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Click on names below for biographies. The John McSherry Trio, John McSherry Band and John McSherry & The Soma Band consist of various groupings of the following musicians:
| John McSherry with|
| Dónal O’Connor|
| Francis McIlduff|
| Ruben Bada|
Hailed as one of the finest exponents of the art of uilleann piping in the world today – “a true master” – Irish Music Magazine, John has taken piping and whistle playing to new heights with his unique style. Winner of several All Ireland Championship titles as well as being the youngest ever winner of the prestigious ‘Oireachtas’ piping championship, John has toured the world as both a solo performer and a member of several outstanding bands. He was a founding member of top trad bands ‘Tamalin’, ‘Lunasa’ and ‘At First Light’ as well as a lead instrumentalist with Donal Lunny’s ground-breaking supergroup ‘Coolfin’, which included Sharon Shannon. He is a composer, producer and arranger, with several highly acclaimed solo and collaberative albums to his credit, including his latest release – the award winning ‘Soma’. He is also an established studio session musician of world class renown, recording and performing with everybody from Clannad, Sinead O’Connor and Nancy Griffiths, to Shaun Davey, Dan Ar Braz and The Corrs.
Son of the celebrated fiddler Gerry O’Connor (La Lugh, Skylark, Kinvara) and renowned singer Eithne Ni Uallachain (Lá Lugh), Dónal O’Connor has inherited a musical legacy of at least five generations of fiddle playing and countless generations of traditional singing. Highly regarded as a great fiddle player, he was asked at the tender age of 21 to take part in the prestigious ‘Music Network Tour of Ireland’ alongside Scottish Guitarist Tony Mc Manus, Fermanagh purveyor of song Gabriel McArdle and ace Belfast Piper John McSherry. Dónal’s playing was described recently by the press as “..immaculate.. “electrifying” and”..borne out of naked talent and consummate professionalism..”-The Irish Times. He has toured Europe and the USA extensively from a young age as both a lead and backing instrumentalist with a number of bands including La Lugh, amongst others. Currently living in Belfast in the North of Ireland, Dónal is part of an extremely vibrant music scene and is regarded as “One of the outstanding players of his generation”-J.B. Vallelly (Highly acclaimed Irish Artist).
Born into the legendary McPeake family in Belfast, Francis McIlduff was introduced to the sights and sounds of traditional music at a very early age, and whilst widely recognised today as one of the finest pipers in the country, it was on the bodhran that he made his debut performance at the age of 12. Influenced in style particularly by Christy Moore, his bodhran playing was soon to take a back seat to the uillean pipes more synonymous with the family name. Along with the pipes, the seemingly obligatory outstanding low whistle playing soon went hand in hand at performances the length and breadth of the country. Since debuting with the family band, ‘ Clann McPeake’ at a very tender age, Francis has gone on to perform with some of the foremost traditional and contemporary artistes in music today, including the seminal Irish folk rock outfit ‘Alias Ron Kavana’, ‘Sin E’, ‘Afterhours’ featuring singer Alan Burke, and Hungarian based traditional outfit ‘Fianne’. He is also in great demand as a session musician across Europe… An excellent piper, great low whistle player and nifty bodhran player to boot.
Michael Mc Cague has been playing bouzouki and guitar since the age of sixteen, having played traditional music on the fiddle from the tender age of six. His talents as an accompianist are in high demand and he has performed with countless high profile musicians such as the highly renowned fiddle player Frankie Gavin. In 2005, he recorded with Edel Fox (former TG4 young musician of the year) and Leitrim flute player Dave Sheridan along with Seamie O Dowd and fiddle hero Brian Rooney. In 2006, he joined up with John Carty’s traditional group “At the Racket”, filling the role of previous guitarists Garry O’ Briain and Arty Mc Glynn, with whom he recorded their 3rd album – ‘It’s Not Racket Science’. Other than Irish music, Michael has a diverse taste in other forms of music such as gypsy jazz, big band jazz, blues, classic rock n’ roll and Bluegrass music.
Ruben Bada was born in Aviles, in the northern coast of Asturies, and raised in the Cape Penes area, where the Asturian language and culture are still healthy and alive. He began playing guitar at the age of 14, learning both bouzouki and fiddle soon after. Ruben started his recording career in 1998 with the band Xeliba with whom he recorded two albums. Soon after he became a highly sought after studio musician and producer, working with Asturian acts such as Anabel Santiago, Mari luz Cristobal, N’arba, Corquieu, Tejedor, Dixebra, Llac’n Pipe Band, u?, Toli Morilla…touring all over Europe. In 2000 he won the Asturian Traditional Music Contest on fiddle. In 2004 Ruben moved to Belfast, and soon he became part of the local music scene. Currently, Ruben is also playing with the band DRD, and in February 2006, was awarded “Best Instrumentalist” in the Asturian Music Awards.
