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


Welcome / Fáilte!

Máire Ní Chathasaigh is “the great innovator of modern Irish harping, a player of outstanding technique and imagination” (THE ROUGH GUIDE TO IRISH MUSIC), “the doyenne of Irish harp players” (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY), and one of Ireland’s most important and influential traditional musicians. She was the 2001 recipient of Irish music’s most prestigious Award, that of TRADITIONAL MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR - GRADAM CEOIL 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".

As a teenager in the 1970s she invented a whole new “traditional Irish” style of harping that quickly became the norm amongst both her contemporaries and the younger generation of Irish players, thereby spearheading the re-introduction of the harp into the mainstream of the living tradition. She was described by the late Derek Bell as “the most interesting and original player of the Irish harp today”.
She won the All-Ireland and Pan-Celtic Harp Competitions several times and in 1985 recorded the first harp album ever to concentrate on traditional Irish dance music, The New-Strung Harp - "an intensely passionate and intelligent record and a milestone in Irish harp music" THE IRISH EXAMINER. (Listen to it on Spotify here.)

"Her work restores the harp to its true voice." THE IRISH TIMES

She has subsequently made seven duo albums with guitarist Chris Newman, two quartet albums with the Heartstring Quartet (Chris, Máire, her sister Nollaig and Nollaig's late husband, Arty McGlynn) and a trio album with her sisters Nollaig and Mairéad (The Casey Sisters).

Her partnership with Chris Newman, “one of the UK’s greatest guitarists” (BBC RADIO 2), has toured in twenty-three countries to venues ranging from the tiniest of village halls and historic European churches to palaces in Kyoto and Istanbul, London’s Barbican, Sydney Town Hall and Cologne's Philharmonie with their distinctive mix of traditional Irish music, hot jazz, bluegrass and baroque - and striking new compositions.

“Dazzling virtuosity” THE DAILY TELEGRAPH “Music of fire and brilliance from the high-wire act in traditional music” * * * * THE IRISH TIMES “Their blinding technique, sizzling Irish reels and hot jazz improvisation brought an extended standing ovation… Newman has the great gift of being informative and hilarious simultaneously” THE WEST AUSTRALIAN “An eclecticism and spirit of adventure that is quite thrilling" * * * THE TIMES “In a class of their own” * * * THE GUARDIAN “Blazing guitar and dancing harp” DIRTY LINEN (USA)·”Brilliant, innovative harping and guitar-playing of astonishing virtuosity and versatility” * * * * SONGLINES

Further information about Máire is here.

Watch a TG4 TV documentary about Máire and her sister Nollaig here - originally broadcast November 2020 and re-broadcast 13 February 2022.

Máire's albums (in CD & download format); books (in hard copy & download format); and downloadable individual harp pieces and arrangements can be ordered from our Old Bridge Music online shop.

....to Máire & Chris play Maurice O'Connor, George Brabazon & The Crooked Road live on KALW (California) Radio's Folk Music & Beyond:

...to Máire's ground-breaking 1985 solo album The New-Strung Harp on Spotify here.

... to Máire playing her compositions with Sharon Shannon, Dónal Lunny, her sister Nollaig Casey and other luminaries of the Celtic music world on Tracks 5 & 13 of Dan ar Braz's Gold Disc-awarded album for Sony France, Finisterres, on Spotify here.

...Máire playing her own compositions (slip-jig 'The Chestnut Tree' and reels 'Ríl an tSuaimhnis' and 'The Copper Hills of Beara') with Chris at the televised ceremony at the Cork Opera House on the night she was awarded Gradam Ceoil TG4 - Musician of the Year.

Latest: Interview with Máire published in The Echo 4 September 2022!
Second Edition of The Irish Harper Volume Two: 24 Pieces by Turlough O’Carolan Arranged for the Irish Harp published 25 July, 2022; C

assetflogolgitem1Interview with Máire published in The Echo 4 September, 2022
An interview with Máire was published the The Echo
, Cork's daily newspaper, on 14 September, 2022, prior to her 30 September concert with Chris at the Cork Folk Festival.

