JOHN MCSHERRY

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John McSherry

Biography

John McSherry & Donal O’Connor (Biographies courtesy of the Artist's site, 2006)

At First Light are:
John Mc Sherry (Uilleann Pipes, Low Whistles)
Dónal O'Connor (Fiddle, Keyboards)
Francis Mc Ilduff (Uilleann Pipes, Whistles, & Bodhran)
Rubén Bada (Bouzouki, Guitar, Fiddle)
Alan Burke (Guitar, Vocals)

John Mc Sherry (Uilleann Pipes, Low Whistles)
John Mc Sherry is hailed as one of the finest exponents of the art of Uilleann piping in the world today - "a true master" - Irish Music Magazine. Coming from a Belfast family steeped in traditional music, John focused his energies on the pipes from an early age. By the time he reached fifteen he had two All Ireland Championship titles under his belt and at the age of eighteen he was the youngest ever winner of the senior 'Oireachtas' piping competition. Combining with his musical siblings, John formed the band 'Tamalin', bringing their unique blend of Irish, Breton, rock and eastern music to enthusiastic audiences around the world. By the age of 25, he had gained a reputation as a world class studio session musician, recording with the likes of Clannad, Nancy Griffiths, Shaun Davey, Dónal Lunny and Dan ar Braz to name but a few. Described as being "at the forefront of modern innovation" - Green Man Review, John has taken piping to new heights with his unique style. His sense for improvisation has even been compared to that of the great jazz legend John Coltrane. Always in constant demand, John has performed with nearly every artist you could think of, from Sinead O'Connor and Riverdance to Ornette Coleman and Secret Garden. He was a founding member of top trad band 'Lúnasa' as well as a lead instrumentalist with Dónal Lunny's ground-breaking super group 'Coolfin', which included Sharon Shannon and Nollaig Casey. John's last recording venture, teaming up with life long musical comrade Michael Mc Goldrick to release 'At First Light', received the award for Best traditional Album of the Year 2001 - Irish American News.

Dónal O'Connor (Fiddle, Keyboards)
Son of the celebrated fiddler Gerry O’Connor (Skylark, Kinvara) and renowned singer Eithne Ní Uallacháin (Lá Lugh), Dónal O’Connor has inherited a great musical legacy of at least five generations of fiddle playing and countless generations of traditional singing. Highly regarded as a fiddle player, he was asked at the tender age of 21 to take part in the prestigious ‘Music Network Tour of Ireland’ alongside Scottish Guitarist Tony Mc Manus, Fermanagh purveyor of song Gabriel McArdle and Belfast Piper John Mc Sherry (Lúnasa, Coolfin, Tamalin).
Dónal’s playing was described recently by the press as “immaculate” “electrifying” and “…borne out of naked talent and consummate professionalism…” The Irish Times “exquisite” - The Scotsman
He has toured Europe and the USA extensively from a young age as both a lead and backing instrumentalist with a number of bands including Lá Lugh. Currently living in Belfast in the North of Ireland, Dónal is part of an extremely vibrant music scene and is regarded as “One of the outstanding players of his generation” - J.B. Vallely. Recent collaborations have included tours with Mike McGoldrick (Capercaillie, Flook, Lúnasa), live festival performance with Karen Casey, T.V. performances with the legendary Sligo Flute player Séamus Tansey and recording work with Brian Kennedy and Máire Brennan of Clannad. Despite a hectic schedule of gigs Dónal found some time to produce Gerry O’Connor’s long awaited solo album Journeyman which was released in the Autumn of 2004 to great critical acclaim. Dónal has also presented a number of music programmes on BBC Radio Ulster and was the presenter of BBC Northern Irelands excellent 10 part music series ‘An Stuif Ceart’ - described as a rare musical treat the series incorporated an eclectic mix of talent with such luminaries as John Prine and Henry McCullough alongside the cream of Irish talent.

