Matt Cranitch & Jackie Daly in Fairfield, CT

unnamedTwo living legends–Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly, will be performing live on Tuesday, October 14th at 7:30 pm at the Schine Auditorium at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. To reserve tickets, go to and fill in the contact form. Tickets are 20 dollars at the door.

This concert has a new venue! Please click the link above for more details!

I first heard of Matt Cranitch through his fiddle tutor book and recording. He is a great proponent of the Sliabh Luachra style, and has recorded two albums with Jackie–“The Living Stream” and most recently,”Rolling On”. Jackie Daly himself came to my attention through my interest in recordings of Séamus Creagh; the late, great Sliabh Luachra fiddler. Their album, recorded in 1995, is simply called “Jackie Daly and Séamus Creagh”. It is one of my all-time favorites.

don’t miss this great concert! I’ll see you there! Here’s a vid so you can see what you’re in for:

July 23 House Concert–Conal O’Grada & Ciaran O’Mhaonaigh

 4549526The shamrock Traditional Irish Music Society presents a house concert in Monroe CT–Conal O’Grada (flute) and Ciaran O’Mhaonaigh (fiddle). Please see for tickets and directions.

From the website:

TG4 young musician of the Year 2003, fiddle player Ciarán Ó Maonaigh hails from the Gaoth Dobhair gaeltacht in Co. Donegal. He was heavily influenced by his extended family when growing up including his teacher Francie Mooney, Altan members Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Frankie Kennedy, Derry fiddle player Dermot McLaughlin as well as the Donegal fiddle legend John Doherty amongst others. Ciarán’s first album Ceol a’Ghleanna The Music of the Glen (SPINCD1008) was released in 2004 and he has also Produced music documentary’s for TG4 including Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí and the acclaimed John Doherty ‘Ar Leirg na Gaoithe’, and in 2009 he presented, produced and directed an hour long documentary entitled ‘Francie Mooney Áit i Mo Chroí’. Ciarán is a member of the band Fidil along with Aidan O’Donnell and Damien McGeehan and they released 3 CD’s – ‘Fidil’ (FID001CD), released in June 2008, was described by Irish Music Magazine as “One of the most challanging and beautifully austere albums of the last fifty years”, ‘3’ was released in 2009 an received a 5 star review and CD of the week in The Irish Times, and in late 2011 ‘The Old Wheel of Fortune’ came out with Songlines magazine declaring it one of the finest albums to emerge from Ireland this decade.”

Born in Cork in 1961, Conal Ó Gráda has long been at the forefront of traditional Irish flute-playing and truly has one of its most distinctive sounds. A multiple All Ireland winner in his youth, Conal’s debut recording ‘The Top of Coom’ in 1990 is still regarded as a seminal recording of flute-playing. Conal takes the basic elements of traditional music and forges them into a personal style which, once heard is unforgettable. His fast, rhythmically precise flute-playing has an earthy raucous tone reminiscent of the saxophone and is driven by a spirit from the true heart of traditional music. His second solo recording ‘Cnoc Buí’ was released in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim.

Conal teaches flute privately in his native Cork and is also a regular teacher at summer schools worldwide, including The Willie Clancy Summer School, Catskills Irish Arts Week and Blas. He is a co-founder of the flute band ‘Banna Fliúit Loch a’Bhogaigh’ and is chairman of the traditional flute festival ‘Cruinniú na bhFliúit…the Flute Meeting’ which runs annually in Baile Bhúirne, Co. Cork. He is a member of the band The band Raw Bar Collective, with whom he released a new CD in February 2011 called ‘millhouse measure’s’. More recently, in 2012, Conal published a book on flute technique and styles called An Fheadóg Mhór.


Edel Fox and Neill Byrne–Definitely Not Bored and Definitely Not “Whoever”

(If the title of this post confuses you–read to the end. All shall be revealed. And–this is a long one–be sure to click the link to continue reading.)

In the world of Irish traditional music, there aren’t the sort of performers that the rest of the world would consider “superstars”, the way you’d think of Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, or Neil Diamond as such. (or maybe YOU wouldn’t!) The world of ITM is much less assuming that that. The musicians who play the music are for the most part seemingly not in it for the money, or fame, but rather for the “craic agus comhluadar,” or “good times and good friends,” and foremost for the music itself.

edel and neill

Neill and Edel play blazing tunes!

So the world may not consider Edel Fox and Neill Byrne superstars, but they may have something that many so-called superstars do not have–a true and deep connection to music itself. They may for the most part be playing the compositions of others, but the depth of emotion and expression that they elicit from these often simple jigs and reels is on par with or surpassing so much of the original expression I have heard. To be able to squeeze the humanity and feeling from a simple tune is part of what Irish musicianship is all about, and Edel Fox and Neill Byrne do it so well that the result was easily visible on the faces of all who were in attendance at the house concert they put on in Fairfield, CT this past Friday, August 16th. Feet were tapping and ears were buzzing, and we all took something really amazing home with us as well.

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