Interview with Máire published in The Irish News 22 July, 2022
An interview with Máire was published in The Irish News, Belfast's daily newspaper, on 22 July, 2022, prior to her appearance at the Belfast Tradfest.

The Second Edition of The Irish Harper Volume Two: 24 Pieces by Turlough O’Carolan Arranged for the Irish Harp by Máire Ní Chathasaigh was
published on 25 July, 2022. It contains original arrangements of 24 of Carolan's beautiful tunes (with suggested fingering), a brief biography of Carolan, historical notes on the pieces and performance guidance. The arrangements are suitable for intermediate to advanced players.

The book was first published by Old Bridge Music in 2001. It has been amended, updated and given a new cover for the Second Edition, published in July 2022.

More information and purchase links here.


Máire's workshops / masterclasses and Máire and Chris' duo concerts 2022
Workshops / masterclasses and concerts in Ireland, UK and USA - see here for details.

Casey Sisters' concerts 2022
Máire's concerts with her sisters, fiddlers and singers Nollaig and Mairéad (The Casey Sisters) in Ireland and UK - see here for details.

The Casey Sisters' Sibling Revelry album listed on Soundtrack for Wild Atlantic Way Perceptive Travel's Soundtrack For Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way: 8 Albums To Discover

TV programme in TG4's Hup! series featuring performance by Máire and Chris re-broadcast
A TV programme in TG4's Hup! series celebrating the International Festival for Irish Harp (An Chúirt Chruitireachta) and featuring a performance by Máire and Chris
, originally broadcast 11 October 2015, has recently been re-broadcast (February 2022) and can be watched on the TG4 Player here. Máire and Chris' contribution starts at 10:54.

Máire featured in TG4 TV programme Chistmas Day 2021!
A TV programme celebrating the late legendary Irish accordeon-player Joe Burke, featuring lots of wonderful musicians and to which Máire was honoured to be asked to contribute, was broadcast on TG4 on Christmas Day 2021.You can still watch the whole programme on the TG4 Player
here. Some archive footage of Máire playing with Joe in 1983 starts at 22:14, followed at at 23:49 by new specially-recorded footage of her playing her arrangement of iconic slow air 'Róisín Dubh'.

(TG4 is Ireland's national Irish-language TV station.)

Máire and Chris' online concert for Harp Day 2021
Saturday October 16th 2021 was Harp Day, the amazing annual international event coordinated by
Harp Ireland. Máire and Chris were commisioned to contribute the culminatiing set to the final concert of the day, HARPS FROM ALL CORNERS. Watch it here. (Their set starts at 2:40:48 and to watch that only, click here.)

Details of previous online concerts are below.

Online interview with Máire
In the run-up to her October 29, 2021 performance with Chris at the Tyneside Irish Festival, Máire chats with Michael McNally for the Tyneside Irish Cultural Society's August 2021 Podcast.

The Living Tradition magazine cover feature!
Máire and Chris were delighted to be featured in the April / May 2021 issue of The Living Tradition magazine - and to be on the cover of course! The magazine features an interview with them too Click
here to read it...

Previous online concerts
Máire and Chris performed at an online concert on 1 July for the
36th International Festival for Irish Harp ( An Chúirt Chruitireachta), the oldest and most prestigious festival for Irish harp in existence. It had been specially filmed at the Courthouse Arts Centre, Otley, West Yorkshire and was available to watch for 30 days after broadcast to those who had purchased tickets.

Back in the autumn of 2020, Karen Ryan of Irish Music and Dance in London (IMDL) invited Máire and Chris to take part in a series of concerts she had arranged for spring 2021 in King's Place, London. When the lockdown arrived, all concerts migrated online. As travelling to London was impossible because of Covid restrictions, IMDL arranged for Chris and Máire to be filmed at the Courthouse Arts Centre, Otley, West Yorkshire. They really enjoyed playing on an actual stage again, with actual PA and lights! The hour-long concert (sponsored by IMDL and the Irish Embassy in London and presented in association with the Irish Arts Foundation) was streamed on Friday 26th March and was available to watch for 30 days afterwards to those who had purchased tickets.

