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Musician list

John Carty - Fiddle

John Carty

Born in London, fiddle and banjo player John Carty is one of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians.  In 2003 he was awarded the coveted title of TG4 Traditional Musician of the Year firmly establishing him among the elite in traditional music. He has recorded extensively and performs both as a solo player, in duets notably with Matt Molloy and as part of John Carty’s Festival Band, At the Racket and Patrick Street. John’s latest album releases include Out of the Ashes with Matt Molloy and Settle Out of Court with his daughter, Maggie, on banjo and vocals. More recently John arranged the traditional music pieces in the highly acclaimed film Brooklyn.




Mairead Walls - Singing

Mairéad is originally from the small village of Dunloy in North Antrim, Ireland. She began playing traditional Irish music on the tin whistle at the age of 10 at the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. She was taught by Sinead and Maire McGrath before ‘graduating’ to the senior class under the tuition of John Kennedy of Cullybackey. It was during this time, around the age of 12, that John introduced her to traditional singing and her love of traditional song was born.
Mairéad, along with her sisters Berni and Patricia attended many sessions, fleadhs and festivals all over Ireland. Mairéad won the Ulster Senior Ladies Singing Title two years in a row in 1987 and 1988. She was also awarded the Ulster Senior Tin Whistle title in 1987 and was runner up at the All Ireland Fleadh that same year.
She enjoys passing on the tradition to others, some of whom have enjoyed success at Fleadhs and festivals throughout Ireland including several All Ireland champions and prize winners. She has been the singing tutor at the Ulster Traditional Singers Festival for the past 10 years and was awarded the ‘Keeper of the Tradition’ Award at this event in 2011.
Mairéad loves and sings the traditional songs of Ulster and County Antrim in particular. Many of these songs have been learned from local singers, including John Kennedy, Len Graham, Jeannie McGrath and the singing of the late Joe Holmes of Ballymoney.
Her quest for a good singing/music session has taken her to all parts of Ireland and Europe. She has also performed on various music programs over the years with recent recordings including the TG4 programme ‘Hup’ in Sept 2016 and Radio Ulster programme ‘The Ulster Song Book’ in June 2017 both of which featured her singing with her daughter Ethlinn (All Ireland Singing Champion 2012). Mairéad has performed with various groups over the years, travelling and performing all over Ireland and France; she is a founder member of the group Déanta.
Mairéad has begun recording her debut solo CD of music and song and hopes to have this released in mid-2018.

Eileen O'Doherty - Set Dancing

Eileen O'Doherty was born in north Cork, Ireland.  She was a schoolteacher.   Her teaching career was always based in Dublin where she is now Principal of a large inner city school.  She has devoted a large part of her leisure time to set dancing and is a well known, authoritative figure on the subject.  She has taught set dancing at Na Píobairi Uilleann, Dublin with The Brooks Academy of Set Dancers since 1988. She also teaches with Gerry Ryan in Raheny, Dublin.  She has also taught with the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare for many, many years as well as conducting workshops in Paris, London, Manchester, Halifax Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Toronto, Washington and New York.  She has edited two books on the subject, “Set Left Set Right” (1989) and “The Walking Polka” (1995) and is currently researching her third book.  She has travelled the width and breadth of Ireland recording set dances from original sources.  As Eileen says,"No matter how tired I am, a decent night’s set dancing will clear away all of the cobwebs". 


Karson McKeown - Fiddle

Karson McKeown, who comes from a long line of fiddlers in western Prince Edward Island, began playing the fiddle at age 10 following step dancing. He has a classical background, and studied music at Holland College, where he focused on jazz, blues, rock, and Celtic. Karson loves incorporating tunes his great, great, aunts and uncles taught him into his performances. Karson is also part of The Trousers, deemed as Ottawa’s hottest trad band. Along with fellow member Ross Davison, the talented duo showcase upbeat music from their roots since forming in Jan. 2016. Their unique arrangements consist of traditional Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton toetapping tunes. In addition, Karson accompanies ECMA nominee Anna Ludlow. He studied under Kendra MacGillivray, Kinley Dowling from Hey Rosetta, Denis Lanctot, and Patti Kusturok. He is also an in-demand accompanist on guitar.

Ross Davison - Uilleann Pipes

Ross Davison is a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and performer.

Ross began his musical life as a saxophonist, and quickly added Highland Bagpipes, Uilleann Bagpipes, and Tin Whistle to his arsenal of instruments.

As a Highland Bagpiper, Ross currently plays with the Grade 1 Ottawa Police Services Pipes and Drums, a prize-winning ensemble that has secured top placings at piping competitions throughout North America.

He is a former Pipe Major of the Glengarry Pipe Band which he developed from a Grade 5 into a Grade 3 ensemble and led to a 6th place finish at the World Pipe Band Championships held in Glasgow in 2013.  He is a Grade 1 soloist and competes at the Senior Amateur level in Piobaireachd.

