bands artists venues festivals agents promoters links

Album Review

Méabh O’Hare and Conor Byrne: BAVAN

This exciting traditional duet have just recently released their long awaited new album ‘BAVAN’. The title of the album refers to a stunning area where it was recorded, - Glenn Bavan, near Omeath, County Louth. This album is a culmination of five years playing and composing music together.

Over the course of those five years Méabh and Conor’s work started to take shape while Méabh was studying music in UCC. Conor had just released his debut solo album, ‘Wind Dancer’. Having met before at various festivals around Ireland they eventually started composing and arranging music together. This was an interesting match as both players come from different music backgrounds…

Méabh O’Hare had developed a strong traditional style of playing having been taught by such people as the legendary Seán Maguire and the MacPeake’s of Belfast. She was very much influenced by the Donegal fiddle tradition as well. While in UCC she received the ‘Dock Gleeson award for performance in 2000. Later in that same year she was named TG4’s Young Musician of the Year.

“…shifted seamlessly from jigs to reels & polkas… an apt reminder why she was voted TG4’s young musician of the year”. (The Irish Times)

Méabh performed on various traditional music programmes and later presented a traditional music programme for RTE ‘Banish Misfortune’. She also went on to record with Fiddlesticks and Providence.

Conor Byrne also has a great love for the traditional style of playing, haven been thought by such players as Paul MacGrattan of Beginish. His reputation as a player was beginning to flourish while appearing on various albums and TV programmes. In 1996 he decided to turn professional as a musician when asked to play and tour with fiddler and composer Máire Breatnach. It was here that Conor started to compose many tunes him self which features on Wind Dancer and on BAVAN. His music has received critical acclaim from various media…

“Byrne’s original tunes were a revelation: cheekily flaunting the usual conventions of reel time, yet intensely respectful of the DNA that defines them” (The Irish Times).

Both Méabh and Conor went on to tour around various parts of the world. In 2001 they were invited by Music Network to partake in a sell out tour of Ireland with singer Andrew Murray and guitarist Gavin Ralston. They then went on to become the first traditional Irish musicians ever to be invited to perform at the highly acclaimed China Shanghai International Arts Festival. This also lead to extensive tours around the US, Italy, Austria and Hungry, and else where.

“The playing of both was beautiful throughout, with the interplay between fiddle & flute being, as befits a couple, drumtight…Those who missed these gigs – may well have missed one of the gigs of the year” (The Hot Press)

The pair were also recently the subject of a BBC documentary entitled ‘Music in the company of Méabh O’Hare and Conor Byrne’.

It is hard to believe that after all of this recognition, Méabh and Conor were yet to record their first album together.

BAVAN is a mix of traditional tunes and compositions of both, as well as other peoples. The beautiful playing of both is blended with the talents of some of the finest players in Ireland to date. On guitar is Donncha Moynihan (Calico); Joe Csibi (Riverdance) on double bass; Caoimhín Vallely (North Cregg) on piano; Lloyd Byrne (Sharon Shannon) on percussion; and one of Irelands best Bodhran players, Séamus O’Kane.

The choice of tunes are a carefully compiled selection of pieces which represent the traditional backgrounds of both; and also new composition which have strong influences of those traditional backgrounds. They also include new compositions of Peadar ó Riada, Máire Breatnach and Charlie MacKerron (Scotland).

This album they hope portrays the love they have for traditional Irish Music and the gratitude that they also feel to all the musicians they’ve listened and played with over the years.

Further information:

Email: conor.byrne22@ntlworld.com
Web site: www.ceolbavan.com (Under construction)
Tel / Fax: 0044 289028 1872
Mobile: 00353 86 818 6447
Distribution: Red hat Music: www.redhatmusic.com


back to top

1 Bethany Hall, Park Avenue, Derry City | Ireland | T. +44 796 891 4004 | info@tradcentre.com