(bouzouki, musical co-ordinator)
A member of the Irish traditional group Téada, with whom he has performed and toured and recorded, Seán has recently completed his PhD dissertation investigating the rich musical and cultural heritage of the cross-border Sliabh Beagh region of counties Monaghan, Fermanagh and Tyrone. Drawing attention to the absence of the region from a wider conversation regarding regional musical traditions in a national context, this recording represents the natural culmination of his research activity.
(fiddle, musical co-ordinator)
From Scotstown, Co. Monaghan, Dónal McCague is one of the rising stars of the fiddle, Drawing favourable comparisons with a number of the tradition’s leading fiddlers, Dónal has gained increasing plaudits for his vibrant and ornament style of playing, in particular since the release of his debut album ‘Bits ‘n’ Pieces’ in 2011. Recently honoured as ‘Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana 2013 (Young Musician of the Year 2013) at the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Award, Dónal’s playing is marked, according to fiddle virtuoso Oisin MacDiarmada, by “an incredible level of detail and thought … [D]isplaying the hallmarks of a musician who has listened and assimilated as much as he has played
From the Knocks, Co. Fermangh, Darren Breslin is one of Ireland’s finest exponents of the traditional B/C button-accordion. A worthy winner of the All-Ireland Senior Button Accordion title at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in 2008, Darren has featured on a variety of national and international concert-tours. Exuding enthusiasm and flair, Darren’s indisputable musicality has invariably drawn comment from many quarters.
Continuing to play at informal sessions throughout Ireland, Darren is also a renowned concert-performer and recording artist, with a solo album due for release in the second half of 2014.
From Corcaghan, Co. Monaghan, Laura is one of Ireland’s finest young traditional musicians. Crowned All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Champion at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2008, she has been acclaim for her flowing and dynamic style of playing as well as her vast repertoire of Irish traditional music. A much sought after fiddle tutor, Laura has been a great advocate of Irish traditional music throughout the border regions.
Conor McCague (banjo, Co. Monaghan)
A native of Scotstown, Co. Monaghan, Conor is the second member of the McCague family to appear on the ‘Dear Dark Mountain’ recording. Now resident in Galway city, Conor, who holds a Masters in Traditional Irish Music Performance (UL), has become a regular on the city’s vibrant session circuit performing regularly with Ronan O’Flaherty, Johnny McDonagh and many other local and visiting musicians.
Michael Rooney (concertina, Co. Monaghan)
Originally from Scotstown, Co. Monaghan, Michael Rooney is widely regarded as one of the finest exponents of the Irish harp in traditional Irish music. However, it is on the concertina that Michael is featured on the ‘Dear Dark Mountain’ recording, an instrument on which he is equally adept. A noted composer, Michael has written eight major suites of music, including the “Boroimhe Suite” (2014), a work commissioned by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann to reflect on the life of High King of Ireland Brian Ború on the occasion of the 1000th year anniversary of his victory at the Battle of Clontarf.
Monica Beagon-Treanor (vocals, Co. Monaghan)
From Corcaghan, Co. Monaghan, Monica Beagon-Treanor comes from a family steeped in Irish traditional music. A multiple All-Ireland winner, she is a highly regarded teacher of traditional singing in the border region.
Caitríona Sherlock (vocals, Co. Monaghan)
At just 15 years of age, Caitríona Sherlock from Ballinode, Co. Monaghan is the youngest participant in the ‘Dear Dark Mountain’ project. A pupil of Monica Beagon-Treanor, she recently won the All-Ireland title for traditional singing in the 12-15 age category at the 2013 All-Ireland Fleadh in Derry.
Brian McGrath (piano / banjo, Co. Fermanagh)
Originally from Brookborough, Co. Fermanagh, Brian McGrath is one of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians. A master on both piano and banjo, he has featured on over 200 albums to date, working with some of the biggest names in Irish traditional music including Frankie Gavin, Noel Hill, John Carty, Matt Molloy and Dolores Keane to name but a few. A member of the renowned traditional group De Danann, Brian is currently resident in Galway, where he is an established member of the city’s musical community.
Michael McCague (guitar / bouzouki, Co. Monaghan)
Another member of the musical McCague family from Scotstown, Co. Monaghan, Michael McCague is one of Ireland’s finest guitar and bouzouki players. A member of the groups ‘At the Racket’, and ‘At First Light’ he has featured on an increasing number of recordings in recent years, including his own album of self-compositions entitled ‘The Waylaid Man’ released in 2014.