Born in Birmingham, England, Kevin Crawford’s early life was one long journey into Irish music and Co. Clare, to where he eventually moved while in his 20’s.
He was a founding member of Moving Cloud, the Clare-based band who recorded such critically-acclaimed albums as Moving Cloud and Foxglove, and he has also recorded with Grianin, Raise the Rafters, Joe Derrane, Natalie Merchant, Susan McKeown and Sean Tyrrell. Kevin appears on the 1992 recording, The Maiden Voyage, recorded live at Peppers Bar, Feakle, Co. Clare, and appears on the 1994 recording, The Sanctuary Sessions, recorded live in Cruise’s Bar, Ennis, Co. Clare.
Kevin now tours the world with Ireland’s cutting-edge traditional band, Lúnasa, called by some the “Bothy Band of the 21st Century,”with eight ground-breaking albums to their credit: Lúnasa, Otherworld, The Merry Sisters of Fate, Redwood, The Kinnity Sessions, Sé, The Story So Far and La Nua. His latest project is the Teetotallers, a supergroup trio that also features Martin Hayes and John Doyle. A virtuoso flute player, Kevin has also recorded several solo albums including The ‘D’ Flute Album, In Good Company (a recording featuring Kevin playing in duet with many of Ireland’s top fiddlers), On Common Ground (a duo recording with Lúnasa’s piper, Cillian Vallely), Carrying the Tune, and his most recent The Drunken Gaugers www.lunasa.ie
I started playing the fiddle when I was seven or eight years of age. My parents decided to send me to a music teacher for formal lessons rather than wait to see if I had either the skill or desire to pick it up on my own. This strategy seemed to work pretty well, because by the time I felt that I really wanted to play, when I was 12 or 13, I had already developed some very helpful basic skills which I could use. I started going to music pubs regularly, once or twice a week, usually with my parents or other friends of the family, to hear the sessions and maybe even join in! Most of the people at these gatherings were rural Irish people typically from families that were large and houses that were small. Their conversation and music, their singing and dancing was their entertainment – and I loved it too!
Soon I started to play with a ceili band, the Glenside, and played nearly every weekend at various Irish Dance Halls around London. My favourite nights were when groups of great Set dancers would show up. They were very exciting to play for and really heightened the energy of the music. In 1966 we took part in the Ceili Band competition at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Boyle, Co. Roscommon. Although very much the “underdog” we were declared the winners. Of course, we were all thrilled at the result but we were especially delighted for the several band members who came from that part of the country.
One day I walked into a pub in Miltown Malbay in Co. Clare and heard some great music being played by a few American visitors. I drew closer and they spotted the fiddle case and asked me to play a tune. So I did. We got talking and it turned out one of these guys was Arlo Guthrie, Woody’s son. Arlo and his friends John Pilla, Gil Gilbeau, Jeffie Outlaw and a few others had been in England, performing, and had decided to come to Ireland for a few days looking for music and ended up in Miltown. The weather was great (i.e. not raining) so we all went went out to the neighboring village of Quilty and sat on the clifftops most of the day enjoying the sunshine, the sea air and each other’s music. A few days later we said our good-bye’s and went our separate ways, but not long afterwards I got a letter inviting me to come over to the US and maybe do some recording with Arlo. I decided to go. Through Arlo I met many musicians, but more importantly, I had the chance to see them work. They inspired me to devote my life to playing music.
Not long after I had returned from the US I got a call from Christy Moore who had left Planxty and was forming his own band. Would I like to join? This involved moving back to Ireland so I was thrilled. I moved to Dublin and played as a member of Christy’s band for a couple of years. Then one day I had a visit from Donal Lunny and Matt Molloy asking if I would play with the Bothy Band. At first I was under the impression that I was just going to “fill in” for Tommy Peoples for a few days but then I realized Tommy was leaving the band permanently and that there was a position available if I wanted it. Christy called me and told me I’d be daft not to join such a great band and wished me all the best. So, I joined up.
Over the next four years, Micheal O Domhnaill, also in the Bothy Band, and myself started playing a lot together so when the band broke up at the end of the 70’s, Micheal and I continued to play as a duo. We recorded an album, Promenade, which met with some very encouraging critical acclaim and decided to try a few concerts together in the US. One of the places we played in the US was Portland, Oregon. When Micheal and I arrived in Oregon we did indeed like the area and the people very much and finally about a year later we moved over. We recorded our second album there, named it “Portland” . Over 30 years after first setting foot in Oregon I am still living here.