Ross is an accomplished Uilleann Piper.  He has gold medals from the Great Lakes Feis and the Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada.
He has researched the playing styles of Paddy Keenan, Jerry O’Sullivan, and Blackie O’Connell and negotiated a residency learning the craft of uilleann pipe and reed making with Bruce Childress.

Ross has completed a Masters in Education as well Bachelor Degrees in Music Performance, (Saxophone) and Music Theory and History.
He has performed with the Chieftains, Wolfstone, Paddy Kelly, Greg T. Brown and others.
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Tad Sargent - Bodhrán

Although born in London, Tad’s family roots are firmly in Ireland – his family hails from Castlebar in County Mayo. His musical life started, as it does for many, by learning the piano as a child. He then rediscovered his early love of Irish music in his mid-teens and started on the bodhrán, the Irish drum. It took many years of attending sessions, those informal gatherings of traditional musicians so strong throughout the diaspora, under the watchful eye and tutelage of such luminaries as Mick O’Connor, to learn about the music and develop his technique. Then, in 2008, he took up the bouzouki, an instrument he loves and which he was almost destined to play; the right-hand techniques learned painstakingly on the bodhrán transfer directly to it and he is noted for his driving percussive style and the ability to create complex and changing rhythm patterns when backing melodic lines. He can also be seen playing guitar at many gigs.

Now a full time professional, Tad has worked with many well-known and respected musicians, both in the studio and in live performance: bands include Barrule, Celtic Crossroads, The Bible Code Sundays and The Long Notes and he has worked with individuals including Cara Dillon, Luke Daniels, Sylvain Barou, Kristina Train and Jody Talbot. He was a member of Ranagri for five years and together they collaborated with Tony Christie, he of ‘Amarillo’ fame, on the latter’s album “The Great Irish Song Book” released in 2015. He is a founder member of the acclaimed CrossHarbour, whose eponymous first album was released in 2014. Currently he is working on a recording project with Loïc Bléjean, the noted Breton uilleann piper, which is due for release in the autumn of 2016.

In the summer of 2016 he was part of the team at The Globe Theatre in London for the highly praised production of “The Taming of the Shrew”, directed by Caroline Byrne. He was one of the four musicians integral to the action, opening both halves of the play, to the delight of the audience!

Through his work he has played now played all over Europe and the USA and at some of the most prestigious venues in the UK – The Royal Albert Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre among others. His festival appearances include Glastonbury, The Hop Farm, Cambridge Folk Festival and the Annual Irish Festival in London’s Trafalgar Square. There have also been numerous appearances on TV and radio, for the BBC and many other broadcasters in both the UK and across Europe.

Other notable recordings include “Manannan’s Cloak” for Barrule and the 2010 John Landis film “Burke and Hare”, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis.

Tad is also highly committed to passing on the tradition to the next generation, young though he is! He teaches bodhrán, bouzouki, guitar, tin whistle (beginners) and piano and is the resident bodhrán and accompaniment tutor at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.

Loïc Bléjean - Uilleann Pipes

Loïc Bléjean is from Brittany, that ancient land in the north-west of modern France, first settled by humans thousands of years ago, steeped in history and tradition and whilst his music is informed by his native culture, his love, if not that over-used word ‘passion’, is for the Irish tradition – he is a uilleann piper and low whistle player of high renown. One Breton website describes him as piper étoilé, a just and entirely fair description!

Loïc is technically brilliant and supremely musical on both instruments. His playing is characterised by a crisp clean style, with wonderful clarity in the separation of the notes; on the other hand he can pull from them the evocative, almost mournful and eerie sounds so loved by aficionados. And he is a perfectionist – the uilleann pipes are notoriously moody in their tuning, but his intonation is always flawless, a delight to hear.

He started playing the pipes in 1989, under the tuition of Alain Le Hegarat and then travelled extensively in Ireland, where he met many wonderful musicians, but he cites the Cork master piper Brendan Ring as a particular and deep influence. Since those early days he has developed an extraordinary versatility and adaptability which has enabled him collaborate and work with a wide variety of musicians and in many different styles; residencies at the world famous McGurk’s in St Louis, Missouri, with fiddler Paul Flynn and singer/guitarist David Muldrew, membership of influential bands, pop-rock Glaz, the French-Canadian Gwazigan and, since 2007, he has been a part of Carré Manchot, one of the leading ‘fez-noz’ (meaning ‘night festival’ in Breton) bands, bringing the Irish pipes to the fine art of Breton dance music. Notable work in Ireland includes the “Session with the Pipers” concert series at the Cobblestone in Dublin and the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh, invited to do both in 2009 and again in 2013, the first time with his younger brother Ronan on the button accordion, the second with Louisa Bennion, the noted New York concertina player.

