The Compánach Concert Artistes
The core players are Gerry O'Connor, Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Fintan Vallely, Sibéal Davitt and Roisín Chambers.
They are augmented from time to time by other established artistes including fiddle players Liz Doherty and Maggie Maguire; pipers Gay McKeon and Jimmy O'Brien Moran; singers Máire Ní Choilm, Karan Casey, Síomha Ní Aonghusa and Helen Diamond; and dancers Emma O'Sullivan, Arlene McCarroll, Suzanne Leahy and Edwina Guckian. Guest singers include Roisín White and Grace Toland.
For each performance the line-up may differ; the players on the night are listed under 'events'.
Gerry O’Connor is a Dundalk fiddle player, a versatile figure in Irish music who is solidly ‘of his place’ in the music’s traditions. He has toured Europe solo and with the band Skylark, and has many recordings, among them the seminal albums of Lá Lugh with the haunting singer Eithne Ní Uallacháin (Bilingua); he has also taught fiddle internationally over several decades (Gerry O'Connor)
Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn is an uilleann piper from Monaghan who has achieved major Irish awards for his playing, most recently the Seán Ó Riada gold medal. He has spent recent years between Ireland and France, is a tutor in uilleann piping with Armagh Pipers' Club and has recorded most recently with harper Laoise Kelly. (Tiarnán Duinnchín)
Fintan Vallely, editor of the encyclopedia Companion to Irish Traditional Music and director of the show, plays the wooden concert flute. He has been one of the major public voices in Irish music since the early 1990s, the editor of a dozen books, numerous journal articles, including the first tutor for the Irish flute , reviewing, analysing, promoting education and lecturing in Traditional music in major colleges (Fintan Vallely).
Liz Doherty is a Buncrana, Co. Donegal fiddler. An authority on Cape Breton music, she has toured with the bands Nomos, Bumblebees, Fiddlesticks, and String Sisters. Author of The Cape Breton Fiddle Companion, she lectures in Traditional music at Ulster University in Derry City where she is director of An tAcadamh Ceoil Chaoimhín Uí Dhochartaigh / The Traditional Music Academy. (Liz Doherty)
Maggie Maguire is a fiddle player and teacher from Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh. From a stylistically-reputed family of musicians, she has achieved munerous All-Ireland awards, has played with with Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, The Chieftains, and Fiddlesticks. and has toured in Scotland, Scandinavia and Canada (Maggie Maguire)
Sibéal Davitt comes from a background of Irish language and music and is an accomplished student and teacher of dance as well as being a superb sean-nós (old-style, free-form) step dancer (Sibéal Davitt)
Karan Casey is the leading Traditional/Contemporary singer in Ireland. She sings Traditional unaccompanied through to Jazz and her own contemporary-style songwriting. With Compánach she performs a capella, on an old song repertoire in Irish and English (Karan Casey)
Roisín Chambers is a Connemara-style sean-nós singer and a fiddle-player from Dublin who has won honours in Oireachtas, Fleadh Cheoil and Siansa competitions and has performed solo, with Salsa Celtica and The Bonnymen (Roisín Chambers).