TV documentary about Máire and her sister Nollaig
A documentary about Máire and her sister Nollaig (also featuring their sister Mairéad in addition to Chris and Nollaig's late husband Arty McGlynn) was broadcast on TG4 on November 29th, 2020, as part of its 'SéŽ mo Laoch' series. (TG4 is Ireland's national Irish-language TV station.) You can watch it on the TG4 Player

(You don't need to speak Irish to enjoy watching the programme: just remember to enable the subtitles. When you click on the link above, you'll see three buttons at the bottom of the picture on the right hand side. The first is 'Subtitles', the second is 'Picture-in-Picture' and the third is 'Fullscreen'. Just click on the 'Subtitles' button and choose "English".)

The programme was Critics's Choice in The Sunday Times Culture Magazine on November 29th, 2020.

New harp sheet music
Máire's arrangements of 'DonOíche Úd i mBeithil', 'Fan mar a bhfuil tú, a Chladhaire' (Stay where you are, you rogue), 'Molly St George', 'Connamara', 'Lady Gethin', 'The Lost Summer' and 'The Song of the Harp' (the latter available for both solo harp and harp duet) are now available in downloadable pdf format and can be purchased
here. Her books of harp arrangements, The Irish Harper Volume One and The Irish Harper Volume Two, are available in both hard copy and downloadable pdf format here (just scroll down the page).

Joe Burke R.I.P.
Máire was sad to hear of the death on February 20th of accordeon-player Joe Burke, one of the all-time giants of Irish music, the wittiest of men and the best company imaginable. She had the huge pleasure of doing some gigs with him in Ireland and the USA in the early '80s (and an album too in 1983,
The Tailor's Choice).
Here is a very nice article by Toner Quinn containing reminiscences about him from Frankie Gavin, Charlie Lennon, Daithí Gormley and Máire, published in The Journal of Music. Máire was one of a number of interviewees on the March 28 edition of RTÉ Radio 1's long-running Irish music series The Rolling Wave, the second of two programmes that the series has made in memory of Joe (also available as a podcast).

Archive footage recently posted...
...of Máire singing on a Tyne Tees TV programme about the Newcastle Irish Festival in 1988! Click here - her bit starts at 12.58. (Chris is playing in the background, but not visible!) A huge thank-you to John McGowan for sending us the link - we were delighted to get it!

More news...


Máire and Chris on the front cover of the new April / May 2021 issue of The Living Tradition.
More covers below, here and here...


Máire on the front cover of the June-July 2017 issue of Folk Magazin (Germany).
The accompanying interview is here.
More covers above, here and here...


A documentary about Máire and her sister Nollaig (also featuring their sister Mairéad in addition to Chris and Nollaig's late husband Arty McGlynn) was broadcast on TG4 on November 29th, 2020, as part of its 'SéŽ mo Laoch' series. (TG4 is Ireland's national Irish-language TV station.)
You can watch it on the TG4 Player


Gradam Ceoil TG4:
TG4 Irish Traditional Musician
of the Year Award 2001
- the highest, most prestigious honour for a traditional Irish musician.
Information about the award is here.
Press coverage of the award is here .

Watch Máire playing with Chris at the televised ceremony at the Cork Opera House on the night she was awarded Gradam Ceoil TG4 - Musician of the Year 2001.


Poster for the premiere of the Casey Sisters' work, Corcach: A Journey, commissioned by the 2018 Cork Folk Festival.
Corcach Mór na Mumhan, or the Great Marsh of Munster, gave Cork its name.·Corcach·is a collection of original·music inspired by the city’s·colourful history,·from its 7th century monastic origins through to its vibrant present.


"First-class musicianship... wonderfully
* * * * The Daily Telegraph

"Intimacy and intuition are at the heart of this radiant collection... a treat" * * * * The Irish Times

"Blissfully beautiful... channelling mythology, nostalgia and geography to bewitching effect in heartfelt music" * * * * Songlines

More reviews here and here...


item48assetflogolg1To keep up to date with Máire's activities, "like" her Facebook page with Chris Newman or follow her on Twitter - just click on the icons to explore.


