(gaelic for ‘lively’) are based in County Antrim, in the north of Ireland. The bedrock of their sound lies firmly within the Irish tradition. However, they are not afraid to incorporate other genres’ nuances into their music. From bluesy riffs to Astor Piazzola-style jazz, to a raunchy New Orleans jamboree vibe, their music always returns to a wonderfully bouncy Irish sound. The result is traditional, with a huge sense of fun and adventure and it all works - wonderfully well.
The Wall Street Journal describes them as “the most exciting new traditional band to emerge from Ireland this century.”
Irish Music Magazine writes, “Nobody does this stuff better at the moment. Beoga are at the forefront of the new Irish wave.”
The band was drawn together in 2002 after ‘jamming’ in a ferocious session at the All-Ireland Fleadh. Their unique sound featured the twin dueling accordions of Damian McKee and multi-instrumentalist Seán Óg Graham, pianist Liam Bradley and four times All-Ireland bodhrán champion Eamon Murray. In 2005, the lineup was complete, with the addition of Niamh Dunne, one of Ireland’s premier young talents, on vocals and fiddle.
In 2004, Beoga’s ground-breaking debut album 'a lovely madness', earned international critical acclaim. The Irish Times wrote ‘Individually talented and collectively inspired, this is a quartet who speak a language called music with a fluency beloved of the best multi-linguists.’ The album earned 9/10 in Ireland’s Hot Press music magazine and was in the Top Trad/Folk Albums of the year listings. Irish Music magazine nominated Beoga for the best traditional newcomer’s award describing the work as
"madcap genius, master craftsmen. In Beoga, the Irish music world found another prodigy.”
The group’s second release, entitled ‘Mischief’, firmly catapulted Beoga into the upper stratum of trad bands. ‘Mischief’ received a 9.5/10 rating in Hot Press and earned recognition at the Live Ireland Music Awards, the German Music Awards, and the Best of 2007 listings in many notable publications including the Boston Globe, The Irish Echo, Dirty Linen Magazine and Folk Alley.
Beoga’s music seduces a diverse array of music lovers, and the release of the 2009 album ‘The Incident’ saw the group continue to blaze a pioneering trail, rewarding world music fans with more fresh creative energy. The band’s profile rose to a new level with a front page feature in the St Patrick’s Day edition of the Wall Street Journal. In 2010 ‘The Incident’ was shortlisted for a GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album.
International TV/radio appearances and hectic tour schedules followed fast and furious for beoga, gaining notoriety for their charismatic rapport with audiences and highly inventive, energetic performances. In September 2007, Beoga performed live with the BBC Orchestra to a television audience of millions as part of the prestigious ‘Last night of the Proms’.
Major Celtic and Folk festival highlights have included Tokyo’s ‘I love Ireland’ Festival, Australia’s National Celtic Festival, Milwaukee Irish Fest, Tonder, Dranouter, Dublin’s Temple Bar Trad Fest, Germany’s Irish Folk Festival tour, Holland’s Irish Unplugged tour, Austria’s Guinness Irish Christmas, Cambridge Folk Festival, and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections. In 2009, at Houston International Festival, Congresswoman Jackson Lee presented Beoga with a Congressional Recognition Certificate from the US House of Representatives.
Beoga confirmed their reputation as the most audacious Irish band rooted in trad today with their 2011 album ‘how to tune a fish' attracting fresh superlatives. The album ranked #1 traditional album of 2011 in the esteemed Irish Echo in the USA and Irish Music Magazine describe the collection as
“some of the best music in the world today”.
In 2013 Beoga released 'Live at 10’, a DVD/CD Gala Concert celebrating their 10th Anniversary. Joined by a cast of star guests, the 'Beoga Big Band' performance captured them at their virtuosic best. It’s a show summed up by Living Tradition as
‘fast, furious, frantic, fun, innovative, diverse and exciting’.
In 2016 Beoga release their 5th studio album. With new, fresh compositions along with their unique blend of inventive arrangements, virtuosi instrumental talents and beautiful vocals, Beoga’s popularity continues to flourish as they captivate audiences on a global scale.
Beoga opened the Festival proceedings in The Little Theatre on Friday May 13th at 8.oo.pm