Phil Coulter is from Derry in Northern Ireland. His success has spanned four decades and he is one of the biggest record sellers in Ireland. The Derry composer was awarded the prestigious Gold Badge from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) in October 2009. He has won 23 Platinum Discs, 39 Gold Discs, 52 Silver Discs, two Grand Prix Eurovision awards; five Ivor Novello Awards, which includes Songwriter of the Year; three American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers awards; a Grammy Nomination; a Meteor Award, a National Entertainment Award and a Rose d’or d’Antibes.
Damien McGinty, Irish heart throb, actor and singer from Derry, Northern Ireland will be performing with multi-platinum Irish musician, singer, composer Phil Coulter (Town I loved so Well ), sit on panel discussions and preside over a Q&A session during iBAM! at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. McGinty has been performing for over a decade, and was a member of the group Celtic Thunder for four years starting when he was fourteen. On August 21, 2011, McGinty won the Oxygen reality show The Glee Project, earning him a seven episode
guest-starring role on the hit Fox television show Glee.
John Williams is internationally regarded as one of the foremost players of Irish music today. With five All-Ireland titles to his credit, John is the only American-born competitor ever to win first place in the Senior Concertina category. His additional talents on flute, button accordion, bodhran, and piano distinguish him as a much sought after multi-instrumentalist in the acoustic scene around the world. Born and raised on the Southwest Side of Chicago, John spent his summers during college on the Southwest coast of Ireland in his father’s village of Doolin, Co. Clare. Like Chicago, Doolin became a major musical crossroads for John and countless other local and international musicians to meet and exchange music. Gigging every night in the pubs of Doolin and Lisdoonvarna soon led to performances in Galway, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Paris, Britanny, Zurich, and New York City. Forming the groundbreaking Solas in 1995 with Seamus Egan, Winifred Horan, Karan Casey and John Doyle, Williams received wider recognition playing to sold out audiences internationally and earning two NAIRD awards and Grammy nominations for the ensemble's 1996 and 1997 releases Solas and Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers. The Irish national broadcasting network RTE has featured Williams as the subject of the radio program The Long Note, the television series The Pure Drop, and the Gaelic language and music programs Geantrai and Failte.
Outside of traditional music, John has collaborated on productions with Gregory Peck, Doc Severinson, Studs Terkel, Mavis Staples, jazz pianist Bob Sutter, bluegrass legend Tim O'Brien, Syrian oud player Kinan Abou Afach, Oscar winning director Sam Mendes, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Irish Chamber Ensemble. U.S. audiences recognize Williams from numerous appearances on Mountain Stage, A Prairie Home Companion and The Grand Ol' Opry as well as guest performances with The Chieftains, Nickel Creek, and Riverdance. On the silver screen, John Williams appears as a bandleader, music consultant, and composer in Dreamworks' classic Chicago thriller Road to Perdition. Centrally featured in the Academy Award-Nominated score by Thomas Newman, Williams' autumnal Perdition Piano Duet was released on the 2002 Universal soundtrack album as performed in the film by stars Paul Newman and Tom Hanks. Regarding the original piece by Williams, The Los Angeles Times wrote “Closeness is beautifully and wordlessly conveyed in a quiet piano duet...a lovely thing.” Reviewing the entire score, The Denver Post printed “Brilliant, beautiful, brutal...the music in the film feels almost like a character itself.”
Gavin Coyle was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. His parents raised him and his four sisters amid the fallout from the troubles. Gavin credits his parents with keeping them from harm and encouraging their interest in music. He first came to America when he was 14 years old as part of a peace project involving youths from Northern Ireland. Similar to the Ulster Project, the goal was to help teens from Northern Ireland build friendships that would otherwise not be possible with the social and religious divisions existing at home. He continued his commitment to such peace projects when he joined the Ulster Project in 1992 and came back to the States as a counselor and chaperone. When he returned home, he graduated from St. Mary's College in Belfast in 1994 with a double major in Education and Art. In 1995, he returned to the States and has been here ever since performing to sold out crowds throughout the area.
