Conor Caldwell & Danny Diamond explore the northern repertoire on NORTH

On their new duo album NORTH, Belfast-born fiddle players Conor Caldwell and Danny Diamond blend a shared northern musical heritage with the fruits of further-afield musical adventures to create a landmark Irish fiddle recording. New compositions sit comfortably alongside forgotten gems from old manuscript collections; rich fiddle textures drift in and out with fiery melody lines, while careworn tunes learned in childhood are re-imagined and re-arranged.

Hailed as 'a long-playing delight' by Siobhán Long in The Irish Times, NORTH is the latest in a line of acclaimed contemporary traditional/folk records to have emerged from the Irish Traditional Music Archive’s Dublin studio, following the likes of Lynched and their debut Cold Old Fire, and Diamond’s 2014 solo debut Fiddle Music.

NORTH’s striking cover artwork, an abstract representation of two fiddles, was created by fiddle-player and visual artist Sinéad Onóra Kennedy; with typography and design by Dublin-based designer, musician & artist Aki.

Our sample track from the album is a called The Further in the Deeper. Danny explains that the legendary Donegal fiddler John Doherty was the source for this bagpipe march. “The tune is great and its back-story is even better: apparently a piper took a notion to ramble into one of the caves in Maghera, Co. Donegal with his dog. He never came back, but the dog wandered out a few days later ... with no skin. This is the tune the piper played as he marched into the cave. That's the crack; true story!”

Conor also acknowledges John Doherty as one of his playing heroes. “I spent a long time studying John’s music in Queen's University,” he says. “He had an amazing store of these bagpipe marches that are not found anywhere else in Ireland.”

NORTH reflects the duo’s northern roots with content sourced from as far back as the Belfast Harp festival in the 1790s. This sits comfortably with newly-composed pieces like Station Road, a reel Conor wrote for his wife. The music captures Donegal and its strong fiddle tradition as you would expect, but also extends to Belfast and its musical influences. Elsewhere the Scottish isles, Scandinavia and America are referenced in their tune selection.

Both musicians are involved with traditional music research. Conor was awarded a PhD from Queen's University, Belfast in 2013 for his thesis on the Donegal fiddler John Doherty. He has also taught traditional music at Queen's since 2011, where he also worked as a Research Fellow on The Irish Song Project. He has toured Europe and North America with the band Craobh Rua while establishing a reputation as a fiddle teacher in his native city of Belfast.

We have covered the work of Danny Diamond regularly on Tradconnect. He is a fiddle player, composer, researcher and recording engineer based in Dublin. In his music Danny creates a unique sound-world, rooted in the rich heritage of Irish traditional music, but incorporating wider influences from Nordic and American folk to baroque music to electronic music.

He plays with the contemporary Nordic/Irish band Slow Moving Clouds and the Irish traditional band Mórga; his 2014 debut solo album, Fiddle Music, was widely acclaimed as one of the top Irish traditional releases of the year, and he is currently working on a follow-up solo project, Elbow Room, which combines new and traditional music with live loops and analogue electronics.

The project, which was financed in part by a Deis recording award from The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, was launched on 3rd July 2016 at the Willie Clancy Summer School by traditional musician and researcher Aoife Granville.


You can now purchase the album from  and also from Bandcamp, cdbaby & iTunes


The album is also available as a free download for broadcasters that are part of our Download Centre.



Aki; The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon; Mick Brown; Sarah, Pat, Frank & Frances Caldwell; Rab Cherry; Derek McCormick; Brian Connolly; Helen, Dermy and Tara Diamond; Brian Doyle; Paul Flynn; Hazlett Keers; Sinéad Onóra Kennedy; Anna Lethert; Philip Masure; Desy-Desy-Desy McCabe; Jim Rainey; Joe Scullion; Grace Toland and the staff of the Irish Traditional Music Archive / Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann

All tracks trad. arr. Conor Caldwell & Danny Diamond except:

Mountain Loney comp. Danny Diamond; The Floating Island comp. Danny Diamond; Headwood Crossing comp. Patrick Davey; Station Road comp. Conor Caldwell.

Recorded by Danny Diamond @ ITMA, Dublin, February & May 2016.

Mixed by Philip Masure and Danny Diamond, May 2016

Mastered by Philip Masure @, Herentals, Belgium Cover artwork by Sinéad Onóra Kennedy

Layout and design by Aki

Photos by Danny Diamond and Conor Caldwell

℗ and © Conor Caldwell & Danny Diamond, 2016. IMRO | RAAP

This CD was financed in part by a Deis recording grant from The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon |

Tradconnect's Worldwide Launch Articles are commercial articles that mark the addition of an album to our Download Centre, where broadcasters can access the album and download it for free to play on their various radio stations. Content for these articles is sourced from the artists press release and liner notes, supplemented with additional content from the artist as required. If you would like to find out more about this initiative please contact us.


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