The 'Raw Bar' is that elusive, pure and indefinable essence of traditional music which offers no easy definition but which is unmistakable when experienced. Presented by Dermot Mc Laughlin 'The Raw Bar Remix' presents a selection of performances recorded during the filming of the two series of The Raw Bar.
In 'The Raw Bar Remix' we travel around Ireland and extend our reach to America, the UK, Europe and further a field to meet the individuals, musicians, singers and dancers who make up the global community of Irish traditional music.
Featuring great performances from emerging and established musicians, we get a sense of an art form deep rooted and contemporary as well as being informed from deep within the tradition.
Programme 4: 17th August 2007
Proinsias Ó Maonaigh | Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh | Ciaran O'Maonaigh | Sean Potts | Sean Óg Potts | Martin Hayes | The West Ocean String Quartet | Brendan Power | Brendan Begley & Sons | Cliona Begley, Michaela Moriarty and Oisín Moriarty | Sharon Shannon | Dave Richardson | Robbie Hannon | Seamus Egan |
Proinsias Ó Maonaigh
Proinsias Ó Maonaigh or Francie Mooney was a fiddler from Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal, Ireland. He is world-famous for his distinguished fiddle playing and his unique and vast contribution to Irish music and culture.
Born in Gweedore in 1922 as the youngest of eight children, he was a son of famous musician from the area Róise Mhór who would have played with an Píobaire Mór Tarlach Mac Suibhne. It was an Irish speaking household, as is the whole of Gweedore, and traditional music was nurtured within the home and they were taught many Irish songs. He taught at Luinneach primary school in Gweedore from 1967 until his retirement in 1996. He also taught many locals how to play the fiddle right up to the age of 82. Francie was also a keen Gaelic footballer and contributed greatly to the local and county GAA.
Proinsías was loyal and dedicated to everything Irish and Gaelic, and tried to nurture Irish music and the Irish language in young people motivating them to have love for their own culture and traditions.
He is world-renowned for his unique skills at song-writing and he is credited for such working as "Francie Mooney's German", "Francie Mooney's Mazourka" and "Francie Mooney's Highland".
His most famous song was a heart-warming song he wrote about his hometown Gweedore, called "Gleanntáin Ghlas' Ghaoth Dobhair". It is used as an anthem by local people especially, but it has captured the hearts of many outsiders also. It has been performed by singers such as Altan, Paul Brady, Brian Kennedy and Clannad.
In 2003 he was honoured by the Oireachtas when he was the president of the Letterkenny event.
Proinsías Ó Maonaigh died on the 29th of March 2006, after suffering a brief illness. His funeral was one of the biggest ever seen in County Donegal, and acts such as Skara Brae, Altan, Paul Brady and Clannad paid tribute to the great legend at the requiem mass in Gweedore.
He has left a huge legacy behind him but it is his family that has made the biggest mark on the traditional music scene. His daughter Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is the lead and founding member of internationally recognised group Altan. His son Gearóid is known for his musical talents also and his grandson Ciarán Ó Maonaigh is the recipient of the 2003 TG4 Musician Of The Year Award.
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh was born and raised in the Donegal Gaeltacht of Gaoth Dobhair. Her first language was Irish, and from her earliest years she was surrounded by music and song. Now one of the leading exponents of Donegal fiddle music, she received her start on the instrument from her father, Francie, a great fiddle teacher with a wealth of unusual local tunes, many learnt in turn from his mother, Roise. Sadly, Francie died last month but his music and spirit lives on. Mairéad also received tuition and inspiration from fiddler, Dinny McLaughlin, who was a frequent visitor to the home when she was young. Mairead has always had an equal love of singing and again learnt many songs from neighbours and friends in Donegal. As well as her work with Altan, Mairead over the years has presented traditional music programmes on radio and television, including the classic radio show, "The Long Note" and the television series, "The Pure Drop".
A nephew of Altan's celebrated fiddle player and lead singer Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh, Ciaran O'Maonaighdemonstrates at twenty years of age a command of the traditional idiom andof the Donegal style of fiddle playing in particular which few achieve even with a lifetime of practice of the art. O'Maonaigh handles with ease the most demanding techniques, high cuts, droning, intricate bow work, which contribute to giving Donegal fiddle music its characteristic sound, achieving a sound which is polished and yet appropriately earthy and energetic. His debut cd "The Music of the Glen" has been described as simply a must for fans of Donegal fiddle music. In 2003 Ciaran was awarded the TG4 Young Musician of the Year.
