Carry The Tunes traces the tradition across 100 years of music making and sharing.
In association with Cryan's Teach Ceoil we are delighted to present this series of specially recorded concerts available to view here on our website.
Tracing the journey of traditional music across generations and borders Carry the Tunes is a series of concerts recorded in the celebrated traditional music venue of Cryan’s Teach Ceoil in Carrick on Shannon. The title of the series is a reference to the tradition of picking up, carrying and passing on the music.
It is more than just a series of concerts however. Each performance explores not only the music through its playing but through conversation and insight also peels back the layers of history that accompany each piece. Using composers and styles as points of departure Carry The Tune embarks on a remarkable journey of discovery and rediscovery of the origins of the tunes and songs, how they have travelled across time and place to remain firmly rooted in the tradition.
Each of the the four concerts are inspired by a theme:
“The McKenna Influence” Featuring Sean Gilrane (flute), Lorraine Sweeney (flute), Liam Kelly (flute), John McCartin (guitar)
“The North Connacht Influence” Featuring : Dylan Carlos (fiddle), Daithi Gormley (accordion), Clare Bohan (fiddle) John McCartin (guitar)
“The Generational Influence”
Featuring : Oliver Loughlin (accordion), Breda Shannon (flute/concertina), Aisling Ní Choisdhealbha (fiddle) and special guest Michael O Brien (accordion)
“The Leitrim Influence” Featuring: Fionnuala Maxwell (vocal), Eleanor Smith (vocal/concertina), Clare Bohan (fiddle), John McCartin (guitar)
This series was in part inspired by James Fraher and Gregory Daly’s 2020 publication 'In Nearly Every House' which contains biographies along with black and white photographs featuring over one hundred traditional musicians from counties Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Mayo. As part of the Carry the Tune series you can listen to an exclusive interview with those authors recorded at The Dock by broadcaster by Vincent Woods.
Liam Kelly grew up in Sligo Town and is a founding member of the band Dervish. He began playing traditional Irish music at the young age of 8 starting on the tin whistle at school and a couple of years later was taught by Carmel Gunning.He also played the accordion and was taught by the great Alfie Dineen. He then began to play flute at the age of 16 and went on to play in a group called Poitin who appeared on the Late Late Show after winning a talent competition where the Late Late appearance was the prize.
Dervish then formed at the All Ireland Fleadh in 1989 after which they have gone on to produce 14 albums along with touring all over the world celebrating 32 years in the music business. He also has a solo cd called Sweetwood released in 2010 and a new John McKenna tribute album coming out this year playing one of the flutes that John McKenna used back in the 1920's.
Sean Gilrane was born (1969) and reared in Ballinaglera, Co Leitrim, a mountainous region on the north eastern shores of Lough Allen. The area has a long and proud tradition of flute playing, although circumstances have dented that tradition in the last fifty years. Even though player numbers have largely decreased, the love of the instrument is still very much in the DNA of the local people. I did not start seriously playing the flute until I was 21 but was always absolutely captivated by the sound of the timber flute ever since I first heard it played by my neighbour Swithin Mc Partlin RIP, when I was in the cradle. I am strongly influenced by the local flute style and the commercial recordings of John Mc Kenna. Roger Sherlock, Josie Mc Dermott, Matt Molloy and Seamus Tansey.
John McCartin, from Newtowngore in County Leitrim is both a guitar and fiddle player. He holds an MA in Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick. John is a member of the band Garadice and performs as part of the trio, Carlos Sweeney McCartin. He has recorded and performed with the likes of Eleanor Shanley, Donal Lunny, Lunasa, Dervish, Back West and Vinnie Kilduff.
In 2014 he was part of The Leitrim Equation, a two year residency including fellow Leitrim musicians Eleanor Shanley, Dave Sheridan and Pádraig McGovern. They researched and sourced Leitrim music and songs, and together with Dónal Lunny, presented arrangements of these pieces, some of which hadn’t been played for over 200 years. This culminated in performances and a DVD in collaboration with Leitrim poet, playwright and broadcaster Vincent Woods and sean nós dancer Edwina Guckian.
