A Dublin born guitarist, producer and songwriter, Gerry Leonard currently based in upstate New York. With a qualification in classical guitar, Leonard grew up inspired by a mixture of rock, punk and post punk. After working successfully with his first band, Hinterland (Album, “Kissing the Roof of Heaven”), he established himself as a solo performer. Leonard’s distinct style has led him to acclaim and collaboration with many great artists. Most notably, becoming music director and guitar player David Bowie’s year-long “Reality” tour. Apart from “Reality”, he is also featured on the records, “Heathen” and “The Next Day”. For “The Next Day”, He has two co writing credits for the songs, “Boss of me” and “I’ll take you there”. After Bowie’s death in January of 2016, Leonard took part in the Brit Awards tribute to him. More about Gerry can be found be found at his website, https://gerryleonardspookyghost.com/, including information about his ongoing solo project, SpookyGhost.
An Irish musician, composer and songwriter, Mick McAuley is a long-time member of internationally acclaimed Irish-American ensemble SOLAS. A multi- instrumentalist, Mick plays accordion, melodeon, concertina, whistles and guitar. Mick has collaborated and recorded with famous artists such as Patti Larkin, Paul Brennan, Susan McKeown and Mick Hanley and many others. His debut solo album “An Ocean’s Breadth” was well received and he has since released a follow up album, “Highs and Bellows”
More about Mick can be found at his website, http://www.mickmcauley.com/
Best known for being a long standing member of the Irish/Scottish folk rock band, “The Waterboys”, Steve Wickham is an Irish multi-instrumentalist. Wickham plays both contemporary rock music and traditional Irish music and has been called “the world’s greatest rock fiddle player” and a “fiddling legend”. He has even developed his own rock music technique for violin that he calls “Fuzz Fiddle.”
Wickham has played on recordings by Elivis Costello, Hothouse Flowers, Sinéad O’Connor and World Party as well as recording violin for the U2 song, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. Along with violin he plays, mandolin, tin whistle, concertina, saxophone, piano, guitar and bones (precursor to the spoons).
Along with his massive contributions to The Waterboys impressive discography, Wickham has released two solo albums “Geronimo” and “Beekeeper”. More can be found at his website, http://www.stevewickham.ie/
Niamh Farrell is songwriter and lead vocalist of the Irish Indie Rock band “HamsandwicH”, with Podge McNamee and John Moore, both from Kells, in 2003. Brian Darcy and Ollie Murphy joined soon after as guitarist and drummer respectively. The band is well known for their energetic and engaging live performances and the powerful duality of McNamee and Farrell’s lead vocals. The band have released three studio albums so far, “Carry the Meek”, “White Fox”, and “Stories from the Surface”. The albums were self-published by the bands own record label, “Route 109A Records”, named for the bus route between Kells and Dublin. More Information about Niamh and HamsandwicH can be found at their website, http://www.hamsandwichmusic.com/#6
Maighread & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill
Maighread & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill are natives of Kells, Co. Meath and two of the most influential musicians in the history of Irish music. They formed “Skara Brae” along with their brother Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and multi-instrumentalist Dáithí Sproule and specialised in songs sung as Gaeilge. This album is considered by many to be one of the most important and influential album of the Irish music genre. The sisters then formed the legendary “Bothy Band”, renowned to have raised the standards and revolutionising traditional Irish music. This modernise fresh original approach had influences on bands like the Chieftains, Planxty and Riverdance. Triona later moved to North Carolina where she has contributed to many new traditional Irish music groups including, Touchstone, Relativity and Nightnoise. Maighread has released many solo vocal albums, which are mostly sung in Irish. More information about Tríona’s ongoing projects can be found at her website, http://www.trionanidhomhnaill.com/
Matthew Gilsenan (The Celtic Tenors), was born into a fiercely musical family outside Kells. He studied under many teachers and genres including classical and opera before taking time off from his career as an engineer to pursue music full time.The Celtic Tenors have released seven records, the first of which achieved double platinum status in Ireland and charted very highly in Ireland, the UK and Germany. You can find more about Matthew and the other Tenors, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson along with upcoming show dates at their website, http://www.celtic-tenors.com/
Deirdre Shannon is the stage name of Deidre Gilsenan, younger sister of Celtic Tenor Matthew Gilsenan. As a child she sang in many events and choirs along with her siblings. In 1997, she was chosen to play Erin the Goddess in Micheal Flatley’s “Lord of The Dance”. She played this role for 4 years and performed over 800 shows.
Deirdre has since released two solo albums, is the principal singer of the group Celtic Woman and has been featured on the album, Celtic Thunder: Storm. More about Deidre can be found at her website http://www.deirdreshannon.com
Deirdre Kinahan is an Award winning Irish playwright and theatre producer who founded and ran Tall Tales Theatre Company for 15 years. Deirdre wrote her first play Be Carna, in 1999 was widely regarded as a powerful debut. Award Winning playwright Deirdre Kinahan (Wild Sky, Halcyon Days, Moment, BOGBOY), Kinahan has added many strings to her bow in the form of writing for film, radio and television. As well as keeping busy with a myriad of creative projects, she sits on the board of Ireland's national theatre, The Abbey, and is a member of the eminent Irish arts group Aosdána.