A native of the slower moving West of Ireland, Seán took his time before committing himself to record his first solo album. Seán emigrated to New York in 1968 put together a band “Apples In Winter” and recorded an album in 1974. He later moved to San Francisco and began a solo career where he rubbed shoulders with some of the greats of the folk scene. Eventually he tired of the road now having a young son and returning to Ireland in the late seventies he continued to work at his music, but seldom played professionally. In 1978 he began working for University College Galway, based in the heart of the Burren in county Clare. He was invited to ‘guest’ on two albums with renowned uilleann piper Davy Spillane and having toured with Davy soon got a taste for the road again ..
All of his time off the road had led to a huge catalogue of new material that he was now anxious to record. It was during this time in his hide away in Clare that he first encountered since his school days the amazing, forward thinking 18th century poem for all ages Cúirt An Mheán Oíche, The Midnight Court by Brian Merriman, translated by David Marcus. It fascinated him (All 1,206 lines of it). He set it to music and approached the renowned Druid theatre Galway with the idea of putting it on as traditional opera with a cast of ten musicians and singers. Regarded by the critics as the hit of the Galway Arts Festival when Druid staged his traditional opera in 1992.
Cry of A Dreamer his first solo project in 1994 was given a spotlight review by Billboard, voted Best Folk Album of the Year by both Folk Roots and Hotpress. He has performed at major festivals and concert halls, TV and radio in Ireland, England, Europe, Australia and the USA. In 1997 he released his much anticipated second solo effort, The Orchard. Again met with great critical acclaim. Voted Best Overall Folk Act by the readers of Irish Music Magazine voted it Best Folk Album. It was Michael Hartnett’s poem Belladonna in the Bar that gave him the title for his third CD Belladonna. He collaborated with international musicians on Songs of Peace Recorded and performed them at concerts over two nights at Passchendaele cathedral. This was later released as a CD Songs Of Peace. A decade or so later and three solo CDs Seán launched in Ireland ‘Rising Tide’- The Collection’, comprising 16 tracks including a blend of familiar favourites, plus seven new tracks.
Albums were now coming fast and furious with his release in 2011 of And So The story Goes, The Walker Of The Snow’ album released in May of 2012 and a release in the USA of ‘The Vital Record’ in August 2013. Moonlight On Galway Bay Launched in the USA at The Burren in Boston April 2014.
More recently he has concentrated on touring a solo version of Message Of Peace,The Midnight Court” and solo concerts.
The heartbeat of Chicago’s music scene for more than 3 decades, John Williams is an award winning multi-instrumentalist who performs 300 events a year on over 10 instruments. Selected as Best in Chicago by Chicago Magazine, John is an All Ireland Champion on the concertina, an instrument played by his father and grandfather at rural house dances in Doolin, County Clare dating back to the late 1800’s. The Irish Musicians Association of America have presented John and his father Brendan with the Musicians of the Year award.
From the pubs and parishes of Chicago to concert halls in Paris, Zurich, Dublin, Amsterdam, Bermuda, and Montreal, audiences internationally have been thrilled from groundbreaking work with his supergroup Solas to appearances with The Chieftains, Riverdance, and Nickel Creek. The National Council for the Traditional Arts has presented John Williams at the National Folk Festival in Chattanooga, the Lowell Folk Festival, Butte Folk Fest and Folk Masters Concert
Series at the Barns of Wolftrap in Virginia.
Mr. Williams has appeared on the silver screen as bandleader and composer in two films: The Traveller and Road to Perdition with Paul Newman and Tom Hanks who together performed his Perdition Piano Duet commissioned for the scene by director Sam Mendes. His music can be heard in the film scores of The Brothers McMullen, The Ride of Our Lives (PBS), In Common, Out of Ireland, and Rapunzel with the London Symphony Orchestra. John has performed at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, The National Concert Hall in Dublin, and the World Accordion Festival in Quebec. He has collaborated recently with mandolinist Chris Thile at Symphony Center for their third performance on the national broadcast of a Live From Here.
John Williams had his formative musical experiences on the south side of Chicago as a percussionist playing pots and pans on the kitchen floor to his father’s spirited concertina music of Doolin, County Clare. At age 7 he received weekly music lessons with Mrs. Evelyn Serna of Bohemia. He tried unsuccessfully to give up music entering high school, but instead kept returning to it and teaching himself from the many inspiring players he played alongside at ceilis, sessions, workshops and festivals in Chicago and on West Coast of Ireland.