His ability to grasp and understand other genres has led to performances with Ars’ys, the modern Breton composer Hervé Lesvenan’s trio comprising church pipe organ, soprano saxophone and uilleann pipes, the progressive rock band Children in Paradise and with the exiting jazz band the Boclé Brothers, with whom he recorded the album ‘Rock The Boat’, released in 2015.

He currently tours as a solo artist, giving concerts, workshops and masterclasses, and in duos with close musical partners, brother Ronan, Louisa Bennion and Tad Sargent, the London based bouzouki and bodhrán virtuoso. He has recently recorded an album with Tad, due for release in the autumn of 2016.

During the summer of 2016 he was one of the four musicians integral to the massively acclaimed production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, directed by Caroline Byrne and part of Emma Rice’s triumphant first season as Artistic Director. He and Tad Sargent opened both halves of the play, delighting the ‘groundling’ audience with foot-tapping jigs and reels.

He is a good organiser too, something rare enough among great musicians! In 2009 he and Ronan founded the ‘Irish Rendez Vous’ Festival, held on the north coast of Brittany, to promote Irish traditional music of the very best. Oh, and he has one other, um, ‘passion’ – slightly worn and well used Mercedes motor cars……


Friday, June 9

Steafan and Saskia & the Clan Hannigan

  • 7:00pm
  • $20 Adult/$15 Student
  • Children Under 12 Free
  • Open Session to Follow

Saturday, June 10

Instructors Concert

  • 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Ceili dance led by Jackie O'Riley

  • 8:45pm - 10:00pm
  • $20 Adult/$15 Student
  • Children Under 12 Free
  • Open Session to Follow

Sunday, June 11

Pipers Chair

  • 7:00 pm - 9:00pm
  • Free Admission
  • Children Under 12 Free
  • Open Session to Follow

Clan Hannigan

Steafan Hannigan and Saskia Tomkins moved to Canada 10 years ago from England with their three children, Oisin (18), Eile (16) & Ayisha (13). Steafan, from Northern Ireland and Saskia, from England, met in the UK and have been performing together for 20 years, and when the children arrived, they naturally accompanied their parents to gigs. After a while, it was obvious the children wanted to share the stage so Clan Hannigan was born. They have played across Ontario and highlights include Massey hall ( with the Chieftains, ) Blueskys Festival, St Patricks Day @ Tranzac club , collaborations with The Peterborough Singers , Toronto Tabla Ensemble and upcoming work with the Northumberland Orchestra and Choir ( Feb 2017 ) They toured in 2010 in the Czech Republic and Austria, were featured as a gaelic speaking Family in 4th Line Theatre plays: “The Cavan Blazers” and “The Winslows of Derryvore”, They are regular featured performers at Lang Pioneer Village on special events, and were the guests for the Illumination at Sharon Temple last year.

Oisin took to hitting drums as soon as he could crawl and won Comhaltas Mid Atlantic Bodhran champion in 2009. He also plays hand percussion and kit. He recently Played Massey Hall as a percussionist inPaul Beaubrun’s group supporting Lauryn Hill.

Eile and Ayisha both have taken to singing and Irish dancing, with an interest, in traditional songs, as well as contemporary songs. They are also champions coming 1st & 2nd in the Comhaltas Mid Atlantic Competition, in traditional singing.

Steafan plays over 40 instruments, many of which he has featured on albums or live by major artists such as Loreena Mckinnett, Oliver Schroer, James Keelaghan Stephen Fearing Il Divo, Julian Lloyd Weber, Pete Lockett, Bjork, Depeche Mode, Gary Barlow, Uriah Heep, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, John Kirkpatrick, Luke Daniels, Sin É, LinnTilla, Eileen McGann, Band of Hope, Lammas, Tim Garland, Brian Willoghby from the Strawbs, Jeff Martin (Tea Party , The Afro-celts , and Bjork. He is a respected teacher of Irish Traditional Music, having written the Low Whistle Book and DVD as well as The Bodhran Book and DVD. Having completed the music and sound effects for a 26 pisode animation, The legend of Ponnivalla now airing on ATN; he is a freelance musician and photographer.

Saskia is also a respected teacher and player of the violin, viola and nyckelharpa. She has played with countless artists in many genres, including Uriah Heep, Caroline Lavelle ( Loreenna McKennitt) Ron Korb, and Robb Johnson, and is currently works as the bowed strings musician at 4th Line Theatre, principle viola in the Northumberland Orchestra and 1⁄2 of the duo “2ish” (both albums are on iTunes). Together, they also play with Lakefield singer Marsala Lukianchuk, in the Irish trio Cairdeas, and have two albums, including a Christmas CD.

To purchase in advance contact Ben Reid 978-895-6148 
or purchase at the door.