”Brilliant, innovative harping and guitar-playing of astonishing virtuosity and versatility” * * * * SONGLINES
“Virtuosic, fascinating, dramatic, original, inspired, gloriously adventurous, dazzling, brilliant, stunning, impassioned, electrifying, bewitching, moving, achingly beautiful, influential, revered, unique...”
- THE TIMES, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE GUARDIAN, THE IRISH TIMES, THE SCOTSMAN, fROOTS...
“One of the UK’s most staggering and influential acoustic guitarists” (fROOTS) in concert with “the doyenne of Irish harpers” (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY) and 2001 recipient of the prestigious Irish Traditional Musician of the Year Award (Gradam Ceoil TG4). Watch Máire's performance with Chris at the Gradam Ceoil TG4 awards ceremony here.
“An eclecticism and spirit of adventure that is quite thrilling” * * * THE TIMES “Dazzling virtuosity” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH “Chris is amazing... one of our greatest musicians” BBC RADIO 2 “In a class of their own” * * * THE GUARDIAN “Music of fire and brilliance from the high-wire act in traditional music” * * * * THE IRISH TIMES "Sublime" SYDNEY MORNING HERALD "Blazing guitar and dancing harp" DIRTY LINEN (USA) “This celebrated duo took the place by storm. Stately Carolan tunes, jazzy Django-ish numbers, dazzling Doc Watson style flat picking fliers, driving Irish dance tunes - this pair can nonchalantly do the lot. Guitar players applauded and went sadly home to burn their instruments!” THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH
THE NEW STRUNG HARP TO BE RE-RELEASED 8 SEPTEMBER, 2023!
The New Strung Harp, Máire's ground-breaking solo album, is of historical significance as the first harp album ever to concentrate on traditional Irish dance music. It was first released in 1985 by Scotland-based Temple Records to much critical acclaim. It was described as "An intensely passionate and intelligent record... a masterpiece of virtuosity... a milestone in Irish harp music" by the CORK EVENING ECHO (Ireland), as "A classic exercise in music-making" by THE SCOTSMAN, and as "Exquisite... exhilarating harp virtuosity... an undoubted classic" by THE IRISH PRESS.
Before his death in 2021, Robin Morton, the owner of Temple Records, decided to wind up the company and very kindly gifted the the album rights back to the recording artists. The New Strung Harp has therefore been digitally remastered, given a new cover and artwork (though it still features the original cover painting by Colm Murphy) and will be re-released by Old Bridge Music on 8 September, 2023.
Further information, tracklisting and purchase links are here.
NEW SOLO ALBUM FROM CHRIS!
* * * * THE SCOTSMAN * * * * * FOLK WALES
* * * * RnR MAGAZINE * * * * SPIRAL EARTH
* * * * 5PLANÈTES
Chris's new solo album of his arrangements for steel-strung flatpicked guitar of sonatas and partitas written by JS Bach for solo instruments was released on July 23, 2021 and is available both in CD and download format from a number of retailers, on iTunes, and of course directly from us on our Old Bridge Music website!
The project is quite ground-breaking - a recording of this music on steel-strung flatpicked guitar has not been attempted until now.
For info about Chris and Máire's other albums, click on the "Album Reviews" tab on the Navigation Bar at the top of the page.
MAGAZINE COVER FEATURE
Chris and Máire on the front cover of the April / May 2021 issue of The Living Tradition magazine!
The magazine features an interview with them too. Click here to read it.
TG4 TV DOCUMENTARY
A documentary about Máire and her sister Nollaig (also featuring their sister Mairéad, together with Chris, and Nollaig's late husband Arty McGlynn) was originally broadcast on TG4 on November 29th, 2020, and re-broadcast 13 February, 2022, as part of its 'Sé mo Laoch series. (TG4 is Ireland's national Irish-language TV station.) You can watch it on the TG4 Player here.
You don't need to speak Irish to enjoy watching the programme: just remember to enable the subtitles. When you click on the link above, you'll see three buttons at the bottom of the picture on the right hand side. The first is 'Subtitles', the second is 'Picture-in-Picture' and the third is 'Fullscreen'. Just click on the 'Subtitles' button and choose "English".
The programme was Critics's Choice in the Sunday Times Culture Magazine on November 29th, 2020.
BREAKING BACH REVIEWS ETC.
* * * * THE SCOTSMAN 7 August, 2021 (print edition); 30 July, 2021 (online edition)
"This audacious and eminently enjoyable hijacking sees Chris Newman... lend a distinctively ringing but also regardful character to this hallowed canon... establising a brightness and brio that pervades these interpretations."
* * * * * FOLK WALES
"Dazzling... utterly breathtaking... a triumph."
* * * * RnR MAGAZINE
"Life-affirming... (Newman's) achievement is colossal... Elegant, stylish and unmistakeably from the heart."
THE LIVING TRADITION August / September, 2021
"Groundbreaking - a magnificent tour-de-force... The elegance and refinement of Chris’s playing artfully conceal the seamless technique and effort expended, and the whole exercise sounds as natural as breathing... Chris’s stylish, supremely skilled fretwork is irresistible, with its swing in the step and rhythmic buoyancy... A toweringly impressive achievement... Outstanding."
* * * * SPIRAL EARTH
"Twelve tracks sweep by in unplugged splendour... Chris Newman is in a class of his own."
* * * * 5PLANÈTES
"Un album fort original et novateur..."
