NEW SOLO ALBUM FROM CHRIS!
Chris's new solo album of his arrangements for steel-strung flatpicked guitar of sonatas and partitas written by JS Bach for solo instruments is now available for purchase both in CD and download format from our Old Bridge Music website and from a a number of online retailers!
The project is quite ground-breaking - a recording of this music on steel-strung flatpicked guitar has not been attempted until now.
NEW 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!
NEW 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 broadcast on TG4 on November 29th, 2020, 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.
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:
WATCH CHRIS INTERVIEWED
Here's a lovely July 2020 interview with Chris where he discusses his musical journey, and the bands and people he played with, with his old Green Ginger friends - and tells some fun stories! Green Ginger is a band that used to run a folk club in Harrow - not far from Chris's home in Bushey, Hertfordshire - many years ago. They've recently reuinited and are currently making a delightful series of 'programmes' for Youtube, consisting of interviews with artists they used to book in those days.
NEW HARP SHEET MUSIC!
Máire's arrangements of '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, and Chris'guitar book Adventures with a Flatpick. (Books also available in hard copy.)
LIVE IRELAND AWARDS
Chris and Máire are thrilled that a Chicago performance was awarded 'Concert of the Year' and Chris named 'Male Musician of the Year' in the 2019 Live Ireland Awards! Details here.
(Máire had been 'Female Musician of the Year' in the Live Ireland Music Awards 2016.)
MAGAZINE COVER FEATURE
Máire on the front cover of Germany's Folk Magazin! The accompanying interview is here.
SOLO VIDEOS FROM CHRIS
A little while ago, Chris 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!
On 1July, 2021 Máire and Chris performed at an online concert on 1 July for the 36th International Festival for Irish Harp ( An Chúirt Chruitireachta), the oldest and most prestigious festival for Irish harp in existence. It was a one-time broadcast, though available to watch for 30 days for those who purchased tickets. Tickets are no longer on sale through Eventbrite. However, if you would still like to watch the concert you can make a donation of €10 to Cairde na Cruite (the Irish Harp Society that organises the festival) here and then email the Festival Director, Aibhlín McCrann, to let her know why you have done so; she can then send you a link.
Back in the autumn of 2020, Karen Ryan of Irish Music and Dance in London (IMDL) invited Máire and Chris to take part in a series of concerts she had arranged for this spring in King's Place, London. When the lockdown arrived, all concerts migrated online. As travelling to London was impossible because of Covid restrictions, IMDL arranged for Chris and Máire to be filmed at the Courthouse Arts Centre, Otley, West Yorkshire - their very first online concert. They really enjoyed playing on an actual stage again, with actual PA and lights! The hour-long concert (sponsored by the Irish Embassy and presented in association with the Irish Arts Foundation) was streamed on Friday 26th March 2021 and available to watch until April 4th 2021.
Máire and Chris playing with the Heartstring Quartet at Port Fairy Folk Festival, Australia, 2015 - Máire's hands on the big screens...
(Contributions to this section are in reverse order, i.e.,, 2022 - 2015)
Interview with Máire published in The Echo 4 September, 2022
An interview with Máire was published the The Echo, Cork's daily newspaper, on 14 September, 2022, prior to her forthcoming concert with Chris at the Cork Folk Festival.
Interview with Máire published in The Irish News 22 July, 2022
An interview with Máire was published in The Irish News, Belfast's daily newspaper, on 22 July, 2022, prior to her appearance at the Belfast Tradfest.
Tracks from Breaking Bach played on BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3's Petroc Trelawny played two tracks from Chris’ CD 'Breaking Bach' on his Breakfast show, 'Petroc's Classical Commute', on March 24th! The section starts at 21:31...
TV programme in TG4's Hup! series featuring performance by Chris and Máire re-broadcast February 2022
A TV programme in TG4's Hup! series celebrating the International Festival for Irish Harp (An Chúirt Chruitireachta) and featuring a performance by Máire and Chris, originally broadcast 11 October 2015, has just been re-broadcast and can be watched on the TG4 Player here. Máire and Chris' contribution starts at 10:54.
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.
Máire featured in TG4 TV programme on Chistmas 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".
