From early days with The Bothy Band to his celebrated solo performances, Kevin Burke is considered one of Irish music's luminaries. The recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA in the US, and in Ireland the prestigious Gradam Ceoil award, he is acknowledged as a master of the tradition. Although Kevin has spent much of his life playing in a group context, he has never lost his love for solo fiddle music – the “naked fiddle” as he sometimes puts it.
A native of London, Kevin inherited his love of Irish music from his parents who emigrated from County Sligo, Ireland. Burke's music career began in 1974 with a move to Ireland and joining seminal Irish group The Bothy Band. Since then, he has formed the renowned bands Celtic Fiddle Festival, Patrick Street, and Open House, and worked with many great artists including Arlo Guthrie, Kate Bush, Tim O'Brien, Christy Moore, Dervish, and Lunasa. His highly ornamented Sligo style of fiddling is beloved in all corners of the globe.
In a fRoots interview by Tony Montague on his album, An Evening with Kevin Burke, we get an idea of his concerts. “The album is a flawless recording of unaccompanied fiddle and, unusually, includes the spoken introductions for each set of tunes - delivered low-key with humour, wit, warmth, and a lifetime’s knowledge of the music... Kevin’s own patter brings his audiences closer to him, to the tunes, and to the musicians and places he evokes.” As Burke said, “I think it helps to give listeners a bit of context to hang their hat on. I try to make it light-hearted but informative, almost like education by stealth. And I think it’s nice for people to understand that I’m really just a link in the chain.”
His latest recording, Sligo Made, launched at The Fiddler of Dooney in October 2019, is a return to his roots both musically and geographically. Recorded in a studio overlooking Innisfree,these tunes learned from the legends of traditional music, performed by the legends of today, are another strong link in the chain.
“Sligo Made is a lovely album and a must have for Burke’s fans. The music is well-heeled, played with extraordinary nuance, and gets to the spirit of the Sligo fiddle tradition ... There’s a special swagger and depth in this music that is immediately engaging.” Daniel Neely / The Irish Echo
"A fiddle icon." Irish Music Magazine
“A lyrical player of emotional electricity.” The Washington Post
“Burke imparts a rhythmic intensity that is remarkably powerful...a superior instrumentalist in any idiom...impressively virtuosic.” The New York Times
Barry Kerr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer, and painter, and is considered one of Ireland’s most accomplished artists. He has toured the world as a solo artist and has been equally at home sharing the stage in the company of other artists including Steve Cooney, Cara Dillon, Julie Fowlis, Lumiere and Dervish. Renowned folk acts such as Karan Casey, Flook, Jiggy, Beoga, Brian Finnegan, Damian O’Kane and Kate Rusby include his compositions in their tour repertoires.
He has performed on some of the most prestigious stages in the world, from Radio City Music Hall in New York to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and has multiple arena tours under his belt. He performed as principal uilleann piper on a symphony orchestra tour of the United States with Celtic Thunder under the direction of conductor David Brophy.
Siobhan Butler is a traditional percussive dancer specializing in the traditional and vernacular dance practices of Ireland. Informed by decades of study and engagement with traditional percussive dance practices, Siobhan’s creative methodology is a holistic incorporation of historical, cultural, and aesthetic contexts. Her work has been seen on international stages and in institutions across the globe where her in-demand performances, showcases, and lectures have been featured. She is privileged to have performed and collaborated with many of the leading traditionals artists of the North Atlantic including Cherish the Ladies, Kevin Burke, Nic Gareiss, Nuala Kennedy, Kieran Jordan, and John Whelan to name a few. Since moving to Ireland from the United States in 2016, Siobhan’s primary dance influences are some of County Clare’s greatest Set dancers and their unique “battering” style. She is honored to share their steps and stories as oral history, folklore, and heritage continue to serve as huge inspirations for all of Siobhan’s creative work.
Siobhan holds a BA Anthropology from Goddard College and an MA Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. She lives in Ennistymon, County Clare with her husband, stonemason and musician, Dominic Keogh.
Aoife ní Fhearraigh
Aoife Ní Fhearraigh was born and raised in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region) of Gweedore and Northwest Donegal is home to some of the most famous names in Irish music: the members of Clannad, Enya and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan.
Small wonder then that Aoife found herself surrounded by music from an early age. These early influences included the late Prionsias Ó Maonaigh, the father of Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh who taught her the fiddle. Later at school, she was taught music by Máire Uí Bhraonáin, mother to some of the Clannad-members. The strong local song tradition of Gweedore and neighbouring Ranafast also provided her with a wealth of beautiful songs.
In 1991 Aoife released her first recording ‘Loinneog Cheoil’ (accompanied by the well-known band Dervish), a cassette with 10 well-known and lesser-known songs from her native region which as re-recorded and re-released in 2005, produced by Manus Lunny of Capercaillie.
In 1996 her debut CD ‘Aoife’ was released by Gael Linn and produced by Moya Brennan and Dennis Woods which contained more traditional Irish language songs.
In 2003 released her second CD The Turning of the Tide on the Celtic Collections label, which showed a different side to Aoife’s repertoire with songs including Danny Boy, After the Goldrush, Neidin and also included a duet with the famous Seán Keane
In 2006 her fourth album ‘If I Told You’, was released on the Phaeton label and distributed by Claddagh Records. Co-produced with Paul Gardiner and Brendan Monaghan, this recording has a selection of songs ranging from traditional English, Irish and newly written songs. As a singer, she manages to capture the essence and emotions of these songs and long life into new ones, such as Long Hard Night, If I Told You, Crann Úll, The Parting Glass and Táimse i m’chodhladh.
