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Artist Bios

andrea_beaton_tall.jpgAndrea Beaton
Saturday 8 May 9am

One of Cape Breton's most promising young fiddlers, Andrea Beaton comes by her music honestly. Listen to her play, the power of her bow, the drive and swing of her timing, the crispness of her attack. She's making a name for herself in dance halls, concerts, ceilidhs, and festivals. Like the compelling tradition she represents, her reputation is growing, spreading beyond the island. Andrea Beaton seems destined for great things.

She's the youngest of generations of Beaton musicians. Her father, Kinnon, is one of today's most influential Cape Breton fiddlers, and you can hear some of his timing in Andrea's playing. Her mother, Betty Beaton, is one of the great piano accompanists of her generation, contributing to that remarkable Beaton timing.

Her uncle, Buddy MacMaster, is the most revered fiddler on Cape Breton island. Her cousin, Natalie MacMaster, is an enormously popular entertainer. And so it goes, back and across the generations. Cape Breton is an extraordinarily musical place, and Andrea is increasingly in the forefront of her generation. Her music is at once her own and deeply rooted in the tradition associated with the Mabou Coal Mines. And, like her father and grandfather, she is a composer in the tradition, adding fine new music to the island's repertoire. -- Burt Feintuch, University of New Hampshire


Paul Bradley
Saturday 8 May

Fiddler, Fiddle-maker and poet, Paul's solo album 'Atlantic Roar' (1998) received a five-star review in the Irish Times, he toured Europe and USAwith the band Dorsa in the ninety's and has many other album credits.

In 2008, Paul was the invited representative of Irish Fiddling at The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Washington State, America's premier fiddle Festival, which previously had hosted Tommy Peoples, Liz Carroll and Kevin Burke in this role.

A teacher and performer at the annual fiddle concert at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, Paul has also given masterclasses at academic institutions and music festivals world-wide.

His poetry was most recently published in Fiddler Magazine and in 'Fortnight', the cultural, political and arts review. He has performed his poetry at the Electric Picnic, Open House Festival, Celtic Connections and elsewhere.

His recent television appearances on BBC's Blas Cheoil and TG4's Geanntraí can be seen on line.

As a violin maker he is presently working on commissioned violins for Aidan O Donnelll of the group Fidil, a viola, and violins for various customers at home and abroad. He is the luthier of choice of the renowned Contempo String Quartet.

A new fiddle album is in progress which will feature a wide spectrum of music and musical ideas he has been keeping on the burner for some years.

Known for its at times unorthodox and exciting approach his playing also conjures up the flavours and sounds of the old music he has been immersed in since childhood. He is regarded as one of the finest fiddle players of his generation.

Look forward to an entertaining and exciting gig interspersed with anecdote, wit and perhaps a poem or two!


burke_350.jpgKevin Burke
Saturday 9 May 9pm

Kevin Burke's fiddle playing has been at the forefront of traditional music for over 30 years. His work during the 1970's with Arlo Guthrie, Christy Moore and the Bothy Band established him as a first class musician and brought him international acclaim in both Europe and America. He also gained recognition as an exciting soloist with his far reaching album, "If the Cap Fits".

By 1980 Kevin had settled in the USA and was performing with Bothy Band colleague Micheal O Domhnaill. Their 2 albums, "Promenade" and "Portland", became, and still are, very influential resources for many traditional musicians. In 1985 Kevin was a founding member of the group, "Patrick Street", and this band, highly successful on both sides of the Atlantic, has recently released its 9th album.

Kevin spent much of the 90's recording and performing in a series of highly successful concert tours with Johnny Cunningham from Scotland and Christian Lemaitre from Brittany, a trio of fiddle players known as "The Celtic Fiddle Festival" and he has also become a featured member of Tim O'Brien's wonderful 'crossover' band, "The Crossing'.

