Temple Bar TradFest started out in 2006 as a small niche traditional music festival, a first for Dublin. We wanted to create something special – a festival showcasing the cream of both Irish and international trad and folk artists while also providing a stage to promote the next generation of Irish musicianship.
From modest beginnings the festival has gone from strength to strength. The past decade has has seen the festival grow in terms of size, ambition and musical breadth, with a line-up that now appeals to the purist and the merely curious alike. Although TradFest today is Ireland’s largest festival of traditional music we now also feature artists from the worlds of folk, nu-folk, and even (whisper it) rock and roll!
We want to keep it special – we are still a boutique Winter festival – closing the door on the darkest season and ushering in the light and energy of Spring. TradFest also offers concert goers unique opportunities to experience live music in some of Dublin’s most historic places. From the breathtaking nave of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to the grandeur of City Hall, this is the difference between memorable and unforgettable.
We invite you to join us, to feel every note. This is more than just trad, we call it Radical Trad. Buy tickets now to see the best trad & folk artists in Dublin City’s most unique venues.
Trad Gala: Altan / Four Men And A Dog / Boffin to Burren
No Irish traditional band in the last dozen years has had a wider impact on audiences and music lovers throughout the world than Altan. With their exquisitely produced award-winning recordings, ranging dynamically from the most sensitive and touching old Irish songs all the way to hard hitting reels and jigs, and with their heartwarming, dynamic live performances, Altan have moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle.
Although they released their debut (eponymous) album in 1987, Altan’s international status and success found a very practical recognition when they were signed in 1996 to Virgin Records, the first Irish band of their kind to be signed by a major label. In spite of a hectic touring and recording schedule, Altan continue fresh in their vision of bringing the beauty and joy of traditional music to audiences everywhere, and have always promised themselves to continue as long as it’s fun – fortunately, it still is.
Four Men & a Dog made a name for themselves with their eclectic and vivacious blend of traditional Irish music with a wide spectrum of other genres, including rap, Southern rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass, polka, country swing, and even salsa. The band made their debut performance as a band in ‘Murphy’s Bar’, Dungiven, County Derry, in 1991 before going on to steal the show at the Belfast Folk Festival later that year, with a high-energy approach that combines furious traditional dance tunes with irreverent new music and inimitable covers.
Four Men and a Dog have recorded 7 albums to date, their recent album entitled “And the band played on” was launched in May 2016 to celebrate 25 years touring around the world!
Bofin to Burren are a host of great musicians including InishBofin’s Dessie O’Halloran (vocals, fiddle) and Johnnie O’Halloran (melodeon); Kieran Hanrahan of Stockton’s Wing and RTE fame (banjo); triple All-Ireland concertina champion and dancer Caitlín Nic Gabhann; Padraic and Damien O’Reilly on piano and accordion respectively; De Dannan’s Ronan O’Flaherty (fiddle); and Sligo’s Seamus O’Donnell (flute, sax), taking time out from touring with At The Racket.
This Gala concert promises to be one of the hottest tickets for TradFest 2017 with further acts to be announced!
This is a family group comprising of sisters Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (fiddle and vocals) and Anna Ní Mhaonaigh (whistle and vocals), their brother Gearóid Ó Maonaigh (guitar) and his son Ciarán Ó Maonaigh (fiddle). Mairéad is well known internationally through her music and work with Altan, String Sisters and also her solo work.
Ciarán is also well known internationally for his music through his playing with Caitlín & Ciarán and Fidil, and also as a solo musician, having achieved Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana at TG4 Gradam Ceoil. Anna was a member of Macalla, the all women musical group, and has also worked on television production. Gearóid was a member of Ceoltóirí Altan and Ragairne. A regular at the legendary session in Hudí Beags, he is also a founding member and organiser of Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy. We are honoured and delighted that this collection of accomplished individuals are coming together as a family to perform at TradFest 2017!
Dermot & Flo
Dermot Byrne is one of Ireland’s most exciting traditional musicians, having been awarded the TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year 2013. His seemingly effortless playing, combined with great subtlety, and a faultless ear make him one of the great accordion players of his generation. As well as his mastery of the Donegal style and repertoire, Dermot can turn with ease to other styles and traditions. A member of Altan from 1994 until 2013, he has guested on collaborations with many great musicians including Seamus and Manus McGuire, Sharon Shannon.
Born in Paris, France, Floriane Blancke is a talented harpist, fiddler, pianist and vocalist who has been embraced into Irish Traditional music circles over the past numbers of years. The grand-daughter of Jazz musician Stanislas Suranyi, her music has been greatly influenced by this native Hungarian Gypsy style. While for the most part Floriane’s collaborations are traditional, she has shown her versatility in sharing the stage with contemporary artists such as Shane Mc Gowan of the Pogues and the world renowned vocalist Patti Smith.
Afro Celt Sound System
This European and African based collective have been a ground-breaking force in music ever since their formation, finding kindred spirits along the way across international talent and forging a reputation for exhilarating shows. Afro Celt Sound System celebrated their 20th anniversary with a stunning new album, ‘The Source’ which came out in April 2016 on ECC Records. The new album’s characteristic energy has already translated brilliantly to the band’s latest live sets, which kicked off 2016 in style with sell-out shows at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival and Islington’s Assembly Halls in North London.