Dylan Carlos comes from a very musical family in Co Roscommon. Having grown up in the home of flute playing, Dylan took the road less travelled for a Rossie and took up the fiddle, but is still heavily influenced by the music in his local area. He is 1/3 of the group "Carlos Sweeney McCartin" who brought out their debut album in 2019 to great acclaim and also performs with the group "Gatehouse" from time to time. Dylan has also worked outside the tradition, having performed recently with Co. Tipperary singer-songwriter Cormac Looby. He is a past All-Ireland winner on fiddle and teaches regularly at workshops and festivals around Ireland and abroad.
Daithi Gormley. With an extensive and much respected repertoire steeped in the rich musical heritage of his native county Sligo, Daithí Gormley is widely regarded as one of the foremost button accordion players of his generation. He has researched, published and lectured on Irish traditional music and is in high demand as an accomplished performer, tutor and lecturer. In 2017 Daithí and fiddler Oisín MacDiarmada published the ‘Fiddlers of Sligo Tunebook’ and in 2018 Daithí released his debut solo album ‘Fiddling without a Bow’ to wide critical acclaim. Daithí is also one of Irelands foremost button accordion tutors teaching extensively both nationally and internationally.
Clare Bohan is a fiddle player from Kilnagross, County Leitrim. She has been playing music since she took up the fiddle in a small community hall just outside Drumsna village when she was 7 years old, under the tutelage of Conor Ward. Throughout her teenage years, Clare played with the Ceolus Ceilí band in Gortlettragh, where she was exposed to the Stephen Grier collection of music- tunes she returns to time and time again. She has performed at Fleadh Cheoil’s with successes at Connacht and all-Ireland level. Clare has tutored the fiddle locally and at national summer schools such as the Joe Mooney Summer School and the O’Carolan Harp festival. She also plays regularly in Cryan’s Teach Ceoil in Carrick on Shannon.
Leitrim traditional singer/songwriter, Fionnuala Maxwell is a well-known voice within the Irish traditional singing fraternity. Her years of partaking in various singing gatherings, festivals, Fleadhanna and workshops have seen her acquire a broad range of songs, being influenced by people such as Rosie Stewart, Paddy Berry, Niamh Parsons and the late Paddy Tunney. Her pride in being Leitrim born and bred is most evident in her repertoire and it is from the experiences of this rural upbringing that she draws inspiration for many of her self-penned ballads.
Fionnuala is a multi-medallist and has recorded two albums of songs, one in conjunction with her young students in Carrick Trad singing class and she has also featured on various recordings, including the Leitrim Equation album with Dervish. Her sense of connectedness to her roots and her commitment to preserving and promoting the songs of her locality are evident in the work she has done and continues to carry out as a researcher and “passer-on” of the tradition. Recent collaborations with various artists, including dancer Edwina Guckian and musician Brian Mostyn on The Modern Day Mummers project and with visual artist and ceramicist Kate-Murtagh Sheridan as part of a Co-Create venture have allowed her to reflect on her singing journey and explore some diverse approaches in her quest to make the tradition more accessible and relevant.
Lorraine Sweeney is from a large musical family who hail from Ballinamore in County Leitrim. In her younger years the family lived in Manchester where the Irish music scene in the 80’s and early 90’s was vibrant & sparked a lifelong interest. Here she began learning the whistle with Angela Usher and later the flute.
She studied Traditional Music Performance in Dublin’s BCFE under guidance of Paul McGratten and has since established herself as a regular on the session and summer school circuit both performing and teaching. Lorraine is a founding member of the Moylurg Ceili and was a part of their All-Ireland win in 2013.
In 2014 she was delighted to be part of the John McKenna project group who released a biographical book and complete discography. Currently Lorraine is a Director with Music Generation Leitrims Youth Trad Orchestra, which recently featured her first composition Cates Waltz in their repertoire.
