Annmarie Acosta Williams
Annmarie Acosta Williams, a native and resident of New York, USA founded the Acosta School of Irish Music and Dance in 1998. That same year Annmarie won the senior accompaniment competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, and was also honored as one of the top 100 Irish Americans by Irish America Magazine. Annmarie, having taught hundreds of students in New York who have achieved great success and levels of musicianship, has also been an instructor at prominent traditional music schools such as Catskills Irish Arts Week, Scoil Éigse, and the University of Limerick, where she achieved her Masters degree in Irish Traditional Music in 2007. Annmarie, also having been awarded two all Ireland medals in the senior piano accordion competition, has adjudicated fleadhanna at the county, regional, and All-Ireland level.
Kathleen Boyle from Glasgow comes from a family steeped in the traditional music of Donegal. The music was passed down from her grandfather the legendary Donegal fiddler Neillidh Boyle. She made history as the first graduate gaining a degree in traditional music from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Kathleen is a talented pianist in additon to her prowess on accordion and is a member of the bands Dòchas and internationally acclaimed group Cherish the Ladies with whom she has toured the UK, Europe, USA, Canada and China. Kathleen’s solo album “An Cailin Rua” was released to rave reviews in 2008.“She’s always been good, but here in her first solo venture she’s outstanding. As a box player she is technically gifted, but for her, it’s the tune that counts and never lets flash get in the way of the main point…one of these real rare gems that come along now and again.” [Phil Cunningham]
Noreen Boyle (McQuaid)
Noreen Boyle from Emyvale, County Monaghan. I started playing accordion at the late age of 10 years, I entered my first Fleadh 6 months later and never looked back. I won a number of All Ireland titles from then until I retired from competition after winning the senior in 1984. Since then I have coached a number of young people to realize their dream of an all Ireland title. I have also enjoyed success in group competitions at the Fleadh. Music has afforded me the chance to travel abroad and make many new friends, to play and learn many new tunes on the way.
Catriona Collins is from Rosscarbery in West Cork. Growing up she won numerous All Ireland medals in both solo and group competitions. She won the Senior Piano Accordion in Tullamore in 2009. She studied music in University College Cork and has also completed the TTCT teacher diploma course. Catriona is now a primary school teacher in Cork city and she teaches traditional music at the weekends. Her own students have been successful at All Ireland level also.
Owen Condon RIP
Owen won the Under 18 All Ireland in Gorey in 1962. He played with Napper Tandy, Murray and Condon and TR Dallas and in later years had a successful career playing as a “one man band”.
Mary grew up in Marlow, Ballymote Co Sligo. She listened to a lot of fiddle players and flute players growing up and was probably influenced by them. Mary played a lot with her brother Tommy on banjo. She has been teaching music for many years, in Renvyle, Connemara and Westport Mayo in later years; her pupils have enjoyed many successes at Fleadh’s including Mirella Murray and Liz & Yvonne Kane. Mary has also taught at various summer schools including the annual South Sligo Summer School in Tubbercurry, and continues to teach music on a regular basis.
Mick, one half of “Foster and Allen” won the Under 18 All Ireland in Clones in 1964, the senior All Ireland again in Clones in 1968 and the senior All Ireland in Listowel in 1970. He plays and records most of his traditional music with mouth organ player Noel Battle and piano player Moyra Fraser
Moyra is the band leader and music arranger of the Foster and Allen band. Moyra plays most of her Traditional music with Mick Foster and has accompanied at concerts with such greats as Bobby Gardiner, Oliver Devaney, Paddy Ryan, Jimmy Mc Greevy and Darren Breslin amongst numerous others.
I started playing at the age of 5, being taught by my uncle John Ferguson. By the age of 8 i had won my first All Britain. The next three years I won the All Ireland three times in sucession in 82, 83, 84. I won the All ireland again in Kilkenny in 88 and again in sligo in 89 in the 15-18 age group and then stopped playing competitively until 2 years ago when I returned from the “desert” and won the All Ireland in 2010 and 2011 in Cavan. From a very early age i had played with some of the greats of music, Dave Arthur and the Fureys and more recently Mundy and just recorded with Shane McGowan for the song “the rockier road to dublin”. I have just finished recording my own debut album which comes out later this year called “The Long Road”.
