Cormac Cannon - Uilleann Pipes / High-altitude crochet

Tunes in the Church Artist
Cormac Cannon

Artists Profile

Cormac Cannon began learning the whistle from Mary Bergin at an early age. He took up the pipes some years later, learning initially from Tommy Keane and later from other prominent players during regular visits to the Willie Clancy summer school. He has toured and taught in Ireland, Japan, Africa, the USA and throughout Europe. In 2011, he recorded the album "The Trip to Carrick" in collaboration with Lamond Gillespie and John Blake. Other recorded output includes The Cobblestone Sessions (Mulligan 2002), Rogha Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy 2008 and a series of albums recorded by his mother, harpist Kathleen Loughnane.

Cormac has a keen interest in the music of the older pipers and fiddle players, particularly the music of Clare and Kerry, and a preference for the sound of the flat-pitched pipes.

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Breda Keville - Fiddle player and singer

Tunes in the Church Artist
Breda Keville

Artists Profile

Breda is from Claran, near Headford, Co. Galway. She attended tin whistle lessons from Mary Bergin from the age of 7 and began learning the fiddle at school shortly afterwards. She got a new fiddle for her 13th birthday and soon became hooked! Her musical influences come predominantly from older players ranging from Bobby Casey, Sarah & Rita Keane, Paddy Fahey, Paddy Canny, Joe Ryan, Patick Kelly to Willie Clancy & Felix Doran to name but a few. She gives workshops regularly but in Ireland and abroad and also teaches in Galway on an individual basis. She released her solo CD 'The Hop Down', in July 2006. Though predominantly unaccompanied, the recording also features her sister Claire on concertina and fiddle, Liam Lewis on fiddle and Terence O Reilly on guitar. While reviewing the album in the Journal of Music in Ireland (JMI), Dermot McLaughlin wrote that: “A recording like this is a cause for optimism at a time when so many accents and points of difference are being smoothed out of traditional music in studio recordings and elsewhere. This hop down is really a big step up!”

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Karen Ryan - Fiddle, tin whistle and banjo player

Tunes in the Church Artist
Karen Ryan

Artists Profile

A musician, teacher and promoter, Karen Ryan was born in London to Galway and Mayo parents It was a strong Connemara tradition of melodeon players and traditional singers on her mother’s side that initially fired her love of the music.

Karen started playing music at the age of nine, taught by the North Leitrim musician Tommy Maguire at the London Irish Centre, where she herself now teaches. It was here that she met lifelong friends and fellow fiddle players, Elaine Conwell and Teresa Connolly (née Heanue), with whom she won the under 12 Trio competition at the All-Ireland Fleadh in 1985.

Karen was fortunate to hone her musical skills through playing with a vast array of musicians in the vibrant London Irish session scene and during frequent visits to musical gatherings in Ireland and the US. Whilst gleaning much from all these players she cites Bryan Rooney, Brendan McGlinchey, Danny Meehan and the recordings of Andy McGann as having the most influence on her fiddle playing.

Awarded ‘Best Female Musician’ by the Chicago Irish American News, ‘Best Instrumental Album by, ‘Unsung Heroes Award’ for promoting music in the London Borough of Camden and a ‘Bliain na Cruinne’ for promoting Irish music overseas, Karen has been particularly busy since the release of her debut solo album ‘The Coast Road’ in April 2012 on Cló Iar-Chonnacht. The album has received extensive radio airplay in Ireland, the UK and the US, and the music from Karen’s Galway album launch was broadcasted in full on RTÉ’s Radió na Gaeltachta. The Coast Road has been extremely well received by the critics, garnering such quotes as:

'This is a very, very exciting album. This woman can play.’ Bill Margeson

‘The debut album by the London-born fiddler, banjoista and whistler Karen Ryan is an absolute gem … a remarkably coherent and convincing album’ fRoots Magazine

As a founder member of the renowned traditional Irish six-piece, The London Lasses and Pete Quinn, Karen has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls, including Dublin City Hall, Cambridge Folk Festival, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Ennis Trad Festival, Glastonbury, Philadelphia Irish Festival and the Royal Albert Hall, where the band performed the first ever BBC Proms céilí in 2008. The band have recorded four albums to date. 2015 sees the release of the band’s fifth album ‘The One I Loved the Best’ - now joined by Chris O’Malley.

Whether as a teacher with Meitheal Cheoil in north London, a workshop leader or an adjudicator both in the UK and overseas, Karen continues to pass on the tradition to both young and old. Through her role as Director of the Return to Camden Town festival of traditional Irish music, song and dance, she is also an award-winning promoter. Now in its seventeenth year, the festival has become a key date in the Irish music calendar and celebrates the historical link between Camden and traditional Irish music.

More information can be found at:
Twitter: @ReturntoCamden

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Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha - Flute / Whistle player

Tunes in the Church Artist
Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha

Artists Profile

I am originally from Cor na Rón in
Indreabhán. This small locality has always been renowned for music, and there were many accordion players around when I was a
small child. I was first encouraged to play music at home by my father Michael Mheáirt and my mother Bairbre Joe Staff Seoighe,
originally from Cnoc, Lettermullen.
I started playing a note or two on the accordion at home, but when I started at primary school Máire Bean Uí Mhainnín, a woman who had a great interest in music,
encouraged me to play the whistle – there was no more talk of the accordion from then on – and it would be true to say that they
weren’t too happy at home at the time!
I used to play a few tunes with my father – he had a habit of taking out the accordion after a day’s work and playing a few tunes,
sometimes taking them from the collection of books that he had – O’Neill’s Music of Ireland
and Breandán Breathnach’s Ceol Rince na hÉireann. I learned quite a lot from listening to him, and after he bought a ‘reel-to-reel’ taperecorder from Raftery’s in Galway, I was given the task of recording the music from
programmes like Céilí House and Mo Cheol Thú. Little did I know at that time that I would
make a living doing the same thing with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta years later!
In my teens It was Meaití Jó Shéamuis who first invited me to go to a session when I was about twelve years old, and I was inspired that night because I heard two young musicians, Patsy and Liam Lewis, playing the sweetest music I ever heard, and that was the moment when I realised that this music wasn’t only for
the ‘old lads’!
I spent many a night at home listening and playing along to the music on the reel-to-reels tapes recorded from the radio - such as Seán Maguire, Joe Burke, Raymond Roland, Paddy
O’Brien, Séamus Connolly, Andy McGann, Tommy Peoples, Mary Bergin, Deirdre Collis and indeed the flute players who were in vogue at the time, Séamus Tansey, Matt
Molloy, Roger Sherlock, P. J. Crotty, Paddy Taylor, Paddy Carty, Marcus Hernon, Michael Hynes, Noel Sweeney to name but a few.
At the moment I am working as Eagraí Ceoil with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and present/produce 4 music programmes a week - Ceol Binn ó na Beanna, a two hour music programme broadcast on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday evening from 7-9pm and a live Sunday Morning Programme "Béal Maidine" from 8-10am.

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