Although the only singer/musician in his immediate family, Daoirí (pronounced ‘Derry’) was introduced to the music at a very early age by his parents who shared a keen interest in artists such as Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Frank Harte, Planxty and The Bothy Band and more. Daoirí took up music himself at the relatively late age of 16 and only started to perform at 23, but he has come a long way since then and the early release of his accomplished debut album ‘The First Turn’, which he recorded in 2009 while studying music on the Ceoiltoir Higher National Diploma in Irish Traditional Music Performance course, in Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE), Dublin.
‘The First Turn, could well prove to be a winner for Daoirí Farrell’ Irish Music Magazine
Following the release of ‘The First Turn’, Daoirí took an extended break from recording to pursue a degree in Applied Music at Dundalk’s Institute of Technology, followed by an MA in Music Performance at the World Academy of Music in the University of Limerick.
Since Daoirí’s return to the stage, he has regularly performed in the many singing circles and folk clubs around Ireland, from Dublin’s famous Góilin singers club to the All-Ireland Fleadh to name but a few. He has performed alongside some of the biggest names in Irish and international folk music including Christy Moore, Dónal Lunny, Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Alan Doherty, Danú, Dervish, Julie Fowlis, The Young’uns, Paddy Keenan Trio, Matt Molloy, Arty McGlynn, The John Carty Big Band, The East Pointers, Kíla, Sean Keane, Gerry O’Connor (Banjo), Gerry O’Connor (Fiddle), Alan Burke, Lynched and more.
He became the All Ireland Champion Singer at the Fleadh in Co. Derry in 2013 and won the Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections in 2015 with the line-up FourWinds.
He has continued to gain in stature among the Irish folk-singing circuit, and has toured in numerous line-ups throughout Ireland and beyond, including dates in France, Germany, America, Canada and India, with his UK launch as a solo artist taking place at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival in January 2016.
Daoirí is currently working on his second solo album, due out in autumn 2016, and will tour the UK in May 2016 – including support dates for Cara Dillon and Sam Carter – and November 2016, with festival dates confirmed for this year including Moseley Folk Festival, Broadstairs Folk Week, Costa Del Folk and FolkEast.
The Acoustic Forum is an eclectic event unlike anything else you’ve ever seen which sees a selection of artists from the festival playing in an intimate and informal concert in the round, with each artist staying onstage for the duration.
Guided by the guest host, each performer gives an insight into their craft and performs a short selection to whet the appetite for the weekend ahead.
It’s off the cuff, it’s friendly and it provides the listener with a varied and spontaneous night that never fails to surprise!
This year’s event will include host George Lowden & guests Pierre Bensusan , SÍOMHA, Aaron O Sullivan & Lau Noah !
PIERRE BENSUSAN (FR)
Winner of the Independent Music Award, in the Live Performance Album category for his latest triple live album “Encore” (2014), “Rose d’Or” of the Montreux Festival for his first album, “Près de Paris” (Switzerland, 1976), “Best World Music Guitar Player ” by the readers of Guitar Player Magazine (USA, 2008), Pierre Bensusan is recognized as one of the premier musicians of our time.
AARON O SULLIVAN (IRL)
At 19, Aaron started studying the BA in Popular Music. . Between various performances & collaborations with local artists, he now plays regularly in Cork City as a session musician. He got a job as a musician out in Disneyland Florida, performed venues all around Europe, supported artists such as James Arthur & Cory Wong & played Electric Picnic in 2018.
Singer and guitarist SÍOMHA (pronounced Shee-va) dances the line between folk, jazz and neo-soul effortlessly, taking audiences on an unexpected, and unforgettable journey with her soulful melodies. Coming from a family steeped in music, SÍOMHA grew up on a diet of musical greats, with the sounds of jazz, trad, folk and soul creeping in and leaving an indelible mark on her musical tastes and influences. She started playing guitar at age 10, but it was later in her teens while attending high school in the south of France that she first took up jazz guitar
LAU NOAH (ESP)
Lau Noah’s musical tapestry is a conversation between masterful storytelling, intertwined cultures and a limitless sense of imagination that provide the audience with the capacity to time- travel between their child self and the being they will become when the last song of the show comes to an end.