Alan started his singing career fronting the Irish band Afterhours with whom he released three recordings, all of which were widely received and toured extensively throughout Europe, Canada and America. On the demise of that group, Alan began a new venture with the release of his first solo CD “On the Other Hand” in 1998. This was followed in 2000 by his second solo recording “Tip of the Tongue”. Both these recordings received high praise and his subsequent touring brought him everywhere from Bahrain to Belfast to Croatia to Cardiff..and on….. His voice has been described as “Full of power, sensitivity and clarity”. His guitar playing, being influenced by his earlier incarnation as a session drummer / percussionist is characterised by strong driving rhythms alongside a more gentle and sympathetic approach to the quieter side of his repertoire. Alan’s inexhaustible repertoire of traditional, Gaelic, self-penned and contemporary song has kept him busy as a solo performer and collaborator with a wide variety of other musicians. His performance, presence and delivery demanding the attention of his audience.
Tony Byrne has been involved in music from a very young age. He began playing drums at the tender age of eleven and a year or two after, he was performing in rock bands in and around Dublin. It was following a family holiday in West Kerry that Tony developed a keen Interest in Irish traditional music and he has been involved in the performance, recording and teaching of it ever since. He has performed and recorded with such acts such as Danú, At First Light, John McSherry, Sharon Shannon, Michael McGoldrick, Gerry O’Connor, David Munnelly Band, Matt Molloy and Paul Brady, and also with artists from different genres, such as the legendary guitarist Tommy Emmanuel and banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck. He is currently making a name for himself touring the world as a regular member of the Julie Fowlis Band.
Tíona McSherry is a consumate tradiTíonal musician, highly respected among her peers and regarded as a gifted flute player and extraordinary singer/songwriter. As a member of the renowned family of musicians – ‘The McSherrys’, she began playing music and singing at a very early age, mastering the flute, tin whistle and uilleann pipes along the way. She has toured the world extensively (together with her musical siblings) in the exciting and innovative trad band “Tamalin”, bringing their unique fusion of Irish, Rock, Eastern and celtic music to fresh and enthusiastic audiences. With one of the most distinctive voices in Irish music today – “…. a voice like butter” – Celtic Music Magazine, Tíona has been involved in countless musical ventures including teaming up with well known folk singer Naimh Parsons to form the a cappella groups ‘Cuigear Ban’ and ‘The Wildflowers’. After a small break from touring, Tíona is now back and preparing material for her first solo album.Tíona
A few years after their debut CD Tripswitch, AFL are back with a more contemplative release. The fireworks of that first recording are toned down, the arrangements are stripped back, and the whole feel is more relaxed. The core line-up of John McSherry on pipes and whistles, Dónal O’Connor on fiddle and keyboards, and Francis [...]
Five years after their spine-tingling debut, and after their triumphant collaboration with Bob Brozman on Six Days in Down, At First Light have released a thoughtful collection. Piper John McSherry and fiddler Dónal O’Connor form the backbone of their sound, with Francis McIlduff (of the McPeake family), adding subtle bodhrán percussion and pipes. McSherry’s piping [...]
“As Ireland’s economy spirals ever futher into the slough of greed-induced despond, it’s heartening that the island’s traditonal musicians continue to release albums which, in many cases, are guaranteed to offer far more than spiritual analgesia. Top of the crop in 2010 was, indubitably, the debut solo album by the Belfast born uilleann piper John [...]
“If collaboration was always this much fun, we’d all be doing it. American tricone and Hawaiian guitarist Bob Brozman has had his share of music partners. This prolific performer and recording artist has hit the colder climate of Co Down in the company of At First Light fiddle player Dónal O’Connor and piper John McSherry. [...]
“Piper, John McSherry has always provided some of the best piping to come out of Ireland. As a founder of Lúnasa, and a member of Coolfin and Tamalin, McSherry’s playing has always become the centre of the pieces. With the release of his first solo album, ‘Soma’, he has given his fans an album that [...]
“Given that he has spent so many years exploring the music of different cultures, mostly in tropical climes, it was only a matter of time before virtuoso slide guitarist Bob Brozman would bring his expertise and vision to blend with Irish music: this album, arranged and recorded in the six days of the title, sets [...]
“The Belfast Uilleann Piper JohnMcSherry sprang to fame with the band Tamalin in the 1990s, before moving on to Donal Lunny’s Coolfin, appearing in the first incarnation of Lunasa, collaberating with Mike McGoldrick and recording a stonking duo album with fiddler Donal O’Connor with whom he also plays in ‘At First Light’. He has always [...]
“Uileann piper extraordinare John McSherry – founding member of trad supergroup Lúnasa – is one of the instrument’s most awesome practitioners. He has released two collaboration CDs , ‘At First Light’ with chum Michael McGoldrick and ‘Tripswitch’ more recently together with Dónal O’Connor. He has also shared the stage with some of the shiniest lights [...]
“Belfast piper, graduate of Lúnasa and linchpin of At First Light, John McSherry has chosen an intensely disciplined route to his first solo album. His piping is as taut as a highwire and yet, when required, as relaxed and capacious as a fishing net, gathering the tunes within its gabháil without ever stymying their full [...]
