Tradconnect members Tom McElvogue and Des Hurley on short UK Tour

TradConnect members Tom McElvogue and Des Hurley are commencing a UK tour  with Karen Tweed and Chris O' Malley. They have joined forces to bring their music back to its roots. "Brought up in Britain, they learned from the emigrants who brought the music with them from Ireland. Irish Traditional Music has developed so much in the last few years: the effects of new media and the influence of other musical styles have all had their impact. Incredibly technically proficient young musicians are producing music that is highly arranged, often then put through its paces by technicians in the studio that airbrush any ‘imperfections’ out. The idea behind this project was to reclaim the sound of the music as it used to be and play the old tunes (as well, of course, as a few well-crafted recent compositions) once again.

Karen Tweed (piano accordion) is known as one the primary driving forces in bringing the piano accordion to the fore in Irish Music. Her playing is known for being mercurial, subtle, lyrical and expressive, and she has taught at Limerick and Newcastle Universities, Folkworks Summer School in Durham, Ashokan Northern Week, Darlington Music Weekend and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki regularly.

A founding member of the Poozies, she has also played in the Kathryn Tickell Band and her many collaborations include the Anglo-Swedish quartet SWAP, her duet with guitarist Ian Carr, The Two Duos Quartet (with Andy Cutting, Chris Wood and Ian Carr), Finnish pianist/composer Timo Alakotila, Irish piper/singer Christy O'Leary and American guitarist / singer Bert Deivert; with Norwegian fiddler Sturla Eide and more recently with Jackie Oates and Kevin Dempsey & Carolyn Robson.

Flautist Tom McElvogue, originally from Newcastle, now resides in Dublin. Tom’s mother is from Ballyconneely, Connemara and from there his interest in Irish music began. He launched his album ’The Long Road’ last year to critical acclaim. According to Earle Hitchner (Ceol Columnist, Irish Echo, New York City) “His playing is technically flawless and articulate but avoids flash, even though he could readily dazzle if he wanted. The emotion in his playing is honestly won; he conveys passion without any overheated effects” Tom also won the All-Ireland on the flute in 1990.

Des Hurley has long been established as a highly respected fiddle player in demand both in Britain and Ireland and is from a well-known Leeds musical family. It’s well known that Des has been a particularly influential fiddle player; his lyrical interpretive style having inspired many that followed him. Des is also an experienced teacher and has taught at Newcastle and Limerick Universities. In 1998 Des established the Irish Arts Foundation, a highly respected organization that now promotes Irish arts, culture and heritage throughout Britain.

On piano, guitar and piano accordion is Chris O'Malley. He learnt his music in the vibrant Leeds scene in the 80's and has played with a number of groups in Australia, Africa, Asia, The United States and Europe, most notably playing in an ensemble of Irish and British-based musicians for the Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia for St Patrick’s day in Addis Ababa in 2010 and again in 2011. He also performed for the Irish President, Michael D Higgins in Poland as part of the Polish reception for the European Championships. Chris was also the rhythm guitarist on the Shane MacGowan song for the Ireland team in the 2012 European Championships 'The Rockier Road to Poland'. A tune player himself, Chris is particularly sought after as an accompanist for his creative ability to understand what the melody players need: sometimes gentle and decorative, sometimes driving, but always inspiring and elegant in his use of harmony.

This line-up is already garnering considerable interest amongst other musicians in the field of Irish Traditional Music. Kevin Crawford of Lunasa noted that ‘a line up of musicians of this calibre and this experience has been a long time coming, returning to the roots of the music that Irish emigrants brought with them many years ago’. Adding to this sentiment, Michael McGoldrick said ‘individually, these musicians are at the top of their game, collectively, the sound is a return to the old style that we all grew up with over here.’ Source

The line up are embarking on four dates in Britain this summer: Otley Courthouse, just outside Leeds on 20th July, Bath Folk Festival on 17th August, Liverpool Irish Centre on 14th September & Hammersmith Irish Cultural Centre on 15th September

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