Chicago Reel-- Chicago Reel brings some of Chicago's finest musicians together for a refreshing take on traditional Irish music. Two fiddles join banjo, button box and piano to play a wide repertoire of reels and jigs, old and new, energetic and full of spirit. Their songs, rooted in the old-style sean-nós tradition, tell haunting stories of forsaken love and tales of emigration filled with hope for a new life. Chicago Reel members are Devin Shepherd and Rose Duffy on fiddle, Jonathan Whitall on keyboard, Pauline Conneely on banjo, Gerry Carey on accordion and the vocal styling of Denis O'Sullivan. To see the band's individual bios, click here.
As an established performer and recording artist on the Celtic music circuit, Laurence Nugent has performed with scores of musicians including The Chieftains, Shane McGowan, Van Morrison, The Green Fields of America, Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and Paddy Keenan. He has been a featured performer at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Milwaukee Irish Fest, San Francisco Irish Fest, Glen Echo Festival in Washington DC, Willie Clancy Summer School in Ireland, and the International Flute Festival De Cornouaille Quimper in France. He has toured extensively throughout Ireland, North America, Europe, and Japan. Laurence Nugent comes from the little village of Lack in County Fermanagh, an area steeped in the traditional arts of music, singing and storytelling. Not surprisingly, his first musical influences came from within his own family. His father Sean Nugent was an All-Ireland fiddle champion and leader of the Pride of Erin Ceili Band, one of the top Irish dance bands of its day, and Laurence grew up listening to some of the finest players in the land. Like many young musicians of his generation, Laurence entered many of the regional and national competitions held under the auspices of the Irish musicians association Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann; he took first prize in junior competitions three times in the late 80's, and went on to win the senior All Ireland Championships in 1994 and 1995. Since moving to Chicago. Laurence has played a large part in the local scene as an anchor and resource for traditional Irish music. The traditional sessions he has led over the years in Chicago have been well-known for their fine quality of both music and hospitality. He currently hosts Chicago's longest running traditional Irish music session at The Abbey Pub on the corner of Elston and Grace. He has taught hundreds of students in private lessons, in classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and in workshops throughout the United States and Ireland.
Dáithí Sproule of Derry, whose first group was the legendary Skara Brae, has lived for many years in Minnesota. He is one of Irish music's most respected guitar accompanists, and one of the first guitarists to develop DADGAD tuning for Irish music. He is also a fine singer in English and Irish. Dáithí has performed and recorded with two highly influential traditional music trios: Bowhand (with James Kelly and Paddy O’Brien) and Trian (with Liz Carroll and Billy McComiskey), as well as providing accompaniment for recordings by Tommy Peoples, Seamus and Manus McGuire, Liz Carroll, Paddy O’Brien, the Kane Sisters, and others. He has performed around the world with the Irish supergroup Altan, and continues to tour and record with Altan, Randal Bays and James Keane (under the name Fingal), Dermy and Tara Diamond, the Kane Sisters, Liz Carroll, and several Minnesota-based musicians including Laura MacKenzie, Peter Ostroushko, Jode and Kate Dowling and Dean Magraw. Dáithí’s original compositions have been recorded by Skara Brae, the Bothy Band, Altan, Trian, Liz Carroll, Aoife Clancy, Loreena McKennitt, the RTE Concert Orchestra and others. He is known for his innovative arrangements of traditional songs, and in 1995 he released his first solo album, A Heart Made of Glass, with songs in English and Irish. In 2008 he released an instrumental guitar album, The Crow In the Sun, featuring thirteen original compositions. Lost River, Vol. 1. followed in 2011, featuring songs in English and Irish, exquisitely arranged and accompanied on guitar, with a stellar line-up of guests. In addition to performing and recording, Dáithí is a sought-after teacher and lecturer in subjects ranging from guitar styles and song accompaniment to Irish traditional music, language and literature. He is a 2009 Bush Artist Fellow, awarded by the Minnesota-based Archibald Bush Foundation.
Born in Chicago, Aislinn Gagliardi grew up listening to and falling in love with all kinds of music. She began classical piano lessons at age six, and started learning the harp at thirteen, taking lessons from classical harpist Alison Attar and playing in an Irish music youth ensemble. Since then she has studied with various Irish and Celtic harpers including Michael Rooney, Janet Harbison, and Gráinne Hambly. Aislinn pursued her musical passion at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM), earning a B.A. in Inter-Arts (a combination of music and dance studies), with a double major in Ethnic Studies, and a certificate in Celtic Studies. She honed her skills on the pedal harp at UWM under the tutelage of classical harpist Ann Lobotzke, and performed in the UWM Symphony Band and Collegium Musicum, an early music ensemble specializing in Renaissance and Baroque music. Spending a semester abroad studying Irish culture, music, and dance at the University of Limerick, Ireland, she worked closely with Irish harper Fionnuala Rooney, and played in an ensemble that appeared on RTE's Céilí House radio show.