From the age of seven, I have been learning and playing Irish Tradional Music. I began learning Piano from Philip Clarke in Crover House Hotel and later with his inspiration, I progressed onto learning the Piano Accordion. I played with the Breffnie Céili Band from under 12 to senior level and I won numerous rewards at County, Provincial and All-Ireland fleadhanna. Probably, my biggest achievement to date on the piano accordion was winning the All-Ireland Senior Réadóirí. I enjoy returning home from Dublin each weekend to play the accordion in the many sessions around my local area of Kilnaleck and Ballinagh and it also provides me with the opportunity to teach traditional music to the young children of the area.
Sinéad Healy hails from Castlebar in County Mayo. She has won the All-Ireland title on the piano accordion at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann inevery age category, cumulating in the Senior All-Ireland title in 2007. She is a Secondary School Teacher of both Irish and Music and has also toured extensively around Europe. Alongside this, she has completed the TTCT with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
Katie is a self-taught accordion player. She gained a Masters Degree in Traditional Music Performance at The University of Limerick in 2009 and represented the music of Ireland at WOMEX in Copenhagen in 2010. Katie lists her musical influences as Kathleen Lawrie, Vince Jordan, and Karen Tweed.
Vince is 2nd generation Irish and has been playing the piano accordion since he was 14 years of age. He gained tuition from Birmingham accordionist Kathleen Lawrie and later learned from master musician Paddy Ryan from Roscommon. One of the founder members of South Birmingham branch of Comhaltas, Vince went onto be branch chair, chair of the province na Breatainne, and chair of the provincial music subcommittee. He has been a member of the Birmingham Shaskeen ceili band, and now plays music with The Reel Note band from Birmingham.
Irish music’s accordion virtuoso Jimmy Keane was born in London of Irish-speaking parents from Connemara and Kerry. His late father Jimmy was a magnificent sean-nos (old style) singer, and along with young Jimmy’s mother Mary, actively encouraged him to take up traditional Irish music.Jimmy’s accomplishments are far reaching. He has achieved astonishing and unprecedented success in competitive playing, having won five consecutive All-Ireland titles on the piano accordion. He has always been an avid collector and arranger of old tunes and is becoming increasingly known for his original compositions, many of which have become part of the mainstream of traditional Irish music around the world. He also has recorded and produced numerous albums.
A native of Roscommon, Alan grew up in a house steeped in traditional music and learned the accordion from his father, Frank. Described by New York’s Irish Voice as “in league with the best piano accordionists in the world”, he has released three critically acclaimed solo albums: Out of The Blue (1997), Mosaic (2000) and After the Morning (2009). He has also released a critically acclaimed duet album with his brother John, Fourmilehouse (2003) and his most recent Alan Kelly Gang album, Small Towns and Famous Nights (2011). www.alankellygang.com
Frank Kelly (Roscommon)
Frank Kelly is a native of Fourmilehouse Co. Roscommon. He won the Senior All Ireland in Clones in 1964. He played with the Killina Ceili Band with such notable as Paddy Ryan, Jimmy McGreevy, Joe Donoghue, John Carlos to name but a few. Frank can be heard regularly throughout the country.
Frank Kelly (Offaly)
Frank Kelly, Born 1960 in Lusmagh, Co Offaly, married to Brenda with two sons, Andrew and David began learning accordion at age 9. Although he won many under age and three senior piano titles; ‘94, ‘95, and ‘96 he never went all the way on the Piano Box, but enjoyed trying. A Primary School Principal, he now enjoys the great progress of the children in his school, Durrow, Tullamore and plays the occasional tune in Eugene’s, Tullamore. The jig, “Scatter The Mud” reflects the Leitrim influence on his music and the reel,”Larry’s Favourite” which was composed by Paddy O Brien, hints at his happy return to the Faithful County.
Richie won the Under 14 All Ireland in 1962 and the Under 18 All Ireland in Enniscorthy in 1967. He also won the Hohner All Ireland Under 18 in 1963. Richie played for a few years with “The Gallowglass Ceili Band from Naas. He now lives in Carlow and plays with the band “Cupla.”