In Ireland, John has been the subject of The Long Note, The West Wind on ClareFM, The Pure Drop, and Folk Club on BBC Radio Ulster. Next year marks his return to Clare, Galway & Sligo on the Wild Atlantic Music Tour with longtime musical visionary Eoin O’Neill and some of the top names in traditional Irish music today.
Award winning trad musician Eoin O’Neill will be joined on our November 2018 tour by special guests from the Clare music scene. Eoin has lived in Clare for the past 30 years and has been an integral part of the traditional music landscape in the county. His passion for his craft has led him to preserve music that was in danger of being lost forever, and is now being enjoyed and re-invented by a new generation of musicians. He is famous for his informal music sessions and classes in many venues throughout the county, and is chiefly responsible for encouraging the playing of young and old alike.
Eoin O’Neill is a big part of the scene in Clare. “I arrived in Doolin on December 28, 1979. I thought I was coming for an afternoon and I’m still here,” he says of his arrival in this county. That wasn’t far off 40 years ago and he has been playing here since, while he also hosts shows on local radio.
In 2015 Eoin was the winner of the MÓRglór award for Outstanding Contribution to Traditional Music in County Clare. He is a regular contributor to sessions throughout the county. Every Sunday morning he presents a hugely entertaining radio programme on Clare Fm, where he plays a wide range of music of all styles. Eoin says that he’s lucky to have the chance to play the music he loves on radio every Sunday morning. “I’m more passionate than ever. I’m lucky in that I have a couple of shows on Clare FM and that allows me to feature the local musicians, especially the local ones that should be featured and aren’t featured enough.”
Music in Clare is noticeably different from elsewhere, he feels. “The most distinctive thing about Clare is that there is music everywhere. No two musicians play the same anyway, but there is a thing going on in Clare that gives space to the music, gives space to the notes. They don’t rush it. I am a rhythm player and it gives me a great opportunity to express myself the way I want.”
Michael is one of the most exciting uilleann pipers in Traditional Music. He was taught the uilleann pipes by the great Limerick piper Mickey Dunne. His influences are the playing of Paddy Keenan, who is a regular visitor to his home in Clare, Finbar Furey and the great Johnny Doran.
He has been playing the pipes from a young age and is currently living, and playing, at the heart of Irish music in County Clare. He regularly tours Europe, the USA and the Far East but is also very much at home at his local bars in Ennis or Doolin. At concerts and sessions Michael O’Connell performs with gusto, and audiences are swept away by his exuberant and fast flowing piping style.
A regular guest of Na Píobairí Uilleann (uilleann pipes association), and the William Kennedy Piping Festival. He teaches and performs at the annual Catskills Irish Arts Week in New York, and the Doran Tionol, as well as being a full time tutor at the Irish World Academy of Music, University of Limerick.
He has also has toured extensively with various dance troupes in the USA, China, Taiwan and Dubai, including on Broadway and in Carnegie Hall. He has performed with Paddy Keenan, Finbar Furey and the Chieftains. He is an ambassador for Irish tourism as part of the worldwide internet and TV campaign by Tourism Ireland.
1977 began professional career with Maura O Connell in a duo called TUMBLEWEED. 1980 Joined Stocktons Wing as guitarist, singer and songwriter and recorded the album ‘Take a Chance’.
Wrote the songs on Stockton’s Wing’s ground breaking and critically acclaimed Album ‘LIGHT IN THE WESTERN SKY’ (1984) including hit songs ‘BEAUTIFUL AFFAIR’ and ‘WALK AWAY’ and toured extensively with the band for 15 years.
1989 Sammy Davis Junior invited the band to perform at his Lansdowne Road shows in Dublin. They also played support to Michael Jackson and Prince at their Cork gigs. In 1990 Stockton’s Wing went on location to take part in the Noel Pearson/Jim Sheridan film production of the John B. Keane play “THE FIELD” which featured Oscar nominee Richard Harris and John Hurt.
Mike Left Stocktons Wing in 1994 to tour with Finbar Furey and pursue a solo career in Europe recording his first album for German label Wundertutte ‘Someone like You’. His second album ‘what you know’ was released in 2002.
Spent ten years with long time friend Ronnie Drew in 1997 as performer, producer and co writer of the critically acclaimed Ronnie ‘I hardly knew ya’.
Music Director for The Legends of Irish Music featuring Ronnie, Liam Clancy, Finbar Furey, Johnny McAvoy, Jim McCann and Paddy Reilly as The Legends of Irish Folk.
Producer and performer with Ronnie Drew/ Eleanor Shanley
Writer performer with Brendan Begley on Dublin Burning, an Anthology of songs and stories from 1916.
