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24 Feb 2024






Featuring Dermot Byrne, Steve Cooney, Sylvain Barou, Rita Gallagher, Rafferty Family, Past & Present Fiddle Students & MC - Lynette Fay

Belfast TradFest is delighted to bring together some of the best musicians from the world of traditional music to celebrate Bríd Harper who has long been regarded as one of Ireland’s leading traditional fiddle players. Recognised for her precise, articulate and highly ornamented style, her contemporary interpretation of the Donegal tradition is considered one of the most unique and creative voices in the genre.

Originally from Castlefinn, Co Donegal but based in County Tyrone, she started learning the fiddle at 9 years of age and won all the underage competitions at All Ireland level. In 1988 she was the recipient of Senior All Ireland, Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas na Gaeilge titles. Bríd is in demand nationally and internationally as a performer and teacher and was nominated for best folk instrumentalist in the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards 2022.  A member of the Sí Fiddlers which is made up of thirteen female Donegal fiddlers, her much anticipated eponymous solo recording was described as “solo fiddle of the most exquisite kind” and the follow up ‘Inis’ was declared by The Irish Times as “a welcome snapshot of a musician at the top of her form”.

Dermot Byrne was awarded TG4 Gradam Ceoil ‘Musician of the Year’ in 2013. From Buncrana in Co. Donegal, a former member of ALTAN, he is recognised as one of the great accordion players of his generation and has released a number of critically acclaimed recordings.

Australian guitarist Steve Cooney is best known for his development of an influential style of guitar accompaniment to traditional Irish dance music which he developed in west Kerry, and for which he won the National Entertainment Award with Séamus Begley in 1997. He has been a longtime collaborator with Bríd & Dermot Byrne.

Breton musician Sylvain Barou is considered one of the leading exponents of the wooden traverse flute. A master of Irish and Breton traditional music, Sylvain has been part of some of the most exciting projects of the genre and played with the like of Guidewires, Donal Lunny, Dan Ar Braz, Gilles Le Bigot, Soig Siberil, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Laoise Kelly & Fred Morrisson. He is still active on the Breton "fest-noz" scene alongside longtime partner Ronán Pellen and is also accomplished on the uilleann pipes and the biniou kozh (traditional bagpipe of Brittany).

Rita Gallagher from Donegal, and has been involved in traditional singing in English since her early 20’s, going on to win the prestigious All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann competition three times. Rita has released three recordings, Easter Snow (1997), The May Morning Dew (2010) and The Heathery Hills (2016). She was honoured to be the 2017 recipient of TG4 Gradam Ceoil - Amhránai na Bliana and among her many influences is the late Paddy Tunney, who called her “The Linnet of the Bluestacks”, a reference to the locality of her birth!

BBC Radio Ulster’s Lynette Fay will host this celebratory concert and will chat with Bríd about her musical upbringing, her influences and her philosphy on life and music.

The concert will celebrate Bríd’s decorated career in traditional music amongst her family & friends and her pupils, past & present, alongside an array of some of the finest musicians in the world of traditional music. 


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