In 2005 Kevin and his long time colleague from "Patrick Street" and "The Celtic Fiddle Festival" released a highly acclaimed cd entitled "In Tandem". The cd was released independently, without the aid of a record company and the success of this project has encouraged to form his own label "Loftus Music". The first release on the new label is an exciting collaboration with Kevin and a wonderfully talented musician/composer from Portland, Oregon, Cal Scott. Kevin and Cal's cd is named after one of Kevin's compositions "Across the Black River".

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 himself sometimes puts it. This is very evident in his live solo release, "In Concert", which is a performance of mostly unaccompanied traditional pieces.


Kevin Crawford
Thursday 6 May

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 member of Moving Cloud, the Clare-based band who recorded such critically-acclaimed albums as Moving Cloud and Foxglove, and he also recorded with Grianán, Raise The Rafters, Joe Derrane and Sean Tyrrell and appears on the 1994 recording The Sanctuary Sessions.

Kevin now tours the world with Ireland's cutting edge traditional band, Lúnasa, called by some the "Bothy Band of the 21st Century" with six ground breaking albums to their credit; Lúnasa, Otherworld, The Merry Sisters of Fate, Redwood, The Kinnitty Sessions and Sé.

A virtuoso flute player, Kevin has recorded two solo albums, D'Flute Album and In Good Company and recently released On Common Ground with Lúnasa band mate Cillian Vallely.

glackins_350.jpgThe Glackin Brothers
Saturday 8 May 9pm

The name Glackin is one of the most revered names in traditional music in Ireland. Paddy, Seamus and Kevin Glackin are brothers. Their father,Tom Glackin, was Donegal fiddle player who joined the guards and settled in Dublin where he raised his family. All three boys were to follow in their father's footsteps and take up the fiddle. The Glackin household was a musical one and while Tom Glackin was friendly with John Doherty in Donegal he hosted many musical evenings where guests like Frank O'Higgins, Tommy Potts and John Kelly would come and share music. It is little wonder that all three Glackin brothers have become respected masters of their instrument. The repertoire, drive and styling of Donegal fiddle music can be distinctly heard in the Glackin's playing but what marks their performances out is the almost uncanny timing and understanding that you feel only siblings could share.


Justin Grounds
Saturday 8 May

Nomadic multi-instrumentalist, 'electro-acoustic visionary' and Inchydoney local Justin Grounds makes his debut appearance at the Fiddle Fair on a tour of Ireland to launch his new electro-acoustic record 'The Dissolving'.

Drawing from Grounds' vast and eclectic musical upbringing, and combining influences from Bach to Squarepusher, the record evokes a unique sound and speaks with a compelling vision, combining glitchy electronic textures, plucked violins, ancient sounding string melodies and chiming thumb piano tones with his own fragile voice to create post-modern song cycles.

A captivating solo performer not afraid to push the boundaries of his violin, Grounds' live show weaves it into hypnotic layers, combining thumb piano, analog synths and electronics with his haunting voice to build songs which seem to hark back to some timeless memory.

idrawslow_350.jpgI Draw Slow
Saturday 8 May

I Draw Slow are a 5 piece, Dublin Based, Alt Country band, playing "original, enthralling, & outstandingly written songs" penned by Siblings Dave and Louise Holden. I Draw Slows debut album 'DOWNSIDE' was released late in 2008, combining a solid roots tradition with contemporary song writing, to critical acclaim. Currently they are in pre production for the follow up to be released later this year.

The Sound: Alt-country, folk, roots, old-time, Americana The five have created a new sound, rooted in the old time style of the Appalachian Mountains, drawing on Irish traditional music and modern Americana. However, this is a whole new songbook of stories and melodies. These are dark tales of debauchery and trouble swinging from the kind of well-crafted melodies that survive.

kelly_250.jpgAlan Kelly Quartet
Friday 7 May 9pm

Roscommon born Alan Kelly is widely regarded as the finest exponent of the piano accordion in traditional Irish music and is credited with a single handed reviving the piano accordion as a traditional instrument. Alan grew up in a house steeped in traditional music and dance.