On some shows, the band will be joined by the hauntingly soulful Armagh-born vocalist and flautist Rioghnach Connolly and the devotional harmonies of the Guinean female quintet Les Griottes. For TradFest 2017, expect ‘a delirious mix of primal intensity, spiritual beauty and explosive rhythms’. Boom!
Iarla Ó Lionáird & Steve Cooney
Iarla Ó Lionáird’s singing style has carried him to stages and concert halls all over the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House and beyond. From his iconic early recording of the vision song “Aisling Gheal”, to his ground breaking recordings with Dublin’s Crash Ensemble and Irish composer, Donnacha Dennehy, he has shown a breadth of artistic ambition that sets him apart in the Irish Music fraternity. Iarla is a member of The Gloaming with whom he tours internationally. He can be seen and heard in the critically acclaimed film “Brooklyn” singing the sean-nos song, “Casadh an Tsúgáin”.
Steve Cooney is a virtuoso guitar player, arranger, composer and poet who has been a towering influence on the contemporary Irish music scene ever since moving to Ireland from his native Melbourne in 1981. A rock and blues musician originally, Steve Cooney first joined seminal band Stockton’s Wing as a bass and didgeridoo player before immersing himself in the Irish scene. As a passionate musician and sideman, he has contributed to countless recordings over the years.
Crannua / Vishtèn
CRANNUA brings together on stage guitarist John Doyle, musical brothers Cormac and Éamonn De Barra, American singer/songwriter Ashley Davis and special guest vocalist Moya Brennan (the voice of Clannad). The collective first came together in September 2015 as a 5-piece ensemble at the Ireland Pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milano, Italy. The success of that collaboration hatched the idea of a further performance by Crannua at Temple Bar TradFest. With this undertaking CRANNUA (“NEW ROOTS”) creates a performance rooted in the Irish tradition but injected with the fresh and contemporary ideas each musician brings to the experience – adding a blend of Irish and American folk music that is rarely combined in such a way. The music of Crannua promises a rich immersion in each tradition. John Doyle’s innovative guitar arrangements complements Moya Brennan’s luxurious vocal blending, layering, and harmonies. The multi-talented, Dublin-born De Barra brothers – inheritors of the famous Ó Tuama family of musicians. And singer/songwriter Ashley Davis brings a wealth of knowledge of the Appalachian and American Folk traditions, as well as a successful career in contemporary composition. The result is a concert of original songs, both in Irish and English that are rich in vocal harmonies and the power of five voices. The instrumentation alongside them includes two harps, flutes, percussion, and the powerhouse guitar of John Doyle.
Vishtèn, widely recognised as an ambassador of francophone culture around the world. The Canadian trio has dazzled audiences with its fiery blend of traditional French songs and original instrumentals that fuse Acadian and Celtic genres with a modern rock sensibilities and indie-folk influences. Their trademark blend of fiddle, guitar, accordion, mandolin, whistles, piano, bodhrán, jaw harp, and percussive dance result in a tour de force of traditional and contemporary music.
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry
In March 2016 Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles-bound train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of railroad travel and the music it inspired. Winding along 2,728 miles of track over four days, the pair recorded classic railroad songs in waiting rooms and at trackside while the train paused to pick up passengers. For their TradFest 2017 performance, they’ll be playing songs from the journey, along with favourites from their own back catalogues.
Paddy Keenan was born in Trim, Co. Meath, into a travelling family steeped in traditional music. Paddy took up the uilleann pipes at the age of ten, playing his first major concert at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin when he was 14. Having experimented with numerous musical genres he returned to Ireland to found one of the most influential bands of the 1970’s – The Bothy Band. They set about merging a driving rhythm section with traditional Irish tunes in ways that had never been heard before. Bothy bandmate Donal Lunny once described Paddy as “the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes”. As a solo artist he has a toured the globe in addition to composing and arranging for several film projects. Generally acknowledged as the most accomplished uilleann piper performing today, Paddy is certainly one of the most brilliant musicians of his generation. We are honoured to include him in the TradFest lineup.
Paddy will be joined on the night by Ronan Pellen Ronan Pellen was born in Rennes in Brittany in 1972 and learned music on cello and guitar. During a trip to Ireland in 1990, he rediscovered the Irish music of his childhood and started to play the cittern, a kind of mandola or Irish bouzouki, playing in numerous sessions in France and Ireland with his friends Benny McCarthy and Daire Bracken. Travelling to many countries to learn the languages and the musics of the world, from India to Ireland and from Early music to Brazilian choro, Ronan always returns to his early love, Irish music.
Martin & Eliza Carthy
The good Doctor Martin Carthy and his phenomenally talented daughter Eliza Carthy, join forces at TradFest 2017 to perform songs from their first duo album ever, a CD of traditional material entitled ‘The Elephant’ released back in May 2014 on Topic Records.