Chris' new solo album, 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!
Chris & Máire's online concert for Harp Day 2021
Saturday October 16th 2021 was Harp Day, the amazing annual international event coordinated by Harp Ireland. Máire and Chris were commisioned to contribute the culminatiing set to the final concert of the day, HARPS FROM ALL CORNERS. Watch it here. (Their set starts at 2:40:48 and to watch that only, click here.)
Details of previous online concerts are here.
Chris interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster about his new solo album, Breaking Bach
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 on YouTube about his new solo album, Breaking Bach
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!
Online interview with Máire
In the run-up to her October 29, 2021 performance with Chris at the Tyneside Irish Festival, Máire chats with Michael McNally for the Tyneside Irish Cultural Society's August 2021 Podcast.
Breaking Bach was Album of the Week on RTÉ Lyric FM's 'Lorcan Murray's Classic Drive' July 26 - 30.
Chris' new solo album, Breaking Bach, released 30 July 2021!
Chris's new solo album of his arrangements for steel-strung flatpicked guitar of sonatas and partitas written by JS Bach for solo instruments is now available for purchase both in CD and download format from our Old Bridge Music website! It is also distributed through Proper Distribution and available from several online retailers and on on iTunes.
The project is quite ground-breaking - a recording of this music on steel-strung flatpicked guitar has not been attempted until now.
Further information and full reviews are here.
* * * * 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
Have a listen to some extracts from the album on this sample - or on iTunes!
Magazine cover feature!
Chris and Máire are 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.
Another online concert coming up for the 36th International Festival for Irish Harp ( An Chúirt Chruitireachta)!
Back in the autumn, Karen Ryan of Irish Music and Dance in London (IMDL) invited Máire and Chris to take part in a series of concerts she had arranged for this spring in King's Place, London. When the current lockdown arrived, all concerts migrated online. As travelling to London was impossible because of Covid restrictions, IMDL arranged for Chris and Máire to be filmed recently at the Courthouse Arts Centre, Otley, West Yorkshire - their very first online concert. They really enjoyed playing on an actual stage again, with actual PA and lights! The hour-long concert (sponsored by the Irish Embassy and presented in association with the Irish Arts Foundation) was streamed on Friday 26th March and available to watch until April 4th.
On 1July Máire and Chris will perform at an online concert for the 36th International Festival for Irish Harp ( An Chúirt Chruitireachta), the oldest and most prestigious festival for Irish harp in existence. The festival will take place Sunday 27 June - Fiday 2 July. Máire is one of several leading Irish harpers who will teach online at the festival, so you can avail of top-notch harp tuition in the comfort of your own home. Book concert tickets and / or sign up to classes - or just explore what's on offer!
Joe Burke R.I.P.
We were very sad to hear of the death on February 20th of accordeon-player Joe Burke, one of the all-time giants of Irish music, the wittiest of men and the best company imaginable. Máire had the huge pleasure of doing some gigs with him in Ireland and the USA in the early '80s (and an album too in 1983, The Tailor's Choice). Here is a very nice article by Toner Quinn containing reminiscences about him from Frankie Gavin, Charlie Lennon, Daithí Gormley and Máire, published in The Journal of Music. Máire was one of a number of interviewees on the March 28 edition of RTÉ Radio 1's long-running Irish music series The Rolling Wave, the second of two programmes that the series has made in memory of Joe (also available as a podcast).
New TV documentary
A documentary about Máire and her sister Nollaig (also featuring their sister Mairéad in addition to Chris and Nollaig's late husband Arty McGlynn) was broadcast on TG4 on November 29th, 2020, as part of its 'Sé mo Laoch' series! (TG4 is Ireland's national Irish-language TV station.) You can still watch it on the TG4 Player here!
The programme was Critics's Choice in the Sunday Times Culture Magazine on November 29th, 2020.
Blog-post from Colin Rndall about our first duo album 'The Living Wood'
Here is a blog-post from Colin Randall dated August 17, 2020, where he looks back on our first duo album 'The Living Wood'. In a 1988 article for The Daily Telegraph he had declared it Folk Album of the Year as well as one of his top three albums of the decade!