In his early music years, Alan won All-Ireland titles on piano accordion and piano. Determined to become a full time musician Alan moved to Galway, where he quickly became part of the thriving traditional music scene, forging an excellent reputation for himself.

Alan has recorded two solo albums 'Out of the Blue' and 'Mosaic' as well as an album with his brother John 'Fourmilehouse' . He has contributed to a number of theatre performances from Boston to Dublin to Sydney. He has toured extensively both with his own Mosaic band as well as with artists of the calibre of Matt Molloy, Sean Keane, Cathy Ryan, Kieran Goss, Mick Hanley, Sean Tyrell, Arty McGlynn & Nollaig Casey, Michael McGoldrick, Karen Casey, Cathal Hayden and scottish vocalist Eddi Reader.

Alan's recording credits include appearances with Eddi Reader, Cathy Ryan, Niamh Parsons, Michael McGoldrick, and Seán Keane. He guested with top Irish groups Lunasa and De Dannan as well as collaborating with Alison Brown, the Grammy award winning banjo player on her Irish tour in 2001.

Laoise_350.jpgLaoise Kelly
Sunday 1pm

Laoise Kelly, from Westport in Co. Mayo, is acknowledged as one of Ireland’s most acclaimed traditional harpers. She has pioneered a new style of traditional harping which has seen her represent Ireland at the World Harp Festival in Paraguay to performances for President Mary Robinson, President Mary McAleese, HRH Prince Andrew, the 25 Heads of State of the EU and along side Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney on the ancient hill of Tara, as well as tours to Africa, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, America and Canada.


Tony Linnane
Thursday 6 May

In the world of traditional Irish music, Tony Linnane is renowned as a fiddle player of outstanding ability. His distinctive playing has superb fluency and flow in its style and is characterised by impeccable technique and a wealth of feeling and sensitivity. He is recognised as on of the finest exponents of the instrument in Ireland today.

Tony was born into a musical family in Corofin in the North-West region of Co. Clare in the late 1950's. His father Pat was a whistle player and a renowned collector of tunes. As a result Tony was exposed to music at a very early age. Beginning on the mouth-organ he advanced to the fiddle and was an accomplished player in early adolescence. By the time he graduated from school he was much sought after to play in the country's leading folk/traditional clubs. Since then he's become a veteran of all the major music festivals in Ireland and has performed frequently on R.T.E. radio and television.

Along with Noel Hill, Kieran Hanrahan, Tony Callinan and Barry Moore, Tony was a fonder member of "Inchiquin" a short-lived group who had moderate success on the club circuits of Britain and Ireland. "Inchiquin" released one self-titled album that has long since become a collector's item. Following the demise of that group Tony continued to play professionally with fellow Clare man and concertina player Noel Hill.

The duo released 'Noel Hill & Tony Linnane', recorded in 1979 on the Tara label and to this day it is still regarded as one of the finest traditional Irish music records of all time. It was re-released on CD in 1996. The duo were highly regarded for their seminal performances both as headliners and opening act to the likes of The Bothy Band, Planxty, The Chieftains, De Dannan and Clannad.

Along with Noel Hill, Andy Irvine, De Dannan and others, Tony performed on tour in Germany and in the company of Hill, Tony McMahon and the late Miko Russell completed a number of highly acclaimed French tours. In more recent times he has played in the United States with musicians like Noel Shine, Pat Sky and Joe Burke.

In 1981 Tony won first prize at the 'Fiddler of Oriel' competition, the most prestigious award that can be bestowed upon Irish traditional fiddlers. He has also featured on a number of classic Irish albums including Christy Moore's "The Iron Behind The Velvet" and Planxty's "The Woman I Love So Well". In recent times he has recorded with Lúnasa flute player Kevin Crawford on his "In Good Company" album. Last year Tony teamed up with Noel Hill once again to record a session for the TG4 television programme "Geantrai". Their exciting performance can be viewed on the DVD and heard on the CD of the same name, released on the Gael Linn record label.


