A weekend of great traditional and folk music presented by the Wexford branch of Comhaltas begins with a show by the super-charged quartet of Liam Ó Maonlaí, Ciaran Tourish, Kevin Doherty and James Delaney. Liam Ó Maonlaí has etched his name into the Irish rock annals as founding member and frontman of Hothouse Flowers. Yet his free spirit has ensured that over the decades he has always remained faithful to both his own traditional roots and the common bonds that unite indigenous communities across the globe. With such a polyglot Worldview it is no surprise that he is acknowledged as a sean-nós singer without boundaries. He can just as easily evoke the deep and soulful saudade of Portuguese fado as he can generate a barn-storming New Orleansian hoedown.
Buncrana’s Ciaran Tourish learned to play the tin whistle before he ever picked up a fiddle. Having toured the World with trad supergroup Altan for 3 decades he is now acclaimed as one of Ireland’s top traditional musicians. In addition to his mastery of the dance music tradition, Ciaran’s quick ear, love of harmony and counterpoint have led to his fiddle-playing talents being in demand from many quarters. Those who have come calling include Paul Brady, Matt Molloy, Mark Knopfler, Mick Hanly, Mary Black, Maura O’Connell, Máirtín O’Connor, Dolores Keane, Dé Danann and American musicians, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas and Tim O’Brien. He released his first solo recording “Down the Line” in 2005 featuring a host of A-grade guest musicians. Fellow Donegal man Kevin Doherty came to music through records and radio rather than a handed-down tradition. In his teens he cut his teeth, as guitarist and vocalist, performing with a number of successful local bands which peddled everything from bluegrass to trad. He joined renowned traditional group ʻFour Men and a Dogʼ in 1991 recording seven records and touring extensively. Aside from this, Kevin has recorded three fine solo records, the latest being ʻSeeing Thingsʼ.
Keyboard maestro James Delaney has been a stalwart of the Irish R&B, blues and rock scene since the 1980s. He has performed with Red Peters, Rob Strong, Freddie White, Stagalee, Mick Hanly and Clannad. While with the latter group he wrote some of the music for the t.v. show Robin of Sherwood. He went on to perform with Moving Hearts, Davy Spillane, Mary Coughlan, Chuck Berry, Van Morrison, Stocktons Wing, Máirtín O'Connor, Four men and a Dog, and, of course, Kevin Doherty whose music he played in the Abbey Theatre for the Frank Mc Guinness play, ‘Donegal’.