New news page

September 9, 2008

Hi and welcome to my new webpage for news updates. It’s been ages since I updated the news page on my website, using wordpress makes it much easier for me to update news so I’ll be using it from now on.

Lots of stuff has been going on recently so here’s an update


I’m just back from doing the first two dates of the Trad Connections Tour with Hugh Buckley, Liz Coleman, Ciarán Swift and Martin Tourish. It’s great to go on tour with some of my favourite musicians and best friends so I’m really looking forward to our six remaining dates starting with Glór Theatre in Ennis on the 17th September then going to Portlaoise, Birr, Clifden, Dunlewey and Tralee. Full details can be found on our website


That’s the title of my latest composition which has been commissioned by Kerry International Chamber Music Festival with funding from the Arts Council. I’m currently putting the final touches to the piece which is scored for Uilleann Pipes, String Quartet and Narrators. It is based on four short stories as told be the great Kerry Story-teller Peig Sayers who died 50 years ago. It’ll be performed in three locations in Kerry between the 2nd and 4th October by Eoin Duignan, the Engegard Quartet and the Annóg Theatre Group.

Full details can be found here                                                             


Earlier this year I completed a fiddle concerto for the great Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes to perform with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, who commissioned the work. The piece is called ‘Aontacht’ which is the Irish for Unity. The piece is around 30 minutes long and I’m hoping it will get performed sometime in the first half 2009. Keep checking back for updates of when this exciting event will take place.


The next big project I’m going to be involved with will be a collaboration with four of the best musicians working in traditional Irish music today. Fiddlers Caoimhín Ó’ Raghallaigh and Siobhán Peoples, Uilleann Piper and whistle player Mick O’Brien and a Flautist, Piper, Whistle Player who I can’t name yet cos he’s very hard to get in touch with, so haven’t been able to confirm if he can do it or not yet!

I’m going to be writing solo pieces for each of them along with a group piece. It’ll be an experimental project, so don’t be expecting the usual sets of jigs and reels. It is being made possible thanks to funding from the Arts Council’s Deis Scheme for the Traditional Arts.



My album ‘Draíocht’ was initially released in a very limited edition of 200 copies and I never got a chance to fully promote it. Now they’re all gone I’ve done up a full print and will be relaunching it by sending it out to press all over the place so hopefully you’ll hear more about it in the coming months. It can be ordered on my website and also on CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon and numerous other online shops as well as Custy’s music in Ennis. Hopefully some other shops around the world will get some sense and start stocking it!!!

For a very positive review of the album check out this link



Back in 2004 I instigated the foundation of the Young Composers Collective, an organisation aiming to help promote young and neglected Irish composers. I’m happy to report that 4 years on the organisation has grown healthily to include over 30 composers, some of who are now like myself over 30. As such the organisation has been re-named the Irish Composers Collective. The emphasis is still on young composers but the name change was necessary to reflect the fact that some not so young composers have equal difficulty gaining exposure for their music and also that some people don’t start actively composing until a later age.

The ICC is now funded by the Arts Council and has developed it’s own ensemble and will have an exciting concert programme over the next year featuring 30 new works by Irish composers. see for more info.


YCC Premiere with Ioana Petcu-Colan

Back in May, when the ICC was still the YCC, there was a very enjoyable concert featuring the great violinist Ioana Petcu-Colan who gave the world premieres of 6 pieces including ‘Tar Eís An Caoineadh’ a work for solo violin I wrote for her. I was also delighted to join Ioana on the night performing new works for violin and guitar by David Coonan and Scott McLaughlin.

Ioana and I are hoping to do more performances as a duo in the future including a showcase performance of Irish works in Romania which is tentatively pencilled in for January 2009. This is all pending funding, so hopefully it will come through.


With each update I’m going to give a mention to some of the music I’ve been listening to. At the moment two great bands are getting regular rotation on my iPod. American band Sun Kil Moon released an absolute classic of an album last April, the album funnily enough is called ‘April’ and it’s just a great slice of Epic Americana. I’ve been listening to it and their other albums Ghosts of the Great Highway and Tiny Cities regularly since it’s release. It’s great driving music which has made all my summer travels around the Irish festivals so much more enjoyable.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been listening a lot to the Cocteau Twins. The band unfortunately broke up in 1996 but between 1982 and 1996 they released some incredible ethereal music which sounds like nothing else. Their 1990 album Heaven or Las Vegas has to be one of my Desert Island Discs, with 1988’s Blue Bell Knoll not far behind. Elizabeth Fraser’s voice is just so remarkable and will be familiar to most of you from the Massive Attack hit ‘Teardrops’ and maybe even the Lord of the Rings Soundtrack which she appears briefly on.

So that’s all for now folks. There’ll be more regular updates from now on.