Saturday 9 May 3pm

Lazik is a sextet specialising in the fusion of east European music: Bulgarian music, Serbian, Gypsy and Klezmer music with melodies of the west: Irish music, Breton and Scottish music. An ingredient of Scandinavian power and a few Turkish spices are added to the mix. The result, high in colour is seasoned with the band's arrangements mixing styles and tastes from all over Europe.

Lazik is made up of six musicians of various countries, Stella Rodrigues (Netherlands) on the fiddle/vocals, Barry O'Donovan (Ireland) on guitar, Christelle Moisan (Brittany) on flute and vocals, Dylan Gully (Brittany) on clarinet and kaval, Christian Martin (Germany) on bass guitar, and JB Heine (Belgium) on percussion.The combination of musical influences and the virtuosity of the five members deliver a repertoire where varied musical styles are mixed together to produce a seamless whole.

Sunday 9 May 8:30pm

Lá Nua - A New Album and a New Day for Lúnasa

In October 1997, Ireland's all-star quintet Lúnasa released their début CD. Since that auspicious beginning, Lúnasa has become one of the most sought-after bands on the international Celtic music scene. The band's inventive arrangements and bass-driven grooves steered Irish acoustic music into surprising new territory.

On their first American visit, word-of-mouth led to sold-out shows and rave reviews. "A standing-room only crowd in New York confirmed Lúnasa's reputation . . . " wrote The New York Times.

Thirteen years and seven recordings on from that acclaimed debut the groups forthcoming album 'Lá Nua' (New Day) will be released in April and issued on their own newly established record label.

The Lá Nua release will be supported by extensive international touring throughout the year but the band are most looking forward to their Irish dates and the opportunity to perform their new material at home.


Troy MacGillivray
Saturday 8 May 9pm

Troy MacGillivray was raised in Lanark, Nova Scotia, his musical prowess can be attributed to an especially rare combination of commitment and bloodline. By the age of six, Troy was already impressing audiences with his step dancing skills. By 13 he was teaching piano at the renowned Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in St. Anne's, Cape Breton. He has completed grade seven of the Toronto Conservatory of Music for classical piano, has spent four years in a stringed orchestra and has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in music from St. Francis Xavier University.

Troy's latest project, When Here Meets There, is a unique collaboration with Canadian & US National Fiddle Champion Shane Cook that showcases why both fiddlers are at the top of their game. "Individually, these two fiddlers are virtuosic musicians and dynamic performers; together, stimulating and feeding off of each other and their top-tier back-up musicians, they are inspirational." --Dr. Sherry Johnson - York University, Toronto

Dan and Paul McDonald
Sunday 9 May 3pm

mcdonald_danny.jpgFiddler Dan MacDonald is an accomplished musician, skilled in both the Scottish and Irish fiddle traditions of Cape Breton Island. Dan makes his home in Toronto, where he is active throughout Toronto and Detroit's Irish and Scottish music sessions. Since 2003 he has been co-host of the weekly session at Dora Keogh's Irish pub, Toronto. In addition he toured extensively as the musical director of The Magic of Ireland, a Canadian Irish dance review. Recently he formed a new group called "Brogue," that includes professional Irish and Scottish dancers from the Toronto area. Dan is also a skilled teacher in the workshop setting and has taught at the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival, the Algoma Traditional Camp, the Riverside Celtic College and other Ontario Celtic festivals and summer schools. Presently he is on the staff of the Scarborough Community College, Toronto, as a tutor in Celtic fiddle styles.


His brother, guitarist Paul MacDonald also plays piano, and has toured and performed with numerous artists including Jerry Holland, Brenda Stubbert, Otis Tomas, Paul Cranford, The Boys of The Lough, Joe Derrane, Máire O'Keeffe and Brendan Mulvihill; pipers Hamish Moore, John MacLean and Fred Morrison; and numerous other Celtic artists. Throughout the early 1990s Paul was a regular visitor to Ireland where he performed at sessions throughout the West Coast and in Dublin. A sound engineer, producer, collector, writer and researcher for over twenty years, Paul has an extensive discography that includes traditional music from Cape Breton, Ireland, Scotland and the Appalachians. Paul has taught at numerous workshops and festivals throughout his career, including the prestigious Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in 2006 and 2008; and from 2003 to 2007 Paul was adjunct professor of Celtic Music at St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish Nova Scotia. Presently Paul is authoring a new book on the subject of the Irish influence on Cape Breton fiddle music.