A great friend of Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Paddy often went around Dublin playing in sessions and gigging during the 1950s. In 1962, Potts helped form The Chieftains. He briefly left the group in 1968 for a contract with Gael Linn but returned to play for the band soon after. He was primarily a whistle player, although he also played the bodhrán and bones. He played with the band until 1979, when the pressures of the music scene (and touring) prompted him to leave the band for an easier life.
Before The Chieftains, Sean Potts was an original member of Sean O'Riada's group "Ceoltoiri Cualann". After The Chieftains, Potts did a lot of radio work for RTE and founded Bakerswell. In 1972, while still with The Chieftains, Potts and Paddy Moloney, along with Peader Mercier (another Chieftains member) recorded an album called Tin Whistles where both Potts and Moloney played just tin whistle tunes accompanied by a bodhrán to show the versatility of the instrument in the hands of two accomplished masters.
Sean has retired from the traditional scene, but he can still be found playing at traditional festivals around the country and occasionally abroad. He is also the current Chairman of Na Piobairi Uileann in Dublin.
Potts also played the bodhrán and bones, and attempted to learn the uilleann pipes. However, he admitted that he never felt quite comfortable with the instrument and, after a few years at the pipes, he gave up and went back to the whistle.
Sean Potts' family was surrounded with the music from his grand father John Potts an acomplished uillean piper to his uncle Tommy Potts, who was one of Ireland's most unique fiddlers, and Eddie Potts, who was both a piper and a fiddler and jazz musician playing saxophone in many of Dublin's music venues. Sean's aunt Teresa was also an acomploshied musician playing accordian and piano on the music circut in the 50's, his aunt Mary (Sister Kevin presentation order) was a teacher of music in the convent school in Dingle Co. Kerry. His cousin Patrick is choirmaster of St.Pauls Church Clontarf.
Sean Óg Potts
Seán Potts was born in Dublin in 1967. The Potts name has long been synonymous with traditional music in Dublin and Seán continues an important tradition of piping in the family which dates back to his great grandfather John Potts, a piper from Co Wexford who came to live in the Irish capital early in the 20th century.
Seán's father, Seán Sr., was a founder member of The Chieftains and is the current chairman of Na Piobairi Uilleann in Dublin. His granduncle Tommy Potts was one of Ireland's most unique fiddle players while Eddie Potts, another granduncle, was also a piper and fiddle player of note.
Seán has toured and performed extensively over the years. He has recorded with the Donal Lunny Band, Bakerswell, Na Connerys and has just completed his first solo CD. He regularly teaches at the summer schools in Ireland, at piping conventions in Germany, France and Belgium, in the United States at the Boston Gaelic Roots festival and most recently at the West Coast Piping Tionól in San Francisco.
Seán plays in a closed-fingering, vibrant style, influenced largely by the great piping masters Seamus Ennis, Tommy Reck and Willie Clancy. He also identifies his contemporaries as having a profound effect on his music especially pipers such as Ronan Browne, Robbie Hannan and Joe McLaughlin. He also has a great interest in the fiddle music of South West Donegal and particularly in the music of legendary travelling fiddle player John Doherty. Several of Doherty's tunes form an intrinsic part of Seán's repertoire.
Martin Hayes' accomplishments extend far and wide, both artistically and geographically. He has been an All-Ireland fiddle champion six times over, and has taken home a National Entertainment Award, the Irish equivalent to the "Grammy." He and Dennis have also appeared internationally on television and radio, including NBC Nightwatch, PRI's A Prairie Home Companion, and the BBC's Jools Holland Show. The duo has collaborated with Sinead O'Connor, Iarla O'Lionáird and photographer Steve Pyke in a special stage performance and film of Timothy O'Grady's book, I Could Read the Sky, an acclaimed novel of Irish emigration. Martin has also appeared as a guest artist on recent recordings with Darol Anger and Irish composer Gavin Friday.
Born in Ireland and now residing in Seattle, Martin plays in the slow, lyrical style of his native East County Clare. He grew up playing traditional music with his father, P.J. Hayes, leader of the famed Tulla Ceili Band. The younger fiddler has a great reverence for the old players, whose music contains the longing and essence that moves you at the level of your soul. Martin brings that same depth to his own playing, rendering it unique with passion and intimacy.
The West Ocean String Quartet
The West Ocean String Quartet - Seamus McGuire and Niamh Crowley on violins, Ken Rice on viola and Neil Martin on cello - formed in 1999 with the intention of exploring and celebrating music both traditional and newly-composed. Their repertoire is eclectic and unique and they have gained a reputation for breaking down the walls between traditional and classical music.
The quartet has performed to critical acclaim throughout Ireland, including sell-out performances in Dublin's National Concert Hall and Belfast's Waterfront Hall, and has collaborated on stage and in the studio with many leading musicians.
