THE WEXFORD CAROLS ARTISTS

CAITRÍONA O’LEARY

Caitriona O'LearyCaitríona O’Leary is known internationally for her intense and passionate performances of Traditional Irish song, Folk and Early Music.

She has recorded seventeen critically acclaimed albums with her band Dúlra, and the celebrated early music ensembles, Sequentia, The Harp Consort, Joglaresa and eX (the Irish-based ensemble she founded in 2006). These have been for EMI Virgin Classics, BMG Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Heresy Records/Naxos, Vox and Avie.

Caitríona has toured and performed around the world, including such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and Cité de la Musique and has appeared at numerous festivals including, Beethovenfest Bonn, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Tage Alter Musik Regensburg, Festival Cervantino Guanajuato (Mexico), Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Concerts Spirituels Geneva, Zagreb Summer Evenings Festival, the Split Summer Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, Belfast Festival at Queen’s, etc.

Photo: Tara Slye

SIR TOM JONES

Sir Tom JonesIn his native Wales, he is known as “Jones the Voice,” and he is one of the enduring personalities in the music entertainment business today. His unique vocal power, ability and charismatic persona make him one of the most respected, admired and loved performers in modern popular music.
Tom has sustained his popularity for more than four decades. Critics across the world are unanimous in their approval and admiration for both the recorded work and the performance of it in concert. He has a fundamental interest in a wide range of music. Although he is best known for hits including Kiss, It’s Not Unusual, Delilah and If I Only Knew, he is first and foremost a rocker with a true rhythm and blues soul. Tom was featured in Martin Scorsese’s Red White & Blues series, and in 2004 released an album of boogie and early rock n roll songs with Jools Holland in the U.K.

2010 saw a change of direction with Tom releasing his 39th studio album, Praise & Blame. The Praise & Blame mantra was ‘get back to basics’, and the album was recorded as wholly live performances at Peter Gabriel’s studio in Bath, England, produced by Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling, Paolo Nutini). The result witnessed a singer at the top of his game, with the songs themselves coaxing exhilarating performances out of Tom and his band.

Following the success of Praise & Blame, in May 2012 Tom released ‘Spirit In The Room’. Paired once again with producer/guitarist Ethan Johns at Bath’s Real World Studios, ‘Spirit In The Room’, like it’s predecessor, allows an unvarnished Tom Jones to bring a voice to songs as only he can. Accompanied by Ethan Johns throughout, the album includes gems from a diverse choice of writers – Richard Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney amongst others. Simple, raw and soulful, this is ‘Spirit In The Room’.

His 40-year career has seen highlights including receiving a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, the Silver Clef Award and a Silver Clef for Lifetime Achievement, and appearing as himself in the hit U.S. comedy The Simpsons. Other film roles have included parts in Mars Attacks! and Agnes Brown.

Tom was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 2006. It exemplifies Tom’s true substance and grit, tempered with an air of reflection.

Sir Tom is indeed a living legend. His irresistible show traverses musical eras and genres, cuts across class divides and appeals to young and old, male and female, mainstream and cutting edge. Sir Tom has always been about the power of the song, the power of the voice.

ROSANNE CASH

Roseanne CashOne of the country’s pre-eminent singer/songwriters, Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned a GRAMMY Award and nominations for 12 more, as well as 21 top-40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles. She is also an author whose four books include the best-selling memoir Composed, which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Oxford-American, the Nation and many more print and online publications. In recent seasons, Cash has given concerts at the Spoleto Festival, Toronto’s Luminato festival and New Haven’s Festival of Arts and Ideas, and partnered in programming collaborations with the Minnesota Orchestra, Lincoln Center and San Francisco Jazz. She completed a residency at the Library of Congress in December, 2013.

Her 2009 album, “The List” won the Americana Music Album of the Year award. She was given the AFTRA Lifetime Achievement award for Sound Recordings in 2012 and in received the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts this past October.

In her latest release, “The River and the Thread,” a collaboration with husband/co-writer/producer and arranger John Leventhal, Cash evokes a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical and historic landscape of the American South. The album has received impressive worldwide acclaim and attained the highest debut in the Billboard charts of any of her previous albums.

Photo: Clay Patrick McBride

RHIANNON GIDDENS

Rhiannon GiddensRhiannon Giddens is an American singer and multi-instrumentalist. She is known as the lead singer, violinist, banjo player and a founding member of the Grammy-winning country, blues and old-time music band Carolina Chocolate Drops. She is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina and a 2000 graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory where she studied opera.