Not only has Aislinn appeared on radio overseas, but back in the Midwest she and her sister Meghan Anzelc (flute) were recently featured guests on the University of Chicago's radio shows "A Feast of Irish Folk" and "Reilly's Pint of Ale" (WHPK). Aislinn has also become an annual performer at the Milwaukee Irish Fest and Chicago's Celtic Fest, and has made appearances at the Fox Valley Irish Fest. Not only has Aislinn appeared as a special guest with the Milwaukee-based Irish-music bands Anam Rí and Cé, but she has also performed as the opening act for the Karen Casey Band. In addition, Aislinn plays frequently for private parties, weddings, receptions and at restaurants, and is a regular at a few of the traditional Irish music sessions in the Chicago-land area, including Molly Malone's in Forest Park.
Aislinn has been teaching harp in both Chicago and Milwaukee since 2002. She began teaching at Chicago's World Folk Music and the Milwaukee Irish Fest School of Music (IFSM), and has given workshops on the harp at the IFSM, the Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School, and most recently at the Great Lakes Harpers (GLH) 2006 Regional Conference. Currently she can be found teaching out of her studio on the Northwest side of Chicago, and is working on material for a future album. Inspired by her previous experiences overseas, she hopes that one of her next trips to Ireland will be as a touring performer and teacher. www.aislinnmusic.com
Derry resident Bernard Heaney has taught English literature and language arts for the past 30 years. Bernard played with the traditional Irish group - Aileach - from 1969 to 1985. With the group, he played locally in Ireland and throughout England, Scotland and Wales, other parts of Europe and the USA. The band also played on BBC, ITV and RTE. Heaney currently plays as a solo artist at folk festivals and concerts, occasionally performing with Aileach for special performances. Bernard has been very interested in collecting and singing traditional Irish songs and folk ballads (in the idiom of English) from his late- teens. He collects by going to annual and bi-annual music festivals - Fleadh Cheoils - and from older singers in county Derry and county Donegal in particular. Over the years, Heaney has been fortunate to have worked with some great musicians namely Dinny Mc Laughlin, Pat MC Cabe and Brian Mc Rory, allowing him to use original musical arrangements on newly discovered or obscure songs. Bernard believes that all songs are worthy of performance in spite of some of them being flogged to near death!
Daphne Quigley-Freund - Irish Harp. Daphne hails from Dublin and has played her harp all over the world. She has even played for the President of Ireland. Her playing is extraordinary, emotive and dyanamic. Tom Bradfish - Irish Whitles, Guitar, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Harmonica, Melodica and Bodhran. Tom is a Chicago native and has a deep passion for Irish and Celtic music. The New CD is available
Brocach Session is some of Madison’s best musicians gather to perform traditional tunes with driving rhythm and lyrical ornamentation. Tunes old and new are brought to life through the spirit of the session where rich melodies are delivered through skillful execution as
well as unique improvisation. With a vast repertoire of tunes, you’re in for a treat with a chance to hear some of your favorites as well as some of the best kept secret.
Joe McShane’s early musical influences were the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dixieland Jazz and also Country/Bluegrass, always keeping a love for the old Irish ballads and céilidh music heard over the family radio Joe has traveled the Emerald Isle, Switzerland, Scotland, Wales, England, the Shetland Isles and around the USA as a solo musician or as part of a band. He has written songs for
high profile musician such as Susan McCann, Daniel and Margo O’Donnell, Sean Glenn, Kevin Prendergast and Sean Wilson. As of 2012, 23 year old rising star Lisa McHugh sings “In the Glow of the Light”, a new hit single penned by Joe, James Thacker and music legend, Margo O’Donnell.
Cast members and musicians perform theatrical, musical and even dancing selections from the critically acclaimed show MUSIC MAD: HOW CHIEF O'NEILL SAVED THE SOUL OF IRELAND" currently running at Chief O'Neill's. Chicago's very own Jim DeWan, Sean Cleland, Brendan McKinney, Kathy Cowan and Martin Hughes will be entertaining along with step dancer Ciara Gaskin and more!