Con “Fada” Ó Drisceoil
A songwriter and accordion player from West Cork.
He plays a C#D Paolo Soprani and has a great interest in the music of the Sliabh Luachra area, with a special admiration for Jackie Daly and the late Johnny O’Leary. With Johnny McCarthy (fiddle and flute) and Pat Herring Ahern (guitar and bass mandolin) he is member of The Four Star Trio, a mature boy-band.
Con has been writing comic songs for three decades on a wide range of subjects which includes canine castration, Shakespearean tragedy, unwelcome percussionists and the wildlife of County Clare.
In 2009 he received the Composer’s award at Gradam Ceoil TG4.
John Wynne is one of the most prominent flute players on the scene today. He is steeped and immersed in the North Connaught flute playing tradition. From a young age John has had success in All Ireland competitions. He was a member of the successful group ‘Providence’ touring and recording two albums with them, self-titled “Providence”(2000) and “A fig for a kiss”(2001). John released a critically acclaimed first solo CD “With every breath” in 2000. In 2009 he released his second solo recording “Ar nos na gaoithe – like the wind”. The album received favourable reviews from The Irish Times and Irish Music Magazine among others:
“Here is a master musician playing for pure pleasure and it’s a pleasure to hear him” (Irish Music Magazine)
“The effervescence of his rhythmical style is a better mood enhancer than any chemical concoction” (The Irish Times)
In 2007, John released the much acclaimed ”Pride of the West”, a fiddle/flute album with John McEvoy, and the duet has been busy touring and gigging on the scene since. “Pride of the West” was voted in the top ten releases of 2007 by esteemed US reviewer Earle Hitchner.
John is also busy teaching whistle and flute during the year in Roscommon, and is sought after during the year at workshops and Winter/Summer schools in Ireland and beyond. He is a member of the teaching staff at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy since 1998,and at The Joe Mooney Summer School, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim since 2003 among others. John is a member of Roscommon trad arts forum which has two CDs “The flute players of Roscommon, 1 and 2” and he has been involved in other projects for the forum.
John currently plays and records with a 4-piece Roscommon-based trad group “Gatehouse”.
Finally, John has great experience in organising concerts and festivals such as “Feile Frank McGann” and “The Reel thing” series of trad concerts in conjunction with Roscommon Arts Centre.
With his unique personal style and deep understanding of the tradition John McEvoy is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest fiddle players. He has toured extensively in Europe and the USA and has taught at numerous festivals and workshops, both at home and abroad. A member of several well-known bands including ‘Bakerswell’ and ‘Providence’ he has collaborated with many outstanding musicians including fiddle-player John Kelly (Jr), renowned flute players Catherine McEvoy and John Wynne.
John released a solo album “Irish Traditional Fiddle” which includes a number of his own compositions. He is currently a member of the Roscommon-based traditional music group ‘Gatehouse’. Since the release of their first album “Tus Nua” in 2016, this group has gone from strength to strength, with their anticipated second album “Heather Down the Moor” now due for release. ‘Gatehouse’ members are John McEvoy (fiddle, viola), John Wynne (flute, whistle), multi-instrumentalist Jacinta McEvoy (concertina, guitar) and singer Rachel Garvey.
A highly regarded concertina player from Dublin, Jacinta has given numerous concertina workshops and performed at many festivals throughout Ireland and abroad, including the Willie Clancy Summer School, Seamus Ennis Festival, the Skerries Festival and Martin Hayes Masters of Tradition series in Bantry House.
Known for her work with young traditional musicians she has successfully prepared a number of groups for performances at the "Siansa" Gael Linn competitions and has tutored a number of Ceili bands and Grupai Cheoil for County and All Ireland Fleadh competitions.
She also plays concertina on the "Irish Traditional Fiddle" CD with her husband John McEvoy. More recently Jacinta has been playing and recording with her new group ‘Gatehouse’, a 4-piece band which includes John McEvoy & John Wynne as well as singer Rachel Garvey. They have a first album together entitled “Tús Nua” (a fresh start) published in 2016 and have recently recorded a new album due for release this year.
