Born in Mabou, Cape Breton, Mairi Rankin is a fiddler and step dancer who has been influenced by some of the best Cape Breton traditional musicians and instructors on the island. She has developed her own unique style by being immersed in this rich musical culture, pulling from her native Cape Breton and her strong Scottish roots from North Uist. Mairi has toured nationally and internationally as a performer and educator in both fiddle and step dance. She has performed as a solo artist, a side musician, in small combos and as a member of both the Cape Breton super group Beòlach and the highly acclaimed Scottish / Irish / Canadian band The Outside Track. Mairi has recorded one solo album, three with Beòlach, seven with The Outside Track, and one as a duo with cellist Eric Wright.
Melody Cameron is an accomplished Cape Breton-style step dancer and fiddler with over 40 years of dance experience. From a young age, she performed and taught with her sister Kelly at venues throughout Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Western Newfoundland. Through the 1980s, they appeared four times on ATV television's "Up Home Tonight" and were filmed for a BBC documentary "Down Home" and were part of the group "Highland Classic". In 1998, Melody worked as a choreographer for The Rankins, one of Canada's foremost folk groups. In 2005 Melody and Kelly danced on The Rankin Sisters' televised Christmas special, "Home for Christmas" which aired on Canada's Bravo! network. Melody and her husband Derrick are very active in Cape Breton’s traditional music and dance scene. Together, they have performed music and taught workshops for dances, concerts and festivals throughout Cape Breton Island, the New England States, and all over the world.
Mac Morin is a dancer and piano player from Troy, Cape Breton. Starting out as a talented dancer, Mac became interested in piano as a teenager. Step dancing came first, with his earliest steps and guidance provided for by his mother, Mary Catherine, herself a noted dancer who toured the UK and performed at the the World Expo in Montreal in 1967. By 15, Mac was known as one of Cape Breton’s finest dancing performers and began teaching traditional dance in Cape Breton. He has gone on to tour around the world with Natalie MacMaster and Beòlach while continuing to travel widely to teach Cape Breton step dancing. Mac has appeared on numerous artists’ recordings including Natalie MacMaster, Yo Yo Ma, The Rankins, Buddy MacMaster, Troy MacGillivray and released his own solo album in 2003. On rare he is home in Cape Breton, he is highly sought after to lend his skills at dances, concerts, ceilidhs, and the odd house party.
Dublin born, John Scott apprenticed and danced with Dublin City Ballet. He later studied with Meredith Monk, Julian Beck and Judith Malina (Living Theatre). He performs in Oona Doherty’s ‘Hard To Be Soft’ and has also performed in Meredith Monk’s Quarry (Spoleto Festival) and for Yoshiko Chuma, Sarah Rudner, Anna Sokolow and Thomas Lehmen. He is founder of 'Dancer from the Dance: Festival of Irish Choreography' in New York and Dublin. Scott, founder and director of Irish Modern Dance Theatre, is known for tireless experimentation. Scott utilises the techniques he has learned from his own research and his performances with choreographers/artists as varied as Meredith Monk, Sara Rudner, Thomas Lehmen and The Living Theatre. He has also created award-winning work with victims of torture and refugees and with artists in Palestine.
David is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of CoisCéim Dance Theatre.
Over the past 20 years he has directed the Company to gain international recognition. David has directed and choreographed many original productions for the Company, many of which have toured both nationally and internationally – receiving prestigious awards for their innovation, performance and choreography.
In 2001 David co-wrote and choreographed the dance film Hit and Run, which received several awards including The Paula Citron Award for Choreography for the Camera, and The Jury Prize in the Dance On Camera Festival, Lincoln Centre New York. In 2002 David was nominated for an American Choreography Award for his work on the film, one of the highest standards of achievement in choreography throughout the entertainment Industry. David has also written and choreographed Deep End Dance (internationally award-winning short film produced by WILDFIRE FILMS for RTÉ Dance On The Box, 2010) and How to Sink a Paper Boat (short film produced by CoisCéim, 2019). Other work in film includes Flatbed, Michael Collins and Dancing at Lughnasa with Meryl Streep .
In 2007, David was elected to membership of Aosdána, which honours artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the Arts in Ireland.
