The vocal duo of Éilís Kennedy and Pauline Scanlon from Dingle, Co Kerry, are the embodiment of all that is haunting and otherworldly in folk. Earlier this year they released their second album, My Dearest Dear.
This indie rock five-piece have won acclaim in Ireland and overseas. Their song Damn You Hollywood featured on the American teen drama Gossip Girl. Their latest album, Leaving My Empire, came out in 2011 and was recorded at Godspeed You Black Emperor’s Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal. It was mixed by Depeche Mode producer Ben Hillier.
Returning to Cork for the first time in eight years, Donegal quintet Altan are built around the vocal talents of Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, who started the band with her now deceased husband, Frankie Kennedy. Influenced by the traditional airs of their native county, their music is at once haunting and propulsive. They have collaborated with Enya, The Chieftains, Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton.
One of the most significant folk-rock crossover bands in Irish music, Scullion is the trio of Sonny Condell, Robbie Overson and Philip King. Formed in 1979, they group has released five albums, most recently 2012’s Long Wave. Between Scullion records the musicians have engaged in other projects (Condell recently put out a solo record, Swallows and Farms). Their Triskel date is to be recorded for a live album.
Named after a gate lodge at the Stoker estate in Frankfield, Douglas, Cork (the family is related to Dracula author Bram Stoker), Stokers Lodge were songwriter Jimmy Crowley’s hand-selected backing band through the 1970s. Their goal was to create a body of folk grounded in their native Cork City and, just as importantly, delivered in Cork accents. Having played their first shows at the Phoenix Bar they released two albums, The Boys of Fairhill and Camphouse Ballads.
Now, some 35 years later they reunite with Crowley.
Largely self-taught, Gavin mastered the flute and fiddle as a child, going on to win the All Ireland Under-18 fiddle and flute competitions. Like many trad players, he started out as a stalwart of pub sessions in his home town. A figure on the Galway folk scene, in 1974 he formed De Dannan. After a split in 2003 he has gone on to play with The Rolling Stones and Elvis Costello.
The Dublin five-piece has been feted in Britain and across the continent, their debut album Redhills winning unanimously positive reviews. At full tilt, they combine the exotic thrill of old-timey American music with the energy of Irish trad.
A collaboration between three singular figures in folk. Concertina player Padraig Rynne is a member of the Guidewires group and a pioneer of folk fusion. Breton flautist Sylvain Barou released his first album last year and has also worked with Rynne in Guidewires. Donal Lunny, meanwhile, was a founder of the Bothy Band and of Moving Hearts and introduced the Greek bouzouki to Irish music.