Brendan Power is a New Zealander who has developed a considerable reputation for his concert and recording work featuring the harmonica. Equally at ease on both the earthy Blues Harp as well as the sophisticated Chromatic Harmonica, he employs his own custom tunings to breathe fresh life into an often typecast instrument - especially in his original compositions, which feature on several of the 12 instrumental CDs he has released to date. These cover a diverse range of styles reflecting Brendan's eclectic tastes, everything from down-home Blues to Bulgarian folk music, Baroque, Country, Japanese and Irish traditional music, MOR, Rock and Jazz.
Since arriving to live in London in 1992, Brendan's stylistic flexibility and sympathetic ear have earned him some high-profile session work in a variety of musical fields. He has recorded with pop artists Sting, Desree, Van Morrison, Mel C, Paul Young and Shirley Bassey, classical guitarist John Williams, flautist James Galway, and Irish singer Mary Black, amongst others. He has twice toured as guest soloist in Japan, China and Russia (including two shows in the Kremlin) with the legendary Paul Mauriat Orchestra, played the Royal Festival Hall as soloist under Carl Davis, and played with Sting's band in several TV appearances. From 1996 to 1999 he toured Europe and Australasia as member and soloist with the band in the Riverdance Show.
Other session work includes numerous TV jingles and several Hollywood film soundtracks, among them Love Actually, starring Hugh Grant, Crossroads (Britney Spears), Shanghai Noon (Jackie Chan), The Next Best Thing (Madonna), and Pushing Tin (John Kusack, Kate Blanchett). TV soundtrack work includes Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Paradise Heights
Brendan has become particularly well known in the Celtic music scene; he is of Irish extraction, and playing traditional music on the harmonica is one of his passions. He won the 1993 All Ireland Title, and subsequently recorded a CD entitled New Irish Harmonica. Its fresh approach virtually redefined the role of the harmonica in traditional Irish music, and the album won considerable critical praise: Folk Roots magazine picked it as one of their top albums of 1994, Rock n' Reel called it "...simply superb...probably the best instrumental album this year", while the Irish Times described Power as a "master player" and the album as "electrifying". New Irish Harmonica is licensed worldwide by the American label Green Linnet.
Its success has led to some prestigious recording and performing work with top Irish musicians, including guest appearances on albums by Altan, Arty McGlynn & Nollaig Casey, Arcadie, and Paul Brady. Brendan composed the soundtrack for the acclaimed Irish feature film Guiltrip (his album Blow In contains music from the movie). He's also composed music for several radio plays in Ireland and NZ, and toured Australasia with Donal Lunny's annual Guinness Tour.
His playing was featured in a BBC/RTE television series on the future of Irish music called A River of Sound, and the Celtic music programs SULT (Irish) and TAKSI (Scottish). Since leaving the Riverdance Show he has traveled widely performing his own music, in Ireland, Australia/New Zealand, America and Europe. When at home in London he has been busy completing several new album projects, writing instructional packages for the harmonica, and doing session work.
Along with playing and recording, Brendan is particularly interested in harmonica tuning and construction, and has developed a number of innovations in these areas.
Brendan Begley & Sons
West Kerry native Brendan Begley (Breandán Ó Beaglaoich) is one of Ireland's most renowned button accordionists, melodeon players and singers. Brendan plays the slides and polkas beloved by Kerry dancers with unequalled energy and flair, but can also entrance an audience with soulfully delicate renditions of classic songs in Irish or English.
Brendan Begley comes from a family background steeped in the rich Kerry traditions of music, song, dance and storytelling.
He is highly regarded for his skills as an accordion and melodeon player and singer - these aspects of his artistry are well represented on his two solo albums.
Brendan has recorded with The Chieftains and has appeared on television, radio and at live concerts throughout Europe and the USA. Brendan presented TG4's traditional Irish music programme Geantraí for about 10 years and is a member of the popular traditional bands Beginish and The Boys of the Lough.
His sons Breannainn, Concubhair and Cormac carry on the tradition passed down to them from their father and grandparents and are regular seen playing in sessions as both solo artists and with their father and uncle Seamus Begley.
Cliona Begley, Michaela Moriarty and Oisín Moriarty
Cliona Begley and Oisin and Michaela Moriarity are neighbours in the west Kerry Gaeltacht townland of Baile na bPoc . Cliodhna 's father Breandán is a professional traditional musician and the large Begley family are well known as musicians ,singers and dancers . Cliodhna, Oisín and Michaela have been dancing from a young age and developed their dance routine from traditional west Kerry style sean nós dancing.
