Music Network Presents Heidi Talbot, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, John McCusker and Paul Meehan (Ireland/Scotland/Northern Ireland)
Date: Friday 11 May Time: 8:30pm Admission: €16/€14
Rejoice in the energetic polkas and slides of West Kerry and waltzes, marches and reels from Scotland, as four folk musicians at the top of their game come together for the very first time.
Heidi Talbot, voice/ukulele
Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, voice/accordion
John McCusker, violin/whistles
Paul Meehan, guitar
“Simply vocal heaven” – The Sunday Times [on Talbot]
“Ó Beaglaoich’s voice shimmers” – The Irish Times
“One of the UK’s most gifted and versatile musicians” – The Guardian [on McCusker]
“outstanding’’ – Folk World [on Meehan]
Winner of BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year, John McCusker goes where other trad musicians fear to tread, sharing a stage with the likes of Paul Weller, Roseanne Cash, Paolo Nutini, Teenage Fanclub and Eddi Reader in addition to being a member of Mark Knopfler’s band since 2008. Completing this stellar line-up is Manchester-born guitarist Paul Meehan, who has toured with such high profile bands as Lúnasa, Na Dorsa, North Cregg and Buille.
Guitar, Banjo, Bass player! Has performed and toured with Lunasa, At First Light, Liz Carroll, Karan Casey, Micheal McGoldrick, North Cregg and much more
‘Paul Meehan’s album ‘The Lower Road’ features fluent guitar and banjo work, a brilliant musician with great tunes. Recommended even to those who think they hate the banjo! It’s simply a great album’ – Mike McGoldrick
For some time now, Paul Meehan has been considered a musician’s musician. Supporting others with his driving yet understated, inventive and pulsing playing, creating a platform for Ireland’s leading lights to shine. Finally, he has emerged from the shadows, to release his eagerly awaited debut album “The Lower Road”. This immensely talented multi-instrumentalist takes centre stage, playing Banjo and Guitar on this beautifully crafted, fresh and energetic, yet solidly traditional album.
Born in Manchester, Paul was introduced to the guitar and banjo at the tender age of 8. Schooled by traditional music ‘guru’ Peter Carberry and by renowned teacher Angela Durkin, his playing flourished in the company of contemporaries such as Mike McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly & John Joe Kelly. It’s no coincidence therefore that his musicianship is so highly regarded by his peers. Returning to Armagh in his teens he quickly established himself on the local music scene, counting Arty Mc Glynn and Cathal Hayden, Stockton’s Wing & Mairtín O’Connor amongst his major influences. Playing music professionally since the late 1990’s, Paul has variously been a founding member of North Cregg, The Karan Casey Band, Na Dorsa & Buille. He recorded 2 albums and toured for 7 years with, arguably, Ireland’s leading traditional group Lúnasa. He has performed and recorded with the legendary American fiddler Liz Carroll and collaborated with international touring acts such as Altan, Natalie Merchant, Paddy Keenan, At First Light, Tommy Peoples, John Carty, Tejador and Brian Finnegan of Flook to name but a few
‘Meehan’s solo was a little gem’ The Living Tradition
‘A Brilliant player for sure’ Netrythms
‘Meehan knows how to weave his playing around others..’ Irish Music Magazine
‘…a new level of skill, sophistication and soul worthy of any Irish music devotees interest’ New York’s Irish Echo
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. He now carries on the tradition of his home place while playing with the next generation of Begley’s, namely his children Bréanainn on Guitar, Cormac on concertina, Conchúbhair on accordion and Cliodhna on fiddle and sean-nós dancing.
He has three acclaimed solo albums to his name, as well as numerous recordings with the groups Boys of the Lough and Beginish. With the Boys of the Lough, he has toured extensively throughout the United States, and has been featured repeatedly on the Garrison Keilor radio program “A Prairie Home Companion”. He also does work with TG4 researching and presenting programmes and also is involved in the organising of Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh which is held in west Kerry each February.
“One of the UK’s most gifted and versatile musicians in any genre, John McCusker is equally in demand as a multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer”. The Guardian
Born in Bellshill, near Glasgow, John began playing whistle and fiddle as a child and joined the legendary folk outfit Battlefield Band aged 17. During his 11 years with the band, he also released his first two solo recordings, 1995’s self-titled debut and 2000’s Yella Hoose. His most recent albums include Under One Sky and the reissues of Yella Hoose and Goodnight Ginger re-mastered deluxe.
John has long been renowned for his skill at transcending musical boundaries: striving to keep his music fresh and exciting, never leaving the past behind but always embracing new sonic adventures. As a live and studio guest he has shared stages with Paul Weller, Paolo Nutini, Teenage Fanclub, Graham Coxon and Eddi Reader. Since 2008, he has been a member of Mark Knopfler’s band, playing arenas around the world including a double bill with Bob Dylan at The Hollywood Bowl and 20 nights at the Royal Albert Hall.
An expanding portfolio as a producer features debut albums by Kris Drever and Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble. He’s also manned the controls for top folk chanteuses Eddi Reader, Heidi Talbot, Eliza Carthy and Linda Thompson. Film and TV work includes soundtracks for the movie Heartlands (2002) and 16 Years of Alcohol (2003), Billy Connolly’s World Tour of New Zealand (2004), Jennifer Saunders BBC sitcom Jam and Jerusalem (2008) & Starlings sitcom for Sky TV (2012).
John was awarded the coveted BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year in 2003 and also The Spirit of Scotland Award for music in 1999 and again in 2009. 2016 saw John receive the Good Tradition Award and perform with his band at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at The Royal Albert Hall.
In celebration of his 25th Anniversary as a professional musician, John McCusker released ‘Hello, Goodbye’ on April 29th 2016 and embarked on an extensive UK & European tour. A wonderfully evocative set of compositions, ‘