In 2013 Rhiannon began focusing on a solo career. She participated in “Another Day, Another Time”, a concert inspired by the Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. Many critics have stated that Giddens had the best performance at what was called “the concert of the year”.

in 2013, Giddens contributed the track “We Rise” to the LP We Are Not For Sale: Songs of Protest by the NC Music Love Army – a collective of activist musicians from North Carolina founded by Jon Lindsay and Caitlin Cary. Her powerful protest song joins those from many other Carolina music luminaries on the compilation (11/26/13 via Redeye Distribution), which was created to support the North Carolina NAACP and the Moral Monday movement.

In early 2014 Giddens recorded on the album Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes alongside Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and Jim James. The album was produced by T-Bone Burnett and is a compilation of partial songs written by Bob Dylan that have never been released.

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DÓNAL LUNNY

Donal LunnyConsidered to be one of the more influential people in the renaissance of Irish music since the ’70’s, Donal Lunny has been involved in Irish music all of his life.  Born in Tullamore, he grew up in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, and studied graphic design in the National College of Art and Design.

He was a founding member of several of Ireland’s most important bands – Planxty, Bothy Band, Moving Hearts, Coolfin, and more recently, Mozaik – and has produced some of the most significant albums of the traditional music revival since the ’70s. He has also produced tracks for, and collaborated on albums with international stars such as Kate Bush, Elvis Costello, Mark Knopfler, Clannad, and Baaba Maal. Has written music for many films and theatre productions.

He received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Trinity College in 2008, and was made a member of Aosdána the same year. He continues to divide activities between composition, performance, production and teaching.

JOE HENRY

Joe HenryIn a career spanning more than 25 years, Joe Henry has left an indelible and unique imprint on American popular music. As a songwriter and artist, Henry is celebrated for his exploration of the human experience. A hyper-literate storyteller, by turns dark, devastating, and hopeful, he draws an author’s eye for the overlooked detail across a broad swath of American musical styles – rock, jazz and blues – rendering genre modifiers useless.

Henry has collaborated with many notable American artists on his own body of work, from T Bone Burnett, Daniel Lanois, and Van Dyke Parks on one side of the spectrum, to Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Brad Mehldau, and Bill Frisell on the other. A three-time-Grammy-winning producer, Henry has made records for Bonnie Raitt, Hugh Laurie, Lisa Hannigan, Elvis Costello, and Solomon Burke among many others.

In 2013, Algonquin Press published, “Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World that Made Him,” a book co-written by Joe and his brother Dave Henry.
This past June, Henry released his thirteenth album Invisible Hour – his first since 2011’s acclaimed Reverie. Produced by Henry and released on his own Work Song label, the album features numerous guests including The Milk Carton Kids as well as Lisa Hannigan, who co-wrote the title track along with Henry and best-selling novelist Colum McCann.

As a solo artist and a producer alike, Henry’s records are marked with a consistent sonic depth, attention to narrative, and emphasis on the beauty of spontaneity.

MEL MERCIER

Mel MercierTony Award-nominated composer and internationally renowned performer, Mel Mercier is a senior lecturer at the School of Music and Theatre, University College Cork where teaches courses in a broad range of music subjects, including Irish traditional music, Indian classical music, West African traditional and popular musics and Javanese gamelan. He is founder and director of the Cork Gamelan Ensemble, co-founder and director of the intercultural music ensemble TRASNA, director of the From the Sources project, project leader on the Henebry/O’Neill Wax Cylinder Digitization Project at UCC and Director of FUAIM: Music at UCC and FUAIM Festival 2014.

Son of Peadar Mercier (bodhrán and bones player with The Chieftains and Ceoltoirí Chualainn), Mel has performed and collaborated with pianist and composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin for over thirty-five years. Throughout the 1980s he performed in Europe and the USA with John Cage and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (Roaratorio, Inlets, Duets). He perfoms regularly with Catríona O’Leary and Dúlra and has also performed and recorded with many leading Irish traditional musicians. He has presented bodhrán and bones workshops in the USA and Europe for more than twenty-five years.

