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LAUREL MARTIN - Irish fiddle
A former student of Clare-born fiddler and Gaelic Roots director Séamus Connolly, Laurel Martin is a three-time recipient of a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Drawn to the old fiddle styles of Sligo and Clare, this Boston-area fiddler acquired the skill and knowledge to be both a player and a teacher of Irish traditional fiddle music, and she has earned a sterling reputation throughout New England. Since 1993 Laurel has served as an instructor of Irish fiddling on the faculty of Boston College’s Irish Studies Program, and she continues to give private lessons outside the program. Laurel has also collaborated with Séamus Connolly on Forget Me Not: 50 Memorable Traditional Irish Tunes, a book of music packaged with two CDs that was just published by Mel Bay. With other Gaelic Roots musicians, Laurel has performed in a taped broadcast for RTÉ radio’s "Céilí House," and she has given concerts with harper Kathleen Guilday, guitarist Mark Simos, Séamus Connolly, Bob Childs’s "Childsplay" ensemble, and the late singer-guitarist Tony Cuffe.



MATT CRANITCH - Irish fiddle
Sliabh Luachra encompasses the area of eastern Kerry, northwest Cork, and southwest Limerick, and is known for its rich musical tradition, particularly slides and polkas. Venerated fiddlers like Pádraig O’Keeffe (1887-1963), Denis Murphy (1910-1974), and Julia Clifford (1914-1997) came from this region, and Cork fiddler Matt Cranitch carries forth the torch, creating exciting music of his own. A former member of Na Filí in the 1970s and Any Old Time in the 1980s, he now plays with Sliabh Notes, a trio featuring Dónal Murphy on button accordion and Tommy O’Sullivan on guitar and vocals. With Sliabh Notes, Matt has recorded three albums, including Along Blackwater’s Banks in 2002, and he has two solo releases as well, Take a Bow and Give It a Shtick. In 1988 Matt published The Irish Fiddle Book, explaining in detail the various techniques fiddlers use to create a traditional style of playing. That book is now in its fourth edition. For 2002/2003 Matt was awarded a Government of Ireland Senior Research Scholarship to study Sliabh Luachra fiddling. Gaelic Roots is honored to have him back a second time to teach and perform.


DÓNAL O’CONNOR - Irish fiddle
Born in Brosna, Kerry, Dónal O’Connor learned the fiddle from his father and also from Mrs. Eileen O’Connor and a nun, Sister Clare, in Listowel Convent. He was
the leader of the Brosna Céilí Band that won the All-Ireland senior championship in 1972, and he was one of 25 musicians invited from Ireland to take part in the Bicentennial Festival of American Folklife, sponsored in 1976 by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Dónal has also performed in Norway and Canada. In 1979 the Northern Ireland Arts Council invited him to do a concert tour, and in 1987 he again toured Ireland under the auspices of the Music Network. Frequent appearances on RTÉ radio and on such Irish television programs as "Bring Down the Lamp," "The Humours of Donnybrook," "The Mountain Lark," "The Pure Drop," and "Geantraí" have kept Dónal’s musical profile high. He is a gifted instructor, often teaching music and adjudicating competitions for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

DR. MANUS McGUIRE - Irish fiddle
Born in Tullamore, Offaly, raised in Sligo Town, and residing since 1985 in Scariff, East Clare, fiddler-physician Manus McGuire is the leader (with button accordionist Paul Brock) of the Brock-McGuire Band. From 1989 to 2001 he was a founding member of the Ennis-based quintet Moving Cloud, with whom he made two albums: 1995’s Moving Cloud and 1998’s Foxglove. With his older fiddling brother, Séamus, and Cork-born button accordionist Jackie Daly, Manus formed Buttons and Bows during the early 1980s, and this celebrated trio, plus Garry Ó Briain, recorded three albums: Buttons & Bows (1984), The First Month of Summer (1987), and Grace Notes (1991). Since 1970, the year he won the prestigious Fiddler of Dooney competition in Sligo (at age 14), Manus has gained acclaim for his technical mastery of tunes from Sligo, Clare, French Canada, and the Shetland Islands. In 2000 he released his solo debut, Saffron and Blue, chosen by the Boston Globe and Irish American News as one of the best albums of that year.

DR. SÉAMUS McGUIRE - Irish fiddle
Seamus’s mother, Jo, came from Riverstown, Sligo, and played the fiddle, while his father, Paddy, was from Dublin and played the piano. His parents’ music, along with recordings of such great Sligo fiddlers as Michael Coleman and James Morrison, shaped Séamus’s early fiddle technique, and, like his younger brother Manus, he won Sligo’s Fiddler of Dooney competition (1966). The two brothers have something else in common, medicine, and from 1977 to 1979 Séamus did his residency in pediatrics at a Toronto hospital. While in Canada, he linked up with Ian Robb and Hang the Piper to perform and record, and in 1980 Séamus made Humours of Lissadell, his first album with Manus. Besides the three Buttons and Bows releases they’re on, the two brothers recorded Carousel in 1984. Since then, Séamus, who lives in Letterkenny, Donegal, has released The Missing Reel, a 1990 duet album with Leitrim flutist John Lee, and The Wishing Tree, a 1995 solo recording. Today he’s a member of the West Ocean String Quartet, who appear on a recent Windham Hill recording.

GERRY O’CONNOR - Irish fiddle (and banjo)
Mike Flanagan (of the Flanagan Brothers) and Barney McKenna (of the Dubliners) were important pioneers of the Irish tenor banjo. But for sheer skill and technique, no one has yet surpassed the four-string playing of Gerry O’Connor. From Garrykennedy, Tipperary, he learned music from and often played with button accordion legend Paddy O’Brien (1922-1991), and he became an accomplished fiddler and guitarist besides. An early band with whom Gerry toured and recorded was the Wild Geese, and his reputation rose dramatically through tours and recordings he later did as a member of Four Men and a Dog. His 1991 solo debut, Time to Time, and his 1999 solo recording, Myriad, feature Gerry as a triple threat on banjo, fiddle, and guitar, and both albums include several of his own compositions. More recently Gerry produced and played on a solo album by Donegal fiddler Liz Doherty.

