Máire Ní Chathasaigh

TG4 Irish Traditional Musician of the Year 2001

The doyenne of Irish harp players” - Scotland on Sunday

"The most interesting & original player of our Irish harp today"
- Derek Bell

About the Heartstring Quartet:
Nollaig Casey, Arty McGlynn, Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Chris Newman
- a Brief Overview

Two renowned duos. Two gifted sisters. Two extraordinary guitarists. A multi-faceted, unique quartet. The Heartstring Quartet's new website is here.

Click here for a video clip of The Heartstring Quartet's performance at the 2013 Cork Folk Festival. Click here to go to their new website.

Two of the most important names in Irish music, legendary guitarist Arty McGlynn and virtuoso fiddler Nollaig Casey - who between them have played with every major Irish artist of the last thirty years - are joined for this special project by Máire Ní Chathasaigh, “the doyenne of Irish harpers” (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY
), and Britain's finest flat- picking guitarist Chris Newman. Their CD Heartstring Sessions, is “Inspired... a contender for album of the year” fROOTS (UK) “Traditional music at its very best” * * * * THE IRISH TIMES "An amazingly eclectic mix... Astounding" THE ULSTER HERALD "Magnificent... Virtuosic... Outstanding" * * * * * SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY “World-class” IRISH MUSIC MAGAZINE “Two of the mightiest pairings in current folk combine to give a tour-de- force of breathtaking order. Classic.” THE LIVING TRADITION (UK) "Exceptionnel... brillant..." LE PEUPLE BRETON (France) "Attention - chef d'œuvre! Bravo!!!” TRAD MAGAZINE (France) “A dream quartet - the sweetest and most exciting music to emerge from the British Isles for a long time. Matching virtuosity with sheer good taste, this album of traditional and original music pours joyfully from the speakers... amazing, majestic, delightful" DIRTY LINEN (USA) “Bravos Award 2009” TRAD MAGAZINE (France)

THE GLASGOW HERALD said of their live performance in the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh: "A marvellous combination: tremendous breadth and depth... entertaining introductions... consummate playing, brilliantly articulated... breathtaking" * * * *

MÁIRE is Ireland's most influential harper. As a teenager in Co Cork in the early 1970s she invented an entirely new style that quickly became the norm amongst both her contemporaries and the younger generation of harpers. A multiple All-Ireland and Pan-Celtic winner, in 1985 she recorded the very first harp album to concentrate on traditional Irish dance music, The New-Strung Harp - "a mile-stone in Irish harp music" (THE IRISH EXAMINER). In 2001 she received Irish music's most prestigious award, that of Traditional Musician of the Year - Gradam Cheoil TG4 - "for the excellence and pioneering force of her music, the remarkable growth she has brought to the music of the harp and for the positive influence she has had on the young generation of harpers".

CHRIS is a "brilliant English master of the acoustic guitar" (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH), a "dazzlingplayer” (ACOUSTIC GUITAR, USA) whose work is "nothing short of brilliant" (DIRTY LINEN, USA). A prolific composer, arranger and record producer, he's played with luminaries of many musical worlds: folk (harper Máire Ní Chathasaigh and Boys of the Lough), jazz (Stéphane Grappelli and Diz Disley) and comedy (Fred Wedlock) - receiving a silver disc for producing Fred's international hit The Oldest Swinger in Town. His new solo CD Still Getting Away With It , a celebration of his 40-year career, is “Astonishing... a must-buy for any guitar player” * * * * SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY “A triumph... One of the top guitarists of his ilk anywhere” THE LIVING TRADITION "Beauty and virtuosity from a master craftsman at the peak of his abilities" * * * * MAVERICK “Amazing... One of our greatest musicians” Mike Harding, BBC RADIO 2 “Dazzling... The most remarkable guitar playing you're going to hear all year” * * * * * ROCK N REEL

CHRIS and MÁIRE have toured together worldwide since 1988. Of their sixth CD, FireWire, it was said:“An eclecticism and spirit of adventure that is quite thrilling... bewitching string fantasies and a wonderfully clear and expressive voice" THE TIMES "Máire... is in a class of her own" THE GUARDIAN "Takes one of the most effete instruments in traditional music by the scruff of the neck and breathes a fire into its belly" * * * * THE IRISH TIMES “Brilliant, innovative harping and guitar- playing of astonishing virtuosity and versatility” * * * * SONGLINES “Dazzling virtuosity... guitar-playing to be marvelled at... delightful” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH "A gorgeously complex mix of the lovely and lyrical and the positively jubilant by two top-notch players. A real treasure" DIRTY LINEN (USA) “Album of the Year” LIVE IRELAND (USA) “Best Celtic Instrumental Album” 2009 JUST PLAIN FOLKS AWARDS Nashville, TN.

Máire's sister
NOLLAIG is one of Ireland’s most eminent musicians, with her own unique way of playing traditional Irish music on the fiddle. Her utterly distinctive and inimitable sound and style has held such appeal for other musicians that there hardly exists any major Irish artist of the last 30 years with whom she has not worked. Her powerful presence has graced two of Ireland's most influential bands, the legendary Planxty and the ground- breaking Coolfin. A former member of the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, her rare ability to play both classical and traditional music with equal proficiency, coupled with her exceptional expressive gifts has inspired a number of composers to write orchestral pieces for her. She's been star soloist for the first performances of major works by Shaun Davey and Dónal Lunny and in 2006 made her Carnegie Hall début as soloist in a double concerto for classical violin and traditional fiddle by Evan Chambers. On the world stage she has performed at the 2003 Special Olympics Opening Ceremony, Hanover's Expo 2000 and has toured throughout the world as featured fiddle player with the international hit show Riverdance. Nollaig is herself a prolific composer, and a number of her compositions for fiddle and string orchestra were premiered by her at a special gala St Patrick's Day concert in The Athenaeum, Bucharest in 2005.

