Harmonic Accompaniment

Donal Lunny DÓNAL LUNNY

Dónal Lunny is popularly regarded as having being central to the renaissance of Irish Music over the last three decades.  Since the seventies Dónal has had involvement with some of the most innovative bands to emerge from Ireland including Planxty, the Bothy Band, Moving Hearts, Coolfin, and more recently Mozaik. He has toured across the world, collaborating with musicians of many different cultures.

Dónal co-founded Mulligan Records and produced 17 albums for the label. Since then he has produced tracks for, and collaborated on albums with Kate Bush, Mark Knopfler, Indigo Girls, Clannad, and Baaba Maal among others. He produced the internationally acclaimed album for EMI, ‘Common Ground’, featuring such artists as Bono, Neil and Tim Finn, and Elvis Costello. He also has appeared on the BBC TV series, Transatlantic Sessions alongside the likes of James Taylor, Eddi Reader, Diana Krall and others.  Dónal was MD of the House Band on the “Céiliúradh” concert in the Royal Albert Hall, part of President Michael D. Higgins’ state visit to the UK.

He continues his work in studio production, also occasionally composing music for theatre, television and film. A member of Aosdána, in 2008 Dónal received an Honorary Doctorate in music from Trinity College. In 2009 he was appointed Artist in Residence at the University of Limerick, where he frequently teaches.

 

 

 

 

Donal Lunny CORMAC DE BARRA

A native of Dublin, Cormac was raised in an Irish-speaking family of musicians and singers. He is a third generation harper, having first studied Irish harp with his grandmother, Róisín Ní Shé, before going on to study concert harp in the United States. He has performed across the globe both as a solo artist and with many of Ireland’s most respected and well-known artists including Clannad, Dervish, Altan, Moya Brennan and Brian Kennedy.

Cormac has made numerous recordings, including two CDs with members of the De Barra family and two under the title Voices & Harps, with Grammy Award-winning singer and the voice of Clannad, Moya Brennan. He has also recorded two harp duo CDs with harpist and composer, Anne-Marie O’Farrell. Cormac has also enjoyed a career in televison, having presented the traditional music series Flosc and three years as main host of the flagship arts series, Imeall, on the Irish language television station TG4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conal O'Kane

CONAL O’KANE

Conal O’Kane is from Philadelphia and is a graduate of the University of Limerick’s BA in Irish Music and Dance and MA in Irish Music Performance programs. A multi-instrumentalist, he originally played fiddle and banjo before focusing on guitar, which gives him an unusual insight into both the melodic and harmonic structures of a large repertoire of tunes. He studied music theory with Roberto Pace at the Settlement Music School, which gives him a broad spectrum of accompaniment techniques from a wide range of musical genres.

In addition to his busy touring schedule, he is also a guitar teacher on both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Irish music at the Irish World Academy in UL, and a regular tutor at the Blas International Summer School of Irish Music and Dance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRÍONA NÍ DHOMHNAILL

Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill is most often spoken of as a key member of some of the most influential bands in the evolution of Irish traditional music since the 1970s; groups like SKARA BRAE, The BOTHY BAND, RELATIVITY and Nightnoise. Her singing and multi-instrumental playing form a cornerstone of the distinctive sound of all those groups.

What’s not so fully appreciated is her role as a composer in both contemporary and traditional styles. From her early teens, Tríona was writing songs and tunes. In 1970, Danny Doyle sang her composition, “Words” in the National Song Contest to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest. With lyrics by poet Michael Davitt and music by Tríona the song “Faoileán” was released by Gael Linn in 1975 as an early warning on environmental issues. Last year saw the release of the complete edition of The Trio Collection featuring Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Tríona’s song “In a deep sleep” recorded by Linda Ronstadt in 1988 is track 19. Japanese recording star Mimori has recorded Tríona’s songs, “The Road to Nowhere” and “Island of Hope and Tears”. Many of her compositions featured prominently in the recordings of Nightnoise. “Snow on High Ground” is a regular play on John Creedon’s nightly RTÉ Radio One show. Her 2010 album The Key’s Within consists solely of her own compositions and she plays all the instruments on the recording.

Tríona first made her mark in Irish music in the early 1970s as a schoolgirl member of the seminal band SKARA BRAE along with her younger sister Maighread, brother Mícheál and the Derry-born guitarist and singer, Dáithí Sproule. Their only recording on the Gael Linn label is widely regarded as one of the most influential and important Irish recordings of its time and it draws heavily from the rich Donegal song tradition.

Triona’s Aunt Neilí Ní Dhomhnaill from Ranafast in County Donegal, had a rich store of song in both English and Irish and was one of her earliest and biggest inspirations and influences. A keen sense of place and an intuitive understanding of the inherent beauty and worth of the song and music tradition have always been central to Tríona’s musical approach. On the disbandment of SKARA BRAE, Tríona and with her brother Mícheál were instrumental in forming the legendary Bothy Band, a grouping of Irish musicians who were to revolutionise the playing of traditional music. Joining Tríona and Mícheál in The Bothy Band were the Matt Molloy, Paddy Keenan, the late Tommy Peoples (later replaced by Kevin Burke) and Donal Lunny. Tríona’s keyboards playing underpinned the fiery rhythmic attack that was their hallmark and Tríona and Mícheál provided the ‘Bothies’ vocal identity through their contribution of songs sourced from the Donegal song tradition. The band’s five albums are classics in the traditional ensemble genre and still inspire young musicians today.

When The Bothy Band went their separate ways in 1979 Tríona moved to North Carolina and joined the band Touchstone. Other musical projects that Tríona has been central to have been Relativity with Scottish musician brothers Johnny and Phil Cunningham and her own brother Mícheál and the successful jazz-tinged Nightnoise who were to become one of the Windham Hill label’s best sellers.

Since her days in SKARA BRAE the musical bond between Tríona and her sister Maighread has been remarkably strong and their 1999 release Idir an Dá Sholas/ Between Two Lights marks a particular career milestone. Once again her novel approach to accompaniment shines through on this recording.

A gifted natural musician with a deep empathy for her own family’s rich tradition and an endless curiosity for new musical possibilities, Tríona’s compositions stand out as fresh and yet enduring, energetic and yet soulful, a uniquely connected and rooted set of new explorations. 

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ALAN COLFER

Originally from Waterford City, Alan Colfer is a graduate of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, where he now works as principal guitar tutor. He has played extensively throughout Ireland and Europe, and his repertoire draws influence from music the world over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANNY COLLINS

Danny Collins is a multi-instrumentalist from Rosscarbery in West Cork. He started playing at the age of seven and has been highly involved in the Traditional music circuit since.

He has toured extensively with music shows and dance shows alike, performing on both national and international stages. Danny has numerous All Ireland medals to his name on a variety of instruments. He has recently toured with the renowned trad group ‘Goitse’ as a guest musician and is now a well sought after performer and teacher.

Danny recently finished studying a BA in Irish Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, where he achieved a first class honours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
**Please note all teachers are subject to change.