CATHAL HAYDEN - Irish fiddle (and banjo)
In 1991 Four Men and a Dog released their fiery debut album, Barking Mad, and it became the only Irish traditional recording ever to be picked by Britain's Folk Roots magazine as the best of the year. Founding member Cathal Hayden led the Dogs (as they were affectionately called) through three additional albums, including two in Woodstock with members of the Band, arguably America's greatest rock-roots group. A multiple All-Ireland champion on both fiddle and tenor banjo, Cathal hails from Pomeroy, Tyrone, where he learned music from his father, also adept on these two instruments. In 1982 Cathal recorded his solo debut, Handed Down, playing fiddle and banjo to the backing of guitarist Arty McGlynn, fiddler Nollaig Casey, and bodhrán specialist Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh. In the late 1980s Ringo and Cathal helped to form Arcady, which Cathal left to found Four Men and a Dog. This band was together for ten years and still gets together on occasion. In 1999 Cathal released his second solo album, Cathal Hayden, where he overdubs fiddle and banjo on several tracks.

CATRIONA MacDONALD - Shetland fiddlie
The Shetland Islands, lying in the North Sea, have a proud fiddle tradition, and the fiddling of Catriona MacDonald burns brightly within that tradition. In 1981 she took lessons from the late great Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson, and two years later she won Young Fiddler of the Year honors in the annual Shetland Folk Society competition. Competing with the cream of Britain’s young traditional musicians, Catriona won the Young Tradition Award from BBC Radio Two in 1991. Four years of study at London’s Royal College of Music followed for her, and in 2002 she recorded Bold, a solo album featuring two members of a trio she’s formed, pianist David Milligan and Shooglenifty bassist Conrad Ivitsky. Catriona has also worked with Dire Straits’s Mark Knopfler, who described her as "fantastic to listen to"; the String Sisters, who often include Liz Carroll, Natalie MacMaster, and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh; and Blazin’ Fiddles. Teaching Shetland fiddle is an ongoing commitment for Catriona.

RODNEY MILLER - New England fiddle
In 1985 the earth moved for New England fiddling. That year Rodney Miller’s Airplang was released on LP, and its reissue on CD in 1997 merely affirmed its impact. It was more than fresh music for the vibrant contradance circuit in New England. The album was a bold, brilliant, cutting-edge showcase of northern-style fiddling, full of breathtaking skill and sensitivity, blending Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, and New England musical traditions with original tunesmithing to create a heady regional brew of Americana. No wonder the National Endowment for the Arts designated Rodney a "master fiddler" the previous year. His New England Chestnuts recordings had already certified his reputation as a premier contradance fiddler, and Airplang and its follow-up, Airplang II, pushed the envelope of what was possible within that proud dance-driven tradition. The busy touring and teaching schedule of this New Hampshire resident has taken him to Britain, Australia, Denmark, and throughout the U.S.

DAVID GREENBERG - Cape Breton fiddle
Traditional and classical comfortably co-exist in the distinguished career of David Greenberg. He’s a traditional fiddler steeped in the music and style of Cape Breton Island, and he’s a baroque violinist who performs frequently with the Toronto Consort, Montreal’s BaroQuébec, and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra. His traditional fiddling is in demand throughout Cape Breton, where he plays at folk festivals, concerts, and dances, often with fellow Gaelic Roots performer Doug MacPhee on piano. Born in Maryland but a longtime resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, David has issued four solo CDs over the past five years, including Tunes Until Dawn, which focuses on traditional Cape Breton fiddling. He has earned an East Coast Music Award and a Juno (Canada’s equivalent to the Grammy) nomination for his music, and has guested on recordings by several other artists, including former Irish Tradition flutist Chris Norman and highland pipes/tin whistle player Ian McKinnon with Symphony Nova Scotia. David has taught Cape Breton fiddling at the Ceilidh Trail School of Celtic Music and the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts, both in Cape Breton Island.

MARTIN CONNOLLY - B/C button accordion
Born in Killaloe and now living in Ennis, Clare, Martin Connolly is a former All-Ireland senior champion on the button accordion and also a well-respected accordion maker under the manufacturing trademark of Kincora. The younger brother of Séamus Connolly, he received strong encouragement to pursue music at a very early age from his father, Mick, and his mother, Lena. Martin has toured both the United States and Canada, and with pianist and fiddler Maureen Glynn he recorded The Fort of Kincora, a 1987 album capturing the two in peak performance. In 1991 Martin appeared in a video of that year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Sligo, and following the 1998 death by cancer of his wife, Maureen Glynn Connolly, he released Back to Brooklyn. It is a stirring CD tribute to her that features himself, Maureen, Martin’s two sons, Karl and Damien, and five of Maureen’s music pupils in Clare. More recently Martin produced Tippin’ Away, the first CD made by his son Damien, also an accordionist.

MÁIRTÍN O’CONNOR - B/C button accordion
Barna, Galway-born Máirtín O’Connor has a long, distinguished career as a button accordionist. He was weaned on the melodeon music of his paternal grandparents and, like so many youngsters in Ireland, on the 78-rpm discs of Irish music played in the house. Now living in Annaghdown, Galway, Máirtín has been a member of such bands as Midnight Well, Dolores Keane’s Reel Union, De Dannan, and Skylark, who also featured fellow Gaelic Roots performers Len Graham and Garry Ó Briain. Máirtín also recorded with the Boys of the Lough, Maurice Lennon, Davy Spillane, Andy Irvine, Seán Smyth, Gerry O’Connor, and Bill Whelan, and was the original accordionist in Whelan’s Riverdance. Playing D/D# and B/C button accordions as well as melodeon, Máirtín has four outstanding solo albums to his credit: 1979’s The Connachtman’s Rambles, 1990’s Perpetual Motion, 1993’s Chatterbox, and 2001’s The Road West. These last two recordings consist of only his own compositions.