Born in 1972, Tom, from Glenageary, Co. Dublin has been playing for some years in both classical and traditional music circles, in Ireland and abroad. With lessons from Vincent Broderick and influences from many musicians including Séamus Mac Mathúna and Matt Molloy, Tom has established his own style over the years. Widely regarded amongst musicians as a master flautist, he is known for his wild and unpredictable melodic and harmonic variations and for his tenderness of treatment in playing for songs.
As a young musician himself, Tom is very aware of the knowledge and encouragement he was given whilst learning by the musicians he regarded highly, so when not on tour performing with Danú, he pursues his second love in life - teaching both classical and traditional flute to the next generation.
Joining the group in 1996, he has become very well known to audiences as a great storyteller in both English and Irish and with a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. Usually the spokesperson of the group, Tom has become the very public face of Danú and is known as a very approachable, friendly and light-hearted person. Yet privately, Tom is someone who takes the history and the playing of the music very seriously and his love, commitment and dedication to Irish music should never be underestimated.
Troy Bannon is a flute player from County Meath with a strong rhythmic traditional style. He has played all over Europe, America and the UK with various outfits over the years, the most notable of which were Providence with whom he recorded the album 'Providence III' in 2005 and also made many TV appearances including the TG4 music show Geantraí. He is also a member of the 3 time all-Ireland winning Naomh Pádraig Céilí Band. Troy has taught at workshops all over the world and also teaches a regular class in his home county of Meath.
Jim became interested in traditional music with a group of like-minded friends and was taught by musicians like Des Leech, Darach de Brún and Mary Bergin. He was also lucky enough to have as contemporaries many great musicians like Dubliners Paul O’Shaughnessy and Mick and Denis O’Brien, and Kerry fiddler Maire O’Keefe. As well as these musicians, his flute playing was strongly influenced by the flowing styles of players like Paddy Carty and Paddy Taylor and later by the rhythm and playing of Donegal music. He is interested in the music of the North Dublin area and plays many tunes with local associations. He is married to harpist and fiddle player, Siobhan Bhreathnach and lives in Skerries.
Alan Byrne is a traditional tenor banjo player from Dublin. His playing can be heard at sessions throughout the Fingal area and at festivals nationwide. Alan holds a senior all Ireland banjo title and has toured with CCE on several occasions. He is also one of the growing number of traditional musicians who has moved to Skerries in recent years.
Peter Browne was born in Dublin in 1953 and commenced playing traditional music at the age of 6. He received tuition in the playing of the uilleann pipes from three of the great players of modern times; Séamus Ennis, Leo Rowsome and Willie Clancy and on reaching his teenage years was already acknowledged as a leading player of that instrument. In his youth he attended many of the major traditional music events of the time with his family and frequently visited Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, home of Willie Clancy and Lisheen, Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry staying in the home of Denis Murphy the famous Sliabh Luachra fiddle player who was a family friend.
In the early 1970's he played with the groups Raftery and 1691 which was a forerunner of The Bothy Band and he later spent two periods playing on both pipes and flute with The Bothy Band who were much celebrated for their skilled and energetic approach to the playing of traditional Irish music.
He has played music in many countries in Europe and in North America at concerts, lectures and recitals and made two groundbreaking albums of music and song in the 1980's together with Philip King on the Gael-Linn label - Rince Gréagach and Seacht Nóiméad Déag chun a Seacht. These discs were combined and reissued in 2001 as Seacht Nóiméad Déag chun a Seacht on Gael-Linn CEFCD 097.
His work as a session musician has included contributing to recordings by such people as Paul Brady, Maura O' Connell, Mary Black, Mick Hanley, The Chieftains, The Dubliners, Scullion and Cór Chúil Aodha and he has also been part of various ventures in modern experimental music and has played the works of Bill Whelan, Michael Holahan, Roger Doyle and Paddy Meegan. He has featured as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra and with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on their 1998 tour of North America and in the series Music in the Classroom. He was the soloist with the Ulster Orchestra in a performance in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day 2001 of The Brendan Voyage by Shaun Davey and has played the same work with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. He performed on the Millennium stage in 2000 in the Kennedy Centre, Washington D.C and his performance can be viewed on the Kennedy Centre website. In May 2003, he was a guest musician with the Chieftains in two memorial concerts for harper Derek Bell, held in Dublin and Belfast and featured on a track on the subsequent Chieftains CD for Derek Bell.