Noah (1994) moved to NY at 19 years old not to pursue a musical career but to pursue the stories that come along with the difficulties and wonders of a life in a big tough city like NY.
But after her unintentional discovery of the Spanish guitar three years ago and her unschooled approach, Noah started writing songs in Catalan, Spanish, Hebrew and English that proved to touch a mostly english speaking audience beyond language barriers.
Noah has recently recorded with acclaimed producer and musician Blake Mills what will be her first documented solo work.
“Lau Noah is enchanting music lovers one song at a time” Billboard Magazine
Hanora George is baited and ready to catch some fish. Having released her debut EP in May 2016, George excited audiences to the point where she has had to undertake a ‘catch and release’ only policy for future expeditions. She is currently putting her heart and sole into her first album which will be released in May 2018.
￼At just 24, Calum Graham has already enjoyed a career that would be the envy of most artists twice his age. The Alberta-based guitarist and singer/songwriter has released five acclaimed albums, won major national music competitions, performed at the Olympic Games in both Vancouver and London, racked up some phenomenal views on YouTube, and was recently named one of the top 30 guitarists in the world under 30 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine.
Born in British Columbia and raised in High River, Alberta, Graham’s musical journey first took flight when he began playing the guitar at the age of 13. Five years later in the summer of 2010, Graham attended the Canadian Guitar Festival and entered the prestigious Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition. Impressed with his original compositions, the judges awarded Graham with a first place finish; a feat no other teenager has accomplished in the history of the festival. The clip of his winning performance has now generated almost 1 million hits on YouTube.
As Calum Graham’s name continued to grow in Alberta and across Canada for his guitar work and musicianship, Graham proved that his talent was not limited to his extraordinary ability to play the guitar. In 2011, Graham won the Canada’s Walk of Fame nationwide “A Song For Canada” contest based on his poetic acuteness. His winning poem was used in the song “I’m Here, (A Song For Canada)”. The song was performed by Chantal Kreviazuk and co-written by Graham, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace) and Stephen Moccio (“I Believe”, 2010 Vancouver Olympics theme song/”Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus)”.
“Calum’s entry resonated strongly among the judges. His poem celebrates the cultural mosaic that is Canada. He has captured the diversity of this country – something that we as a nation are renowned for and proud of.” – Stephan Moccio
In the late winter of 2012, and with two albums already under his belt, Graham teamed up with iconic Fingerstyle Guitarist Don Ross. The result was an instrumental acoustic duet album titled, “12:34”. Recorded at famed ‘Metalworks Studios’ (Toronto, ON), and released through CandyRat Records, the album featured six originals by Graham, three by Ross, and a cover of the OutKast hit song, “Hey Ya!”
In November of 2013, Graham released a solo instrumental album titled “Phoenix Rising” (CandyRat Records). The title track has already generated over 2.5 million views on YouTube, with other songs also notching impressive numbers. The success of the album enabled Graham to expand his global fanbase and he soon began touring internationally, both on his own and with the likes of Don Ross and Andy McKee.
With Graham bringing an innovative sound to the industry, it wasn’t long before Canada’s top booking agency ‘The Feldman Agency’ also counted themselves a fan of Graham’s music. So much in fact, that in July 2014, they decided to partner Graham with renowned Canadian producer Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, Metric, The Tragically Hip) on his “Sessions X” series. The series was recorded at Toronto’s Five-Star ‘Noble Street Studios’ and features Graham alongside a number of acclaimed musicians including; Tears For Fears, Feist, Three Days Grace, Metric, and Ron Sexsmith.
In September 2014, Graham teamed up with IMAX composer Steve Wood to write the musical score for ‘Humpbacks’, an underwater 3D adventure documentary for IMAX and other giant screen theatres. Narrated by acclaimed actor Ewan McGregor, the film is directed by Greg MacGillivray (“The Living Sea”, “Everest”), presented in association with Pacific Life and was released February 13, 2015 to IMAX theatres worldwide.