Tours and records with Leslie Dowdall of In Tua Nua.
Tours with Eleanor Shanley.
Mike left the music business for a number of years to pursue a career in food at The Ballymaloe cookery school where he eventually worked as a teacher. Later he created the very successful food destination pub with his friend Pat Shortt at his bar Pat Shortt’s bar in Castlemartyr East Cork before returning to set up the highly acclaimed kitchen deli The Artisan Parlour in Ringsend. These days he is currently writing a memoir of a life in food and music to be published in 2019. Stocktons Wing perform a series of gigs to celebrate 40 years in music.
Born in Manchester, England, into a very musical family to parents from Co.Galway and Co.Cavan, Colin started playing the fiddle and tin whistle from an early age and won numerous titles at the Fleadh Cheoil. Since then, he has made a name for himself performing and recording with an array of great musicians in Europe and the US, including singers and groups such as Flook, Grada, Karen Casey, The Elders, Julie Fowlis, Tim O’Brien, Natalie Merchant , Mary Chaplin Carpenter, The Michael McGoldrick Band and is currently playing with the Ashley Davis band and Lúnasa.
Colin is also a composer whose tunes have been played and recorded by numerous bands and musicians. In 2005, Colin was awarded a Masters Degree in Music from Limerick University.
Living in Florida since 2005, when not touring, Colin has been teaching at schools and various camps around the US and Europe. Colin’s 2010 solo debut album ‘On The Move’ was named one of the years 10 best albums by The Irish Echo and his second album ‘Make A Note’ released in 2015 was awarded Instrumental Album of the year by LiveIreland. His latest recording ‘Music and Mischief’ with Kevin Crawford and Patrick Doocey has just been released.
John Whelan represents the best of Irish music in America. Seven time All-Ireland Champion, John Whelan was raised in the vibrant London Irish music scene. He started playing in 1970 up to his move to the US in 1980 at the age of 20. Learning his craft from such legends as Lucy Farr, Roger Sherlock, Paddy Taylor, Mick O’Connor and his teacher Brendan Mulkare, he recorded his first album in 1974 at the age of 14 and toured extensively throughout England and Ireland up until he came to the US.
It did not take long for John to establish himself in the US as he teamed up with Brian Conway and Eileen Ivers. He recorded his first highly regarded US album with Eileen in 1987 called Fresh Takes, on Green Linnett Records. John and Eileen toured the US and Canada and were awarded the duo of the decade by Earle Hitchner, writer for the Irish Echo and Wall Street Journal. In 1990 John recorded his first solo CD in the US, From the Heart, which won an honorable mention by NAIRD. In 1995 John signed a 5 CD deal with Narada, a large independent record label based in Milwaukee, WI, becoming one of the highest selling traditional artist in the genre.
Through his deal with Narada, John went on to sell close to one million CDs and appeared on the Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Fox After Breakfast with host Tom Bergeron and his music could be heard on such TV shows as Sex In The City, History’s Mysteries and History Detectives. John has also appeared in two motion pictures, Gods and Generals with Robert Duvall and Ang Lee’s, Ride with the Devil.
Today John still performs with the John Whelan Band and has recently teamed up with his old pal Brian Conway forming the group Gailfean, which also features Máirtin De Cógáin and Don Penzien. Gailfean has recently released a new CD.
Begley is the quintessential Irish musician, an eager storyteller known for his sharp wit and famous for pumping out tune after tune at all night sessions with an energy that is sometimes alarming. Displaying a frisky spontaneity in his accordion-playing, he has toured extensively with performers such as Altan, Steve Cooney, Jim Murray, Mary Black and Téada. TG4 awarded Séamus the prestigious Traditional Singer of the Year award in 2013, in recognition of his major contribution to Irish singing.
Fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, founder of noted group Téada, has been described by The Irish Echo’s Earle Hitchner as “one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today”. He has appeared as guest soloist with the Southern Georgia Symphony Orchestra in the US, the Wurttembergische Philharmonie in Germany and accompanied former Irish President Mary McAleese on a State visit to Romania. Along with Sligo accordionist, Daithí Gormley, Oisín has recently published ‘Fiddlers of Sligo Tunebook’, a fascinating introduction to the rich history of Sligo fiddle playing.
Providing masterful accompaniment on piano, Samantha Harvey, originally from California but living in Sligo since 2014, is also an awardwinning step dancer. Samantha’s energetic dance and musical performances has seen her become a prominent performer and teacher in Ireland and abroad.
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 Socks” continue to bring their music far and wide, performing at such prestigious festivals as The New Orleans Jazz Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest, Walnut Valley, and le Festival Interceltique de Lorient to name but a few.
