Session with the Pipers – Na Píobairí Uilleann

Session with the Pipers | Na Píobairí Uilleann |

Ronan and Céin Sweeney – are brothers from Kileshandra Co. Cavan, they play together regularly at multiple festivals both in Ireland and abroad.

Ronan started the pipes at around 10 or 11 years of age. Thought by the late P.J Flood from Belturbet Co.Cavan and by Padraig McGovern from Ballymagauran Co.Cavan.

He learned most of his music from both teachers and from attending summer schools such as the Willie Clancy and Joe Mooney, and from playing in  sessions at fleadhs and festivals.

Musical influences include the playing of Padraig McGovern, Gay McKeon, Blackie O’Connell, Alphie Mulligan, Mick O’Brian, Leo Rowsome, Bothy Band, Lunasa, Ronan Browne, and the vast number of local musicians who used to play in the Shamrock Bar in Killeshandra.

Céin Sweeney has been playing flute since he was 11 and was taught by James McGovern as well as P.J Flood. Céin’s main influences are Matt Molloy Roger Sherlock and Sean Gilraine. Céin was recently on the American Comhaltas tours and plays at many festivals abroad. He currently teaches flute and whistle in Killeshandra.

Dónal McCague – described by Matt Molloy as “a remarkable musician”, from Co. Monaghan is TG4 Young Musician of the Year 2013. Dónal is well known for his vibrant, fresh and unique style. In 2011 he released his début solo CD entitled Bits’n’Pieces. He has twice performed at the Frankie Gavin International Fiddle Festival; Galway 2005 & the National Concert Hall Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day 2006.

He has performed on Irish TV programs such as Geantraí, Imeall & Gradam Ceoil on TG4 and on the Fleadh Program on RTE 1 as well as national radio on numerous occasions.

He was won awards at both the Fiddler of Dooney, Sligo Live and the Fiddler of Oriel, Monaghan and is greatly influenced by the fiddle playing of Tommy Peoples, Séamus Quinn, Bryan Rooney, John Carty and Frankie Gavin.

In recent times, Dónal has recorded on Michael McCague’s album of self compositions entitled “The Waylaid Man” with John McSherry, Oisin MacDiarmada, Brian McGrath & Nollaig Casey and recorded on & arranged the material for “Our Dear Dark Mountain with the Sky Over It”. This album of traditional Irish music features music sourced in the 18th & 19th centuries from the Sliabh Beagh area of Monaghan, Fermanagh & Tyrone. It has been unearthed by “Teada” member, Seán McElwain in a recent PHD study on the music of the region. This album has recently been rewarded at Gradam Ceoil TG4, 2016.

Dónal is in constant demand as a workshop tutor and stage performer, both in Ireland and abroad.

Diane Cannon – is a singer and musician from Meenlaragh, a small town outside the village of Gortahork in the heart of the Donegal Gaeltacht.  

As a youngster, she frequently won competitions and competes successfully to this day, most recently winning first place in the prestigious competition, Comortas Cuimhneacháin Shéain Óig Uí Thuama at Oireachtas na Gaeilge.

Diane is a member of the award-winning choirs, Cór Thaobh a Leithid and Cór Loch Lao in Belfast and has had the opportunity to perform in a private audience with the president at Áras an Uachtaran.

She also sang at the National Concert Hall with Donal Lunny and most recently in Belfast with Andy Irvine of the internationally renounced Planxty and also Scottish singer songwriter Dick Gaughan.

Diane also regularly performs and records with her equally talented seán-nós singer and daughter Kelly Ní Chanainn, whom she proudly raised mentoring and steeping her in traditional Irish music and language.

They have both worked recently with Lillis Ó Laoire and Manus Lunny on a recording of an old, forgotten Tory Island version of An Draighnean Donn for Tionscnamh Lugh.  

Diane is also currently working on recording her new album of contemporary and traditional music with artists such as Donal O’Connor, John Mc Sherry, Neil Martin, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Steve Cooney with others yet to be announced.

“For a number of years, I have been working and researching – with Lillis Ó Laoire – forgotten songs of my native area, great songs although they have never been recorded,” she says. “I would love to breath new life into these old songs, rejuvenating them with modern arrangements and state of the art recording while still remaining true to the core tradition. This will reinforce the respect for what has gone before while at the same time moving the tradition further into the 21st century.


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