Recent music composition and sound design projects for theatre include: Fiona Shaw/Phyllida Lloyd’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Epidaurus, Greece; Old Vic Tunnels, London; Next Wave Festival at BAM, New York; Bouffes du Nord, Paris); The Testament of Mary (NY Drama Desk Award and Tony Award nomination – Broadway, New York; Barbican, London; Holland Festival, Amsterdam); A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and Desire Under the Elms (Corn Exchange, Dublin Theatre Festival); and performances of John Cage’s original realisation of Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake (Cologne;Amsterdam;Cork).

Recent installation projects include: Peace Camp, a coastal installation created by Deborah Warner, Fiona Shaw and Mel Mercier for the London 2012 Festival – Cultural Olympiad. Celebrating love poetry and landscape, Peace Camp took place over four nights at eight coastal locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and From the Sources (Glucksman Gallery, UCC, 2010), which featured multiple simultaneous projections of performances by 100 contemporary Irish traditional musicians of the first 1,000 tunes collected in Aloys Fleischmann’s The Sources of Irish Traditional Music c.1600 – 1855.

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GREG COHEN

Greg CohenGreg is one of the world’s most celebrated jazz bassists. Best known for his work with John Zorn’s Masada quartet; more recently he has been touring with Ornette Coleman and performed on Coleman’s much-praised Sound Grammar album. He has also often played traditional jazz, including work with Ken Peplowski, Kenny Davern and the filmmaker/clarinettist Woody Allen. He has worked with many musicians, including Tom Waits, David Byrne, and Elvis Costello
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Greg’s bass playing credits include work with artists such as Dagmar Krause, David Sanborn, Susana Baca, Gal Costa, Marisa Monte, Laurie Anderson, Willie Nelson, Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, Dave Douglas, Tricky, Jesse Harris, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, Joey Baron, Donovan, Crystal Gayle, Bob Dylan, Nina Nastasia, Alan Watts, Lee Konitz, Richie Havens, Dino Saluzzi, Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, Odetta, Danny Barker, Tom Waits, Tim Sparks, and Antony and the Johnsons.

In August/September 2006 he was musical director of the Century of Song series at the German arts festival RuhrTriennale. He invited songwriters and performers such as David Byrne, Holly Cole and Laurie Anderson.
He was a regular member of Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band, which used to play every Monday evening at Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel. He appears in the documentary film Wild Man Blues, which documents a 1996 European tour by Allen and his band. He also appears in Robert Altman’s 1993 film Short Cuts.
Greg is a bass professor and the head of string department at the Jazz Institute Berlin.

KATE ELLIS

Kate EllisCellist Kate Ellis is a luminary of the Irish music scene. Ellis is an inspiring presence: an enormously prolific musician, her portfolio includes the artistic direction of Ireland’s foremost new music group, Crash Ensemble; work with folk-crossover ensembles Tarab and Yurodny; her own cross-disciplinary RESOUND project; and performances with Bobby McFerrin, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Gavin Friday and Karan Casey to name only a very few. She combines a total technical mastery of her instrument with a fluid, omnivorous musicality, performing Steve Reich with the same grace and intensity as she performs Irish or Mediterranean folk music.

As a member of Crash Ensemble, Ellis has collaborated with Steve Reich, Gavin Bryars, Terry Riley, and Dawn Upshaw, and has premiered works by David Lang, Michael Gordon, Nico Muhly, Valgeir Sigurdsson and Donnacha Dennehy. She has performed at the Canberra International Music Festival, Bang on a Can Marathon (NYC), Electric Picnic, the Barbican Centre, Kings Place, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Centre, with residencies at the Huddersfield International Contemporary Music Festival and Princeton University.

Ellis has recently released her first solo album of music for cello and electronics on the Diatribe label.

RYAN FREELAND

Ryan FreelandRyan is a 4-time Grammy winning engineer whose credits include Bonnie Raitt, Ray LaMontagne, Hugh Laurie, Aimee Mann, Joe Henry, Meshell Ndegeocello, Grant-Lee Phillips, Tanita Tikaram, Ingrid Michaelson, Amy Correia, Brett Dennen, Son Volt, Chuck Prophet, The Weepies, Jim White, Loudon Wainwright III, Rodney Crowell, Alana Davis, & Jonatha Brooke.

2011 brought Ryan two additional Grammy wins: “Best Contemporary Folk Album” for Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise & “Best Traditional Folk Album” for Carolina Chocolate Drops – Genuine Negro Jig.