Myles O' Reilly
Music video and documentary film maker Myles O’Reilly unintentionally began his career by combining three previous and not so rewarding vocations to form a new hobby while unemployed in a global recession - a gofer with RTE, a photographer and a recording artist signed to Sony and V2 records UK. In 2009 Myles borrowed a video camera to document local musicians and upload the footage to Youtube. Since then, O’Reilly has filmed, directed and edited over 100 music video promo’s and 20+ music documentaries of Irish musicians at home and abroad, including Glen Hansard, Imelda May, The Script, Sinead O’Connor, Lisa Hannigan and Mick Flannery, alongside other International artists such as Ernst Reijseger, Soléy, Múm and Amiina, Janelle Monea, The Staves, Tegan and Sara and many rising and emerging artists, all available to view from his blog Arbutus Yarns.
Described as an “effortless multi-instrumentalist” and coming from a family steeped in Traditional Irish Music, All – Ireland champion on Flute and Melodeon, Stephen Doherty, has joined many well known Irish groups and shows on tour including : Gráda, Slide, Ragus the Show, TitanicDance and We Banjo 3. Stephen has worked as a composer writing music for the acclaimed Irish dance production 'TitanicDance' which has toured Ireland, America & China and was also commissioned to write music for the CRN Dance Association. In 2017 Stephen recorded the album 'New Day Dawning' for singer Sean Keane, playing alongside Sean and RTE Concert Orchestra in the National Concert Hall. He is a resident musician at the annual Oireachtas Na Samhna on TG4 each year. Currently Stephen continues to tour with the group 'Blás' and the Sean Keane Band.
Sean Nós dancer Edwina Guckian hails from outside the village of Drumsna in Co. Leitrim. Having started teaching dancing at the age of 16, Edwina has taught her steps and toured with shows and bands in every continent in the world. She has shared the stage with some of Ireland’s most influential acts such as Altan, De Danann, Dervish, Mairtín O'Connor, Kíla, Martin Hayes and We Banjo 3.
Edwina worked as choreographer on director Ken Loach’s film, Jimmy’s Hall, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. In 2017 she was awarded the Next generation Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. She runs her own dance club Áirc Damhsa based across nine counties in Ireland and is the Artistic Director of Leitrim Dance Project. She is currently choreographing a new dance performance for youths called Éist as well as organising a series of public interviews across Leitrim called Jenny Put the Kettle on.
Cathal Ó Curráin
Cathal Ó Curráin is a traditional musician and singer from Gaoth Dobhair, Co.Donegal. From an early age Cathal was immersed in music from attending regular sessions in Teach Huidaí Beag with the likes of Mairéad agus Ciarán Ó Maonaigh and from the yearly classes in An Crannóg. Hailing from a family that are best known for their singing, Cathal learned his songs from his aunties Caitlín and Bríd Joe Jack. Performing from a young age with An Crann Óg, Cathal has travelled the world with different bands to America, Australia, New Zealand and all throughout Europe. He is currently studying Music and Irish in the University of Limerick. He has recently recorded an Album with The High Seas, The Conifers and has guested on The Friel Sisters album “Before The Sun”.
Mary & Joe McGuiggan
Siblings Mary & Joe are known across Ireland for their vast knowledge of traditional dance steps, their intricate repertoire and the great energy they bring with them wherever they perform. Born in Derry, they teach weekly in their home county and travel the world performing and teaching their steps at dance workshops and festivals.
Gerard Butler has won many All-Ireland Dance Championships and has taught generations of enthusiastic beginners to become proficient dancers at home and abroad. A native of County Roscommon now settled with his family in County Tyrone, Gerard Butler has been teaching set dancing for over 26 years.
World Academy of Music & Dance Students
The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance provides a space where musicians, dancers, composers, singers, conductors and choreographers explore together. At the Academy, musicologists and choreologists research alongside live performance. The students of University Limerick will visit Leitrim Dance Week to perform their recent works and special commissions in traditional and contemporary dance.
Since graduating with a BA & MA in Irish Music and Dance, Áine has captured the hearts of Irish Music fans all over the world with her unique and captivating voice. From the young age of sixteen, Áine has been teaching music and has given workshops alongside musical heroes such as Cathal Mc Connell and Tommy People’s in major summer schools such as ‘Blas’ and ‘Meitheal.’ Áine has also established herself as a highly regarded composer with many of her compositions featuring on several albums to date. Her musical talents have led her to tour the world taking in places such as Sweeden, Switzerland, Slovaki,Czech Republic and even places as far a field as Malawi, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Having been a member of Michael Flatley’s world-renowned dance show ‘Lord of the Dance’, Aine’s remarkable stage presence is extremely evident when performing and is a contributing factor to any show.