“John McSherry has probably never played better in his life…It’s not just the precision of his playing, but its powers of sheer invigoration which confirms McSherry as one of Ireland’s foremost piper…if there’s a better Irish album released in 2006 I’ll willingly dance naked in Trafalgar Square with a ferret on my head. But only [...]
“My first exposure to the talent of Belfast-born uilleann piper John McSherry, winner of Oireachtas and All-Ireland senior titles, was in 1990 when he and three siblings – singer and flutist Tina, fiddler Joanne and guitarist Paul – formed Tamalin. Teenagers belying their age, they were a highly promising and justly touted band, and Paul [...]
“In a nutshell: an album of fantastic tunes, brilliantly played! You could analyse the time signatures and tempo changes of these exciting tunes (many co-composed by McSherry and O’Connor, others traditional arrangements) till the cows come home, but what’s the point? This is a glorious forty minutes – listen from start to finish, overflowing with [...]
“Tight as a drum and as louche as a bordello queen, Tripswitch is a collection for the wide open road, fuelling the miles long after the tank runs dry. John McSherry set the bar high on his 2001 album, At First Light, and his pairing with Donal O’Connor while touring that album led to this [...]
“The first track of Lunasa is as emphatic a musical statement as anyone could have possibly hoped for. Rather than coming out of the traps running with a jig or a reel, the band opt for ‘Lord Mayo’s March,’ Mc Sherry’s pipes sending out a ‘call to arms’ that demands the attention of the listener. [...]
“This is a ‘back to roots’ recording from two top-class young musicians who’ve been experimenting with a more modern sound… At First Light opens with a musical manifesto: a combination of the best of Irish music, old and new, with a broad definition of Irish… There are some lovely guitar breaks and the two understated [...]
There are notes here to sublimely twist your eardrums and send shivers down your spine – BBC Folk Review
“Michael McGoldrick and John McSherry are both acknowledged masters of their art. Both began playing pipes and/or whistles whilst still in single figures age-wise and both have been part of some seriously influential groups over the last few years: Toss the Feathers, Tamalin, Flook, Coolfin, Capercaillie and Lunasa… It’s usually the first track on a [...]
The music is performed with the panache and integrity you would expect from two of the folk worlds finest – Folking.com
“This, I must admit has been on my most wanted list since I first heard it being promoted some months ago. I won’t go into the historical background of the artists here, just to say that when you get a combination of this quality who can fail? Well, to be perfectly honest no one! The [...]
Coolfin live at Celtic Connections “When Donal Lunny brought his new band over two years ago, it was a case of early days and work in progress. Now that band is Coolfin, with an album of the same name which was one of 1998′s outstanding releases, and an onstage presence that matches and at times [...]
“..Lunny’s fiddler, Nollaig Casey, makes some flights of her own on the new C.D, but the most fearless adventurer is piper John Mc Sherry, who can build a whirling spiraling solo in almost John Coletraneish style. ‘He’s actually a great Led Zeppelin fan’ Lunny explains. ‘He can improvise no problem.’” Alister Clarke (Sept 1998)
“Tamalin is the McSherrys…Their music lies somewhere between traditional and Celtic rock (progressive traditional?) and is characterized by catchy chord progressions, creative rhythm changes and a complimentary (almost innate) balance among instruments.They are all accomplished musicians who get to show their stuff, not with extended solos but by acutely playing off one another, making their [...]
Guinness Celebration Tour of Australia “At Last we were treated to the stars of the night, Tamalin. This five piece took to the stage carrying with them energy and a real presence. John McSherry was superb, a true master of the pipes, nonchalantly sitting right of stage, listening and watching the others before launching himself [...]
I have never heard the wailing of the pipes sound so close to the human voice – Irish Music Magazine
Coolfin live at Whelans, Dublin The set of reels which followed were one of those rare moments where modern and traditional elements blend seamlessly. Fionn O’Louchlainn undefined the music with a funky offbeat bassline which for some reason matched all of the solos perfectly. Sharon Shannon’s accordion was excellent, but was eclipsed by a wonderful [...]
If there is a premiere league amongst Irish bands, Lunasa are certainly there at the top of the tree – Irish Music Magazine
“If there is a premiere league amongst Irish bands, Lunasa are certainly there at the top of the tree. Five excellent, creative and imaginative players combine to produce a stunning debut C.D. Lunasa is a collective of Sean Smyth (fiddle), Mike McGoldrick (flutes), John McSherry (uilleann pipes and low whistle), Donagh Henessy (guitar) and Trevor [...]
“many have tried to make folk music more approachable, from Fairport Convention, who introduced it to electricity, to the Pogues who force-fed it bile and vodka. Here, newcomers ‘Tamalin’ apply a different finish to some excellent traditional playing, massaging it into a sound that strays convincingly into pop territory. What emerges is-surprising for a first [...]