Oliver Loughlin hails from Co. Leitirm. He won the All Ireland title under 18 in 1996. He featured on a CD with the group Síona in 1998 entitled ‘The Launching of the Boat’ along with musical friends June McCormack, Kevin Brehony and Damian O’ Brien. Later in 2007, he released a duet album ‘The Factory Turn’ with Damian O’Brien accompanied by Arty Mc Glynn and Kevin Brehony. He is also a member of the Innisfree Céilí Band, with whom he recorded an album in 2009. He plays in Cryans Pub in Carrick on Shannon every Saturday night for many years with Damian O’Brien amongst many others. Anyone could turn up there and its one of the main reason a lot of us are still playing traditional music in the area.
Pat McCabe was born in Castleconnell Co Limerick and reared in Clones Co Monaghan. He won his first All Irelands at 15-18 level in Boyle 1966 and Clones 1968. He won the senior Piano Accordion title in Dublin in 1977. Pat has played and toured extensively but his biggest contribution to Irish Music has been as a music teacher. Pat has turned out numerous musicians over the years all over Ulster and has put together countless Ceili Bands and Grupaí Ceoil. He is living in Roslea, Co Fermanagh and still continues to teach and tour.
Wilcil won the Senior All Ireland in Mullingar in1963. Shortly after that he moved to Canada to join the “Irish Rovers” band. His band had a number 2 hit in the American charts in 1966 with “The Unicorn”. Wilcil still plays with “The Irish Rovers” but now lives in Larne.
Currently residing in Portarlington, Co. Laois, Colin won U-12 & U-15 All -Ireland titles in Clonmel, as well as a Senior All – Ireland title in ‘03 in Listowel. He played on “The Late Late Toy Show” for dancers in ‘92. He was a member of the group “RAGUS” that was based in Inish Mór (Aran Islands) during the summer of ‘97. He tutored young Piano Accordionists at Scoil Éigse both Letterkenny and in Tullamore. He is an adjudicator for county, provincial & All-Ireland Fleadhanna. Colin plays regularly for Irish Dancers throughout the country.
Edel McLaughlin comes fromBurnfoot in Inishowen, Donegal. She studied Music at University College Cork and completed her H.Dip. in Education at NUI Galway. She also holds the TTCT from CCÉ. Edel has won All Ireland titles in various age groups in the Piano Accordion at the Fleadh Cheoil, winning the Senior title in Tullamore in 2008. She worked in the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin in 2006, and currently teaches Music in the Rosses Community School in Dungloe.
Paul comes from Dundalk, Co. Louth and has been playing Traditional Irish Music for over 30 years. He is a teacher and adjudicator and has toured extensively with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann throughout Ireland, Britain and North America.
Marie McTeague (Clarke)
Marie hails from Letterkenny, Co Donegal. She began playing the piano accordion at the age of 5 & competed in the Fleadh Cheoil over the years, winning the Senior All Ireland Title in 1997. Marie studied Music & Irish at UCC and furthered her studies with a H.Dip in Education from UCC and a Masters in Traditional Irish Performance from the University of Limerick. Marie is currently based in Letterkenny and teaches music in Coláiste Cholmcille in Ballyshannon.
Seamus Meehan, from Dublin, has been an exponent of the piano accordion since he began playing this instrument in 1971. He won the All-Ireland Fleadh Senior Piano Accordion and Uilleann Pipes competitions in Listowel in 1982. A founder member of the Templehouse Ceili Band, he has recorded with many groups and individuals, including the James Last Orchestra. His accordion playing is featured in the movies “The Field” and “The Boys and Girl from County Clare”. Among early influences on his accordion playing were Paddy Gavin, County Dublin and Finbarr Dwyer from County Cork. Accompaniment is provided by Mary Corcoran, an All-Ireland Senior Champion on piano and piano accordion and a fellow member of the Templehouse Ceili Band.
Gerard Moloney is originally from Co Limerick and comes from a musical family. He won the Senior All-Ireland in 1990 and has appeared numerous times on radio and television. He has also recorded with various groups such as Aontas and The Cracked Bucket Band and continues to play on a regular basis in Kilkenny where he now lives. Gerard has taught at the Scoil Éigse and has adjudicated at County, Provincial and All-Ireland Fleadhanna for many years. He has also toured with Comhaltas CCE in Ireland. Gerard has recorded and performed with Liam Lawton, Tom Kendzia (USA), Sharon Shannon, Philip Donnelly (Nanci Griffith), Mick Hanly, The Hothouse Flowers, David Mansfield (Bob Dylan) and countless Traditional Irish Musicians at many festivals up and down the country.
