, and Irish-Gaelic with absolute
The Kilroys have been playing traditional Irish music in the city of Cleveland and throughout the Midwest for the past 30 years. Instruments are accordian, fiddle, banjo, guitar, bouzuki, bagpipes, ulliean pipes. They are a group of veteran musicians who have played at some of the larger venues in town like The Odeon and The House of Blues as well as the smaller venues like restaurant/concert type environments where people can talk, eat, and listen to good music.
The Kilroys are a group of 5 brothers and 2 sisters with ages ranging from 31-45. In the early years, their musical endeavors involved experimenting with drums and electric guitars incorporated into traditional Irish music. At the time, this was a fairly new concept, at least in the Cleveland area, and it was quite well received as very few bands did this. Over the past 10 years, though, the thirst for pure traditional music has sculpted the group's sound into what it is today – traditional Irish music which can be enjoyed and shared with all age groups, young and old.
The siblings get together regularly for "sessions" or performances, notably at The Harp, an Irish pub on the Cleveland's near west side. This family is the real deal. You could be sitting at Gus O'Connor's Pub in the Doolin, Ireland on the Atlantic coast or sitting at The Harp in Cleveland, OH on the "north coast" and if you closed your eyes you might not know the difference.
DERMOT HENRY NEW YORK, NY
Though funny enough to do stand up, when Dermot
Henry gets to singing, he proves to be more
than just your average joker. A man of incredible
talent, he remains a festival favorite, and
we can't wait to have him back!
Marys Lane is an Irish American folk-rock band based in Cleveland, Ohio.
They are influenced by traditional and modern sounds, bringing them together in unique ways with a compelling and motivating quality.
The name of our band is an actual road and homage to a special place on Achill Island (County Mayo, Ireland) where women by the name of Mary were seen aplenty (which included Patrick's great-granny, also named Mary).
Band members are Michael Crawley (vocals/guitar/bagpipes), Tessa Thistlethwaite, Brent Hopper, Patrick Mulloy (vocals/guitar), Matthew Sofranko (bass/vocals), and Mark Whalen (drums).