In 2010, Ryan received a Grammy in the “Best Traditional Blues Recording” category for recording & mixing Ramblin’ Jack Elliot’s album A Stranger Here.

Ryan recorded and mixed Joe Henry’s critically acclaimed albums Blood From Stars & Civilians. Other project with Joe Henry producing include Mose Allison’s Let It Come Down, the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Genuine Negro Jig, Loudon Wainwright III’s Recovery, Mary Gauthier’s Between Daylight and Dark, Rodney Crowell’s Sex & Gasoline, and three tracks from Salif Keita’s La Difference.

Ryan has also recorded and mixed Aimee Mann’s @#%&*! Smilers, The Forgotten Arm, One More Drifter in the Snow, & Live At St. Anne’s. Ryan also recorded & co-produced Aimee’s Lost In Space – in addition to mixing three of the tracks.

In 2001 Ryan was part of the team responsible for creating the sound design for Baz Luhrman’s film, Moulin Rouge. Mixing for the soundtrack, creating the musical cues, and playing piano, were some highlights of that project.

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GRAHAM HOPKINS

Graham HopkinsGraham Hopkins is a renowned Irish drummer. He was surrounded by music from an early age and began playing the drums around the time he was 5 years old. His father Des Hopkins is a respected jazz drummer.

Graham left school to join Irish rock band My Little Funhouse in 1993. After releasing their debut album the band toured heavily supporting such bands as Guns N’ Roses and The Ramones amongst others. Graham then lived in LA for 2 years and recorded a second album for Geffen.He was then invited to join popular Northern Irish punk-rock band Therapy? in 1996. Graham recorded 3 albums and released a greatest hits album with the band. Therapy? sold over 2 million albums worldwide.

In January 2002 he toured with Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes. After touring with Gemma Hayes for over a year – supporting her Mercury Music Prize album Night On My Side – Graham went on to record two albums with his own band Halite. He played all the instruments with Halite and fronted the band. Halite played numerous shows over the following two years including opening Slane Castle for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters.

Graham plays clinics and in 2003 organised the biggest clinic / workshop / drum spectacular that has ever taken place in Ireland, if not the world!! Over 2000 people turned up to see Graham play alongside Chad Smith, Taylor Hawkins, Joey Castillo, Mark Richardson and a host of other drummers. All money raised went to charity. He appeared as part of the band on the popular 2006 Oxfam charity album, The Cake Sale.

Graham was also member of Dublin hard rock band Boss Volenti, and played on their debut album released in 2006. 

Hopkins spent the early part of 2007 stepping in as drummer for Snow Patrol on their European, Australian, New Zealand and American tours. He also recorded and toured worldwide with Dolores O’Riordan for the release of her solo album Are You Listening?.

Graham played on the soundtrack to the Irish Oscar-winning musical Once with Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.The Swell Season which features Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova and members of The Frames have been touring non-stop since the 2008 including concerts from the Sydney Opera House, and Hollywood Bowl to the Royal Albert Hall.

He has both recorded and toured with such bands and artists as, The Frames, David Kitt, Mundy, The Reindeer Section, Alphastates, Autamata, Ann Scott, Josh Ritter, Jape, Q, Scott Maher, Ollie Cole, The Pale, Pugwash, Miriam Ingrim and Paula Toledo amongst many others.

Photo: Conor Masterson

JOHN SMITH

John Smith

John Smith is a guitarist/singer-songwriter from Devon who is recognized as one of the most exciting voices on the new British folk scene. Touring as both a headliner and support act, he has opened shows for John Martyn, Iron and Wine, Seth Lakeman, Davy Graham, John Renbourn, David Gray, Cara Dillon, James Yorkston, Martin Carthy, Jools Holland, Tinariwen, Martin Simpson, Gil Scott-Heron and Chris Thile. John is a regular on the UK festival circuit, having played shows at Glastonbury, Green Man, Cambridge and many others. In this way, he has found a loyal following in the UK and Ireland, Europe, Japan, Mexico, the USA and Canada.

John plays the steel-string acoustic guitar. Sometimes with a slide, sometimes on his lap, sometimes de-tuning the thing mid-song. He was named Young Acoustic Guitarist Of The Year in 2003.

John has four records out; The Fox and the Monk (2006), Map Or Direction (2009), a  collection of covers, Eavesdropping (2011), and his latest release, Great Lakes (2013).

Photo: Phil Fisk

 

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