Gerry Murray is from Scotstown, Co Monaghan. He was one of the first people in Ireland to be awarded the Teastas i dTeagasc Ceolta Tire and, before emigrating, was a prominent music teacher in the North Monaghan area during the 1980s. He is best known today as a founder member of the internationally acclaimed Irish/Scottish band, Shantalla. He currently lives in Belgium. This recording was made in February 2003 and was never commercially released.
Mirella Murray comes from Claddaghduff, Connemara, Co. Galway. At the age of 9 she began taking Piano Accordion lessons from the great Mary Finn from Co. Sligo. She participated at many Fleadh’s winning the All Ireland solo and duets with childhood friend Liz Kane. Over the years she has toured and recorded with various artists. Mirella has a flair for teaching and has taught many students who have become All Ireland Champions. Since 2003 Mirella has been a member of the world famous all female, Irish-American Grammy nominated supergroup, Cherish the Ladies, who tour all over the USA and worldwide as far as China.
Dermot O’Brien RIP (1932-2007)
Singer and accordion player Dermot O’Brien was born in Ardee, Co Louth, in 1933. He played GAA football for his local club, St Mary’s and in 1957 he captained the Louth team to win the senior All-Ireland. A legend of Irish show business, Dermot O’Brien was a many faceted individual, well known not only as an accordionist and singer, but also a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, producer and. After becoming All Ireland Accordion Champion in 1954 and 1959, O’Brien turned professional. His was, in fact, a very individual style of playing that influenced a whole generation of accordionists .He made a large number of recordings, from the 1950s to 2005, and many of these are available on CD. There is also a DVD of a concert in Dublin in 1992. Fortunately, Dermot O’Brien’s name, reputation and music will live on through his many superb recordings and compositions. Dermot O’Brien died on May 22, 2007.
Míchéal Ó hÉidhin RIP (1938-2012)
Míchéal was born in 1938 to musical parents Pádraig Ó hÉidhin and Maura Mc Gann, from Clare and Galway. He formed the Céilí band Lough Lorgan when he was just 16 years of age. He was fortunate to have musicians such as Eddi Moloney, Tommy Coen and Lar Kelly in the band. Eddi’s father Stephen of the old Ballinakill Céilí band came to visit often, and Míchéal never lost the opportunity to learn tunes from him during those visits. In 1959, he moved to Cork and graduated with a music degree from University College Cork. Here, he joined and performed with the Brosna Céilí Band. He was appointed Music Organiser for Galway VEC and later became a Music Inspector with the Department of Education. In 1967, he was Musical Director for the LP ‘The Rambles of Kitty’, the first LP ever produced by CCÉ, and was also the Musical Director for the RTÉ series ‘Bring down the Lamp’ in the 1960’s. He was Director of the TTCT from 1980 to 2011, and was also responsible for the development of the SCT.
Declan Payne hails from Tubbercurry in South County Sligo. He plays in a very traditional style that identifies closely with the rich musical style of his native County and indeed the North-West region in general. Declan was first introduced to the Piano Accordion by the late Leo Beirne from Loughglynn, Co. Roscommon. In his early teens he learned much of his musical repertoire from the great Button Accordionist P.J. Hernon who moved to South Sligo in the Eighties. He worked hard to develop his own brand of Piano Accordion playing staying close to his traditional roots and in 1991, on his nineteenth birthday, Declan won the Senior Piano Accordion Competition at Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann in Sligo on his first attempt. He is a member of the Sligo group ‘The Border Collies’ who promote the music of their area with heart and vigour and teaches regularly at many of the Workshops around the country and further afield.