Interview with Chris
Here's a lovely interview with Chris in July 2020 where he discusses his musical journey, and the bands and people he played with, with his old Green Ginger friends - and tells some fun stories! Green Ginger is a band that ran a folk club in Harrow - not far from Chris's home in Bushey, Hertfordshire - many years ago. They've recently reunited and are running a delightful series of interviews with artists they used to book in those days.
We're thrilled to announce that some socially-distanced shows will go ahead in November / December 2020! Details here.
New harp sheet music
Máire's arrangements of 'Connamara', 'Lady Gethin', 'The Lost Summer' and 'The Song of the Harp' (the latter available for both solo harp and harp duet) have just been published in downloadable pdf format and can be purchased here. Her books of harp arrangements, The Irish Harper Vols I and II, together with Chris's book of guitar arrangements and exercises, Adventures with a Flatpick, are available in both hard copy and downloadable pdf format here (just scroll down the page).
Our annual Spring tour of the USA was curtailed in 2020, and all touring subsequently cancelled because of Covid-19. We hope that regular touring can resume in the autumn of 2021.
We are very sad to tell you that Arty McGlynn, our bandmate in the Heartstring Quartet and husband of Máire's sister Nollaig, died on December 18, 2019. Details here.
Archive footage posted on YouTube on Novmber 21, 2019...
...of Máire singing on a Tyne Tees TV programme about the Newcastle Irish Festival in 1988! Click here - her bit starts at 12.58. (Chris is playing in the background, but not visible!) A huge thank-you to John McGowan for sending us the link - we were delighted to get it!
Live Ireland 'Concert of the Year' Award for the duo and "Male Musician of the Year" Award for Chris!
Chris and Máire are thrilled that a recent Chicago performance was awarded “Concert of the Year” and Chris named "Male Musician of the Year"in the 2019 Live Ireland Awards! Details here.
(Máire had been 'Female Musician of the Year' in the Live Ireland Music Awards 2016.)
Chris and Máire had a great 2019, with festivals and performances in France, Sweden and Denmark, tours on the West and East Coasts of the North America - including performances at TradMad (MA) and New World (VT) Festivals - a trip to Colorado for the Spanish Peaks Celtic Harp Retreat, concerts in the UK and Ireland and their Christmas tour of the UK to finish - always great fun!
Chris and Máire had a super-busy year - four North American tours, during which they visited Colorado, New Mexico, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri and Ontario, a month-long tour of New Zealand, tours in Ireland, the UK, Italy and France, several festival performances - Temple Bar Tradfest, Dublin, Celtic Festival of Southern Maryland, Spring Rain Festival, Ontario, Gower Folk Festival, Wales, Old Songs Festival, NY, International Festival for Irish Harp,Termonfechin, Co. Louth, Catskills Irish Arts Week, NY, Festival on the Green, Middlebury, VT, Somerset Folk Harp Festival, NJ, Fiddler's Green International Festival, Rostrevor, Co Down, Beppe Gambetta Guitar Summit, Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy, Kelso Folk Festival, Scotland and Wellington Folk Festival, New Zealand - and their sixth annual Christmas tour in the UK.
Premiere of Casey Sisters' composition, "Corcach: A Journey"
In addition, this year's Cork Folk Festival featured the premiere on October 3rd of a composition entitled "Corcach: A Journey" by Máire, Nollaig and Mairéad The Casey Sisters), specially-commissioned by the festival for its 40th anniversary.
TV performance on "Tradfest TG4"
Chris and Máire were delighted to be featured on the first programme of the "Tradfest TG4" TV series, broadcast November 25 on TG4. You can watch it on catchup TV here.
Radio and press interviews
An interview with them appeared in the Spalding Guardian (Lincolnshire) on December 17th.
They were interviewed by Tom Lane for his BBC Radio Lincolnshire "Thursday Night Folk" programme, broadcast Thursday December 13th. You can listen to it on catchup here.
Máire and Chris were profiled in the Whakatane Beacon on October 20, 2018 prior to their concert in Whakatane during their tour of New Zealand.