Martin is a legendary ballad singer and guitarist who has influenced a generations of artists, including Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. For more than 40 years he has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures. Eliza has been twice-nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and a multiple-award winner at the BBC Radio Two Folk awards. She is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and engaging performers of her generation. Eliza grew up immersed in the world of traditional music. She still divides her time between touring and recording with her legendary parents, Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson as well as engaging in numerous pioneering solo and band projects. These are performers at the very vanguard of the English folk revival. Book now or regret it later!
Centred around the wizardry of Concertina player and electronic sound designer Pádraig Rynne, NOTIFY is anchored by Cillian King on Guitars & Vocals, Eoin Walsh on Electric Bass, Davie Ryan on Drums and Cormac McCarthy on Piano and Keyboards. The band seamlessly fuses a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with forward thinking innovation that connects with audiences worldwide. The collaboration of the members – from backgrounds in Jazz, Traditional Irish, Electronic, Pop and Funk music – has naturally established a system of balance that instantly draws listeners to the music.
NOTIFY released their debut album in late 2013. This self titled album debuted at no 20 in the iTunes World music charts upon its release. In 2014 the band were commissioned by the Arts Council of Ireland to collaborate with well known Irish singer Pauline Scanlon on a five date Irish tour. They released a four track EP to coincide with this. In 2015, NOTIFY signed with world famous American Jazz label Ropeadope. InConcept, the second full length album from the band, was released on 8th April 2016. It premiered at the no. 1 spot in the iTunes Jazz charts and at no. 9 in the mainstream iTunes charts.
A gifted multi-instrumentalist, a singularly expressive vocalist and a songwriter of rare insight, Sarah Jarosz has been described by The New York Times as “one of acoustic music’s most promising young talents: a singer-songwriter and mandolin and banjo prodigy with the taste and poise to strike that rare balance of commercial and critical success.” She has just released her fourth album, ‘Undercurrent’ – her first release since graduating with honours from the New England Conservatory of Music, and her first since relocating to New York City. Growing up in Wimberley, Texas, she began singing in early childhood. Receiving a mandolin for Christmas when she was nine years old, she worked tirelessly to master the instrument, and learned to play guitar and clawhammer banjo along the way. When she was 11, she performed at her first bluegrass festival; over the next few years, she gained an impressive reputation as a young phenom on the festival circuit, absorbing a world of traditional influences while honing her own highly original songwriting sensibility. TradFest is delighted to present this Grammy-nominated artist.
Máirtín O’Connor / Zoë Conway / Donal Lunny
This new group brings together the dazzling talents of three of the country’s finest traditional musicians; button accordion master Máirtín O’Connor. The trio draw on an eclectic mix of the old and new where traditional tunes and songs meet each of their diverse influences and unique compositional voices.
The consummate button box player, Máirtín O’Connor was one of the driving forces behind the Riverdance phenomenon. Add to that his work with bands such as De Danna and it’s easy to see why he is regarded in the folk firmament as something of a national treasure. Fiddle player Zoë Conway is an awesome talent equally at home playing and singing Latin jazz with Rodrigo y Gabriella, as a guest soloist with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, performing with Lou Reed and Nick Cave. Rounding out the threesome, guitar and bouzouki player Donal Lunny needs no introduction, having made his name as a member of the hugely influential groups Planxty, The Bothy Band, Altan and Moving Hearts. Three good reasons to book now!
The Kilfenora Céilí Band
On Sunday 29th January 2017, one of the oldest céilí bands in the world, the Kilfenora Céilí Band from Co. Clare will be joined by former Riverdance lead Michael Donnellan , Michael Gardiner, Deirdra Kiely and Laura Minogue, to perform an exciting and energetic show to wow the TradFest 2017 audience.
Renowned as one of the world’s most exciting traditional bands, the Kilfenora Céilí Band are constantly searching new ways to bring their age old traditions to new audiences with tours to Glastonbury (headline concerts on the acoustic stage) and concerts in New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center as well as tours around Ireland and Europe.
Experimentation with repertoire outside of the dance domain and complex harmonic arrangements speak to an ensemble who are pioneering new and exciting performance contexts for the céilí band genre. While acknowledging and incorporating the past, the Kilfenora thrives on creativity and innovation. Prepare to to be uplifted!
2017 will see Fairport celebrating 50 years of music. The band are credited with creating British folk-rock music with their iconic album ‘Liege and Lief’ which B.B.C. radio 2 listeners voted “The most influential Folk album of all time” This legendary band have also received a Lifetime Achievement award from the B.B.C.
They will be playing material from their latest album “Myths and Heroes” along with old favourites drawn from their extensive repertoire. For TradFest 2017 an evening of great music, entertainment and amusing interludes is guaranteed.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Temple Bar TradFest (by Tourism Ireland); (3) Altan, (8) Billy Bragg, (12) Sarah Jarosz, (by Walkin' Tom); (4) Four Men And A Dog, (5) Dermot Byrne & Floriane Blancke, (6) Afro Celt Sound System, (7) Vishtèn, (9) Paddy Keenan, (10) Eliza Carthy, (11) Pádraig Rynne, (13) Dónal Lunny, (14) Kilfenora Céilí Band, (15) Fairport Convention (unknown /website).