FOLK LONDON August / September, 2021
Article about Chris and Breaking Bach published in Akustik Gitarre Magazine (Germany), September 2022
A piece about Chris and his Breaking Bach project was published in Akustik Gitarre Magazine (Germany) in September 2022. Read it here.
Breaking Bach tracks played on BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3's Petroc Trelawny played two tracks from the album on his Breakfast show, 'Petroc's Classical Commute', on March 24th! The section starts at 21:31...
Interview with Chris published in January/February 2022 issue of RnR Magazine
An interview with Chris appears in the January - February 2022 issue of RnR Magazine! In it he discusses his new solo album, Breaking Bach, and his musical journey. Read it here.
Breaking Bach featured on NPR's 'Thistle and Shamrock" radio programme
We were delighted that NPR's hugely-influential "Thistle and Shamrock" radio programme (syndicated nationwide in the USA) featured Chris’s new solo album Breaking Bach on November 24, 2021. The programme led off with Track 1 and a total of 4 tracks were played (1) Violin sonata #3 - top of programme 2) Flute partita sarabande - 19:00 3) Flute partita boure anglaise - 22:13 4) Cello suite #1 gigue - 30.08), so if you would like to listen to four whole tracks from the album, click the link!
Listen to Chris being interviewed about the CD:
Chris was interviewed about the new album by presenter John Toal on BBC Radio Ulster's "Classical Connections" programme, broadcast on Sunday Sepember 5th. (The programme can be heard online on catch-up for up to 30 days after broadcast and is also accessible from anywhere in the world via BBC Sounds.)
Watch Chris being interviewed about the CD:
Chris and English mandolin ace Simon Mayor have known each other for a very long time, and over the years they’ve played on each other’s recordings and even done live stuff together from time to time, but never done this before – a YouTube interview on the steps of Simon's house in Reading!
'Breaking Bach' was Album of the Week on RTÉ Lyric FM's 'Lorcan Murray's Classic Drive' July 26 - 30.
NEW ED. OF THE IRISH HARPER VOL. 2
The Second Edition of The Irish Harper Volume Two: 24 Pieces by Turlough O’Carolan Arranged for the Irish Harp by Máire Ní Chathasaigh was published on 25 July, 2022.
It contains original arrangements of 24 of Carolan's beautiful tunes (with suggested fingering), a brief biography of Carolan, historical notes on the pieces and performance guidance. The arrangements are suitable for intermediate to advanced players.
The book was first published by Old Bridge Music in 2001. It has been amended, updated and given a new cover for the Second Edition, published in July 2022.
More information and purchase links here.
CONCERT SCHEDULES; RECENT PRESS
Above are leaflets showing Chris & Máire's tour schedule February - June 2023.
Full details of their 2023 schedule here.
An interview with Máire was published in the Observer-Dispatch, Utica, NY, 23 March, 2023, prior to her 24 March concert with Chris at the Irish Cultural Center of the Mohawk Valley, Utica, NY.
Another interview with Máire was published the The Echo, Cork's daily newspaper, on 14 September, 2022, prior to her 30 September concert with Chris at the Cork Folk Festival.
Listen to them play 'Reel for a Water Diviner' (composed by Máire) from their CD FireWire:
Listen to them play 'A Sore Point' (composed by Chris) from their live CD Live in the Highlands:
Listen to them play 'Stroll On' (composed by Chris) from their live CD Live in the Highlands:
MÁIRE FEATURED IN TG4 TV PROGRAMME ON CHRISTMAS DAY 2021!
A TV programme celebrating the late legendary Irish accordeon-player Joe Burke, featuring lots of wonderful musicians and to which Máire was honoured to be asked to contribute, was broadcast on TG4 on Christmas Day 2021.
You can still watch the whole programme on the TG4 Player here. Some archive footage of Máire playing with Joe in 1983 starts at 22:14, followed at at 23:49 by new specially-recorded footage of her playing her arrangement of iconic slow air 'Róisín Dubh'.
TG4 is Ireland's national Irish-language TV station. However, you don't need to speak Irish to enjoy watching the programme: just remember to enable the subtitles. When you click on the link above, you'll see three buttons at the bottom of the picture on the right hand side. The first is 'Subtitles', the second is 'Picture-in-Picture' and the third is 'Fullscreen'. Just click on the 'Subtitles' button and choose "English".
NEW HARP SHEET MUSIC
Máire's arrangements of Irish Christmas Carol "Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil', 'Molly St George', 'Connamara', 'The Lost Summer', 'Lady Gethin', and 'The Song of the Harp' (the latter two available for both solo harp and harp duet) are now downloadable from here, as are her booksThe Irish Harper Vols I and II (the latter now in its second edition), and Chris'guitar book Adventures with a Flatpick. (The books are available both in hard copy and in download format.)
SOLO VIDEOS FROM CHRIS
Chris recently uploaded some videos of himself flatpicking three parts of J.S. Bach's Partita No 3 to Facebook - the Preludio has had 8,000+ plays so far! He's now uploaded them to YouTube so everybody can see them: Chris playing Preludio, Partita 3
Chris playing Gigue, Partita 3
Chris playing Bourée, Partita 3
Of course he has now recorded a whole CD of Bach's music, but it doesn't include these three pieces!
Saturday October 16th 2021 was Harp Day, the amazing annual international event coordinated by Harp Ireland. The final concert of the day, HARPS FROM ALL CORNERS, culminated with Chris and Máire's contribution.
Watch it here. (Their set starts at 2:40:48 and to watch that only, click here.)
Details of previous online concerts are here.