Máire Ní Choilm is a Gaelic singer from Gaoth Dobhair, the Irish-language region of Donegal; her repertoire and distinctive style are distinctively of her place and have gained her major Oireachtas awards (Máire Ní Choilm)
Nutan Jacques Pirapez's photographs cover people and topography in this show. Three hundred of these are the basis of a changing backdrop which gives the performed music its narrative. Born in Belgium, he was influenced by major Belgian and French Dadaist and surrealist painters and writers including René Magritte. He lectured at the National College of Art and Design, in Sligo, Waterford and Galway art schools. As a photo journalist published in leading presses including Time, Stern, National Geographic, New York Times and Geo. He has made the west of Ireland his home since 1969, and Irish topography, people and music his life’s work. A member of the Paris agency RAPHO, he has published in Time, Stern, National Geographic, New York Times and Geo, and has photographed the antiquities of Ireland for Government agencies. In addition to some 21 books of his work - most recently Irlande 66/69 (2016) - his photos grace album covers for many artists including Sharon Shannon, Martin Hayes, Altan, Frankie Gavin, Peter Horan and Ben Lennon. He has exhibited in Ireland, Europe and the USA, and his awards include the Benson and Hedges Gold (London, 1990) and Pentax Gold (Bruxelles, 1969) (Nutan)
Gareth McCormack provides superb landscapes for many of the counties. Noted for his spectacular capture of waterways and stormy seascapes, his images too have appeared in National Geographic and Time, and are frequently used by such as Tourism Ireland, as well as by commercial bodies such as Microsoft and Warner Bros. His photographic style is characterised by bold and dynamic compositions, and galvanised by striking natural light. (Gareth).
Roisín White is a traditional singer from Kilkeel, Co. Down who sings a largely Ulster repertoire, influenced by the singing of Sarah Anne O'Neill and Geordie Hanna from Co. Tyrone.
Grace Toland is from Inishowen, Co. Donegal where she began singing in its varied English-language tradition; she is a member of The Inishowen Song Project and incoming Director of the Irish Traditional Music Archive (Grace Toland)
Suzanne Leahy is from Herbertstown, Co. Limerick where she lived music from childhood in a community of music, song and dance. She first learnt formal Irish step-dance, then sean-nós. She performs and teaches locally and in workshops at festivals in Ireland and abroad.
Emma O'Sullivan is an award-winning sean-nós dancer and dance teacher from Connemara, Co. Galway. From a family background of dance, she won the 2009 All-Ireland Sean-Nós Dancing title at Oireachtas na Samhna in Letterkenny; her DVD of dance tuition and performance is Step by Step. (Emma O'Sullivan)
Síomha Ní Aonghusa sings with her family members in Na Casaidigh. Her repertorie is largely Donegal, she has studied of the singing of Seosamh Ó hÉanaí and she sings too in English, including popular national and regional ballads.
Gay McKeon is a Dublin piper who was taught at the Pipers’ Club by Leo Rowsome; he has played throughout the world and is also the Director of Na Píobairí Uilleann (Gay McKeon)
Martin O'Hare is a bodhrán player from Belfast. He has played with bands Ash Plant, Lá Lúgh and Trad Lads, and as guest with Riverdance, Tim O’Brien, Emmy Lou Harris, Máirtín O’Connor and Mary Bergin. He performs with Compánach in Europe and Scandinavia (Martin O’Hare)
Helen Diamond is a singer and fiddle player from Co. Dublin whose has a strong Northern influence. She sings mostly unaccompanied; English language songs are her speciality (Helen Diamond)
Arlene McCarroll is from a family background of set-dancing in Seskinore, Co. Tyrone. A musician on whistle, bodhrán and button accordion, she is an All-Ireland-fleadh award-winner in sean-nós dance, has performed in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, and teaches dance in her home area (Arlene McCarroll)
Edwina Guckian, from Drumsna, Co. Leitrim, learnt dance from her mother and local dancers. A musician herself, she has toured and taught dance world-wide, sharing stages with such as Dervish, Máirtín O Connor, Kíla and Martin Hayes. The recipient of numerous awards, among her projects is a tutorial DVD, based on her teaching workshops at many festivals (Edwina)
Technical presentation is by Rebecca Draisey Collishaw. A Canadian-born, Dublin-based performer on oboe and cor anglais with the Classical trio Síoga, she has researched music learning and community building in the Irish diaspora; teaching and transmission of Irish traditional music; Newfoundland and Irish sean nós dancing; and public policy in arts broadcasting.
Website, programmes and brochure design is by Nick Lethert.
Scripting by Fintan Vallely
English-Irish Translation by Ian O Caoimh (ianocaoimh [at] gmail.com)