From Ballykett, near Kilrush, West Clare, Michael Tubridy was a founding member of two seminal ensembles in Irish history: Seán Ó Riada’s Ceoltóirí Cualann and the Chieftains. A relative of the renowned Kilrush concertina player Mrs. Elizabeth Crotty (1885-1960), Michael appeared on Irish television and recorded with Ó Riada’s famed "folk chamber orchestra," and he subsequently played flute, concertina, and tin whistle on the first nine albums by the Chieftains. He was also a member of the Dublin-based Castle Céilí Band, who were All-Ireland champions in 1965, and in 1978 he released his solo debut, The Eagle’s Whistle, on which he plays all the instruments (flute, concertina, tin whistle, fife, bombarde, bodhrán). One of Ireland’s most compellingly traditional musicians, Michael is an accomplished dancer as well. He’s visited the United States twice, first with the Slievenamon Set Dancers, then with the Slievenamon Céilí Band, and in 1998 he published a tutor book, A Selection of Irish Traditional Step Dances.

The year 2001 was a blockbuster one for flute, tin whistle, and bodhrán player Kevin Crawford, a member of the all-instrumental band Lúnasa. With them he recorded The Merry Sisters of Fate, honored as the best Celtic/British Isles album of 2001 by the Association for Independent Music, and his second solo recording, In Good Company, was named best traditional album of 2001 by the Irish Echo, which also chose him as its Traditional Musician of the Year. Success for Kevin came after years of steadily playing Irish music in Birmingham, England, where he was born to parents from Miltown Malbay, Clare. He was a member of such bands as Long Acre, Grianán, Raise the Rafters, and, from 1993 to 2001, Moving Cloud. His recordings include a pair with Moving Cloud, Grianán’s Maid in Erin in 1991, Raise the Rafters in 1995, Lúnasa’s Otherworld in 1999, and ‘D’ Flute Album, his solo debut in 1994. Kevin has also guested on albums made by Joe Derrane, Garry Shannon, and Seán Tyrrell. This West Clare resident’s skill and wit have made him one of Ireland’s most engaging performers and instructors.

JOANIE MADDEN - tin whistle

Daughter of button accordionist Joe Madden, who was born in Kerryglass, Tipperary, but raised in Portumna, Galway, Joanie Madden is a first-generation Irish American from New York City who has been the leader of the world’s most popular all-women’s Irish ensemble, Cherish the Ladies, since 1985. With Cherish, she has made seven albums: The Back Door in 1992, Out and About in 1993, New Day Dawning in 1996, Cherish the Ladies—Live! in 1997, Threads of Time in 1998, At Home in 1999, and The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone in 2001. A former pupil of Galway flutist Jack Coen, Joanie is the first of only two Americans ever to win the All-Ireland senior tin whistle championship (1984), and she’s an All-Ireland flute champion as well. Her solo recordings are A Whistle in the Wind in 1994, Song of the Irish Whistle in 1996, and Song of the Irish Whistle 2 in 1999. Another signal honor for Joanie in recent years was an invitation to perform at the Jean Pierre Rampal Flute Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

JIMMY NOONAN - tin whistle
Flute and tin whistle player Jimmy Noonan initially made a name for himself in Cleveland, where he enjoyed the company and tunes of such established musicians as Tom McCaffrey and Sligo-born flutist Tom Byrne. Jimmy’s Clare-born father, John, loved Irish music and encouraged his son to pursue it, and Jimmy’s dedication eventually led to two Western Championships on both concert flute and tin whistle. A resident of the Boston area for many years now, he has performed in the past with such regional bands as Steeplechase and Spailpin, and he has also appeared at various festivals. In 1993 Jimmy released The Clare Connection, a "Banner" solo album with such guests as Séamus Connolly and Tommy McCarthy Sr. and Jr. In 2001 he issued another recording, The Maple Leaf, and also opened Noonan’s Music Shop in Norwood, Mass., that specializes in Irish albums, music books, and occasional on-site concerts. An Adjunct Professor in Boston College’s Irish Studies Music Program, Jimmy has been teaching flute and tin whistle for more than 15 years.

JOHN SKELTON - tin whistle
Whistle, flute, bombarde, bodhrán, and veuze (Breton bagpipes) player John Skelton got his musical start in his hometown of London, where he played for six years with Shegui, an Irish traditional band also featuring Galway singer Seán Keane and future Boys of the Lough pianist John Coakley. In 1986 John joined the House Band, whose eclectic, adventurous tastes in traditional music, Irish and otherwise, captured the imagination of the folk scene in Britain and elsewhere. The several recordings he’s made with the House Band include Stonetown, selected as best folk music album of 1991 by the British Music Retailers Association. In 1993 John recorded a solo album, One at a Time, where his flawless control, tone, and rhythm on whistle, flute, and bombarde can be heard on everything from Irish reels, to a Breton march, to a Scottish hornpipe. More recently this adopted Kentuckian was a member of the Windbags, a quartet featuring pipers Jerry O’Sullivan and Pat O’Gorman as well as the late singer/multi-instrumentalist Tony Cuffe.

EAMON FLYNN - tin whistle
Vermont resident Eamon Flynn started to play the tin whistle at age six in his native Limerick, and by age 12 he had also become proficient on button accordion and fiddle. Eamon has toured throughout Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, and Switzerland, and his earlier professional brush with pop music has been replaced in later years with his one true love: Irish traditional music. "People need to hear the real thing," he says, and his playing and teaching today reflect that philosophy. A resident of the United States since 1959, Eamon maintains an active schedule in Vermont as performer, instructor, and composer—all within the Irish musical tradition he embraces so wholeheartedly.

DR. LARRY McCULLOUGH - tin whistle
Three flutists living in America’s Midwest—Tipperary’s Noel Rice, Sligo’s Kevin Henry, and Galway’s Séamus Cooley (younger brother of button accordionist Joe Cooley)—helped to provide L. E. McCullough with a basic style and repertoire on tin whistle and flute. Larry was also influenced by Sligo-style fiddlers Johnny McGreevy, John Vesey, and James Neary, and from the age of 19 this Indianapolis native progressed rapidly in his playing of Irish traditional music on the tin whistle and flute. He has a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh, with his dissertation focusing on Irish music in Chicago, and has written numerous articles as well as tutor and compositional books on Irish music. Among the 37 albums he’s appeared on is 1983’s Light Through the Leaves, devoted to Irish traditional wind instrumentals, and he co-produced 1978’s Irish Traditional Music From Chicago, Vol. II. Film, stage, TV, and ballet scores have also occupy this prolific musician, who now lives in New Jersey and has been teaching the tin whistle for three decades.

