Beginish – Biography (Courtesy Tara Music site, 2005)
"When four of Ireland's top traditional musicians, of the calibre of Brendan Begley (vocals, accordion), Paul O'Shaughnessy (fiddle), Paul McGrattan (flute) and Noel O'Grady (bouzouki), come together to form a new group you know you are in for something very special and that's exactly what you get with 'Beginish. Their combined talents provide for a vibrant and exciting live show of music and song."
Beginish first came together in 1996 (under the name Samhain) with a series of performances throughout Ireland that spawned overwhelming pubic interest and a string of television appearances. This potent ensemble, which gathers together in one place some of the most significant musical talent in Ireland today, draws on the combined successes of its members both as solo artists and as members of Ireland's most important groups of the last 30 years. Their music is most deeply rooted in the West Kerry and Donegal styles. Both of these regional styles, while quite distinct from one another, are noted for what the Irish call "swing", an infectious lift and danceability.
Since October 1997, Beginish has toured in Ireland, Finland, Canada, England, and Scotland. They performed in Switzerland and Germany with the Irish Folk Festival Tour 1999. They are also frequent visitors to the U.S, appearing at festivals in San Francisco, Washington, Philadelphia Irish Festival, Cincinnati, Ohio and Raleigh, North Carolina. They've also appeared at the Edinburgh and Copenhagen Folk Festivals and the Queens Arts Festival in Belfast. In 2001 they were the hit of the Milwaukee Irish Festival. Their debut CD, Beginish, was released in February 1998.
The Band, who have recently been joined by top guitar player Gavin Rolston have recently finished recording their long-awaited second album. We hope to have further details in the near future.
Paul McGrattan , who comes from Dublin's northside, has been playing flute since an early age and is now regarded as one of the top traditional flute players in Ireland. His first influence was the South Donegal fiddle tradition, which he heard on his holidays in the area as a child, later influences were his uncle Paddy Treacy, Seán Potts and Sligo flute player John Egan. As well as a duet album with Paul O'Shaughnessy "Within a Mile of Dublin' he has also released a fine solo album 'The Frost is All Over'. When not performing with the group Paul spends much of his time teaching the next generation of flute players.
Paul O'Shaughnessy , who also comes from Dublin's northside, spent much of his youth in Donegal where he developed a love and talent for fiddle playing not only from his mother, Pearl McBride but also from the playing of Antoin MacGabhann and John Doherty. It was here also that he met and played with musicians such as Frankie Kennedy and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh whom he later joined, for a number of years, as a member of the group Altan.
Brendan Begley , comes from a family background steeped in the rich Kerry traditions of music, song, dance and storytelling. We is highly regarded for his skills as an accordion and melodeon player and singer and these aspects of his artistry are well represented on his recently released second solo album 'We Wont go Home 'Till Morning'. Brendan has recorded with 'The Chieftains' and 'The Boys of the Lough' and has appeared on television, radio and at live concerts throughout Europe and the USA.
Noel O'Grady , who hails from Co. Mayo on the west coast of Ireland has long been regarded as one of the top bouzouki players in traditional Irish music circles. After a spell living and playing in London he returned to his native Mayo where he has been kept busy appearing live and in studio backing some of the genre's top soloist including Matt Molly, Charlie Lennon Maighread & Triona Ní Dhomhnaill as well as an appearance with Liam O'Flynn's Given Note Band.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.