Paul Meehan
Saturday 8 May

Paul Meehan is an old friend of the Fiddle Fair, having played with the infamous North Cregg many times, Michelle O'Brien and Siobhán Paoples and also the legendary world premiere gig with Liz Carroll a few years ago. Now a full time member of Lúnasa he is one of the most sought after session guitarists on the scene. He is also well know for his pirouettes


Michelle O'Brien
Sunday 9 May 1pm
Michelle O'Brien is from Toonagh in County Clare. She learned her music at her local primary school under the guidance of acclaimed music teacher Frank Custy. From there Michelle was taken under the wing of her neighbor, the legendary Tommy Peoples, and latterly Tommy's daughter Siobhán. It is Tommy who became Michelle's main influence and Tommy's distinctive style of playing can be heard in her music. Michelle moved to Dublin in the 90's and is an influential member of the Dublin traditional music scene ever since.

Michelle recorded with Sharon Shannon on her album Each Little Thing. She also recorded an album with concertina player Aogán Lynch (Slide) and Gavin Ralston to critical acclaim both in Ireland and abroad and she features on Mick Hanly's 'Wooden Horses' album. She was a member of traditional music groups Providence, The Bow House Quintet, The Bumblebees, Slide and has recorded and toured extensively throughout the USA, Europe and Australia. Michelle regularly performs with Tommy Peoples, Siobhán Peoples, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Laoise Kelly and Providence.

Michelle has an All-ireland Fiddle title and Pan-Celtic fiddle title to her credit and is a much sought after tutor of the fiddle, teaching at the World music centre, Limerick and at many Festivals throughout Ireland and Europe. She is currently 'musician in residence' for Wicklow Arts council.


Una Palliser & The Balkan Bears
Friday 7 May 9pm

Cork-born Una Palliser began her music studies at the Cork School of Music at the age of 4. She won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London where she was awarded the Wolfson Trust award by the Academy, a Royal Philharmonia Martin Musical Scholarship Award, and was a string finalist in the RTE Millennium Musician of the Future Competition before graduating with a First Class Honours Degree in Performance.

Una has collaborated with artists as diverse as Omara Portuondo (Bueno Vista Social Club), P Diddy and Elbow and performed at Wembley Stadium, on NBC's Conan O Brien, BBC's Jools Holland and Jonathan Ross. She has toured as a featured string player with Gnarls Barkley and Patrick Wolf, including support to Amy Winehouse and Arcade Fire. She has recorded with Brand New Heavies, Tony Christie, Hugh Cornwell and for various film soundtracks including Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones. She is also the viola player in the Castalia String Quartet with whom she has toured extensively and premiered a number of works written for them by CSL Parker.

As a singer, Una is best recognised as the voice on the Specsaver's advert singing her arrangement of Irish folk tune Mo Ghile Mear. She has written string parts for various shows on ITV and Channel 4, the Trident Splash ad and Peter Kay's UK top 5 Xmas song.

Recently, Una has performed with several Balkan bands, most notably the BBC-award winning Terrafolk and has joined them on many tours including performances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, on BBC Radio 3 and with the Symbolic Orchestra at the Glasbeni September Festival, Maribor. She is part of the Terrafolk line up for the internationally-touring spectacular pyrotechnic show called Full Circle, and features on their new album.

Una now regularly tours with Balkan acts, collaborating with them on the development of a Balkan/Celtic/Folk/Classical style – UNA and THE BALKAN BEARS is the definitive band that has emerged from these collaborations and will be touring the UK and Ireland in 2010.