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Event Schedule and Purchase Tickets

Fiddle Fair 2017 3th - 7th May

Dates and Times | Purchase Tickets*

Please note - Doors open 30 minutes prior to each show.

Season Tickets

PLEASE NOTE all tickets purchased online are subject to a service fee

Season Tickets are SOLD OUT

Purchase Tickets for Individual Shows Below

Wednesday 3 May | Saint Matthew's | 8.30pm | €20

Danny Diamond and Conor Caldwell

Danny Diamond is a fiddle player, composer, researcher and recording engineer based in Dublin, Ireland.

In his music Danny creates a unique soundworld, rooted in the rich heritage of Irish traditional music, while also incorporating wider influences from Nordic and American folk to baroque music to electronic music.

Danny plays with the contemporary Nordic/Irish band Slow Moving Clouds, with whom he has released an album, Os (2015), and created the score for Teac Damsa's acclaimed dance theatre work Swan Lake / Loch na hEala (2016).

His solo album Fiddle Music (2014) and duo fiddle album NORTH (2016, with Conor Caldwell) were both widely acclaimed as contemporary classics, with NORTH being nominated for The Irish Times Traditional Album of the Year 2016. Danny is currently working on a follow-up solo project, Elbow Room, which combines new and traditional music with analog electronics.

Conor Caldwell is a fiddle player, lecturer and researcher from Belfast. A PhD graduate of Queen's University, Belfast, he has played with the ensemble Craobh Rua since 2009.

In recent years he has collaborated with the fiddler Danny Diamond on a range of creative and academic projects, including The Long Road to Glenties archival film presentation,and their critically acclaimed duet album NORTH.

Conor was awarded a grant from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2016 for his performance project Reimagining Bunting: Belfast's Lost Sounds, which will play out in a series of concerts and recordings across the north in 2017.

In addition to his performance and teaching work, Conor's research and review writing has been widely published in scholarly journals, and he recently co-edited a volume of essays

Thursday 4 May | Fiddle Fair Marquee | 8.30pm

Gilles Apap and Myriam Lafargue
The Foghorn Stringband

Described by Yehudi Menuhin as "A true violinist of the 21st century", Gilles Apap is known for his virtuosity, unique approach to music and the skill to bring joy to every concert hall. He delivers distinctive performances of the standard classical repertoire combined with genres such as jazz and folk from around the world and the result is unique programming merging the borderlines between musical styles.

Born in Algeria to a French family, Gilles started playing music at an early age and began his studies in France. Later, he moved to America and continued his studies at the Curtis Institute, choosing to settle in California. Very early in his career he decided to move away from the constraints of the international music industry, looking for his own way beyond the conventions and expectations related to a commercial career.

Myriam Lafargue is an accordion player from South West of France. A musician since the age of 8 she discovered and learned chromatic accordion with Jaques Mornet.

Her virtuosity and talent allowed her to obtain quantity of national and international trophys and rewards which lead her throughout Europe, USA, and Japan to meet the greatest musicians : from Paul Mauriat to Gilles Apap via Michel LeGrand who even composed her a piece of music.

The Foghorn Stringband need no introduction around these parts and are now like family here in Baltimore. Sammy, Caleb, Nadine and Reeb have been here countless times before and always leave a major impression. Their music is a joy to behold but it is their friendship and camaraderie that we treasure the most.

They sort of booked themselves for the 25th anniversary as they said we simply could not have it without them..we were happy to agree

As well as their own headline show on Thursday night they will also be the house band for our Very First Fiddle Fair Dance Festival on Saturday afternoon. Yeeeehaaaaa!!

Friday 5 May | Fiddle Fair Marquee | 9pm

Chris Stout and Catriona McKay
Buttons and Bows

Chris Stout and Catriona McKay It's hard to believe there's only two people on stage as Catriona McKay and Chris Stout weave their way between glorious soundscapes and music of breathtaking simplicity.

Chris and Catriona have taken these most traditional of instruments and catapulted them into the contemporary world of music making.

They have excited audiences all over the world with their own unique brand of music inspired by the traditions of their native Shetland Islands and Scotland.

However, this music knows no boundaries. They have performed, recorded and collaborated with musicians from Japan to Brazil, Alaska to Australia. The duo have performed on the biggest stages with Symphony Orchestras such as The Trondheim Symphony and the Russian Philharmonic.

Recent collaborations closer to home include a critically acclaimed album and tour with Irish singing legend Seamus Begley. Last year the duo's one off performance with Scottish singer-songwriter King Creosote brought Edinburgh's Queen's Hall to its feet..

In 2011 Chris and Catriona were delighted when British composer Sally Beamish composed a concerto for the duo. 'Seavaigers' was described in the Scotsman newspaper as "thrilling...lyricism and fire...delicate restraint and furious that wore its ambition and complexity brilliantly lightly creating a seamless mesh between folk and contemporary classical styling".