ABBY NEWTON - Celtic cello

Her 16 recordings with renowned Scottish singer Jean Redpath would alone have established the reputation of cellist Abby Newton as a sensitive accompanist. But she’s equally accomplished as a soloist, in both folk/traditional and classical realms. In 1997 she issued Crossing to Scotland, her first solo recording of new and traditional Irish and Scottish music, and a more recent album, Castles, Kirks, and Caves, is a mix of baroque and 18th-century Scottish traditional music. Out of this latter recording emerged a new Celtic baroque trio, Ferintosh, featuring Abby, Celtic harper Kim Robertson, and fellow Gaelic Roots performer David Greenberg on fiddle. Abby has taught cello at Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon School of Scottish Fiddling in California and at the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp. Her distinctive touch on the cello was featured several times on Garrison Keillor’s "A Prairie Home Companion" and can also be heard on over 100 albums by artists ranging from Scottish-style fiddler Bonnie Rideout to former Fiddle Fever members Jay Ungar and Molly Mason.

DOUG MacPHEE - Cape Breton piano

On an island celebrated for its fiddling, New Waterford, Cape Breton, native Doug MacPhee has carved out a global reputation as a gifted pianist. He has made five solo albums, including Cape Breton Piano in 1977, and appeared on more than 40 recordings by other artists. Doug plays chordal accompaniment or lead melody with equal expertise, and he comes from a family synonymous with the best that Cape Breton music has to offer. His mother, Margaret MacPhee, was a talented dancer, composer, and pianist herself, and at an early age he also came into contact with pianists Lila MacDonald and Mary Jessie MacDonald as well as fiddlers Mary MacDonald and Duncan MacQuarrie. At 15 Doug gave his first public concert as a pianist with fiddle legends Bill Lamey and Joe MacLean, and he learned a great deal about Irish music from Northside fiddler Johnny Wilmot, for whom Doug’s mother played piano at times. A recent album featuring Doug’s piano playing is Tunes Until Dawn, recorded with fellow Gaelic Roots performer David Greenberg on fiddle.


For straight-from-the-heart-to-the-fingers playing, The Wind Among the Reeds is unsurpassed. This 1995 album was made by Jacqueline McCarthy on concertina and her husband, Tommy Keane, on uilleann pipes and tin whistle, with De Dannan’s Alec Finn backing them on bouzouki and guitar. Daughter of West Clare concertinist and piper Tommy McCarthy, Jacqueline was born in London and received her first Wheatstone concertina (cost: £25) from her father when she was nine years old. She progressed rapidly on the instrument and in her music, helped by visits to the McCarthy home from Roger Sherlock, Bobby Casey, Paddy Taylor, Máirtín Byrnes, and others. The McCarthy family band, who included Jacqueline’s brother Tommy, owner of the Burren in Somerville, Mass., performed all over Britain and Ireland, and Jacqueline today performs with Maighe Seola, specializing in songs collected in North Galway at the beginning of the 20th century. Jacqueline’s solo debut, The Hidden Note, came out in 1999 and was cited by the Irish Echo newspaper as one of the best recordings of that year.

TOMMY KEANE - uilleann pipes

Born in Waterford City and living with his wife, concertinist Jacqueline McCarthy, in Maree, Galway, Tommy Keane played tin whistle before taking up the uilleann pipes. He studied with local Waterford piper Tommy Kearney and attended the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, Clare, where he received further playing tips from such pipers as Liam O’Flynn and Pat Mitchell. The recordings of uilleann pipers Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, and Tommy Reck also influenced him, and during the 1980s he spent seven years in London playing beside Bobby Casey, Roger Sherlock, and Tommy McCarthy, his future father-in-law. As a session musician in London, Tommy Keane appeared on recordings by the Pogues, Clannad, and Ralph McTell, and he was a member of London’s Thatch Céilí Band who won the All-Ireland senior title in 1986. Tommy returned to Ireland in 1987 and released his first solo album, The Piper’s Apron, four years later. He maintains an active schedule of performing, recording, and teaching the uilleann pipes in and out of Ireland.

CILLIAN VALLELY - uilleann pipes
The name Vallely is among the most revered in all of Irish piping today, linked to the famous Armagh Pipers Club, where Cillian, starting at age seven, took uilleann pipes and tin whistle lessons. His father, Brian, is an accomplished whistle, flute, and uilleann pipes player, while his mother, Eithne, is a fine fiddler and piper originally from Donegal. Cillian’s parents founded the Armagh Pipers Club in 1966, sparking the rise of piping in the region, and his older brother, Niall, has made his own contribution to the art of concertina playing. In 1996 Cillian moved to the United States, and since then he has performed or recorded with Séamus Connolly, John Whelan, Susan McKeown, and the Manhattan-based fusion group Whirligig. Since May 1999 he has been a member of Lúnasa and made his first album with them, The Merry Sisters of Fate, in 2001. Cillian has also appeared in Riverdance, toured with Tim O’Brien’s The Crossing band, and made a recent duet album with his brother Niall.


TONY McMANUS - guitar

Finger-picking or flat-picking, Tony McManus has been hailed by no less than John Renbourn as "the best Celtic guitarist in the world." Born in Paisley, near Glasgow, Scotland, with Irish roots, Tony has a unique right-hand technique on six-string guitar, allowing him to ornament traditional tunes with the same virtuosity and vitality associated with pipers, fiddlers, and flutists. He took up the guitar at age 10, and he made a triumphant solo stage debut at Glasgow’s first Celtic Connections in 1994. He has released three solo albums since then: Tony McManus in 1995, Pourquoi Quebec? in 1998, and Ceol More in 2002. Tony also recorded Return to Kintail with fiddler Alasdair Fraser in 1999, is featured on more than 50 other recordings by such artists as Kate Rusby, Brian McNeill, Liz Doherty, and fellow Gaelic Roots performer Catriona MacDonald, has toured with the Celtic Fiddle Festival, and has released two instructional videocassettes in the Guitar Workshop series produced by Stefan Grossman. His guitar talent has taken him from Scotland to Australia to Colombia to Nashville, where he played at the Chet Atkins Convention.

