Bríd Harper and Darren Breslin / Mulcahy Family
London Irish Centre (Pres), 50-52 Camden Square, Camden, London NW1 9XB – click for map
Sat 29th Oct 2016
From Castlefinn, Co. Donegal and now living near Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, Brid Harper continues a family tradition of fiddle playing. She has won numerous All Ireland titles and other prestigious awards, including Oireachtas na Gaeilge and Fiddler of Dooney. A MA graduate of the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance at the University of Limerick, Brid has performed with many great musicians, including Dermot Byrne Steve Cooney, Donogh Hennessy, Danny O’Mahony, Arty McGlynn, Harry Bradley, Tony O’Connell and Cyril O’Donoghue. She is regarded as one of the leading living exponents of Irish fiddle playing and is highly respected as a teacher throughout Ireland, Europe and the USA.
Darren Breslin, from Lisnaskea in Co. Fermanagh, began playing the accordion at the age of 8, inspired by his grandfather, fiddler Brian Breslin. He was Senior All Ireland Champion in 2008 and is widely regarded as one of the finest of the younger generation of accordion players. In August this year, the NYAH Festival in Cavan honoured Darren with a tribute concert, at which he was presented with a ‘Jig of Life’ award by the great flute player and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Head of Music, Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha.
Musical families are often the backbone of Irish music. In earlier times, when traditional music was not always as widely regarded as it is today, they played a vital role in preserving and handing it down the generations. One of the most noteworthy is the Mulcahy Family of Abbeyfeale, West Limerick, making a welcome return to the Festival (they last visited us in 2010).
Mick Mulcahy is one of the legendary living Irish accordion players. He won the All-Ireland senior title in 1972 and released his first solo album in 1976. In 1990, Gael-Linn released Mick Mulcahy agus Cairde, which Mick recorded with London banjoist Mick O’Connor, his longtime playing partner.
In more recent years, he and his daughters, Louise (flute, uilleann pipes and whistle) and Michelle (harp, concertina, piano and fiddle) have performed together as the Mulcahy Family. In addition to playing in the family band, Louise and Michelle are formidable musicians in their own right. Michelle was TG4 Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2006. She featured on Riverdance composer Bill Whelan’s album, The Connemara Suite, on a piece for harp and orchestra which he wrote for her. Her solo harp album, Suaimhneas, has received deserved critical acclaim.
Louise is regarded as one of the finest pipes and flute players of her generation. She was Live Ireland female musician of the year 2015 and is a noted teacher – she is a pipes tutor at the Willie Clancy Festival in Milltown Malbay and at Scoil Cheoil Westport. Her solo flute album, Tuning the Road, has been extremely well received since its release in 2014.