In April of 2016, Calum released ‘Tabula Rasa’ – which features his already developed guitar virtuosity, and introduces his smooth, soulful vocals for the very first time. Produced by world-renowned fingerstyle guitarist Antoine Dufour, ‘Tabula Rasa’ was funded by a very successful kickstarter campaign from fans across the world.
Calum is currently working on releasing new videos in the coming months on his YouTube channel, and continues to tour throughout Canada, the USA, and Europe.
Northern Irish experimental folk songwriter and producer Joshua Burnside is something of a regional anomaly. With a brooding, powerful sound echoing artists of places afar and time long gone, his enthralling craft defies local comparison in striving towards an aesthetic as much as visual as it is sonic. Recorded at home in Lisbane, Co. Down, his new single ‘Black Dog Sin’ is the current distillation of his increasingly unmistakable approach; a fragile, yet ultimately commanding, chamber folk sound gloriously underpinned with unique zeal.
While 2017 wrapped up with Joshua winning the Northern Irish Music Prize , 2018 began with NPR choosing the young folk musician as ‘100 of the artists to watch at this years SXSW festival.
‘Rumbling, brooding, powerful, magnetic’ – The Irish Times
‘There’s an indefinable quality and charm to Joshua Burnside’s debut’ – The Sunday Times
‘It makes you glad to have a pair of working ears’ – Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 1
‘It is an endless adventure, a record that won’t tire, such is the depth and scope of what you hear’ – Daily Mirror
‘Dynamic and wide ranging in scope but stands as a complete and focused work. The end result is a triumph’ – Chordblossom
Kees van der Poel was born in Hilversum in 1947. At early age his family lived in Texas USA. After returning to the Netherlands, Kees found the guitar the best instrument for the music he loved. Classical lessons around the age of 10 soon became boring and Kees played in rockbands covering Shadows and Rolling Stones.
A major shift came when Pete
Seeger on his tour in 1964 played at Kees´ high school. Acoustic 12-string, what a sound! After studying 12-string and 6-string fingerstyle guitar, Leadbelly, Blind Blake, Doc Watson, John Hurt, and medicine in Utrecht in the early 1970’s, Kees toured as a solo artist and later joined the group Wargaren. Inspired by Martin Carthy, he turned to Dutch traditional folk music and studied with Rob Smaling at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam. This became the basis for the later legendary Dutch folk group Wolverlei.
Dutch traditional music was also the reason to study diatonic harmonica with Frans Tromp and Carel Kraayenhof. In 2007 Carel asked Kees to join him with his guitar for a concert at Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
So Kees retired from medicine and presently takes a solid daily dose of guitar.
Leo lives in Antwerp, Belgium. As well as performing alongside the best of solo fingerpicking guitarists, he has taught a lot over the years. He has made some of the best arrangements of ragtime music in the world.
Leo Wijncamp was part of the 1970’s Kicking Mule Label which has been instrumental in promoting and preserving the best in blues, ragtime and contemporary picking. He featured alongside artists such as Dave Evans, Ton Van Bergeyk, Happy Traum, Duck Baker, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Davy Graham and of course Stefan Grossman one of the co founders of Kicking Mule Records. He toured along Grossman, Marcel Dadi and Dale Miller.
Leo, born 1951 in Amsterdam, Holland, started playing the guitar at the age of 10, taking lessons for half a year, got bored with it and put the instrument in a closet. But when the Beatles, Kinks, Byrds etc started the pop music it was quickly taken out of that same closet. In the late 60’s musical taste twisted towards the Cream, Jimi Hendrix and the white blues and he picked up the electric guitar. Passing to the black Chicagoblues he discovered one day the acoustic blues: Robert Johnson was a strike of lightning: that was it ! And the next years were spent with learning by ear from the records the old blues from the 20’s and 30’s. He started to fingerpick. An instrumental guitar record by Stefan Grosmann had a strong influence on Leo; the discovery of Ragtime music. Originally composed for piano it could perfectly be adapted on the guitar, using the fingerpicking style, learned from the old bluesmen. So the early 70’s were filled with making arrangements from piano rags to the guitar. In the same period he started preforming in Holland; cafe’s, youth centers in the –those days existant- “folkcircuit”.
