Concert, Kilfenora Trad Fest 2020

Our main concert, will unfortunately no longer take place this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Refunds are being issued to all those who purchased advance tickets.

As arranged, the concert would have featured the all-star combination of Mike McGoldrick with Dermot Byrne, Steve Cooney and Dezi Donnelly, plus special guest Katie Theasby, and also a performance by Sharon Howley, current TG 4 Gradam Ceoil Young Musician of the Year.  Also featured would have been even younger future stars of Irish tradition, Bethan Marsh (from Kilfenora) and Simon Crehan (from Tipperary).

Mike McGoldrick

Manchester-born, Mike is a renowned flautist and uillean piper famous for collaborations with a host of musicians in the Irish tradition and beyond. He was BBC Young Musician (1994), Top Instrumentalist (2001), Artist of the Year (2006), and also won All-Ireland titles with Dezi Donnelly and John Jo Kelly. He has been a member of or guested with many influential bands starting with Toss the Feathers and Flook, then Lunasa, Capercaillie, the Afro-Celt Sound System; led his own bands; and also played with the Mark Knopfler, Sharon Shannon and Kate Rusby bands. He has recorded 5 solo CDs including the celebrated jazz-folk “Fused” and “Arc (2018), 2 further CDs with John Doyle and John McCusker, and composed many much-loved tunes.

Dermot Byrne

Dermot comes from a musical family in South West Donegal (but is now resident in Clare), and from an early age has been one of Ireland’s foremost players of the button accordion and melodeon. He was a full member of Altan from 1993 to 2013, and released his first solo CD in 1995 (featuring Steve Cooney among others). He has performed, recorded and toured all over the world with many other artists including Donal Lunny, Frankie Gavin, Sharon Shannon, The Stunning and Stephane Grapelli – he has an extensive discography. He was chosen as TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year 2013. His most recent CDs are with harpist Floriane Blancke and “Liag” with Éamonn Coyne and John Doyle.

Steve Cooney

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Steve started playing in rock bands, mastering guitar, bass guitar and didgeridoo. He moved to Ireland in the early 1980s, where he became a hugely influential figure in traditional music – particularly deploying the acoustic nylon and steel-stringed guitar – as recently recognised on TG4’s “Se Mo Laoch”. Since his famous early partnership with Seamus Begley, he has played on over 60 albums with a huge range of top Irish musicians, including bands such as Altan, the Chieftans, Stockton’s Wing and Clannad, He has composed his own material and is one of the most sought-after producer/arrangers in traditional music. He has just released the first CD of Irish harp music played on the guitar – “Ceol Ársa Cláirsí”.

Dezi Donnelly

Also Manchester-born, Dezi started on the fiddle at 7, inspired by his uncle the renowned Tyrone fiddler Des Donnelly. All Britain fiddle champion at 9 years old, by age 15 he had won 5 All-Ireland titles, and was All Ireland Young Traditional Musician of The Year in 1999. He co-founded the band Toss the Feathers with Mike McGoldrick, with whom he has collaborated in many musical projects and various CDs – including “Upside Down” (also with Sharon Shannon) and the recent “Dog in the Fog” (2018). Dezi’s solo recording career started with “Welcome” (with guitarist Skirm) in 1995, followed by “Familiar Footsteps” (1999).

 Katie Theasby

Katie is a whistle and flute player and singer, was raised first in the London Irish music scene and then in Kilfenora. Her fiddler/singer father Paul Theasby and her mother Gloria’s songs have been great influences. She was an early performer, including a Glastonbury festival slot at age 14 with Ron Kavana’s band Alias. Katie grew up in an environment of political activism and she has campaigned for the rights of Travellers in recent years. Katie has performed with artists such as Finbar Furey, Paddy Keenan, Stocktons Wing and Kinky Friedman amongst others, and her first CD “I remember you singing” was RTE album of the week in December 2019.

Sharon Howley

Sharon is the middle of three fabulously talented Kilfenora sisters, a member of the Kilfenora Céilí Band, and plays cello, fiddle and accordion. She first performed with the band at the National Concert Hall, aged 16; has featured on their recent CDs; and has recently started to arrange music for the band. She is also the first ever full-time cellist in a céilí band. With two Masters degrees in music, Sharon tutors, writes and arranges music for a number of organisations and projects, and has appeared on many albums for a wide variety of artists, and is the current TG 4 Gradam Ceoil All-Ireland Young Musician of the Year. See her performing at the awards here.

Bethan Marsh will contribute some dancing during the concert. From a very musical Kilfenora family – which also featured in the TG 4 Gradam Ceoil awards programme – she is the national Under 10 Oireachtas na Samhna Sean-Nos Dance Champion 2019.

Simon Crehan (16) is member of Lattin-Cullen Comhaltas branch in Tipperary. He started playing at the age of five, learning from the inspirational Billy Clifford.  He has appeared on Hup! (TG4) and on Raidió na Gaeltachta. He was a prize-winner at the elite 2019 Meitheal Summer School run by Garry Shannon. As a result he has an opportunity to play at the Kilfenora Traditional Music Festival. He will be accompanied on guitar by his older brother Patrick, who has just completed the BA in Irish Music at the World Academy in Limerick.