Belfast is synonymous with the sound of the flute. Energy and creativity are very much the hallmarks of the Belfast style. The music of this city invariably has a persistent and hypnotic pulse which draws the listener into a trance-like state, reminiscent of that cast by the chanting of Buddhist monks. Tonight’s concert features some of the world’s best traditional flute players and whistlers.
Harry Bradley’s distinctive rhythmic playing style is influenced by early recordings of Irish music, and by the great flute players of counties Galway, Sligo and Leitrim. In 2014 he received the Gradam Ceoil TG4 Musician of the Year award for his contribution to traditional music.
Mary Bergin – ‘Just about the best Tin Whistle player this century’ is how the Irish Times referred to Mary in a recent interview. She was born into a very musical family and began playing at an early age winning many awards in Oireachtas and Fleadh Ceoil competitions, including the All-Ireland Championships at Junior and Senior level.
Tara Bingham comes from Co. Down and learned her early music from her father Leslie Bingham, also a flute player. Tara was influenced by musicians such as Paddy Tyrell from Dundalk, Cathal McConnell and Tom McHale who visited the Bingham house and would record tunes on tape for her to learn.
Barry Kerr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, singer and painter. Steeped in the traditions of this island, Barry Kerr’s creative work – both as a painter and as a musician – expresses the very heart of Irish life. Originating from the southern shores of Lough Neagh in Co. Armagh, Kerr is now living and working in Connemara, Co. Galway.
Maria Rafferty has long been a stalwart of the Belfast flute community. Having studied with the McPeake School of Music, and having had the opportunity to spend many years in the company of well-known and respected musicians from the locality, Maria has a wonderful repertoire and style which she passes on to the many students she teaches in the greater Belfast area and beyond.
Brendan Kerr was introduced to traditional Irish music through Irish dancing from a very young age, competing up to world championship level until he was 18. Through dance, he discovered traditional music and wanted to learn the tunes to which he had spent years dancing to.
Well-known as one of the greatest bodhran players of all time, Tommy Hayes has been at the forefront of traditional Irish music for over 40 years.