2024 Music Network tour begins in Galway

Niamh Dunne, Bróna McVittie, Cormac Breatnach and Seán Óg Graham (photo - Marc O'Sullivan)

Niamh Dunne, Bróna McVittie, Cormac Breatnach and Seán Óg Graham (photo - Marc O'Sullivan)

The national Music Network’s spring 2024 season begins next month with a quartet of highly acclaimed traditional musicians invited to showcase their skills in Co Galway.

Niamh Dunne, Bróna McVittie, Cormac Breatnach and Seán Óg Grahamwill perform at the Station House in Clifden on Tuesday, 6 February. Founded in 1986, Music Network is the Arts Council’s national music touring and development organisation tasked with making music accessible to communities throughout Ireland and helping musicians develop their careers.

Niamh Dunne and Seán Óg Graham are founding members of Beoga. Dunne brings gorgeous vocals and fantastic fiddle playing, while Graham will showcase his talents on both guitar and button accordion.

Legendary whistle player and creative force behind the iconic Deiseal, Cormac Breatnach will complete the line-up alongside vocalist and innovative harper Bróna McVittie.

The tour will also feature a commissioned composition by songwriter Bróna McVittie.

“I'm toying with a couple of different approaches, both are responses to the unfolding horror in Gaza. I want to create something that will be a tribute in particular to all the young lives lost, lives never to be lived. I'm referencing my own experience of growing up in a segregated society during the troubles in Northern Ireland. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever tried to compose, but I'm determined to create something uplifting”

Niamh Dunne is an accomplished musician known for her unique traditional fiddle playing, folk-infused compositions and warm, smoky vocal style. She released her first album of self-penned songs Tides in 2022 to critical acclaim. Dunne has performed with the well-known Dunne Family for many years, and with the Grammy-nominated Beoga; best known for their Irish fusion music with Ed Sheeran.

Widely regarded as one of Ireland’s top button accordion players, Seán Óg Graham has recorded seven albums as a key member of Beoga, which The Wall Street Journal described as ‘the most exciting band to come out of Ireland this century’. When the band performed on Ed Sheeran’s album ÷ (“Divide” ), it was Graham’s own composition ‘Minute 5’ that provided the musical backdrop to the global hit ‘Galway Girl’.

Acclaimed whistle player Cormac Breatnach is a founding member of the iconic band Deiseal, formed in 1993. The Irish Times described their sound as “extraordinarily compelling” and referred to a “virtuosity that was breathtaking”. Breatnach’s playing can be heard on more than 50 albums as part of Riverdance, and on his own solo albums Musical Journey, Music for Whistle & Guitar and Éalú. He has also recorded on film and TV soundtracks.

Pioneering her own brand of cosmic folk, singer and harper Bróna McVittie deftly reimagines traditional folk tunes. She crafts her own nature-inspired songs with a rich mix of ethnic and electronic instruments. Her debut solo album We Are the Wildlife, released in 2018, earned her a string of four-star reviews from MOJO, Uncut, The Guardian and The Independent. Her second album The Man in the Mountain followed in 2020 and immediately scored the much-coveted Folk Album of the Month spot in The Guardian.

Expect the unexpected as this quartet combines traditional and contemporary music, taking melodies on unexpected journeys and presenting old songs in new ways, all the while enhanced by expertly crafted arrangements.

The tour, which runs until February 17, takes in Galway, Kildare, Cork, Wexford, Dublin, Limerick, Kerry and Wicklow.

Tickets for Clifden gig €15 from www.musicnetwork.ie


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