Sharon Shannon comes from Clare on the West coast of Ireland, an area historically steeped in music. She began playing music as a young child and while still in her teens was asked by Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, The Field) to provide the music for his stage production of Behan's The Hostage. She began her solo recording career in l989. The Waterboys' producer, John Dunford, gathered together a wide variety of musicians including Donal Lunny, Philip King, Mary Custy, U2's Adam Clayton, Steve Wickham, and Mike Scott. Shortly after this Mike asked Sharon to join him in The Waterboys. This collaboration also involved her featuring in their "Room to Roam" album.
By 1991 Sharon had completed her own album, which included tracks from Stephen Cooney, Trevor Hutchinson and Hot House Flower's, Liam O'Maonlai. This album, a stunning cocktail of Portuguese, Cajun, Swedish, Scottish and French-Canadian influences rapidly secured a place in the history books by becoming the most successful Irish traditional music album ever released. Hailed as the "traditional album of the nineties" it was also described by New Musical Express as a crossover record, which "was creative, deft and lovely".
The inclusion of two of Sharon's tracks on the all female compilation 'A WOMANS HEART' which sold a staggering 500,000 copies, increased Sharon's profile but it was The Late Late Show tribute to Sharon which included all the guests from her debut album that made Sharon Shannon a household name. Viewed by over one million people this show firmly established Sharon as one of Ireland's leading musicians.
The release of her second album "Out the Gap" broke further musical boundaries, reflecting the many musical influences, which she has absorbed.
In 1996 Sharon was amongst a host of international musicians, Bono and Adam Clayton, Elvis Costello, Neill and Tim Finn, Mark Knopfler, Kate Bush, Liam O'Maonlai, Brian Kennedy, Christy Moore and Sinead O'Connor to appear on the EMI album "Common Ground". During that summer she returned to the studio to record her own album which, amongst other guest musicians, features a collaboration with Kirsty MacColl on a Grace Jones song. "Each Little Thing", which is her third album, was released in February 1997. A dance remix of a track called 'The Bag of Cats' released as a single stayed in the Irish top 20 pop charts for six weeks.
Her fourth album titled "Spellbound" was released in September 1998. This compilation featured new material, live tracks and tracks taken from her previous albums. During the same year, Sharon was asked by classical violinist Nigel Kennedy to join a combo of musicians to perform his 'Jimi Hendrix Suite'. They performed this work in some of the major European cities.
Over the past few years Sharon has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, also visiting Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong and Japan. Her increasing popularity in the U.K. has brought her music to an ever-growing audience. She has played for Irish President Mary Robinson, for Lech Walesa in Warsaw and for President Clinton in the White House. Sharon also accompanied President Mary McAleese on her Australian State visit.
On the live front, Sharon has toured extensively - Japan, the US and the UK. In July 1999 she played with Coolfin around Ireland as part of their warm up tour for a show with the Kodo Drummers from Japan, which took place in the RDS, Dublin. She has also guested on the band's album "Coolfin". In the autumn of 2002 and early 2003 Sharon toured with Sinéad O'Connor's band in Ireland, the U.K and Europe.
Sharon's groundbreaking album, 'The Diamond Mountain Sessions', released in Autumn 2000 took her in a very different direction. Her own accordion and fiddle playing was as full of virtuosity as ever but this time she was accompanied by stirring vocal performances from the likes of Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, John Prine and Dessie O'Halloran from the island of Inishbofin off the Galway coast.
The album went triple platinum in Ireland and was widely critically acclaimed.
Sharon and her band -The Woodchoppers - toured for a year worldwide and it was a recording of the band's performance in Galway that gave Sharon her next album. Released in December 2001 on Sharon own Daisy label LIVE IN GALWAY captures Sharon and the Woodchoppers in rare form. 'Live in Galway', release date January 2002, features tracks from all Sharon's former albums as well as two previously unreleased tracks. Sharon is joined on the album by her then touring band 'The Woodchoppers'. The album was recorded live in Galway in May 2001 and is a great reflection of Sharon's talent with a unique live feel.
In 2003 Sharon took to the road with a scaled-down band comprised of guitarist Jim Murray, Mary Shannon on banjo and mandolin and introducing newcomer Pauline Scanlon on vocals.
Sharon's seventh album, 'Libertango', featured singers, Kirsty MacColl, Sinéad O'Connor, Pauline Scanlon and musicians, Mary Shannon, Jim Murray, Richie Buckley, Steve Wickham, Donal Lunny and many more. Libertango was released in September 2003 and the lead single, 'What You Make It (da, da, da, da)', featuring rapper Marvel and Lady K, was a summer radio hit in Ireland that year.