Úna Ní Fhlatharta
Úna Ní Fhlatharta is a sean-nós dancer from Maynooth in Co Kildare. She took up Irish dancing at 5 years of age with CCÉ Léim an Bhradáin, Co Kildare, progressing quickly to step dancing and set dancing. She won the All-Ireland Senior Sean-Nós Dancing competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2011 and took 2nd place at the Senior Sean-nós dancing competition at Oireachtas na Samhna 2012. From a musical family, Úna has been immersed in traditional Irish music and culture. A native Irish speaker, Úna also plays the uilleann pipes, the tin whistle and bodhrán. She is a member of the Beartla O Flatharta Céili Band.
Born in Massachusetts now living in Foxford,Co. Mayo, David is at the forefront of his generation of musicians. He has won several awards including All-Ireland medals on both fiddle and concertina and the first ever World Fleadh fiddle championship in 2005. He has also won the Feile Oriel trophy, previously held by Tommy Peoples. His music can be heard on many recordings and has recorded in Nashville with Grammy award winners Tim O’Brien and Allison Brown. In recent years he has performed in many renowned venues including Vicar Street, Dublin, The Olympia in Paris, The Station Inn in Nashville, The House of Commons in London and the Toyko Opera City Hall. He has performed and collaborated with artists such as Michael McGoldrick, Tim O’Brien, Lunasa, Roesy, Martin Hayes, Sharon Shannon, Dervish, Dougie MacLean, Dermot Byrne, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Buddy Miller, Steve Earle and Robert Plant.
Martin is from Newport, Co. Mayo. His dancing started from an early age with his parents bringing him to the local céilí in Derradda aged two months.
When he started school, he began Irish Dancing with the Redmond School of Dancing and shortly afterwards moving to the Cresham School of Irish Dance. Martin learned sean nós dance from Mick Mulkerrin and Christina Lowry. He then went on to come second place in Oireachta na Samna in Westport in 2007 in the 15-18 category. Alongside the set dancing and Sean Nós, Martin started learning old-style step dancing from his Aunt Mary who was taught by Dan Furey and James Keane from county Clare, and Joe and Siobhán O Donavan from county Cork. He then joined the Dan Furey dancing group run by Michael and Céline Tubridy. In later years, Martin has travelled to Germany and Boston with the Dan Furey Dance Group to demonstrate the old-style steps. He has also learned from Patrick O’Dea & Joe McGuigan.
Ryan Owens , Caoilte Ó Cuanaigh & Conor McDonagh
Ryan Owens from Strokestown, Roscommon, Caoilte Ó Cuanaigh from Achill Island, Mayo and Conor McDonagh of Ballintogher, Sligo make up Leitrim Dance Week's Youth musicians in residency at the Lough Allen Dance Weekend.
Áirc Damhsa are a youth dance club with it's core base in Carrick on Shannon under the artistic direction of Edwina Guckian. They have performed at many festivals across the world, most recently at Celtic Colours in Cape Breton.
They experiment with many different forms of traditional music and dance from Ireland and around the world.
Brian Donnellan is a highly accomplished concertina, piano and bouzouki player from East Clare. He has played with numerous bands over the years and is a member of the famous Tulla Ceili Band and the newly established Martin Hayes & The Common Ground Ensemble. Brian’s music is heavily influenced by his native East Clare.
Mark has built his reputation as a high energy button accordion and melodeon player. He is known in the music scene for his versatility as he has performed with a vast array of different bands and groups. He has played with ceili bands such as the Shandrum and the Swallow's Tail. He has performed nationally and internationally with groups such as 'Celtic Steps' and 'Damhsa'. He released an album entitled 'Tonnta Ceoil' in 2014 and has performed on a range of other trad and folk albums in recent years. Mark continues to enhance his resumé in his home county of Clare with his lively style of accordion playing where he shares his time between teaching and music.
Irish Traditional Music Archives
The Irish Traditional Music Archive – Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann (ITMA) is a national public archive, information centre, and resource centre intended to be of use to everyone with an interest in the contemporary art forms of Irish traditional song, instrumental music, and dance, and in their history. The Archive’s area of interest covers the performance traditions of the island of Ireland and the Irish diaspora – Irish-Britain, Irish-America, Irish-Australia, etc. – and those of all other performers of Irish traditional music throughout the world. In its attitude to the Irish and connected traditions, the Archive defines ‘traditional music’ in a broad and inclusive way.