Belfast TradFest - Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music
27th July - 2nd August 2019
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Skin, Wind & Reed

Skin, Wind & Reed


Tonight we explore the repertoires of Scotland and Ireland through Bagpiping, Snare Drumming, Uilleann Piping, Fifing, Flute, Tin Whistle & Bodhrán. Featuring some of the world's finest musicians; Finlay McDonald, Mary Bergin, John McSherry, Gareth McLees, Harry Bradley, Kevin Crawford, Willie Drennan & John Joe Kelly

Date: Thursday 1st August

Doors: 8pm

Location: Strand Arts Centre

sold out
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Finlay MacDonald has blazed a trail as one of Scotland’s finest exponents of contemporary and traditional Piping. He has worked with many leading artists in the traditional music scene including Fred Morrison, The Unusual Suspects, La Banda Europa, Old Blind Dogs and Chris Stout. He combines the mastery and dedication of traditional Piping with a true sense of musical adventure and creative collaboration producing a unique musical voice, which can be heard on numerous recordings and projects. His compositions and arrangements have been played by many leading artists including World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.

Mary Bergin 
‘Just about the best Tin Whistle player this century’ is how the Irish Times referred to Mary in a recent interview. She was born into a musical family and began playing at an early age winning many awards and competitions. Mary’s first solo album ‘Feadóga Stáin’ brought out in 1979, holds its place as a classic in latter- day traditional music. Her second solo album was referred to as having Biblical status with fans of Celtic music. She has toured extensively in Europe, America and in Australia playing in concerts and festivals, and giving workshops and seminars. She has also given masterclasses in many Universities around the world.

John McSherry has been a major figure in Irish music for almost 20 years. Described by Irish Music Magazine as ‘a true master’, John is hailed as one of the finest exponents of the art of Uilleann piping in the world today. 

Gareth McLees
Gareth returned to Field Marshall Montgomery for the 2016 season having previously played with the band from 2007-2012. During the intervening years he was a member of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. Gareth is from Belfast but now resides in Perth, Western Australia where he is Leading Drummer of the Western Australia Police Pipe Band. He has enjoyed a very successful pipe band drumming career to date, including 4 World Pipe Band Championship titles, a Grade 1 world drumming title and 2 Australian National Championship titles. Gareth is an avid football supporter and enjoys following the success of his national team, Northern Ireland, from the sunny climes of the southern hemisphere!

Harry Bradley was born in South Belfast. The vibrant recording heritage from the 1920s and 30s has had a huge influence on his flute-playing style as has the playing of musicians such as Seamus Tansey, Desi Wilkinson and piper Seamus Ennis, to name but a few. Noted for his unique tone and driving rhythm, Harry has come to be recognized as one of the most distinctive flute players in Ireland today. He has toured internationally and recorded both as a soloist and with groups such as Cran and Altan. In 2014 he was the recipient of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Traditional Musician of the Year Award.

Willie Drennan is a musician, composer, storyteller, poet and writer who draws much of his material from the cultural traditions of his native County Antrim.

A member of Flook and Mike McGoldrick bands among others, John Joe Kelly’s Bodhrán playing has become legendary throughout the traditional music world. He has been involved in many world music collaborative projects with musicians varying from Tim O’Brien, Kate Rusby and Dan Tyminski to Zakir Hussain.

Born in Birmingham, England, Kevin Crawford’s early life was one long journey into Irish music and Co. Clare, to where he eventually moved while in his 20’s. He now tours the world with Ireland’s cutting-edge traditional band, Lúnasa. Kevin has also recorded several solo albums including The ‘D’ Flute Album, In Good Company & Carrying the Tune