As a touring soloist, with no less than 37 tours of the USA, 5 trips to Australia and countless European tours to his credit, Alistair Anderson is internationally acknowledged as the master of the English Concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian Pipes. He delights audiences with traditional music from Northumberland and beyond, as well as his own music, which has grown out of his love of these traditions.
Noel Battle, from Co. Westmeath, was the winner of the first All Ireland competition in 1967 and has won eleven times since, most recently in 2007. He is best known for his virtuosity on a tremolo harmonica, and will be joined for the festival by the wonderful anglo concertina player and all-Ireland concertina champion 2013, Roísín Broderick from Co. Clare. The duo released their debut CD, ‘Up and About in the Morning’ in 2014.
Originally from Nairnshire, Norman has been playing the 3 row button accordion since early childhood learning initially by ear from his dad ‘Ian’ and neighbour ‘Drewie Macdonald’. In 2002 he moved to Edinburgh where he set up ‘Norman Mackay’s Ceilidh Experience’ a rock fusion ceilidh band who have since gone on to perform all over the UK and Europe. Norman has made several radio & TV appearances most recently live on BBC1’s ‘This Week Show’ hosted by Andrew Neil at The Ghillie Dhu, Edinburgh, and his own compositions have been played and recorded by many musicians around the world.
One of the finest harmonica players of his generation, Will Pound’s innovative style has earned him credit as a musician who pushes the boundaries of his instrument and its genre. Featured artist on the Christmas no. 1 single for Hillsborough, He Ain’t Heavy, Will has performed with musicians as diverse as Martin Simpson, Guy Chambers, Michelle Burke and Concerto Caledonia. Will has been nominated 3 times for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician Of The Year Award. He was voted FATEA Magazine Instrumentalist Of the Year two years running and nominated for Songlines Magazine best newcomer.
Mary MacNamara’s concertina music was nurtured within her musical family in East Clare, an area renowned for its haunting music. In country farmhouses she learned her distinctive repertoire and relaxed, uncluttered style. The legendary P.J. Hayes of the Tulla Ceilidh Band had a major influence on her musical development.
The Ness Melodeon Band was formed in the 1990’s in Ness on the Isle of Lewis, by a group of local players who felt that the traditional Lewis melodeon style was at a low ebb and in danger of being lost. As a band they have played at many events on Lewis and visited Ireland on several occasions. They have also played at Celtic Connections and were recently nominated for a Trad Award.
John Spiers, from Oxfordshire, has made a name for himself as one of the leading squeezebox players of his generation. Well known for his long-standing duo partnership with Jon Boden in the formidable Spiers & Boden as well as his contribution to the massively popular Bellowhead, John has also played with Eliza Carthy’s Ratcatchers and a number of local folk-dance bands.
Brendan Begley is bursting with the wild and beautiful music of West Kerry.
As a singer he is a gentle giant. On the accordion, he is a force of nature. His
is music that could not exist were it not for the mountains, seas and storms of his
native “Corca Dhuibhne” more commonly known as the Dingle Peninsula.Born into a famous musical family, the youngest of nine children, Brendan soaked up the music and song of West Kerry from an early age. Slides, polkas, songs and slow airs all run through his veins.
Hailing from Edinburgh, Wendy Stewart has been playing traditional music for over 50 years. Over the years of performing, teaching, sessioning and singing Wendy has gained a style and repertoire on both English concertina and harp that encompasses the traditions of Scotland alongside the music of many other countries. She has a love of French, Scandinavian and Morris tunes even playing Cajun concertina on occasion!
Michael Wright is a leading performer, historian and enthusiast of the jews-harp in the United Kingdom. Passionate about the melodic possibilities of the instrument, he regularly teaches at festivals. He has recorded with the Wright Family as well as Dogan Mehmet, Matt Quinn and Sam Lee
With a wealth of experience as an anglo concertina player, Harry Scurfield has performed on the instrument for 41 years in the British Isles and abroad, and his deep affection for blues and jazz have created a unique style. As Brian Peters says, ‘he is always great to listen to, doing things on a concertina that I doubt its inventor ever envisaged.’
Originally from Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, but currently resident in Aberdeenshire, Tom Roche plays C#/D button accordion. He teaches and plays Irish traditional music and has played at several festivals throughout Scotland and beyond.
Frances Wilkins is recognised as a leading exponent of the English concertina. She took up the instrument while immersed in the rich music culture of Shetland in the 1990s and within a year she was touring professionally and playing regularly with some of Shetland’s greatest fiddle players.
Jerry O’ Reilly is in demand as a teacher/caller all over Ireland, the U.K., Europe, The United States and Canada. He teaches dancing in Paris to the Association Irlandaise and at the Willie Clancy Summer School, and has been invited to teach in many other festivals and conventions. He has previously taken part in the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen and we’re delighted that he will be able to return again to teach dancing at the festival. He is also an accomplished singer of Irish traditional song.
Billy Jolly is something of a legend in Orkney. Whether singing about a make-shift rubbish dump (amongst many other inspired, yet captivating, topics) or keeping audiences spellbound with his moothie (harmonica) skills, he never fails to add that special something to an evening’s entertainment.
George Current has played the mouth organ from a very early age, taught mostly by his father. With around 60 years experience, George has developed an excellent understanding of Scottish traditional music, which is where his main interest lies. He specialises in Scottish country dance and pipe music, and has wide experience of leading workshops.