Anna, Sheila and Clare Friel are young traditional musicians born in Glasgow with their family roots firmly entrenched in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Derrynamansher). Being siblings, they achieve a close blend on fiddle, flute and uilleann pipes interspersed with songs sang in unison, many from their family and local repertoire.
They have performed in various venues and festivals across Europe, America and Asia and have appeared as guests on stage or toured with acts such as Altan, The Chieftains, Lúnasa, The Máirtín O’Connor Trio, Cherish the Ladies, Solas and Fidil. Summer 2013 saw the girls record their debut album at their home in Donegal with guest musicians Gearoid Mooney, Seamus O’Kane and Griogair Labhruidh. 2016 sees an exciting time ahead as they embark upon the process of recording album number two.
Matt Cranitch, Jackie Daley & Paul de Grae
Matt Cranitch is renowned as a fiddle-player and teacher, both at home in Ireland and abroad. He has performed extensively at concerts and festivals, on radio and television, and has presented lectures, master-classes and workshops on various aspects of Irish music. He has won All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil titles, as well as The Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas Crotty Cup. Author of The Irish Fiddle Book, first published in 1988 and now in its fourth edition, he has also contributed to other books on Irish traditional music. He has made various albums including three with Sliabh Notes, in addition to Éistigh Seal which consists entirely of slow airs. His most recent recording is The Living Stream with Jackie Daly. He is an authority on the music of Sliabh Luachra, and received a PhD from the University of Limerick for his study on the fiddle-playing tradition of this region. A long-time consultant for the Geantraí series on TG4, he is also an advisor to the Arts Council Deis scheme for the traditional arts, and has served on the board of the Irish Traditional Music Archive (2007–2010). In 2003, he received the Hall of Fame Award from University College Cork where he currently teaches a number of courses in Irish traditional music.
Wanda Crocker (fiddle, mandolin), Gerry Strong (flute, whistles), Jean Hewson (guitar, vocals) and Rick West (bodhran) are all long-time contributors to the Newfoundland traditional music scene. They have played with each other in sessions and in various combinations on stage over the years without unfortunate incident. So, why not answer Newfoundland's desperate need for another traditional band and find fame and fortune before geezerhood takes over entirely? "What odds, may as well", they thought and hatched WHAT ODDS in the (very early) spring of 2013. The rest is unwritten history!
Daoirí (pronounced ‘Derry’) was introduced to the music at a very early age by his parents who shared a keen interest in artists such as Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Frank Harte, Planxty and The Bothy Band and more. Daoirí took up music himself at the relatively late age of 16 and only started to perform at 23, but he has come a long way since then and the early release of his accomplished debut album ‘The First Turn’, in 2009.
Daoirí has regularly performed in the many singing circles and folk clubs around Ireland, from Dublin’s famous Góilin singers club to the All-Ireland Fleadh to name but a few. He has performed alongside some of the biggest names in Irish and international folk music including Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Alan Doherty, Danú, Dervish, Julie Fowlis, The Young’uns, Paddy Keenan Trio, Matt Molloy, Arty McGlynn, The John Carty Big Band, The East Pointers, Kíla, Sean Keane, Gerry O’Connor (Banjo), Gerry O’Connor (Fiddle), Alan Burke, Lynched and more.
He became the All Ireland Champion Singer at the Fleadh in Co. Derry in 2013 and won the Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections in 2015 with the line-up FourWinds.
Rob Slaney is from Marystown on the Burin Peninsula and now lives in Witless Bay with his wife, Lenora, and two children, Isaac and Sarah. Rob is a talented multi-instrumentalist and a beautiful ballad singer. He first took to the guitar and soon followed with mandolin in his early teens. Recently he has a new favorite instrument - an octave mandola, that was handcrafted by his father, Carlo.
Sean Sullivan hails from Calvert on the Southern Shore of Newfoundland and is married to Angela Hewitt from Trepassey. He remembers growing up surrounded by wonderful unaccompanied singing by his mother, grandfather, uncles and aunts at an early age. It wasn’t long before he regularly joined in the sessions with some of his other siblings. He learned to play rhythm guitar in his early twenties and has been singing in some form or another ever since.