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.
From Ennis, County Clare, the band is made up of brothers Shane and Fiachra Hayes on accordion and fiddle, with Aodan Coyne on guitar. Growing up in County Clare instilled in them a sense of musical and cultural appreciation of the region, one which they are eager to showcase.
Grammy awarded, Emmy nominated, London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, guest starred with over 50 orchestras, original Musical Star of Riverdance, Nine Time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, Sting, Hall and Oates, The Chieftains, ‘Fiddlers 3’ with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Regina Carter, Patti Smith, Al Di Meola, Steve Gadd, founding member of Cherish the Ladies, movie soundtracks including Gangs of New York, performed for Presidents and Royalty worldwide…this is a short list of accomplishments, headliners, tours, and affiliations.
Fiddler Eileen Ivers has established herself as the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today. She’s been called a “sensation” by Billboard magazine and “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin,” by The New York Times. “She electrifies the crowd with a dazzling show of virtuoso playing” says The Irish Times. Eileen’s recording credits include over 80 contemporary and traditional albums and numerous movie scores.
The daughter of Irish immigrants, Eileen Ivers grew up in the culturally diverse neighborhood of the Bronx, New York. Rooted in Irish traditional music since the age of eight, Eileen proceeded to win nine All-Ireland fiddle championships, a tenth on tenor banjo and over 30 championship medals, making her one of the most awarded persons ever to compete in these prestigious competitions. Being an Irish-American, the intrigue of learning more about the multicultural sounds of her childhood took hold. After graduating magna cum laude in Mathematics from Iona College and while continuing her post-graduate work in Mathematics, Eileen fully immersed herself in the different genres of music which she experienced growing up in New York. In 2019, Iona College conferred upon Eileen Ivers the degree of Doctor of Arts, honoris causa for her “lifelong commitment to innovation, excellence and deep dedication to bringing people together through music.”
Eileen and her ensemble headline prestigious performing arts centers, guest star with numerous symphonies, perform at major festivals worldwide, and have appeared on national and international television. The L.A. Times proclaims, “Ivers’ presentation was music with the kind of life and spirit that come together when talented artists from different backgrounds find the linkages that connect all forms of music…no wonder the audience loved every minute.”
Dave Curley is one of Ireland’s leading multi-instrumentalists, vocalists and a champion step dancer. Hailing from Co. Galway on the west coast of Ireland, Curley has brought his wealth of talents to the largest of stages in North America and Western Europe.
He has performed at the prestigious Ryman auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, recorded with Grammy award winners Ron Block, Jeff Taylor and Buddy Greene, and toured with Grammy award winners Moya Brennan of Clannad and Ross Holmes of Mumford and Sons. For 10 years, Curley has worked with the award winning traditional super group, SLIDE and also spent 5 successful years with award winning American Roots band RUNA. His work with Tadhg Ó Meachair and Joanna Hyde on their album “One For the Foxes” has resulted in the trio collaborating and bringing the trio to audiences in North America. More recently, Curley has become an integral member to the new Crannua project featuring Moya Brennan, John Doyle, Ashley Davis, Mick McCauley, Eamonn and Cormac DeBarra, Colin Farrell and Cathy Jordan.
For over twenty years, the Ennis Sisters have been connecting to audiences across the world. From church halls in outport Newfoundland to performing for International leaders at the 75th anniversary of D-Day on Juno Beach, their harmonies resonate with us all.
A Juno Award, multiple ECMA’s, a SOCAN award – along with endless accolades from fans and critics alike – tangible proof that they’ve tapped into something universal, beyond the notes on the page.
Flavoured by Celtic and traditional Newfoundland influences, Maureen, Karen and Teresa are known for their captivating sibling harmonies and their powerful, often humourous, storytelling. Their music offers a broad mix of original songs as well as uniquely interpreted tunes and ballads.
The Ennis Sisters’ latest CD release, Keeping Time, is a concept album that honours and preserves our most precious gift – time, and what we choose to do with it. It is reflective yet uplifting. It is about keeping time in both life and music. Inspired by the unraveling and tethering of memory, Keeping Time is part homage, part celebration of life, as the album honours their father, who they recently lost to dementia.
Live performance has been a staple of the Ennis’ experience, and continues to be. Proven road warriors since 1997, they gained underground notoriety before translating it into the global success they’ve become – and they aren’t finished yet!
“We are proud of where we come from. We are the product of the women who came before us and we’re helping to carve the way and be an inspiration for the generations of women to come.”