Martin Power is a native of Mitchelstown, now living in Ballincollig, Co. Cork. He joined the teaching staff of the Cork School of Music in 1973 as a traditional music teacher. His early experience with CCÉ in Mitchelstown prompted the foundation of the Ballincollig branch of Comhaltas in 1975, later renamed Craobh Niall Ó Cathasaigh. The numerous successes of his many pupils is testimony to his outstanding ability as a teacher. His production of many prize-winning shows including Seó Seandún and Scoraíocht demonstrate his versatility as a producer and director. In 1999, he produced the first traditional orchestra ‘ Ceol le Chéile’ in conjunction with Kathleen Nesbitt. Martin was also a member of the project committee for the SCT (Scrudú Ceol Tíre), and he has also worked as a tutor and assessor on the TTCT diploma course. He has now succeeded his great friend the late Míchéal Ó hEidhín as Director in 2012. Martin’s first collection of selected compositions ‘The Cross of Four Roads’ was launched in May 2009 at the Cork County Fleadh in Ballincollig.
Justin grew up in Leeds, the son of parents both from Pomeroy, CO. Tyrone. He was taught the piano accordion by John Fergusson.Justin won the All Ireland in Sligo, 1990. As is often the case work, family and life took precedence over the music for a number of years. Having in spent time living in other countries it was an impromptu session with a friend from Dublin whilst living in Thailand that fired the desire to play again. Since that time a return to live in the UK has seen Justin playing in several bands including Shiznitz (www.shiznitz.org) for folk festivals and céilís and more importantly thoroughly enjoying the music and piano accordion again.
Michael Tennyson is known throughout the traditional world as being one of the finest exponents of the piano accordian. Born to Alice and Seamus (Donegal and Armagh) and raised in Leeds, he learnt under the tutelage, and was inspired by, the inimitable John Ferguson. It came as no surprise when Michael emulated this feat in ‘92, ‘93 and ‘94. His upbeat and rhythmic style pleases not only the dancer but the listener alike and he is the driving force of every session he plays in. His bass work is tasteful and gives a superb accompaniment to the faultless right hand.
I started to play the piano accordion at the age of 11 under the tuition of Joe Coll who now lives in the north of Ireland. I then had classical training from Lawry Eady and Warren Eagle; it was meeting and susequently studying with John Whelan who is a brilliant button accordionist (from Dunstable, UK but now living in USA) that planted me firmly into the trad Irish earth of music. He neither played pianoaccordion, understood it or readmusic at the time, so lessons wereabout listening to and repeating what he played a bar at a time. I stilluse his teaching ideas today – he isa visionary and always talked about the space between the notes. . .I won several competitions (I’m not a fan of competition or adjudication – perhaps I don’t enjoy the wars it can create mostly between parents!) and am indebted to CCE for introducing me to young people of the same age who loved trad music, song and dance. It wasfun and delightful.I would like to dedicate this track to Mr. Meehan (father of Seamus and Fran Meehan in Dublin) andmy great uncle Dan Daly who I met about a year before he died. He was, by all accounts, a mighty dance instructor and fiddler in the Limerick/Kerry regions . . . and also my best friend and Dad, Les Tweed, my mother Nora (Dot Tweed) McNamara and Peter, my brother.Many thanks to all the people too numerous to mention who taught me, shared stories / ideas with me and taught me the importance of my family and music. You know who you are. This CD is a milestone in Irish history and I’m honoured to be part of it. Music, listening, silence and counting your blessings, that’s what life’s about.
Dean Warner comes from Leeds, England, but is now living in Annaghmore, Co. Armagh. Dean has been playing the Piano Accordion since the age of eight. He won the All Ireland Senior Piano Accordion title in Letterkenny (2005) and has toured with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Éireann throughout Ireland (2006), Britain (2007) and America/Canada (2007). He teaches, adjudicates, tutors at Scoil Éigse and other workshops, and he is a regular figure at sessions in Armagh and Tyrone. He has also appeared on many TV & radio shows over the years. He recently brought out his first solo recording CD called ‘Northern Box’.
During her younger years, Kelly learned music from St. Louis fiddle player Niall Gannon (St. Louis Irish Arts) and Dublin accordion player Triona O’Neill. In 1998, she was the All-Ireland Bronze Medalist at the Fleadh Cheoil in Ballina. Kelly currently teaches accordion and concertina and directs ensembles for St. Louis Irish Arts School of Music and Dance, under the direction of Helen Gannon. She has taught at Scoil Éigse and teaches tionals across the United States. As a professional musician, she continually performs at the world-famous John D. McGurk’s Pub in St. Louis, MO and travels nationally and abroad performing both as a soloist and member of an ensemble.