Eleanor Smith is from Carrick on Shannon currently studying in National University of Ireland Galway. She started singing lessons with Fionnuala Maxwell a number of years ago upstairs in Cryans Teach Ceoil and shortly after joined Carrick Trad where she began lessons on concertina. Since then, she has competed in multiple Fleadh Cheoils as a singer and concertina player and also takes part in Carrick Trad Ceilí Band and Grupa Cheoil. Eleanor and four other girls from St Marys Kiltoghert GAA Club, won the All Ireland Scór na nÓg competition in 2019 in the Ballad Group category. She loves going to various county, regional and All-Ireland fleadhs and learning from other musicians and singers, adapting her technique and broadening her repertoire. Eleanor is 19 years old.
Michael O'Brien is without doubt one of the most influential musicians from County Leitrim. He started to play the box at the age of 14 after his sister came home from London with a Honor accordion. As a young man he spent many years playing at house gatherings and ceilis as well as sessions in the local pubs. Much of his music was spent in the company of Joe "Lackey" Gallagher, Seamus Horan, Felix Gallagher, Michael Patrick Carroll, Kevin O'Brien and Kevin McTiernan. He is a fountain of knowledge about Leitrim music and musicians and is extremely generous with his time and music particularly when it comes to younger players. His son Damian is a well known fiddle player and along with Oliver Loughlin they have spent years playing in Cryans on Saturday nights.
Anybody who has ever played with Michael will know his love of playing 40 reels in a row without taking a break and his unbelievable ability to keep a session going no matter what time of the day or night! His impact on traditional music not alone in his native county but throughout the country is unquestionable.
Oliver Loughlin was born and raised in Drumkeerin in Co. Leitrim and started playing accordion at age 10 when attending classes with flute player Bernie Flaherty one evening per week in the local school. He was encouraged a lot by both his parents who each had relatives who played music and in particular by his paternal grandmother Cecelia Loughlin who’s father Peter McTernan was a fiddle player.He later attended classes with fiddle player Paddy Ryan. Oliver started playing a lot around this time with fiddle player Damian O’Brien and his father Michael along with well known deceased Creevelea fiddle player Seamus Horan. Michael and Seamus had a huge influence on Oliver and Damian’s music and instilled a lasting hunger in them for playing music .Oliver has played regularly in Cryan's pub in Carrick since his early teens and it was here he got to meet and play with musicians from all over the country and beyond. .He played regularly in the Cobblestone pub also while living part time in Dublin for many years. Oliver currently lives with his musician wife Breda (Shannon) and their children in his fathers ancestral homestead in an area steeped in rich musical heritage in Sweetwood Killargue in North County Leitrim.
Breda Shannon was born and raised in Ballinameen in north Roscommon in a house where there was a huge interest in Irish Traditional music. Breda’s Grandfather Paddy Shannon played the fiddle and her brother Aidan and sister Celine also play music. From a very early age, Breda and her siblings played in sessions with all the local musicians in Roscommon and surrounding counties. For many years Breda competed successfully at the fleadhs, and is also a regular adjudicator and tutor at numerous fleadhs and summer schools throughout Ireland and further afield. She has toured with Comhaltas and various artists across Ireland, Britain and America. Breda is also a member of the Moylurg Ceili Band.
A music teacher by profession ,Breda now lives in North Leitrim with her husband Oliver Loughlin and children and teaches in Lough Allen College Drumkeerin. She still plays in numerous sessions mainly in Cryans bar Carrick on Shannon where she enjoys meeting and playing with all the local and visiting musicians.
Aisling Ni Choisdealbha hails from Roscrea, Co Tipperary where she is from an extremely musical family. She plays both fiddle and piano and has numerous All Ireland titles to her name on both instruments - including Senior Fiddle, Under 18 fiddle, Senior Duet and Trio and a number of All Irelands on the piano. She is also a proficient classical musician on both instruments.
Aislings fulltime job is in Television working as a news reporter for Virgin Media News. She has previously worked for Sky News and has presented programmes for TG4. Aisling is the Director of the Traditional Music Ensemble at the Music Department of Maynooth University. She currently lives in Maynooth with her husband Leitrim fiddle player Damian O Brien (son of Michael O’Brien) and their 3 young children.