2004 was a relatively quiet year for Sharon, although she still managed a three-week Australian tour and many festivals in Ireland the UK, Europe and the US. The highlights for her were Womad in Reading and Las Palmas. Sharon also performed at State functions in Ireland for many of the European Heads of State during Irelands EU Presidency.
In early 2005 she recorded and released an album with two other legends, Frankie Gavin, (fiddle) who fronted the seminal trad band De Danann for over 25 years and flute player, Mike McGoldrick, from Manchester who has been a member of Capercaillie and Flook and who fronts his own band called Fused. These are accompanied by Jim Murray (Sharon's long-time sideman on guitar). The material is mostly traditional Irish with a smattering of traditional Austrian tunes, some newly composed Scottish tunes and some newly composed tunes by each of this talented quartet. Gavin, McGoldrick, Murray and Shannon showcased this new material at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, played Glastonbury Festival and supported the Gipsy Kings at Althorpe Estate. The quartet also played a sell-out Irish tour finishing at the National Concert Hall, Dublin in May.
She did a very successful Irish Tour with a Big Band including special guests Dessie O'Halloran, Mundy and Jon Kenny. The audience response was incredible and the show received standing ovations everywhere..and included a rousing set on the main stage at this years Oxegen Festival. Audiences everywhere were asking if there they could get a DVD of the show. So, due to public demand, Sharon and the band went to Dolans Warehouse in Limerick and, over two nights in July, recorded material for a dvd. As well as the band (the cream of Irish musicians) supplemented by banjo virtuosos Gerry O'Connor and Mary Shannon and Solas's Winnie Horan...Sharon invited along a whole cast of guests, composed of established Irish talent as well as showcasing new talent. Included on this amazing guest list are Damien Dempsey, Declan O'Rourke, Dessie O'Halloran, Jon Kenny, Mundy and Roesy....and introducing Jack Maher and The Brennan Sisters.
In 2007 Sharon is doing the Fleadh 2007 Tour with Willie Nelson, a UK tour in April '07, Summer Festivals, an OZ/NZ Tour in October and an extensive Holland/Belgium Tour in November.
Dave Richardson has been an integral part of the The Boys of the Lough since 1973 when he left behind his research studies in molecular evolution.
He is from Northumberland the border country between England and Scotland and grew up in Wallsend-on-Tyne where in his teens he first become aware of the rich musical heritage of the area. This included Northumbrian songs and pipe tunes and also the music of the Irish and Scotts who had migrated to the area for work.
His jig "Calliope House" featured on over a million cd recordings. It was performed in the smash hit show "Lord of the Dance" and in the video of the show with sales in excess of five million and also on the TV series "Sex and the City"
Robbie Hannon was born in Belfast and grew up in Holllywood a small town on the outskirts. It was through his parents large record collection that he first heard the music of the uilleann pipes which he took up in 1977. He is now a well known piper with a particular interest in the fiddle music of Donegal and very much influenced by the piping of Willie Clancy Seamus Ennis and Tommy Reck. He teaches the advanced piping classes at the Willie Clancy Summer School and is the Curator of Musicology at the Ulster Folk and Transport Musuem.
Seamus Egan was born in Hatboro, Philadelphia in 1969. His parents returned to Foxford, Co. Mayo five years later and it was here that Seamus - on hearing Matt Molloy - became interested in traditional music. Martin Donoghue from Ballindine was his teacher during those formative years. On returning to America he was fortunate to meet Mick Moloney, the folklorist and banjo player. Mick acted as a mentor, guiding Seamus in both style and repertoire.
Seamus won four All Ireland titles at 16 years of age in flute, whistle, banjo and mandolin. He recorded his first solo album 'Traditional Music of Ireland' the same year, (further demonstrating his multi-instrumentalist abilities) with uilleann pipes and tres being added to the already stunning array of instruments.
Seamus' early professional experience in The Green Fields of America was invaluable to his music and career. Besides Mick Moloney the band also included Jimmy Keane, Robbie O'Connell and Eileen Ivers. Seamus and Eileen began to gig together after leaving the group and soon formed Chanting House with John Doyle and Susan McKeown.
His second solo CD was released in 1990 and his third, 'When Juniper Sleeps', in 1996. Tracks from 'A Week in January' formed the nucleus of the soundtrack to the award-winning film 'The Brothers McMullen'. Seamus also plays on the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning movie 'Dead Man Walking' which features the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Seamus formed Solas in 1995. The group's meteoric rise has been phenomenal: their first three albums were voted Best Celtic Album of the Year by the Association for Independent Music, and their touring schedule has been exhaustive.