Davey Calder's Folk Music Hour on Access Radio Taranaki, New Plymouth, presented a programme about their music on October 7, 2018, during their tour of New Zealand. It's still available to listen to and the link is on this page.
Magazine cover feature
Máire was delighted to be on the front cover of the June-July 2017 issue of Germany's Folk Magazin! - see it here. The accompanying interview is here...
TV performance of Máire's composition, Harps in Bloom (Termonfechin Times)
On June 2th 2017 Máire was thrilled to lead over 70 harpers in playing her composition, Harps in Bloom (Termonfechin Times), at the 32nd International Festival for Irish Harp (An Chúirt Chruitireachta) held in Termonfechin, Co. Louth - such an exciting and powerful sound! The performance was televised by RTÉ and broadcast on three news programmes and on RTÉ 2's news2day programme that day. Here's the programme - the harp segment starts right away.
A month-long tour of New Zealand (sponsored by Culture Ireland and incorporating a headlining appearance at Whare Flat Festival) in January this year (2017) and subsequent bunch of UK concerts was followed by performances by Máire at Ireland's Gathering Festival and Ballymaloe Grainstore with the Casey Sisters. She and Chris then headed off to Dallas to perform as one of the headlining acts at the North Texas Irish Festival before returning to this side of the pond to do some concerts sponsored by the Arts Council of Wales, followed by a really good fun weekend playing at the Costa del Folk Festival in Ibiza (Spain)!`
They had a fun and very busy autumn too - a fortnight touring in Ireland with Máire's sisters, a six-week duo tour in Canada and the USA (Ontario, Québec, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida), followed by a duo Christmas tour in the UK.
Chris also had a great time teaching and performing at Roberto dalla Vecchia's Guitar Workshop week in Vicenza (Italy), as did Máire teaching and performing at Cairde na Cruite's International Festival for Irish Harp (An Chúirt Chruitireachta), the Willie Clancy Summer School and Music Generation Laois's Traditional Music Summer Camp.
Recent press, TV and radio
In the lead-up to the Casey Sisters' concert at the Ballymaloe Grainstore, Máire was interviewed by Cork's Evening Echo newspaper (click here to read) and all three sisters were interviewed by one of Ireland's national daily newspapers, The Irish Examiner (click here to read). Here's a video of their performance at the Skibbereen Arts Festival.
Recent Irish TV programmes featuring Máire and Chris still available on the TG4 server include Part I of the TV programme "Mná an Cheoil" (Women in traditional Music) on TG4, Máire's live TV performance with Anne-Marie O'Farrell and Cormac de Barra on “Gradam Ceoil TG4 2016” and their duo performance on "Hup" on TG4.
"Celtic Connections", the US public radio programme hosted by Bryan Kelso Crow for WSIU and widely syndicated (to stations in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas), broadcast a whole hour-long show about Máire and Chris on 10 November 2016. It incorporated a lengthy interview with them, an overview of their career and a selection of tracks from their recordings. The programme is no longer on the WSIU server, but information about it can still be accessed here and a playlist can be accessed here.
In 2015 / 2016 Máire and Chris toured in Australia (twice), the USA (four times), Canada, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland in addition to their UK work (which included their annual hugely-enjoyable Celtic Christmas Strings tours) and gave thirty-seven festival performances. Other notable events in that period were the award to Máire of Female Musician of the Year in the Live Ireland Music Awards 2016 and in the Chicago Irish American News Top TIR Awards (details here) and four TV performances.
Co-produced, recorded and mixed by Chris, the new CD is one of The Daily Telegraph’s Albums of the Year and "Caithreim Ciúil"s Album of the Week from November 16 - 20 on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (Scotland). It has received some great reviews in The Irish Times * * * *, The Herald Scotland, The Daily Telegraph * * * *, Songlines * * * *, The Living Tradition, Le Canard Folk (Belgium), Le Peuple Breton, The Boston Irish Reporter, Folk Bulletin (Italy), Fatea and FolkWords. Here they are:
"At the end of this meeting of arguably Irish music’s foremost family group there’s a suite giving a musical representation of their home town, Bandon in West Cork’s history. It could just as well be a depiction of the Casey Sisters themselves, having grown up as the only traditional music players in town, returning to show the mastery that’s given them global reputations. Thumbing of noses doesn’t sit with the warmth and intimacy that permeates Sibling Revelry, though. This is high-end music-making, virtuosic yet presented in a way that puts the music first, the arrangements geared towards clear melodicism and rich, flowing, soulful expression. Máire (harp, piano, keyboard), Nollaig (fiddle, viola, whistle) and Mairéad (fiddle, whistle, flute) complement each other brilliantly on beautiful airs and superbly measured tune sets and the latter pair’s singing – Nollaig’s slightly wary-sounding on The Bonnie Boy in Blue; Mairéad’s sweet and lovely on A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis – emphasises the sheer depth of feeling they have for the Irish tradition."