Native Dubliner Garry Ó Briain is a standout mandocello, bouzouki, guitar, mandolin, and keyboards player now living in Clare. He was playing piano by age nine and guitar by age 15, and Garry went on to become a member of such groups as Aengus, Skylark, Buttons and Bows, At the Racket, and Máirtín O’Connor’s Chatterbox. In addition, he’s a
much-in-demand album producer and music arranger, and for years he studied fiddle-making, which he counts as one of his many occupations today. During the 1990s Garry worked extensively with Ulster singer
Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, a fellow Gaelic Roots performer, on her acclaimed recordings of songs for children as well as adults. Described by Pádraigín as someone "who has an enlightened appreciation of the living tradition," Garry has written and arranged music for film and theater, and his solo album, Fís—Carolan’s Dream, came out in 1998.

CATHAL HAYDEN - banjo (and Irish fiddle)
In 1991 Four Men and a Dog released their fiery debut album, Barking Mad, and it became the only Irish traditional recording ever to be picked by Britain's Folk Roots magazine as the best of the year. Founding member Cathal Hayden led the Dogs (as they were affectionately called) through three additional albums, including two in Woodstock with members of the Band, arguably America's greatest rock-roots group. A multiple All-Ireland champion on both fiddle and tenor banjo, Cathal hails from Pomeroy, Tyrone, where he learned music from his father, also adept on these two instruments. In 1982 Cathal recorded his solo debut, Handed Down, playing fiddle and banjo to the backing of guitarist Arty McGlynn, fiddler Nollaig Casey, and bodhrán specialist Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh. In the late 1980s Ringo and Cathal helped to form Arcady, which Cathal left to found Four Men and a Dog. This band was together for ten years and still gets together on occasion. In 1999 Cathal released his second solo album, Cathal Hayden, where he overdubs fiddle and banjo on several tracks.

GERRY O’CONNOR - Banjo (and Irish fiddle)
Mike Flanagan (of the Flanagan Brothers) and Barney McKenna (of the Dubliners) were important pioneers of the Irish tenor banjo. But for sheer skill and technique, no one has yet surpassed the four-string playing of Gerry O’Connor. From Garrykennedy, Tipperary, he learned music from and often played with button accordion legend Paddy O’Brien (1922-1991), and he became an accomplished fiddler and guitarist besides. An early band with whom Gerry toured and recorded was the Wild Geese, and his reputation rose dramatically through tours and recordings he later did as a member of Four Men and a Dog. His 1991 solo debut, Time to Time, and his 1999 solo recording, Myriad, feature Gerry as a triple threat on banjo, fiddle, and guitar, and both albums include several of his own compositions. More recently Gerry produced and played on a solo album by Donegal fiddler Liz Doherty

TOMMY HAYES - bodhrán/percussion
From bodhrán, bones, bell, bendir, and berimbau to talking drum, singing bowl, wooden box, and water drum, Tommy Hayes epitomizes versatility and virtuosity in percussion today. Born in West Limerick, he was a founding member of Stocktons Wing, spending six years with the band, and in 1984 he moved to the United States, where he recorded with Puck Fair, featuring former Bothy Band member Mícheál Ó Domhnaill. After returning to Ireland in 1989, Tommy only increased his stature as one of the most astute, skilled, and innovative percussionists in traditional music. His recording and concert credits are voluminous, with Altan, De Dannan, Martin Hayes, Christy Moore, and Davy Spillane just a few of the artists he’s joined on stage or in the studio. Tommy’s credits also include a tutorial video on the bodhrán and two groundbreaking solo albums, 1991’s An Rás and 1997’s A Room in the North. The original percussionist in Riverdance, he is a popular teacher of the bodhrán, able to demonstrate its full tonal possibilities.

MEL MERCIER - bodhrán/percussion
Born in Dublin, Mel Mercier took his first bodhrán and bones lessons from his father, the late Peadar Mercier, a member of Seán Ó Riada's Ceoltóirí Cualann and, from 1966 to 1976, the world-renowned Chieftains. Mel learned his lessons well, becoming one of the most innovative players of those instruments in Irish music as well as a great scholar of international percussion. Mel is presently a lecturer at University College, Cork, where he earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1989, and in 1992 he received an M.F.A in world music from the California Institute of the Arts. His other academic achievements include a Fulbright scholarship and an American Foundation for Contemporary Arts research grant, and he was a visiting scholar and assistant professor of music at Connecticut's Wesleyan Uinversity in 1998-1999. Well-known for leading the innovative percussion group Pulsus and for starting the first Balinese Gamelan Orchestra in Ireland, Mel has perfomed on stage in Riverdance and John Cage's Roaratorio as well as on albums by pianist/composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, singers Mary Black and Áine Uí Cheallaigh, and keyboardist/composer Bill Whelan.

Dublin harper Helen Lyons first became involved with Irish traditional music as a young tin whistle student of well-known uilleann piper Mick O'Brien and his wife, Fidelma. At age 14 Helen was introduced to the harp by Belfast Harp Orchestra founder Janet Harbison during a teacher training week in Dublin's Culturlann. Later, Helen studied the harp for four years with Carlow harper and singer Pádraigín Caesar, and she has also been influenced by the playing of Michael Rooney, Gráinne Hambley, and Dordán's Kathleen Loughnane. Graduating in 2003 from Dublin's Trinity College with a bachelor's degree in music education, Helen continued her harp studies this past year with Denise Kelly for classical technique and Laoise Kelly for traditional technique. Helen herself teaches the harp at various branches of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Dublin and performs throughout Ireland. In December 2002 she was a special guest of Altan during the band's "The Year's Turning,"
their first American tour to center on seasonal and Christmas-themed music from the Gaelic tradition.