He has twice been the winner of the Oireachtas uilleann-piping competition (The Breandán Breathnach Trophy in 1994 and 1998) and has also won the prize for slow-air playing in both those years.
He worked for over 40 years in RTÉ Radio One with a special interest in traditional music and his weekly programme The Rolling Wave enjoyed a large listenership in Ireland and abroad. He also presented and produced programmes such as Sounds Traditional, Áirneán, Céilí House and in the late 1970s presented The Long Note. Noteworthy broadcast projects included researching, presenting and producing series of documentary programmes on the lives and music of famous traditional players such as Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Pádraig O' Keeffe, Denis Murphy, Paddy Cronin, Peter Horan, Elizabeth Crotty and the 19th century traditional music collector Canon James Goodman.
He also produced a series of commercial CD's for RTÉ featuring rare recordings of traditional music from the RTÉ Sound Archives: The Return from Fingal – early archive recordings of the piper Séamus Ennis made over a 40 year period along with extensive biographical and musical notes, Music from Sliabh Luachra – Denis Murphy, The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master – Pádraig O’Keeffe, Elizabeth Crotty - Concertina Music from West Clare, a compilation of rare recordings by a famous musician from the West of Ireland, Labhrás Ó Cadhla, Amhráin ó Shliabh gCua, a collection of songs by a famous Waterford sean-nós singer, The Gold Ring, featuring the uilleann piping of Willie Clancy and Tuning the Radio, a collection of early (1940s) recordings made for Raidió Éireann by the MRU Mobile Recording Unit.
He also teaches uilleann pipes, flute and tin-whistle at the DIT Conservatory of Music and drama and plays and teaches at events such as Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (where in recent years he has conducted a week long class specialising in slow-air playing). He also teaches a weekly piping class at Na Píobairí Uilleann in Dublin.
Emer, Sorcha & Caoilfhionn Ní Scolaí
The Ní Scolaí sisters from Drumcondra, Dublin play beautifully in solo, duet and trio combinations and will be featured guests at the Skerries Mills recital on Sunday as part of our centenary tribute to Séamus Ennis, uilleann piper, collector & broadcaster. They recently played together at An Halla Mór in the Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham at Cairde na Cruite's 2019 Spring Concert to mark a centenary celebration of Séamus Ennis.
Emer(15), Caoilfhionn(13) and Sorcha(12) are the eldest of six siblings; they play harp, concertina and pipes/whistle respectively.All are members of CCE Beaumont.
Emer attends Aine Ní Dhubhghaill at the RIAM and Gráinne Hambly for traditional instruction. She holds seven Fleadh Cheoil Harp finalist medals at U12 and U15 including three Golds (two for harp and one for harp slow air). She is also an O'Carolan U12 winner and Open winner as well as a winner in the Feis Ceoil at U12 and U15.
Caoilfhionn is taught concertina by Noel Hill and has an all Ireland in the trio U12 and multiple Dublin and Leinster medals.
Sorcha is taught pipes by NPU starting out with Gerry Lyons and for the past two years Fionnán MacGabhann. She has won five all Ireland medals in the past two years and is the current Pipes and Pipes Slow Airs champion at U12.
Sorcha has pride of place at our recital as the uilleann piper and will also perform solo ; she earned the nickname 'Queen of the Pipers' with the Fleadh TV crew last year.
She has also featured at other events this year to mark the centenary (organised by the Fingal County & Dublin City Councils in conjunction with the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre, Naul) and in February her photo with piper Ronan Browne was published on the Irish Times front page. Last September she was featured at the Swords Fleadh with piper Louise Mulcahy playing together after Louise's lecture on Women in Uilleann Piping.
Some online comments last year on Joe.ie and Fleadh TV websites in August and September 2018:
What a talent ! - Sorcha Ní Scolaí, under-12 Uilleann Pipe champion, won the Leinster Fleadh which took place in Bagenalstown in County Carlow on Sunday (Aug. 2018). We're blown away by such a talent at a young age. It's brilliant to see a young girl playing a traditional Irish instrument so well. Here's hoping that she keeps it up. All we know is that we haven't heard the last of Sorcha Ní Scolaí.