"Intimacy and intuition are at the heart of this radiant collection.
Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Nollaig Casey and Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh are already highly regarded, but together, the sum of their parts reveals a generosity of spirit, a shared delight in the tunes and an appetite for forensic musical excavations.
Máire’s harp is at its subtle best on O’Carolan’s Katherine O’More, its sotto voce conversation with the fiddle giving full voice to the tune’s delicacies.
The Bandonbridge Suite, composed by the sisters, is a playful, meditative and sweeping reflection on a part of the country seldom referenced in the traditional music canon.
Máire’s vocals bring a rich dimension and the unveiling of Connamara, a previously unpublished tune from the Bunting collection, is a further treat."
"This has to be my favourite album title of the year. Sibling Revelry, the debut album from the distinguished Casey-Ní Chathasaigh sisters, is an album of first-class musicianship. Singer and fiddle-player Nollaig Casey (once of Planxty and Coolfin) plays beautifully on the haunting Lament for General Monroe. Máire Ní Chathasaigh shows throughout why she is hailed as one of the world's best harp players. Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh has a sweet voice as well as a fine talent on the fiddle. They are joined on three tracks by Arty McGlynn on acoustic guitar. This is a wonderfully atmospheric album, never more so than on Connamara, a previously unpublished composition by Edward Bunting (1773–1843), which was made available by Belfast's Queen's University library." * * * *
Review by Martin Chilton. Now in his list of best folk albums of 2015!
"There are times when it seems like certain families got more than their fair share of musical genes, when a whole load of them can display talent of the highest order. So it is for the three sisters Nollaig Casey (vocals, fiddle, viola, tin whistle), Máire Ní Chathasaigh (Irish harp, piano, keyboards) and Mairéad Ní Chathasaigh (vocals, fiddle, tin whistle, low flute). All three are known for their outstanding work in their respective interpretations of Irish music and song, but this is their first recording as a band of sisters, accompanied by Arty McGlynn on guitar and Chris Newman on bass. Máire has rightly been described as “the doyenne of Irish harp players”, taking the instrument in new directions and acting as a generational influence. Nollaig has sung and played fiddle solo and with more musicians than you could list on the back of a ream of envelopes. Mairéad is a singer whose depth of knowledge and understanding of the Irish traditions is peerless. And they all are award-winning multi-instrumentalists as well. Not bad going for one family! They have been so busy with their individual careers that you maybe can understand why they’ve not got together before, but after listening to this release, the only question is: “what took you so long?” The album brings together traditional songs and tunes, with a six-part Bandonbridge Suite, co-authored by the three siblings to finish off the CD. This comes at the end of a stunning mixture of songs which are as clearly sung as any I’ve heard, and the playing throughout is a masterclass in allowing restraint in playing to demonstrate the complexities of the tunes. The punning title is well-chosen, as there is no rivalry here, rather musical co-operation in which none dominates and all contribute evenly. A superb album."
"Now who had the brainwave to bring together these three musical sisters for an album of truly joyous music-making? … You’ll know the ladies individually, of course, as front-runners in their respective fields of musical endeavour: Nollaig Casey as fiddler and singer (she also plays viola and tin-whistle), Máire Ní Chathasaigh as harpist extraordinaire (also piano and keyboard player), and Máiread Ní Chathasaigh as singer and fiddler (who also plays tin-whistle and low flute). Unbelievably, the deliciously-titled Sibling Revelry is the sisters’ first recording together (mind you, they’ve all had busy and fruitful individual careers), and yet the teaming here reveals a further inspired level of musicianship that’s beyond the intuitive. They excel on their respective instruments, sure, but they also possess an innate grasp of internal dynamics (whereby felicities of balance are keenly observed) and an uncanny ability to listen to each other and respond in kind, rejoicing in spontaneity of expression.