LEN GRAHAM - ballad singing
Born in Glenarm, Antrim, and living in Mullaghbawn, Armagh, with his wife, vocalist Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, Len Graham is among the finest singers Ireland has ever produced. His close, fruitful partnership with fellow Antrim singer Joe Holmes lasted from 1964 to Joe’s death in 1978, and they made two albums together: Chaste Muses, Bards, and Sages in 1975 and After Dawning in 1978. Len’s own solo recordings include Wind and Water in 1976, Do Me Justice in 1983, and Ye Lovers All in 1985, and he also recorded four albums as a member of Skylark. In 1993 Len and Boys of the Lough singer-flutist Cathal McConnell teamed up for a live concert album, For the Sake of Old Decency. That same year Len issued It’s of My Rambles, featuring Ulster songs and tunes he collected in the field by various singers and put on two cassettes packaged with a 100-page booklet. A recipient of the prestigious Seán Ó Boyle Cultural Traditions Award, this master singer, collector, and teacher has been a source of songs for many other musicians, such as Dick Gaughan, Dolores Keane, Altan, De Dannan, and the Voice Squad.

U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins praised Cathie Ryan's voice for its "powerful sweetness" and "Celtic intensity," while the Boston Globe
described her singing as "simply sublime." All those vocal attributes can be heard on her three solo albums: Cathie Ryan in 1997, The Music of What Happens in 1998, and Somewhere Along the Road in 2001. Born in Detroit to parents from Kerry and Tipperary, Cathie was raised with Irish ballad, Irish traditional, Motown, jazz, and other music in the house. After relocating to New York, she was influenced by the late great sean-nós singer Joe Heaney from Carna, Galway. Later on, she spent several years as the lead vocalist with Cherish the Ladies, recording two albums with them, The Back Door in 1991 and Out and About in 1993.
Today she fronts her own band, and her recordings and live performances prompted the Irish American News in Chicago to select her as "Irish Traditional Female Vocalist of the Decade" for the 1990s. A talented composer as well (her songs include "The Missing Piece," "Rathlin Island (1847)," and "It's a Long Road That Has No Turn"), Cathie will be teaching songs, vocal techniques, and how to accompany a song effectively on the bodhrán.

DR. ED MILLER - Scottish singing
From Edinburgh, Scotland, Ed Miller has lived most of his life in Texas, specifically in the capital, Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Texas. Before arriving in the Lone Star State, Ed was one of the leading vocalists in the Scottish folk revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was active in Edinburgh pub sessions and Scotland’s folk clubs, and he has brought his unique brand of singing, storytelling, and wit to festivals, clubs, and highland games in America. Today Ed hosts an Austin radio program, "Folkways," leads music-oriented tours of Scotland, and teaches singing at various summer schools and festivals. His repertoire covers Scottish folksongs from ancient ballads and Robert Burns’s compositions to more recent work from Brian McNeill and Adam MacNaughton. Ed has made five solo albums, the first recorded in 1989, Border Background, and the widely praised Lowlander released recently.

TONY NOLAN - preparation for T.C.R.G./A.D.C.R.G. examinations

Making his fifth visit to Gaelic Roots is Tony Nolan, an Irish dance master, teacher, and adjudicator of international renown. With his wife, Rose, the Limerick-born instructor has guided numerous Nolan Academy of Irish Dance students to solo and team honors at the North American, All-Ireland, and All-World competitions. He has also trained many dancers for their teacher’s and adjudicator’s certificates, and serves on the examining committee of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (Irish Dancing Commission), Dublin, Ireland. Irish dancing skills have been passed down by Tony and Rose Nolan to their two sons, Cian and Darragh, both of whom have performed in Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.

DAN ARMSTRONG - Irish stepdancing
The string of victories by Dan Armstrong in competitive dance was stunning. He won every major award on the Irish dance circuit, earning gold medals at the Father Mathews Feis in Cork, Feis Dal mBuinne in Lisburn, and Feile Chocaigh and the Tailteann Games in Dublin. Dan was also an outright winner of the famous Madame Markievicz Cup at Feis Sligig, and he retired from competitive dance as the undefeated Ulster, Britain, All-Ireland, and All-World champion. An accredited teacher and adjudicator of Irish stepdancing, Dan stays busy with judging competitions all over the world. An appointee to the Examination Board, he is also a member of An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (Irish Dancing Commission) and assists in the planning and running of all major dance championships. Gaelic Roots is honored to have Dan back for his fourth visit.

DONNCHA Ó MUÍNEACHÁIN - Irish set/céilí dancing
Originally from Cork, Donncha Ó Muíneacháin has been teaching céilí and set dancing in Dublin for 33 years. At age eight he began to take dancing classes, and he went on to win several Munster championships. Donncha has performed throughout Ireland and in Europe and North Africa, has been involved in no fewer than eight North American concert tours sponsored by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and has also toured Australia, New Zealand, and the United States with "Na Ridirí" during the mid-1990s. Since 1969 he has been a popular performer on Irish television both as a soloist and as a partner with Galway dancing teacher Celine Hession. Donncha is also an admired choreographer, creating original, tradition-based dances for stage and TV. His classes, workshops, and concert and festival presentations of Irish solo, set, and céilí dancing remain as popular today as they were three decades ago. Gaelic Roots is proud to welcome him for the fourth time as a dance instructor.

DONNY GOLDEN - Irish stepdancing
Brooklyn’s Donny Golden won a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1995, confirming his stature as a "national treasure" in the United States. Encouraged by his Irish-born parents to learn Irish stepdancing, he began to study with Bronx master teacher Jerry Mulvihill at the age of seven. Later he took classes with Brooklyn’s Jimmy Erwin and, at age 16, took first place in the North American Irish Stepdancing Championship. That same year, 1970, Donny also became the first Irish-American medal winner in both the Oireachtas Rince na hÉireann (All-Ireland) and the Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (World), taking third and second place, respectively. After retiring from competition, he added stepdancing instructor, choreographer, and concert performer to his credentials. He has toured with the Chieftains, the Green Fields of America, and Cherish the Ladies, and many of his students, such as original Riverdance star Jean Butler, have gone on to global acclaim. Donny’s reputation is so strong and pervasive that even country superstar Shania Twain asked him to choreograph a dance video for her. His contributions to Irish stepdancing in the U.S. are, frankly, incalculable.