Native to Kells, NY based is a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter is a former member of the Irish bands Little Palace and The Van Winkles, he has performed with Dead Can Dance's Brendan Perry. After moving to New York, Brunnock gained critical acclaim as a solo artist when he worked with Record producer, Pat Dillett and also The Ceasars. In 2012, along with David Byrne and Will Oldham, he won the David Di Donatello award 2012 in the Best Original Song category for the movie, ‘This must be the Place’, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, starring Sean Penn. Michael is currently working on a body of songs that mark the life of Roger Casement. He is also collaborating playwright Deirdre Kinahan and Gerry Leonard on a project. For further information, visit www.michaelbrunnock.com
Turn, formed in 1998 in Kells by guitarist/ vocalist Ollie Cole, drummer Ian Melady and Dublin bass player Gavin Fox. They earned a name for themselves as one of the premier Indie Rock bands of the Irish music scene following the release of their debut album, “Antisocial”. With their third and final album, “Turn LP” entering the top 30 in its first week back in 2006, it was shortlisted for a Choice Music Prize. The band officially broke up in 2006 but has since then reunited to perform at Electric Picnic and Irish tours.
Ollie Cole has since released two solo albums, “We Albatri”, which was named Album of the Month, by the Irish Times upon its release, and “Year Of The Bird”. More info can be found on the website, http://olivercolemusic.com/
Saramai Leech has been heralded by Hotpress, Nialler9 and The Irish Times. With two EPs, live national TV/radio performances, extensive performance experience across Ireland, the UK and Germany, her music has taken her to Other Voices, Electric Picnic, Showcase invitations include Guinness Live Stages, Hard Working Class Heroes and Sligo Live. She is also currently undertaking an apprenticeship with Meath County Council and Training Notes as a fully trained hospital musician providing therapeutic music in healthcare settings. Other collaborations have been with poet Peter Fallon and Oisin Leech (Lost Brothers) and a forthcoming radio documentary. Now living in Berlin she is currently working on an album with Cormac O'Keeffe.
Peter Fallon, born in Germany, grew up near Kells in County Meath. He founded The Gallery Press, which has published more than four hundred books of poems and plays by the country's finest established and emerging authors. It is recognized as Ireland's pre-eminent literary publishing house. Peter has given readings all over the US, in Europe, Canada, and Japan. He received the 1993 O'Shaughnessy Poetry Award from the Irish American Cultural Institute. He is a member of Aosdána and Honorary Member of the RHA. Seamus Heaney has said the following of Fallon in June 2010: “Care, company, community have been fundamental concerns of Peter Fallon’s writing in and about the world, care for people and place, for planet earth and the poetry of earth, for the values espoused in Virgil’s Georgics which he has translated . . . and the seriousness of that caretaking has developed over the years to a point where the artistic and the moral have converged.”
Young, energetic, original indie band from Navan, have been described as ”An Irish Oasis” by LMFM Gerry Kelly. They formed in 2016, consisting of Dylan Hickey, Jordan Patton, Matty & John Paul Melady. Described as as ”an awesome mix of darkness, power and energy” by Garageland Ireland.
Mark Smyth is a multi award winning TV commercials and film director with an honours degree in Film/ TV Production. Mark started working as a television editor on the TG4 series “Rasai na Gaillimhe”, “Pyjama Girls”, as well as producing and developing online content for RTÉ. As a self employed director for the past 5 years, Mark has worked as a freelance director on numerous productions and short films, music videos and TV commercials across Ireland, the UK and Canada. He also works with television and directs and produces commercials and brand content pieces. Clients have included Skoda and Cadburies as well as public sector contract like the HSE. He has won 2 Irish TV sponsorships awards under the categories of ‘Best TV Broadcast Sponsorship’ and ‘Best Low Budget Sponsorship in 2016. Marks’ latest award winning film short film “Leap of Faith” recently premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh. https://vimeo.com/marksmyth
Martin Flanagan is a native of Kells, and is the founder of the band The Vanwinkles. Highly acclaimed by Hotpress as aninfluential songwriter, the recent album EVERY HOUR, is described as a masterpiece. Recorded in Jam studios Kells, with drummer Ian Melady, and multi-instrumentalist Martin Quinn.
Creagan, a native of Navan is a former members of Mr. Bigstuff and Little Palace. His song ‘Secret’ was one of the most popular on the album, a heart-felt ballad featuring Colm Mac Con Iomaire of the Frames. He played as special guest at Golden Globe winning David Byrne’s special launch concert for his Goldenhair album, at the Solstice Arts Centre.
Master of Ceremonies (MC), we present Fred Cooke
Fred Cooke, a native of Kells, is known for his unique brand of comedy through his musical prowess and wild crafted physical story telling. Fred Cooke has rapidly become a unique stand-up delivering a style of comedy that simply cannot be imitated. His musical sketches are a constant hilarious success with his Republic of Telly Hidden Camera Prank reaching 1,661,213 hits on Youtube.
Fred has frequently been invited to perform at the largest and most successful festivals both in Ireland and abroad. He has supported his comedy hero, Ardal O’Hanlon on his massive nationwide tour. He has also performed alongside such high profile acts as Tommy Tiernan, Eddie Izzard, John Bishop, Dara O Brian, Ross Noble, Kevin Bridges, Sarah Millican, Jason Byrne, Neil Delamere and Des Bishop.
Fred has already contributed to a variety of successful Irish TV shows, both as a writer and performer, including RTE’s The Fear, Republic of Telly, The Savage Eye, The Cafe (as The Crazy Chef), Watch Your Language (The Mad Professor), The Modest Adventures of David O’Doherty, and The Liffey Laughs. He has also regularly been the warm-up act for many different television chat shows including The Late Late Show, The Podge and Rodge Show, The Republic of Telly, The Craig Doyle Show. He is also involved with the writing and production of the musical sell-out comedy: City West Side Story. He made his debut on English television with the second series of the BBC Show Vexed.