The material chosen for this album is thoughtfully and impeccably arranged, and ideally sequenced for optimum listening pleasure. It comprises mainly instrumental items, with just three songs carefully interleaved; of these, two are sung by Mairéad and one by Nollaig, and both singers display both a constant purity of tone and an unassumingly accomplished clarity of diction. The instrumental repertoire is an enterprising selection of traditional tunes, largely from manuscript collections, with one by O’Carolan and one by Máire herself, while the ten-minute closing track, the six-part Bandonbridge Suite, has individual sections composed by individual sisters. Good use is made of the possibilities of both arrangement and studio facilities for imaginative presentation; sometimes, Nollaig doubles her fiddle parts or else creates a mini-string-section by adding the darker timbre of viola to the mix, while the colours of tin-whistle and low flute add further variety to five of the selections and Máire’s harpistry is as skilled and scintillating as ever. Arty McGlynn’s guitar accompanies deftly on three tracks, including the final movement of the Suite, and Chris Newman plays bass on one of the songs. Even so, one of the album’s standout tracks is Nollaig’s pindrop solo performance on her adaptation of Lament For General Monroe.
The entire album represents a glorious and wholly delectable celebration of expertise in sibling musicianship of the highest order, and proves a life-affirming experience, a joy from start to finish."
"The intriguingly titled ‘Sibling Revelry’, the debut album from the class act that is The Casey Sisters, exudes the highest levels of talented musicianship and without doubt manifest skill. The word ‘expressive’ could easily sum up this album as the sisters pour so much of themselves into the music it talks to the listener on so many levels. The lightest of airs rub shoulders with ‘soul-touching’ songs and ‘step-inducing’ dance tunes to conjure an experience that will simply sweep you away into its enveloping embrace.
From the first moments, with the entrancing energy of ‘The Humours Of Castlebernard/ From Shore To Shore’ through the soft gentleness of ‘Katherine O’More’ to the haunting ‘A Dhroimeann Donn Dílis’ this album will hold you rapt. Were it possible to pick favourites from this album because the whole is so good and everyone will find their own preferences, then for me the dramatic ‘Lament For General Monroe’, their wholly impressive take on ‘Dark Lochnagar’ and impressive expanse of the specially composed, six-part ‘The Bandonbridge Suite’ are the ones that I lean towards the most."
An hour-long interview with all three sisters by Ellen Cranitch was broadcast on "Grace Notes" on RTÉ Lyric FM on Thursday October 8 and is now available to listen to on the RTÉ Player - click here, then click “Grace Notes Thursday 8 October 2015” and then “Listen”..
Further nice reviews are shortly to be published (we'll post them here as soon as we can scan them!) The CD has already been played on a number of BBC radio stations (including BBC Radio nan Gaidheal, where it is "Caithreim Ciúil"s Album of the Week this week), several NPR stations in the USA (including WGBH, KRVS, KUAR), on stations in Germany, France and Italy and on RTÉ Lyric FM, Raidio na Gaeltachta, Clare FM, Shannonside Radio, Midwest Radio, Tipp FM and LMFM - Máire was interviewed on LMFM about the album.
Chris and Máire have just come home from a wonderful trip to the US, during which Máire performed and taught at the Southeastern Harp Weekend in Asheville NC and they played together in PA, MA and CT. They're looking forward to their forthcoming Celtic Christmas Strings tour of the UK...
After a couple of lovely festivals in atmospheric and historic locations in Italy in late July, Chris and Máire headed straight into mixing Sibling Revelry. It was mastered and manufactured in time for the sisters' concert at the 3rd Harp and Heritage Weekend at the Walled Town Festival in their native town of Bandon, Co. Cork.