MICHAEL MAGUIRE - Irish stepdancing
For 30 years the Maguire-O’Shea Academy of Irish Dancing has been a prominent fixture in Ilford, Essex, England, with additional classes held in London. Working closely with his wife, Kathleen, Michael Maguire is a qualified adjudicator and instructor, training stepdancers who have won more than 100 championships at the All-Ireland, All-Britain, All-Scotland, North American, European, and World levels. Many have also danced on television, before royalty, and in such major stage productions as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. All these feats of feet have strengthened the academy’s international profile.

KATHLEEN O’SHEA MAGUIRE - Irish stepdancing
A partner in marriage and vocation with Michael Maguire, Kathleen Maguire has won three World Irish Stepdancing Championships. Like Michael, Kathleen is a qualified teacher and adjudicator, roles that have taken the two to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and North America. Sharing an enthusiasm for Irish stepdancing are their children Darren, Katie, Michael, Ciarán, and Ellie. The first three are in Riverdance, with Darren as the lead; Ciarán was in Dancing on Dangerous Ground, a stage show headed by former Riverdance stars Jean Butler and Colin Dunne; and Ellie became a world champion and, in the process, the first daughter to attain the same pinnacle her mother reached.

LIAM HARNEY - Irish stepdancing
The first time audiences see Liam Harney’s trademark high kick nearly touching his forehead, they’re amazed. In the realm of Irish stepdancing, Liam has been amazing audiences since age four. He is one of a handful ever to win two World Irish Stepdancing Championships (1984 and 1987). A Boston-area dancer of versatile (ballet, jazz, modern) training, Liam has performed with Footworks, Dance Ellington, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Carlisle Project, the Jazz Unlimited Dance Company, and the Trinity Dance Company out of the Midwest. He starred in the London production of Riverdance and stepdanced in a popular Folgers coffee TV commercial, which he choreographed. He has also done choreography for the 1994 movie Blown Away, starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, and performed at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. A more recent Irish dance show in which he starred is Waves, and a new one, Celtic Fusion, will also showcase his talents. Today he directs the Liam Harney Irish Dance Company in San Diego and Boston.

Belfast-born Colette Devline-McAllister is one of the most respected, well-traveled teachers and adjudicators of Irish dancing in the world. She danced with the Anna McCoy School for nearly 20 years and has won Ulster and All-Ireland titles for both céilí and figure dancing. Since moving to Dublin in 1973, Colette has been unflagging in her teaching and adjudicating of Irish traditional dance, often under the aegis of An Coimisiún, of which she’s a member. Colette also adjudicated Irish stepdancing in Australia last year and in North America three times over the past couple of years, and she’s taken part in folk dance and music festivals all over Europe, to which she added a special visit to China in 2002.

DEIRDRE PENK O’DONNELL - Irish stepdancing
This resident of British Columbia teaches Irish stepdancing in both Vancouver, B.C., and Fort McMurray, Alberta. Deirdre began dancing at age four, and she developed to the point where she finished an impressive seven times in the top ten at the World Irish Stepdancing Championships. She has won several North American Irish stepdancing titles, placed second in the Great Britain and British National Championships, and won the overseas trophy three times at the World Irish Stepdancing Championships, where she wrapped up her competitive career with a fifth-place finish in 1989. More important than medals and trophies to Deirdre, however, is a real passion for Irish stepdancing. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she imparts it to all her students. That passion, plus intensive training, has helped her dance pupils achieve competitive success at the national and international levels.

JACKIE KENNEDY - Irish stepdancing
After getting a college degree, Jackie Kennedy became a teacher of English literature. She’s given that up, however, to pursue a career in a high-fashion retail business. Born, raised, and still living in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jackie has never forgotten her abiding passion for Irish dance, however, and she has taught Irish stepdancing as part of the Kennedy School of Irish Dancing for the past 13 years. The school’s success speaks for itself: several regional, national, and international competitive victories, capped in 2002 by the Kennedy School’s first world championship, won by a male stepdancer in the under-11 age category. Jackie spends most of her free time teaching Irish stepdancing, and she also enjoys adjudicating at dance competitions. We’re delighted to welcome her for the first time to Gaelic Roots.

MONA RODDY LENNON - Irish stepdancing
Dancing since the age of six, Mona Roddy Lennon was taught by Patricia Matthews, a highly respected dance instructor whose school was in Dundalk for many years. Mona has won many stepdancing awards at the regional and national level, including the All-Ireland senior championship for three straight years in the late 1960s. She then retired from competitive dancing and opened her own school in 1970. During the 70s Mona also traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Libya, England, and Scotland as a dancer with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and she still travels frequently as a teacher and adjudicator. Her three children carry on the tradition of Irish dance and music. Son Aidan is a talented fiddler, while daughters Ciara and Dearbhla have danced in Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance. Over the past 32 years, hundreds of dancers have benefited from Mona’s instruction, winning world championships during every decade.


JOHN CAMPBELL--Songs and Stories from the Ulster Countryside
Storytelling is an ancient art that serves the dual purpose of preserving and passing on the native culture of a country or region, and in Ireland a seanchaí, or storyteller, was and is an indispensable conveyor of that legacy. Singer Len Graham calls John Campbell, his friend and frequent touring partner, "the premier exponent of the seanchaí tradition in Ireland today." He comes from South Armagh, where the traditions of poetry, songwriting, singing, and storytelling include such esteemed figures as Art Bennett, Peadar Ó Dorin, and Art MacCooey. Also a singer and a working shepherd who lives in the village of Mullaghbawn, at the foot of Slieve Gullion, John has diligently researched and collected Ulster folklore and traditions for tales and songs he brings vibrantly to life both in performance and through teaching. He has been a part-time collector for the Department of Irish Folklore in Dublin and for the Ulster Folk Museum in Belfast. In 1986 John received the Arts Personality Award from the Newry and Mourne District Council, and in 1991 he was honored with an Entertainment Media and Arts Award. Whether in classes, concerts, or festival performances, his deftly delivered stories and songs from the Ulster countryside have entertained and edified audiences throughout Ireland, America, Scotland, and Europe.