Over the years Aoife has toured and performed in Europe, Japan and the United States. She has recorded and performed with various artists, and you can also hear her haunting voice on the Playstation Game – Metal Gear Solid Original, The Best is Yet to Come (sung in Irish), written and produced by Rika Muranaka. Aoife’s music is open to modern arrangements, made of voice and traditional instruments that beautifully reveals her light, melodic voice with a dreamy, nostalgic intonation, reflecting her talents as a vocalist and her affinity with her native song tradition.
JEoin comes from Limerick City – the historical cathedral city made famous in the film ‘Angela’s Ashes’. He has performed widely and travelled extensively – from Kazakhstan to Norway.
His commitment and dedication to live performance and his passion for the art of songwriting and song interpretation has sustained and nurtured a long-term music career that began at an open door in Ireland and has continued to break on the city shores and the far away oceans across the world today.
JEoin moved to London in the late ‘80’s to pursue a career as an independent musician. While living in Ireland he established himself as a solo performer and toured with some of the finest Irish folk revivalists of the time including the Traditional band Clannad and the contemporary Folk Rock band Scullion. It was the merging of these distinctive influences in the early days that has informed J Eoin’s individual sound throughout the years.
Following a number of independent record releases including Sean One Shoe’ (1994), Claws’ (1997) and ‘Eve Of Solution’ (1999), J Eoin began recording a full-length studio album in 2001. Released as ‘Exiles’ on the Natural5Four label, it was showcased at the 12 Bar Club in London’s West End in December 2005.
The second studio album ‘Acrobat’, produced and recorded by Gerry Diver, was released at the Irish Cultural Centre in London in January 2013.
In 2017 JEoin relocated back to Ireland close to his native city Limerick. He has released two new albums on the Natural5Four label. ‘Sunshowers’ (2018), a solo voice and acoustic guitar project, was recorded ‘live in the Rua Room’ in Belgium, ‘Toogenblik – JEoin In Concert’, recorded live at the Toogenblik Folk Club in Brussels, was released July 2019.
Åse Kristine Waglen
Åse Kristine Waglen teaches Irish dance at the dance school Sound-Irish dance Factory in Oslo and is a member of the Sound- Irish Dance Company.
She started Irish dancing at 16 and has since then been traveling to Ireland and Europe to compete and work with renowned Irish dance masters and teachers, such as Breandán de Gallaí and Ronan McCormack. Åse started teaching only a short time after taking up Irish dance. First her peers through various school activities and projects before starting as a teacher at the Sound Irish dance Factory in 2006. In addition to the dance school, she’s been teaching at numerous social events, and also organized dance events like Feiseanna.
Her main motivation is always to give people the opportunity to enjoy Irish music through dancing and community building.
Brendan T. Monaghan
Brendan is from Banbridge in Northern Ireland and has worked as a professional folk musician since 1991. He is a multi-instrumentalist specialised in uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes) and tin whistles.
Back in Ireland, he was teaching in primary and secondary level schools as well as in several Comhaltas branches, primarily Warrenpoint and Annaclone Comhaltas, both individuals and groups. He has several years of experience teaching music to children and adults alike.
Brendan has toured extensively in the USA, Canada, and most of Europe, notably with the famous show Celtic Thunder. Since 1992, he has performed regularly with Phil Coulter in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Radio City NY, the Lincoln Centre NY, and at the White house for President Clinton in 1998. He has also performed with artists like Justin Hayward, John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Steve Harley and Nanci Griffith.
Since 2020, Brendan has established himself in Oslo, where he is currently performing and teaching Irish music. He is a founding member on the band Muintir and the duo Dúchas.
Cecilie started out with modern Irish dance in 2008 and has since then developed her passion for Irish music and more traditional dance styles. She is currently the only one in Norway to teach Irish ‘sean nós’ or ‘old style’ dance. She is a member of “Sound Irish Dance Company” as well as a teacher at the dance school “Sound Irish Dance Factory”.
Together with the dance company, she has had the possibility to work with world renowned dancers and choreographers like Ronan McCormack, Breandán de Gallaí, Zara Curtis and Dearbhle Lennon, as well as performing with several bands and artist, among which is a guest performance with The Chieftains at their Oslo concert in 2018.
Cecilie has a Ph.D. in Norwegian opera history from NTNU and has studied theatre and song at the Conservatory of Dijon in France. When not performing, she is working as a producer for the contemporary music ensembles Cikada and Oslo Sinfonietta.
Starting out on the violin at age seven, Marie Nivel took up Celtic harp in 2008 and has since deepened her passion and skills for Irish music. In 2021 she released her first album The Road Less Travelled a personal selection of traditional Celtic and Scandinavian tunes, as well as her own compositions. Marie Nivel is known for her sensitive playing and beautiful song writing. She has been performing solo and with a wide variety of musicians since 2012 at concerts, festivals and for private events.
Marie believes that everyone can learn the harp and is very passionate about finding the right approach for each of her students. Apart from teaching traditional Irish music, she loves to empower her students to create their own music by teaching them the same simple but practical skills that kickstarted her own journey of song writing.
Marie Nivel is a therapeutic harpist, wilderness awareness mentor and holds a Bachelor in dance and pedagogy from the University in Leiden, NL. When she is not performing with or teaching the harp, she works as a dance teacher and wilderness mentor at Arendal Steiner School. She also works at Oslo Fjordskole where she brings together music and nature awareness in a approach to develop a new marine pedagogy.