Copyright © 2003 - 2022 Old Bridge Music

Other recent Press & TV

Here's a selection of other TV and press over the last few years, in reverse date order:

Here is
a blog-post from Colin Randall dated August 17, 2020, where he looks back on Máire's first duo album with Chris, 'The Living Wood'. In a 1988 article for The Daily Telegraph he had declared it Folk Album of the Year as well as one of his top three albums of the decade!

Máire and Chris were interviewed and Chris played on WLOX TV News in Biloxi, MS prior to their concert in Gulfport, MS on Saturday February 29, 2020. You can watch the clip here...

Chris and Máire were interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire's Afternoon Show, presented by Sue Taylor, on October 16, 2019 - listen here...

TV clip from TG4's "Geantraí" programme, recently posted on YouTube.

Chris and Máire were featured on the first programme of the "Tradfest TG4" TV series, broadcast November 25th, 2018 on TG4. Watch it on catchup TV here.

They were interviewed by Tom Lane for BBC Radio Lincolnshire's "Thursday Night Folk", broadcast December 13th, 2018. Listen to it on catchup here.

An interview with them appeared in the Spalding Guardian (Lincolnshire) on December 17th, 2018.

Máire and Chris were profiled in the Whakatane Beacon on October 20, 2018 prior to their concert in Whakatane during their tour of New Zealand.

Davey Calder's Folk Music Hour on Access Radio Taranaki, New Plymouth, presented a programme about their music on October 7, 2018, during their tour of New Zealand. It's still available to listen to and the link is on
this page.

Máire was delighted to be on the front cover of the June-July 2017 issue of Germany's Folk Magazin! - see it here on the right. The accompanying interview is here...

TV clip broadcast on RTÉ's News2day programme 28 June, 2017, of Máire leading over 70 harpers in playing her composition, Harps in Bloom (Termonfechin Times), at the 32nd International Festival for Irish Harp, held in Termonfechin, Co Louth.

Interview with Máire in Cork's Evening Echo, 15 February, 2017

Interview with the Casey Sisters (Máire, Nollaig and Mairéad) in The Irish Examiner, 21 February, 2017

The Casey Sisters (Máire, Nollaig and Mairéad) live on a special edition of BBC Radio Ulster’s Folk Club broadcast on 31st July 2016 to celebrate 30 years of the Fiddler’s Green Festival in Rostrevor, Co Down.

Video of the Casey Sisters playing at the Canon Goodman Memorial Concert at Abbeystrewry Church for the Skibbereen Arts Festival, Co Cork, 24 July, 2016.

Watch Máire playing and chatting on Part I of the TV programme "Mná an Cheoil" (Women in traditional Music) on TG4 April 2016

Watch Máire's
live TV performance with Anne-Marie O'Farrell and Cormac de Barra playing her composition "Reel for a Water-diviner" on Gradam Ceoil TG4, Sun 21 Feb, 2016

Interview with Máire in Irish Music Magazine November 2015 with regard to the release of her CD with her sisters, Sibling Revelry.

Watch Chris & Máire's
TV performance on "Hup!", TG4, Sun 11 Oct 2015

A radio programme in RTÉ Lyric FM's Grace Notes series was broadcast on Thursday October 8, 2015, featuring an extended interview by Ellen Cranitch with the Casey Sisters to coincide with the release of their CD, Sibling Revelry.

Cerys Matthews played Máire's version of 'Carolan's Farewell to Music' on her iconic BBC 6 Music show on Sep 6 and again on Sep 20, 2015. She said “I adore this track. This was one of the tracks that Dónal Gallagher picked to play when we were enjoying the record collection that his brother Rory Gallagher had collected throughout his too-short life and this was the tune that Rory requested be played at his funeral. Absolutely tremendous stuff. It’s 'Carolan’s Farewell to Music' by Máire Ní Chathasaigh.”

Interview with Máire in The Herald Scotland, 8 April, 2015

Article about the duo in The Irish Voice (New York), 6 May 2015

For further news, click here.

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