JOSEPHINE KEEGAN - Irish fiddling

Lifeswork is the right title for the double CD issued in 2001 of Josephine Keegan’s compositions, 83 tunes in all, plus two Turlough O’Carolan melodies arranged by her. Writing music is perhaps a lesser-known side of her extraordinary talent, as her fiddle and keyboard playing usually receives the lion’s share of praise. Born of Irish parents in Dundee, Scotland, Josephine moved to South Armagh at age four, and she began to play piano and fiddle by age six. Her musical influences could not have been stronger: Dublin piper Leo Rowsome, Meath fiddler Frank O’Higgins, and her parents. Josephine was a Dublin Feis Ceoil gold medalist, an Oireachtas gold medalist, and an All-Ireland champion, and she frequently appeared on Irish and British radio broadcasts. As a pianist, Josephine has accompanied fiddler Seán Maguire, button accordionist Joe Burke, flutist Roger Sherlock, and many others, and she recorded several albums for Belfast’s Outlet label that featured her on both fiddle and piano, at times playing her own compositions. A resident of Newry, Armagh, she is a devoted collector of traditional tunes and plans to publish a book of 500 of them. Fiddler, pianist, composer, arranger, collector: they all coalesce in the form of Josephine Keegan, an honored guest of Gaelic Roots 2003.

BOB McQUILLEN - contradance musician
America can bestow no higher honor on a folk or traditional musician than a National Heritage Fellowship. Contradance pianist, piano accordionist, and composer Bob McQuillen of Peterborough, New Hampshire, received this prestigious accolade from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. It crowned 55 years of dedication to the proud, thriving tradition of contradance, a form of social dance done in straight lines that came to New England with the Anglo settlers of 250 years ago. Born near Boston but a resident of New Hampshire since childhood, Bob made a serious commitment to music after serving in World War II, and in 1947 he played accordion at his first traditional dance with the Ralph Page Orchestra. Afterward, Bob played accordion with the Duke Miller Orchestra for 26 straight summers in Fitzwilliam, N.H. Later on, he performed with Dudley Laufman’s Canterbury Country Dance Orchestra, the Vermont group Applejack, and his own group, New England Tradition. Today he plays in Old New England, a trio who recorded One:Two in 2002. Bob wrote his first tune in 1973 and has added more than 1,100 since then, which he’s published in 11 books. Of a life devoted to New England contradance music, Bob says: "I would not have it any other way."

Called "the dean of American Irish music writers" by Dirty Linen magazine, Earle Hitchner is the best-known and most influential U.S. journalist covering Irish and other Celtic music today. Born in Philadelphia but a longtime resident of New York, Earle has written on Irish music and culture for The Wall Street Journal, Irish Echo, Billboard, Reader’s Digest, New Choices, Irish Music (Dublin), and Sonicnet, MTV’s on-line music magazine. His music articles have also appeared in The Oxford American, Details, Irish America, Treoir, An Gael, and Rhythm Music magazines. In addition, he has provided liner notes for 50 albums of Irish music, including the Boston Pops Orchestra’s The Celtic Album, nominated for a Grammy award in 1998. Earle contributed six essays to The Companion to Irish Traditional Music, a book co-published in 1999 by Cork University Press and New York University Press, and he both consulted on and appeared in three Irish music documentaries that were broadcast on public television. He was appointed to the awards nominating committee of the Association for Independent Music (AFIM) in 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2002.

DR. MARJORIE HOWES - Boston College lecturer
An associate professor in the English Department at Boston College, Dr. Marjorie Howes received her undergraduate degree in English and political science from the University of Michigan and her doctorate in English literature from Princeton University. She has written extensively about James Joyce and William Butler Yeats, co-editing the book Semicolonial Joyce in 2000 and winning the Michael J. Durkan Prize for her book Yeats’s Nations: Gender, Class, and Irishness in 1997. Dr. Howe has also authored several articles for such publications as The Yale Journal of Criticism, Public Culture, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. In addition, she’s given lectures and presentations at the University of Notre Dame, University of Connecticut, Fordham University, Joyce Summer School in Dublin, Yeats Summer School in Sligo, International James Joyce Symposium in Zurich, and New York Yeats Society in Manhattan.

With hundreds of articles and three editions of Guide to the New England Irish published, Michael Quinlin has amassed a formidable body of work shedding a needed spotlight on the cultural achievements of Irish immigrants and Irish Americans in the United States, particularly in the Northeast. He contributed an essay, "The Irish Across America," to The Irish in America, the popular 1997 companion book to the PBS-TV series Long Journey Home, and his writing has also appeared in the Encyclopedia of New England Culture, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and Fortnight. As founder and president of the Boston Irish Tourism Association, Michael promotes Irish cultural activities and Irish businesses in Masssachusetts to visitors, vacationers, and convention groups. He is now researching two books: one on Irish music in Boston from colonial times to the present day, the other a daily account of Irish refugees in Boston during Ireland’s darkest famine year of 1847.

A graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, Catriona MacDonald is a fiddler from the Shetland Islands, lying well off the northwest coast of Scotland. In addition to her impressive playing, she’s an astute observer on the history, style, and musicians of the Shetland tradition and has taught and lectured on the subject. Catriona has been a visiting tutor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance in Glasgow, the University of Limerick, and the University of Stirling, and has taught at her own fiddle school in Vementry on the Shetlands. In 2000 she participated in "On the Line," a millennium project allowing her to bring other musicians from the Shetlands to England, France, Africa, and Spain, where she conducted multicultural workshops.