Julia Bowdring has been teaching with the Suzuki Talent Education Program for over 8 years and is now the co-Artistic Director. She started Suzuki-method violin lessons at the age of 8 and continued with the program until the end of high school. Julia played traditional Newfoundland fiddle music along with her classical repertoire for many years. She has also taught with a community strings program in Limerick, Ireland, and at the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute.
Julia frequently performs with local bands, playing for festivals like the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, George Street Festival and Squidfest; weddings, conferences, and everything in between, including being part of Rod Stewart’s backup band in 2015 at the Confederation Hill Music Festival.
Aoife Granville is from Dingle and has been playing both classical and traditional music since the age of 7. While in her teens she performed and toured with Kerry Chamber Orchestra, Dublin Youth Orchestra and Ceol Chiarraí amongst others. She went on to study Music in UCC where she was a member of fiddle group Fiddlesticks. Aoife was awarded with a Bene Merenti award from UCC for her contribution to traditional music and has won numerous prizes at Oireachtas and Fleadhanna Cheoil, including the prestigious Senior Flute title in 2003. Aoife released her debut album, Sráid Eoin Shuffle, in 2006.
Hailing from Dingle, Co. Kerry; a multi-instrumentalist and singer, Deirdre studied both traditional and classical music from a young age. She has toured and performed extensively worldwide and has been featured on Radio, commercial recordings and TV performances both solo and with other celebrated musicians including Kerry Chamber and Youth Orchestras, Aoife Granville, folk singing group; Deluce’s Patent and duo; Sirmione amongst others. A music graduate from University College Cork and a MA performance graduate from University of Limerick, she has won numerous solo and group performance medals, including the first ever All-Ireland Senior Harp Slow Airs title at Fleadh na hÉireann. She is co-ordinator and founder of Dingle Tradfest successful music festival. Deirdre’s debut solo album will be released in the summer of 2015.
A singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Dave Panting has been a professional musician since the early seventies. A founding member of the well known Celtic / roots band RAWLINS CROSS, he was also a longtime member of Newfoundland’s iconic FIGGY DUFF. A mainstay in the St. John’s music scene, Dave has toured the Western Hemisphere and Europe, done just about any kind of gig you can name and been involved in “a lot” of recording projects as a producer or sideman. Current musical associations also include GULLIVER’S SPREE [Newfoundland roots] and THE FORGOTTEN BOUZOUKI, a Greek project. For the last few years, he has been an instructor at the Vinland Music Camp, an event devoted to furthering local music, dance and culture. A typical Dave Panting solo gig includes a mix of original, traditional and contemporary songs and tunes incorporating various stringed instruments.
Mark Manning and Aaron Collis have been heavily involved in the Newfoundland music scene for the past decade – performing either independently or with other groups. Mark and Aaron draw on their collective influences from growing up in rural Newfoundland.
On lead vocals and guitar, Mark has been performing on George Street for the past four years and around the province for the past decade. He has made his mark on the St. John’s scene with his twist on folk, traditional and crowd-pleasing favorites. Mark has had the opportunity to perform his music not just in St. John’s, but also across the world at the Irish Connection festival in Ireland and Disney Music Days in Florida, USA.
An accordion and mandolin player, Aaron has been performing around the world for the past 7 years with The Dardanelles, including Scotland, the United States, Australia, and Canada. Aaron has received many awards for his albums including Traditional/Celtic Album of the Year in 2015 with Duane Andrews and 2014 with Emilia Bartellas. In their short time performing together, Mark and Aaron have excited and captivated audiences all across Newfoundland.
Jenny Gear is a native of Carbonear and was well known from an early age as a tremendous singer. Jenny’s soulful voice, varied repertoire and gentle personality make her a delight to see and hear. She performs at local festivals with Duane Andrews, Sandy Morris and her band The Whiskey Kittens.
Duane Andrews' music is the product of a great ear, an adventurous spirit and a love of music that is beyond category. Uniting what would seem to be impossible – traditional Newfoundland music with the Gypsy Jazz of the legendary Django Reinhardt, Andrews makes it not just work – he makes it soar. The award winning guitarist, composer, producer and international performer’s latest solo album, Raindrops, is the best evidence yet of his truly unique musical vision and is the sound of him, literally, bringing it all back home.