Featured performers
John Carty

The CCE Festival is thrilled to have fiddler (and multi-instrumentalist) John Carty with us this year! John is one of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians having been awarded the Irish Television station, TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year in 2003. Carty already has three solo fiddle albums, two banjo albums, two group albums and a sprinkling of recorded tenor guitar and flute music recordings under his belt.

Born in London, fiddler John Carty has established himself among the elite in Irish traditional music and as a staunch supporter of its preservation. Carty developed his love for fiddle, banjo, and flute, all of which he has mastered, through his multi-instrumentalist father who was a member of the Glenside Ceili Band in London in the 1960’s. 

Soon after settling in Boyle, Co Roscommon, Carty released his 1994 debut banjo album, “The Cat that Ate the Candle” to positive reviews. This led to his first fiddle album, “Last Night's Fun,” released on Shanachie Records in 1996 and in 1997 he formed At the Racket, a fun, loose, free-spirited dance band named after an old Flanagan

The Hedge Band

The Hedge Band was formed in 2005 by Laura Byrne, Donna Long, Pat Egan and Billy McComiskey, four of Maryland’s pre-eminent Irish traditional musicians. All perform, teach and are recognized and respected in Maryland and far beyond its borders. Donna Long has traveled the world playing the piano and fiddle and entertaining audiences with Cherish the Ladies. She continues to foster an impressive music studio in Baltimore, where she teaches both fiddle and piano. Her recordings with fiddler Brendan Mulvihill and her more recent solo recording Handprints are highly acclaimed. In 2001 she was commissioned by The Library of Congress to compose music for piano and fiddle which she titled “Before the Snow Falls” and “Pandora’s Box”. Pat Egan, is from County Tipperary Ireland. He spent years performing in Westport, Co. Mayo before moving to the U.S. to join the band Chulrua. Also known for his work on the great recording “Music at Matt Molloys”, Pat still tours internationally with Chulrua which includes highly esteemed musicians Paddy O’Brien, accordion and Patrick Ourceau, fiddle. Laura Byrne is one of only a handful of musicians to successfully cross over to Irish traditional music from another discipline. She graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1995 for classical flute, but now is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic for her proficiency in the Irish traditional style. She has two solo recordings: Tune for the Road (2005) and Lucky Day (2010), and she just released a duo recording with New York fiddler, Rose Flanagan, titled Forget Me Not (2014). In 1999, Laura was the winner of the U.S. Eastern Fleadh Championship in New York. Laura founded and directs The

Brothers 78 rpm. The group recorded two highly acclaimed CDs and toured all the major European festivals. In 2000 he teamed up with guitarist Arty McGlynn and began work on his second fiddle release, "Yeh, That's All It Is". His third record for Shanachie, “At It Again,” arrived in 2003. 

July 2005 saw the launch of Carty’s latest CD featuring banjo and tenor guitar, "I Will If I Can". Accompanied by Alec Finn, Brian McGrath and Johnny McDonagh, Carty once again shows his plectrum prowess to full affect. John performs regularly with Chieftain’s flautist Matt Molloy exploring the North Connaught tradition they both love. A CD of their music accompanied by Arty McGlynn entitled Pathway to the Well was launched in late 2007.

Baltimore Irish Trad Fest and teaches Irish flute at Goucher College. Billy McComiskey, is one of only two American-born musicians to win the senior All Ireland Championship. Billy is credited along with Brendan Mulvihill and Andy O’Brien for bringing Irish traditional music to the Maryland/Virginia area by way of their trio The Irish Tradition. Regarded as one of the world’s greatest button accordion players, he also recorded and toured with fiddler Liz Carroll and guitarist Daithi Sproule in their group Trian. His solo recording Making the Rounds was recently re-released on Compass Records and he released Outside the Box on the same label in 2008. In 2009 he recorded self-titled album with the band The Pride of New York with flute player Joanie Madden, fiddler Brian Conway and pianist Brendan Dolan. Billy received the Irish Echo’s Traditional Artist of the Year award in 2011.

The musicians of the Hedge Band have performed independently of each other at countless festivals and venues around the world including The Kennedy Center, The White House, Lincoln Center, and many other great venues across the U.S. Mexico and Europe. Laura, Billy and Pat are recipients of Maryland State Arts Council grants.

To the delight of in-the-know Irish traditional music lovers, Lilt will be performing at this year's festival. Lilt is the musical partnership of Tina Eck and Keith Carr, two of Washington's favorite Irish musicians.

Their latest CD, Little Falls, has received excellent reviews from the international Irish music press. The Boston Irish Reporter said their sound is "often moody, sometimes delicate, and - perhaps when you least expect it - will seize you by the shoulders with a quiet yet prodigious intensity". And Irish Philadelphia's review of Little Falls said it is "one of the finest recordings of Irish music I've heard in a long time. The whole thing, from beginning to end, feels fresh, exhilarating, and wonderfully, blissfully alive".

Don't miss this great local treasure, with guests Jim Stickley on bodhran, and champion dancers Kate Bole and Phil Stacy from the Culkin School.

Lilt's website is at www.liltirishmusic.com


IONA's music is a unique, acoustic weave of the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany (France), the Isle of Man, Asturies and Galicia (Spain), as well as their transplants in America. Blending songs, dance tunes, and aires into a rich and stunning tapestry, their style is outstanding in an arena where these traditions are seldom intertwined.