In 1974 or so, Stefan Grosmann made him an offer he couldn’t refuse; to record some of the guitar rags on a just started American label “Kicking Mule Records”. The first rags appeared on a sampler record “Contemporary Ragtime Guitar” with other guitarists from USA.
From 1974-1978 he followed a classical guitar education at the Conservatory in Utrecht (mind : till so far Leo was an autodidact !), but quit with dignity before getting kicked out. The release of his first solo lp “Rags to Riches” came out in 1975, and started a period of touring in Belgium, France, England and Italy, often together with other guitarists of the KM label: Stefan Grosmann, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Davy Graham, Marcel Dadi, Duck Baker, John James and others. Slowly other influences slipped in; the classical piano music of Debussy and Ravel (the so called musical “Impressionism”), he started to transcribe their- as well as others – music on the guitar, without the aim of being a “classical” guitarist, using steel strings instead of nylon, and using his Gibson guitar. He also started to write pieces himself. Another few tunes appeared on 2 sampler records, before the 2nd solo album came out in 1980: “the Return of Dr Hackenbush”.
Leo moved to Antwerp, Belgium, in 1988, as the musical leader of a theatergroup, the “Internationale Nieuwe Scene” (now defunct) 4 years of lenght and did a lot of teaching at various music schools.
These days he is playing solo again as well as duets with an oldtime mate Cees van der Poel, who played in the legendary duo “Wolverlei” preforming old Dutch folkmusic in new arrangements.
Now the lads joined together after a 40 years lapse in the duo “Ragtime Guitar Parlour” Their repertoire goes from old blues (Blind Blake and others), to Ragtime to Jazz standards and even O’Carolan’s Celtic harppieces to end up with the strange music of a Czech composer from the 1920’s. Instrumental and vocal, solo and duets.
As a duo they released an EP-cd, last year, and Leo is preparing a solo cd with some live recordings and others, hopefully ready for september!
“a masterpiece” John Renbourn “beyond beautiful… it’s PERFECT!” Tommy Emmanuel
To find a unique voice on so ubiquitous an instrument as the acoustic guitar is quite an achievement: to do so within a centuries old idiom where the instrument has no real history is truly remarkable.
Tony McManus has come to be recognised throughout the world as the leading guitarist in Celtic Music. From early childhood his twin obsessions of traditional music and acoustic guitar have worked together to produce a startlingly original approach to this ancient art. In Tony’s hands the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes are accurately transferred to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music.
Self taught from childhood, initially through listening to the family record collection, McManus abandoned academia in his twenties to pursue music full time. The session scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh provided the springboard for gigs around Scotland and a studio set for BBC Radio, frequently rebroadcast, began to spread the word.
Tony’s first self titled recording in 1996, followed by Pourquoi Quebec in 1999 led to worldwide recognition. However, it was with the release of Ceol More in 2002 that Tony’s stature as a first class musician reached a new level. Critics hailed the focussed, spell-binding nature of the music, from the plaintive Jewish hymn “Shalom Aleichem” to the ingenious arrangement of the Charles Mingus classic “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”. Having been nominated as Musician of the Year by both the BBC Folk Awards and The Scottish Traditonal Music awards, in 2002 “Ceol More” hit the Critic’s Album of the year list in Acoustic Guitar magazine and named “Live Ireland Awards” Album of the Year.
