OUR ARTISTS :
Harp : Michael ROONEY, Holly GERAGHTY, Fiana NI CHONAILL
Fiddle : Manus MCGUIRE
Concertina : Mary MCNAMARA
Set Dancing : Marie MCMAHON
Michael Rooney grew up in Scotstown, Co. Monaghan and now lives in Sligo where he has become part of the musical and cultural bedrock of the region. He is recognised as one of the most influential and innovative stylists on the harp, and his virtuosic technique as well as his approach to rhythm and harmony have helped to reposition it as a popular and integral part of the living tradition. However there’s much more to the man than this: he is also a significant composer and arranger of new music for the harp, including impressive large-scale orchestral works that have ambitiously combined traditional musicians with professional classical players. He was announced as the TG4 Composer of the Year 2017. He has composed ten major suites including the De Cuellar Suite (2011), Boróimhe (2014) the Reconciliation Suite (2015) and The Macalla Suite (2016), works inspired by significant moments in Ireland’s cultural history and the impact that they continue to have on our people. In May 2015, Michael was commissioned to write music and perform on the occasion of Prince Charles’ visit to Sligo. His music features on ‘The Queen’s Speech’, RTÉ’s documentary of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland.
An album of ‘The Macalla Suite’ was released in December 2016, performed by The Macalla Orchestra and recorded Live in Monaghan. He has recorded two CDs with flute player June McCormack; ‘Draíocht’ and ‘Land’s End’. Michael has published four books of his own compositions; ‘Harp Tunes’ (2006), Aifreann Gaeilge (2012), ‘The de Cuéllar Suite’ (2012), ‘The Macalla Suite’ (2016).
His recent suite, The Macalla Suite, commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Rising, is a deeply complex work that embraces the intricacy of our identity. It was commissioned as a central part of Ireland’s commemoration of the 1916 Rising Centenary. The suite was performed at the RDS on Easter Saturday at the State Event for the Relatives of 1916 and toured to the Barbican in London, followed by a sold out nationwide tour during Easter 2016. The Macalla Orchestra is made up of over sixty of Ireland’s finest traditional and classical musicians and singers.
“Michael Rooney’s superbly orchestrated score covered the whole gamut of emotions inevitably evoked by the many-layered and endlessly engrossing story of the Easter Rising, and the tale of the Irish nation before and since, providing a soundtrack that time and again veered from the haunting quieter interludes to the inspiring crescendos when the entire 60-plus Orchestra took full musical flight.” (Michael McDonnell, The Northern Standard)
‘It’s rare for a piece of music to be able to tell such a vast and significant part of history so well in such a short space of time. The Macalla Suite has managed to wonderfully condense almost 150 years of Irish history into beautiful and emotive melodies and orchestrations that are unashamedly Irish’. (Luke Vogel, Reviewer, London)
Michael Rooney’s Composition Work
2017- ‘The Spirit of Laois’ for Music Generation Laois Harp Orchestra
2016- The Macalla Suite for the 1916 Centenary
2015- Reconciliation Suite : Performed for TRH, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess
of Cornwall during their official visit to Co. Sligo in May 2015.
2014 ‘The Second Coming’ with Fidget Feet
2014- ‘Boróimhe- Brian Boru Story
2011 – The De Cuellar Suite: Story of Francisco de Cuellar
2007 – Aifreann Gaeilge 2: For Corofin Trad Festival
2006 – Battle of Books: (Story of St. Colmcille)
2006 – Harp Tunes: Book of 23 Compositions
2006 – Suite for Harp and String Quartet
2000 The Millennium Suite: For Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
1997 Aifreann Gaeilge: For Sligo Choral Society (Four Part Irish Mass)
1996 The Famine Suite: For the History Ireland Performance Company in Sligo.
Manus McGuire is an Irish fiddle player who has for many years been involved in performing, recording, teaching and in more recent times, composition. Originally from Sligo and now resident in East Clare, he grew up in a rich musical environment in the North West of Ireland and together with his brother Seamus, he was ideally placed to carry on a fiddle tradition made legend by Michael Coleman, James Morrison, Paddy Killoran and Lad O’Beirne.
As a recording artist, he has recorded solo fiddle albums, duo fiddle albums with his brother Seamus, and a number of CDs with bands Buttons and Bows, Moving Cloud, and Brock McGuire Band.
He is honoured to have won a number of prestigious fiddle awards such as the 2006 Male Irish Traditional Musician of the year in the U.S. by the Irish American News in Chicago. As well as performing with ‘Buttons and Bows’ and with Canadian singer/song-writer, Emily Flack, these days he is involved in teaching fiddle both at intermediate and advanced levels.
- In 2006, he was Voted Male Irish Traditional Musician of the year in the U.S. by the Irish American News in Chicago.
- He received the Bravo Award from Trad Magazine (France) in 2007.
- He won the prestigious national Fiddle contest, Fiddler of Dooney in his native Sligo in 1970.
Fiana is an award-winning harper from Castleconnell, Co Limerick. She comes from a family which has been involved in Irish music for three generations and was reared in a household immersed in the Irish music tradition.
Fiana learned the skill of harping from Dr. Janet Harbison and went on to completed a BA in Irish Music and Dance in 2012 where she was awarded a First Class Honours degree from the University of Limerick. She graduated from Newcastle University UK with an Mmus in Musicology in 2013.
Fiana has given many solo concert performances and has toured extensively as a member of the Irish Harp Orchestra. She is currently teaching and performing, while also pursuing a PhD at the University of Limerick in Music and Tourism.
2016 marked the release of her debut CD, ‘Dathanna an Cheoil’ (The Colours of Music), which is a distillation of her musical experiences thus far. The CD gives the feel of a solo harp concert or recital, which showcases the diversity, and flexibility of the instrument through the repertoire and arrangements. It includes harp specific repertoire, lively dance music and haunting slow airs.
Mary’s style of music is deeply set in the mellow rhythm and swing of east Clare having being fortunate to have played with the musical masters of the area such as Martin Rochford, P Joe Hayes, Bill Malley and Joe Bane. While Mary has performed mostly as a solo musician all over the world she has also toured with The Tulla Ceili Band, the all women group Macalla, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, Catherine McEvoy and also Martin Hayes. Mary has recorded three solo albums followed by a duet album “The Lady’s Cup of Tea” with her daughter Sorcha Costello. The album was described by Frankie Gavin as “Sincere, hypnotic and an overall delight”
Holly is a highly accomplished harpist and is very much in demand as a performer, teacher and composer. Surrounded by a rich storehouse of Irish traditional music in both her home and locality Holly began to play the concertina at an early age before moving onto the harp. Holly holds a First Class Honours BMUS awarded by University College Cork. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Education (Music) followed by a Masters in Irish Traditional Music Performance at University of Limerick. Holly holds several all Ireland honors including the senior harp and concertina title. She has toured extensively throughout Europe, America and Canada and has taught at some of the major summerschools including the Willie Clancy Week and O’Carolan Harp Festival.