She's been a featured soloist in over 20 feature films, including Dancing at Lughnasa and Waking Ned. Nollaig has also worked and recorded with Enya, Van Morrison, Sinéad O'Connor, Nanci Griffith, Ricky Skaggs, Rod Stewart, Emmy Lou Harris, Steve Earle, Mary Black, Carlos Nuñez, Jim Rooney, Andy Irvine, Moving Hearts, The Indigo Girls, Spandau Ballet, Elvis Costello, Christy Moore, Liam O'Flynn, Dan ar Braz and Sharon Shannon, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy among many others. She can most recently be seen playing on BBC TV’s Transatlantic Sessions with Alison Krauss and Aly Bain.

Her solo album The Music of What Happened garnered universal critical acclaim and and she's recorded two successful duo albums with Arty, Lead the Knave and Causeway.

"The highlight of the Festival was the exquisite and dignified playing of Nollaig Ní Chathasaigh... Strong and| elegant on stage, her instrument appears almost to be an extension of her own body" THE IRISH TIMES "I would happily sit all night in a cold theatre to listen to Nollaig Casey..." FORTNIGHT (Belfast) "Beautifully poised and expressive fiddle playing" THE SCOTSMAN "Exquisite fiddle-playing and superb vocals" THE IRISH TIMES "Nollaig Casey played wondrous fiddle before singing unaccompanied with such feeling it brought tears to the eyes" THE SUBIACO POST (Western Australia) "Nollaig's performance was stunning for its sheer musical artistry, seducing some into quiet amazement and inducing others to insist on encore after encore" THE IRISH TIMES

ARTY is one of the best-known and most influential musicians in Ireland, with a unique understanding of music he performs. Born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, his family was steeped in traditional music and when he was eleven his mother bought him his first guitar. Touring professionally with showbands and rock bands throughout Ireland, the UK and the USA from the age of fifteen, his playing soon came under the influence of Wes Montgomery and Thelonius Monk. He later revived his interest in Irish traditional music and in 1979 recorded McGlynn's Fancy, the first recording of the guitar played in an authentic traditional style and a classic of the traditional music world.

He subsequently became one of the most sought after musicians in the country, playing and recording with Christy Moore, Paul Brady, John Prine, Tim O'Brien, Jim Rooney, Jerry Douglas, Donal Lunny, Liam O'Flynn, The Chieftains, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy and countless others. He also played as a member of Planxty, Patrick Street, De Danann and was for a number of years lead guitarist with the Van Morrison Band.

Arty is equally in demand as a live performer, recording artist and producer. The album Barking Mad by Four Men & A Dog, which Arty produced, was voted Folk Album of the Year by Folk Roots magazine. Other production credits include Christy Hennessy's The Rehearsal, an album that remained in the Irish charts continuously for eighteen months. He collaborated with Frances Black on her first two albums, Talk to Me and The Sky Road, both of which topped the charts in Ireland.

“Arty invented a role for the guitar in the Irish tradition and continues to dominate his field" THE ULSTER HERALD
"Arty is one of today's major figures on the Irish music scene" THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH
"Nollaig and Arty have been at the cutting edge of modern Irish music for the last 30 years" THE IRISH TIMES


The quartet on stage before a concert at the
Perth Concert Hall, Western Australia.

(Review of concert in
The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh)

"The unwieldy billing of this concert may in time give way to Heartstring Sessions, the name of the album that sisters Nollaig Casey and Maire Ni Chathasaigh and their partners have just released to show what can happen when two duos pool musical resources.

Loadsastrings might even suffice, since as well as Casey's fiddle and Ni Chathasaigh's harp, there are two guitars and a mandolin involved in producing a repertoire that has its heart in Ireland but goes down through America's old time, bluegrass and country picking traditions to an Argentinean waltz designed for dancers, presumably, who don't like to hang around with the same dance partner for too long.

There is tremendous breadth and depth of experience involved here - from classical orchestral work to Donal Lunny's grooving folk-rock band in Casey's case - and it shows through in consummate playing, brilliantly articulated jigs, reels, hornpipes and Galician dance tunes, and the marvellous combination of Newman's burning-fingers urgency and McGlynn's poker-faced, apparently effortless high-tempo melody playing and steady, lush- toned rhythm guitar work.

Newman, their most natural public speaker, also contributed entertaining introductory tales, including an insight into how the oral tradition worked in his home town, Watford, resulting in versions of tunes that, however impressive, were as accurate as Chinese whispers.

A song in either set from Casey, one in English, the other in Gaelic, added extra variety, although there's probably enough contrasts in their various quartet and duo instrumentals to satisfy most ears, from Ni Chathasaigh's starkly keening harp lament for Limerick and McGlynn's stately, almost regency- period Reminiscing, to the foursome's breathtaking dash through bluegrass godfather Bill Monroe's Goldrush."



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