Conceived in 1986, IONA was the musical offspring of lead singer, bouzouki, guitar and bodhr‡n player Barbara Ryan and wind section, Bernard Argent. With fiddler Jim Queen (banjo and vocals as well) and bass guitar player Chuck Lawhorn, IONA has become the leading Celtic group in the Mid-Atlantic region.

They are all seasoned performers: entertainers who involve their audiences with the history and cultural backgrounds of the music, with teaching words to the songs -- even those sung in a Celtic tongue, with leading simple Breton dances, with humor, and with every emotion in the spectrum.

Celtic Font

Mai Hernon

Mai was born in Gurteen, Co Sligo, Ireland, also known as Coleman Country, after the great fiddle player, Michael Coleman. It is a very traditional area of the country, and she was lucky enough to see and hear some of the best musicians, singers and dancers while growing up. She played and sang with many well known musicians such as members of Dervish, Seamie O'Dowd, Dolores Keane, Len Graham, Rosie Stewart and many others. She’s toured England, Ireland, Europe and America, playing and singing, and also teaching traditional singing at workshops and summer schools, most recently at the Catskills Irish Arts week in New York. Mai has recorded three very well-received albums and has been invited to record with others. She is, at the moment, putting the finishing touches on her forth album. In addition to her Irish songs, she is enjoying singing American folk songs with her husband Mick McEvilley.

Mick McEvilley

Mick is from Cincinnati, Ohio. He first took guitar and tenor banjo lessons as a kid, then started singing folk songs with The Brandywine Quartet in college. You've most likely heard of them--if you lived on the 7th floor of Schroeder Hall at Marquette University. Otherwise, you probably haven't. But those are the guys that forced him to start singing, so he owes 'em. He’s played acoustic pop with Dennis Stehlin and The Woodpickers since

1981, and has been with the Kettering Banjo Society since 1998 and more recently with the Ragtime Riverboat Rats, playing all sorts of music. He’s always loved folk music, and first got tuned into Irish songs listening to the Irish Tenors. Not long after hearing the Tenors, he found Tommy Murphy and "Shamrock Radio" on the internet, and there became fascinated with the voice and songs of Mai Hernon, and--how's this for "long story short?” Now they’re Celtic Font!

Karen Ashbrook - hammered dulcimer, wooden flute, pennywhistle
Paul Oorts - harpguitar, cittern, musette accordeon, hommel (the Flemish mountain dulcimer

Karen & Paul joined musical forces in 1996. They tour and perform at festivals around th e USA and also in Belgium. Their first recording together "Celtic Cafe", on the Maggie's Music label is based on Karen's Celtic music, with visits to France and Flanders. Paul's world music influences add an exotic and driving sound to mix and you have a Celtic Cafe sound! Their most recent CD "Spring Will Come" is from a 2006 live concert, celebrating Karen's 30 years of playing dulcimer. Performance highlights include the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic and the Kerrville Folk Festival.

"...wonderfully energetic and exquisitely arranged collaborations." ...The Washington Post

Brendan Mulvihill  &

We welcome back to the festival the dynamic duo of Brendan Mulvihill and Brian Gaffney appearing at the Auld Shebeen from 1:00-1:45pm and on the Galway stage at the Sherwood Center 2:30-3:15pm

Brendan Mulvihill

Brendan Mulvihill’s roots in Irish music run deep. Brendan’s grandmother, Bridget Flynn, was a fiddler, and her brothers were all musicians as well. Brendan’s father, the late National Heritage Fellow, Martin Mulvihill of County Limerick, Ireland, was a renowned fiddle player and one of the most highly respected Irish music teachers in America. Even with these powerful influences, Brendan’s style is uniquely his own.

Brendan immigrated to New York with his family in 1965. In the ‘70s he traveled to Ireland playing throughout the country with his contemporaries and building a huge repertoire of tunes. During this time, he won the All Ireland Fiddle Championship. Later, Brendan moved to Birmingham, England where he played in ceilidh bands and with the many Irish musicians who had also settled in the English Midlands. In 1975, Brendan returned to New York, where he soon began playing with accordion player Billy McComiskey and singer/guitarist Andy O’Brien. The three eventually made their way to Washington, DC, ostensibly for a week-long gig in The Dubliner pub as The Irish Tradition. The week turned into several years, and The Irish Tradition became a seminal influence in traditional music, helping to establish it as a permanent and integral part of Washington’s musical fabric. During this same time period, Billy and Brendan traveled back to Ireland to win the All Ireland Fiddle/Accordion Duet Championship. He recently released his first tune collection, Brendan Mulvihill’s Irish Scroll available today from Brendan or at http://irishscroll.com/

Brian Gaffney

A native of County Kerry, Brian has been entertaining crowds in the Washington area with his great repertoire of ballads since the early 1980s and can still be heard in many of the local pubs. Many will also remember Brian as the proprietor of Nanny O’Brien’s Pub where he started one of the longest-running traditional music sessions in the DC area. While at Nanny’s he also featured concert performances by some of the greatest practitioners of traditional music and started his long-standing musical partnership with Brendan Mulvihill.

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

O'Neill-Malcom Branch, Washington DC

CCE Irish Folk Festival 2014

Events at Two Locations:

Sherwood Center at Van Dyck Park at 3740 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, Virginia, 22030 » map

...and The Auld Shebeen Irish Pub at 3971 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Virginia, 22030 »

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