Tony’s work has come to represent Celtic music in the guitar world, making regular appearances at guitar specific events where just a few years ago jigs and reels would be unheard of. He is invited annually to the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, has appeared at Guitar Festivals in Soave and Pescantina, Sarzana and Francacorta Italy; Frankston, Australia; Issoudun and Bordeaux France; Kirkmichael, Scotland; Bath and Kent, England; Bochum and Osnabruck, Germany. In 2004 he appeared at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in the “All Star Guitar Night” featuring Steve Morse, Bryan Sutton, Muriel Anderson, Béla Fleck and Victor Wooten and headlined by the legendary Les Paul.
His ability to reach audiences unfamiliar with traditional music is remarkable- he is quite comfortable at predominantly classical events such as the Dundee and Derry Guitar Festivals (appearing six times between the two) the Uppsala Guitar Festival and even The Bogotá International Guitar Festival where he followed virtuoso Eduardo Fernandez.
Today his live work ranges from intimate solo performance through his trio with brothers Gary and Greg Grainger to the quartet Men of Steel (with fellow guitarists Dan Crary, Beppe Gambetta and Don Ross). He is an enthusiastic collaborator both as a leader and as a sideman having worked with, among many others Dougie McLean, Phil Cunningham, Mairi MacInnes, Liam O’Flynn, Martin Simpson, Kevin Burke, Alison Brown, Martyn Bennett, Natalie MacMaster, Patrick and Jacky Molard, Mairead ní Mhoanaigh and Dermot Byrne, The Nashville Chamber Orchestra, John Jorgenson, Jean Michel Veillon, Catriona Macdonald, Seikou Keita, Xosé Manuel Budiño, Ewen Vernal and Andy Irvine.
He is also in great demand as a studio musician having contributed to over 60 albums. In addition to his solo output Tony has worked with both singers and instrumentalists providing his distinctive sound on many successful projects.
His 2009 release “The Makers’s Mark” saw him showcase 15 of the finest luthier built guitars available. Recording a solo piece on each instrument, the project caught the attention of the mainstream rock guitar press in a way that acoustic work rarely does.
The following year, a chance hearing on Irish radio led to an invite to contribute music to the soundtrack of Oscar winning director Neil Jordan’s film “Ondine” starring Colin Farrell.
Never one to be typecast, Tony’s new album “Mysterious Boundaries” is his most ambitious to date. An encouraging challenge from mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall to learn the Bach E Major Prelude on guitar led to an exploration of classical and baroque music – seemingly very different to the jigs and reels that he grew up with. By examining the boundaries between genres and sticking to his steel string guitar (rather than the conventional classical guitar) McManus has produced a work of great originality and beauty, hailed by his peers as
“a masterpiece” (Renbourn), “beyond beautiful… it’s PERFECT!” (Tommy Emmanuel) and which contains a truly remarkable rendition of Bach’s colossal Chaconne in D Minor – one of the greatest compositions of any age.
Whatever work McManus brings within his scope the listener is assured a journey into the depths of the music in the company of a great talent.
George Lowden is one of the world’s most celebrated luthiers, and his guitars are played by the finest players on the planet. The list of Lowden devotees includes Eric Clapton, Pierre Bensusan, Paul Brady, Ed Sheeran, Damien Rice, Alex DeGrassi, Richard Thompson, Mike Oldfield, Nick Harper, Jon Gomm, Bill Shanley and Thomas Leeb. George is an old friend of the festival, having given numerous seminars and workshops over the previous 14 years. As we celebrate our fifteenth year, George is celebrating his forty fifth in the business!
The Acoustic Forum is an eclectic event unlike anything else you’ve ever seen which sees five of our artists play in an intimate and informal concert in the round, with each artist staying onstage for the duration. Guided by the guest host, each performer gives an insight into their craft and performs a short selection to whet the appetite for the weekend ahead. It’s off the cuff, it’s friendly and it provides the listener with a varied and spontaneous night that never fails to surprise!
In a fresh twist to this year’s Forum guest host will be Internationally renowned luthier & all round amazing guy George Lowden, with guests Celtic guitar druid Tony McManus, Dutch Ragtime virtuoso Leo Wijnkamp Jnr. Jazz pop siren Eve Clague & one more special guest yet to be announced!