Just prior to the Italian trip, Máire had spent a fortnight teaching and performing at the 30th International Festival for Irish Harp at An Grianán, Termonfechin, Co. Louth (where she also performed at the gala concert with The Heartstring Quartet) and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare.
The Irish events were preceded by a tour of Denmark with Chris, Máire's sister, fiddle-player and singer Nollaig Casey and guitarist Arty McGlynn (as The Heartstring Quartet), during which they performed at Halkaer Festival. Máire and Chris had spent April - May touring as a duo on the East Coast of the USA. Less than two weeks before the start of that tour at the Celtic Festival of Southern Maryland, they had returned from a seven-week quartet tour of Australia in February - April which included appearances at Perth International Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, Blue Mountains Music Festival, the National Folk Festival, Cobargo Folk Festival and Deloraine StringFest (see here for details) - and in that period managed to fit in concerts at the Edinburgh Harp Festival, Coquetdale Music Trust and Lichfield Arts Centre.
Here's an article about the duo in the May 6 issue of New York City's Irish Voice newspaper.
The quartet's second album, Heartstring Sessions 2, was recorded in January and manufactured in time for the Australian tour! The CD will be released in Europe or the US soon - we'll keep you posted.
Máire and Chris had a wonderful time on their 21-date Celtic Christmas Strings tour of the UK in November / December (flyer on the right) - eight of the concerts were sold out, which was very gratifying, and the whole experience was fantastically good fun! They've posted photos taken on the tour, together with photos of their autumn trips to Italy and Sweden, on their Facebook Page.
Máire and her two fiddle-playing and singing sisters Nollaig and Mairéad performed and taught at the 3rd Harp Weekend at Bandon Walled Town Festival, held in their home town of Bandon, Co. Cork on August 30 - 31. Their concert on August 30th (to a capacity audience in St Peter's Church) included the première of their specially-composed Bandonbridge Suite - a musical representation of the history of the town - and the launch of their new CD "Sibling Revelry".
Here's a video clip of Máire and Nollaig playing together.
All in all, Máire and Chris had a very busy 2014 - a tour of the USA and Canada in March/April, a tour of Australia in May / June as The Heartstring Quartet with Máire's sister Nollaig and legendary Irish guitarist Arty McGlynnn and festival appearances at Old Songs Festival in Altamont, NY, Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp, Maryville, TN (Chris only), International Festival for Irish Harp (Ireland - Máire only) and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (Ireland - Máire only). Their autumn schedule included concerts in the UK and Ireland, festival appearances in Italy (Madame Guitar Festival) and Sweden (Samhain Festival, Stockholm) and of course their 21-date Celtic Christmas Strings tour of the UK in November / December (flyer here)...
Máire and Chris had a wonderful time on their second 21-date Celtic Christmas Strings tour of the UK in November / December (flyer on the right) - eight of the concerts were sold out, which was very gratifying, and the whole experience was fantastically good fun! They've posted photos taken on the tour, together with photos of their autumn trips to Italy and Sweden, on their Facebook Page.
“(Their) mastery and magic... produced a rapt response” THE GUARDIAN
Máire and her two fiddle-playing and singing sisters Nollaig and Mairéad performed and taught at the 2nd Harp Weekend at Bandon Walled Town Festival, held in their home town of Bandon, Co. Cork on August 30 - 31. Their concert on August 30th (to a capacity audience in St Peter's Church) included the première of their specially-composed Bandonbridge Suite - a musical representation of the history of the town - and their new CD will be released at the 2015 festival. Here's a video clip of Máire and Nollaig playing together.
All in all, Máire and Chris had a very busy 2014 - a tour of the USA and Canada in March/April, a tour of Australia in May / June as The Heartstring Quartet with Máire's sister Nollaig and legendary Irish guitarist Arty McGlynnn and festival appearances at Old Songs Festival in Altamont, NY, Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp, Maryville, TN (Chris only), International Festival for Irish Harp (Ireland - Máire only) and Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (Ireland - Máire only). Their autumn schedule included concerts in the UK and Ireland, festival appearances in Italy (Madame Guitar Festival) and Sweden (Samhain Festival, Stockholm) and of course their 21-date Celtic Christmas Strings tour of the UK in November / December (flyer on the right)...