Francis McIlduff (Bodhrán, Uilleann Pipes & Low Whistles)
Born into the legendary McPeake family in Belfast, Francis McIlduff was introduced to the sights and sounds of traditional music at a very early age, and whilst widely recognised today as one of the finest pipers in the Ireland, it was on the bodhran that he made his debut performance at the age of 12. Influenced in style particularly by Christy Moore, his bodhran playing was soon to take a back seat to the uillean pipes more synonymous with the family name. Along with the pipes, the seemingly obligatory outstanding low whistle playing soon went hand in hand at performances the length and breadth of the country. Since debuting with the family band, ' Clann McPeake' at a very tender age, Francis has gone on to perform with some of the foremost traditional and contemporary artistes in music today, including the seminal Irish folk rock outfit 'Alias Ron Kavana', 'Sin E', 'Afterhours' featuring singer Alan Burke, and Hungarian based traditional outfit 'Fianne'. He is also in great demand as a session musician across Europe... An excellent piper, great low whistle player and nifty bodhran player to boot!

Alan Burke (Guitar, Vocals)
Alan started his singing career fronting the Irish band Afterhours with whom he released three recordings,”Afterhours”1988.”Hung Up and Dry”1992, and ”Up to Here”1994.All three recordings were widely received and were toured extensively throughout Europe, Canada and America. On the demise of that group Alan began a new venture with the release of his first solo CD “On the Other Hand”1998.This was followed in 2000 by his second solo recording “Tip of the Tongue”. Both these recordings received high praise and his subsequent touring brought him everywhere from Bahrain to Belfast to Croatia to Cardiff…and on....._His voice has been described as “Full of power, sensitivity and clarity”. His guitar playing, being influenced by his earlier incarnation as a session drummer/percussionist is characterised by strong driving rhythms alongside a more gentle and sympathetic approach to the quieter side of his repertoire._In 2002 Alan was involved the making of a CD for the company BMG of library recordings alongside fellow traditional musicians, Cathal Hayden, Maurice Lennon, Jim McGrath, Gerry O’Donnell, James Blennerhasset and many others. 2004 brought two new recordings. ”The Eagles Whistle” with friend, uilleann piper Joe McHugh under the guise of the band “Airla”. This was followed by Alan’s production and co-recording of the CD “Ar Mhuin Na Muice” with Donegal singer, Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin .A collection of songs in the Irish language._Alan’s inexhaustible repertoire of traditional, Gaelic, self-penned and contemporary song has kept him busy as a solo performer and collaborator with a wide variety of other musicians. His performance, presence and delivery demanding the attention of his audience.

Rubén Bada (Bouzouki, Guitar, Fiddle)
Rubén Bada was born in Avilés, in the northern coast of Asturies, and raised in the Cape Peñes area, where the Asturian language and culture are still healthy and alive._Ruben got his hands on his first guitar at the age of 14 having experimented with many instruments from the age of eight including the Trombone!. After listening to some Bothy Band and Llan de Cubel tapes, he realized that the traditional music he had listened to since child (in Asturies there is a piper everywhere...) could be taken further and that strings (guitar and bouzouki) could be a key ingredient. After a couple of years learning Asturian tunes and discovering Irish music, he got his first bouzouki, a Greek one borrowed from a friend and it was at this time that he began to learn the fiddle.
Rubén started his recording career in 1998 with the band Xéliba with whom he recorded two albums. Soon after he became a highly demanded studio musician and producer, working as a band member or in the studio with Asturian acts such as Anabel Santiago, Mari luz Cristobal, N'arba, Corquieu, Tejedor, Dixebra, Llacín Pipe Band, Ú?, Toli Morilla...touring all over Europe.
In 2000 Rubén won the Asturian Traditional Music Contest on fiddle. _In 2004 Rubén moved to Belfast, and soon he became part of the local music scene._Currently, Rubén is playing with the band DRD, and in February 2006, was awarded "Best Instrumentalist" in the Asturian Music Awards.




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