The duo have also toured throughout the world with Fiddlers' Bid who, having performed at the Fiddle Fair on several occasions, also have a great fondness for the Festival.

Chris and Catriona are creating music that lives with the listener long after the concert is over. They are delighted to be back performing in Baltimore again! It's a class act not to be missed!

'Clear and strong ... always a startling freshness and spontaneity at work ... virtuosic and physically engaging." -- The Glasgow Herald

When Buttons and Bows first landed on the Irish music scene in 1983, a new splash of colour was thrown into the mix. Decades later, the band's repertoire still raises a smile at traditional music sessions in every corner of the globe. And it still sounds fresh, flamboyant and a little bit different.

This influential foursome - made up of Jackie Daly, Séamus and Manus McGuire and Garry O'Briain - began its days with sessions in Kinvara, Co Galway, fuelled by a shared taste for musical adventure.

Their individual journeys had already brought them to Scandinavia, Shetland, and North America, places which yielded rich pickings of musical influences and ideas. Seamus and Garry had both lived in Eastern Canada and brought home an exciting new repertoire of tunes, many of which had crossed the Atlantic in the hearts and minds of Irish and Scottish emigrants.

With their roots firmly planted in their beloved Irish traditional music, Buttons & Bows was ready to experiment with graceful Quebecois waltzes, lively Danish quadrilles and achingly beautiful Shetland airs. Barriers were broken, energy and humour abounded, jigs and reels were given a new dusting of magic.

Three critically-acclaimed albums followed - Buttons & Bows, The First Month of Summer, and Gracenotes. Tours of the US and Canada were received enthusiastically by critics and audiences. Their music was featured in the Disney/Touchstone film, "The Good Mother' (1988) starring Liam Neeson and Diane Keaton. The Wall Street journal described their music as "polished and exuberant". Music archivist Jackie Small spoke of the band's "happy juxtaposition of many different moods, from relaxed and mellifluous to biting and humorous".

Their long-awaited fourth album, "The Return of Spring", was released to critical acclaim in Summer 2015.

"A treasure trove of traditional and contemporary tunes" - Siobhán Long, The Irish Times.

Saturday 6 May | Saint Matthew's | 1:00pm | €15

Derek Hickey, Karen Hickey, and Caoimhín Ó Fearghaill

We are delighted to welcome three of Ireland's finest traditional musicians for a very special lunchtime concert at Saint Matthew's Church.

Derek (with Liam Flanagan) performed a memorable concert here a few years ago, playing a beautiful mix of tunes firmly rooted in the Sliabh Luachra tradition and this time around he is joined by incredible County Waterford musician Caoimhín Ó Fearghaill and Co Mayo's own Karen Hickey.

Hailing from Adare, Co Limerick, both Derek Hickey's grandfathers played fiddle. Derek's own musical career began at ten years of age when his uncle left an accordion in the family home. At 18 he joined the band Arcady and then at 21 was invited by Frankie Gavin to join De Danann. He recorded two albums with the band during this time. In addition to performing, Derek is also a regular tutor at The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University Limerick. In his rich and varied performing experiences, he has shared the stage with some of the world's greatest talents including Stéphane Grappelli and The Rolling Stones. (from De Dannann website

Karen Hickey grew up in Co Mayo. Starting tin whistle at the tender age of four, Karen never looked back and spent her childhood immersed in traditional fiddle music as well as studying classical violin, flute and piano to a high level with the royal Irish Academy of Music. Karen had much success at Fleadh Ceoil competitions and has many county, provincial and All Ireland medals for both solo and group competitions.

After studying primary teaching Karen spent four years teaching in Dublin where she in her spare time co-founded folk band The Young Folk. Karen then moved to Limerick to study at the Irish World Academy of Music at the University of Limerick where she graduated in 2013 with an MA in Irish Traditional Music Performance with 1st Class Honours. Since then Karen has been touring the world as full time fiddler with Celtic Legends. Most recently she has toured and guested with various groups such as Fullset, Arum, The Recollective and Carlos Nunez. Karen is currently based in Limerick where she thoroughly enjoys the vibrant session scene.

Caoimhín Ó Fearghaill comes from An Rinn in the west Waterford Gaeltacht. He started to learn the tin-whistle at the age of eight, taking lessons from Bobby Gardiner. He quickly progressed to the uilleann pipes, under the tutelage of David Power mostly. His influences include Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Tommy Reck and Patsy Touhey. He is also self-taught on flute and guitar, inspired by such diverse flute players as Matt Molloy, Mike Rafferty and Tom Doorley.

He has featured playing guitar on a number of albums in the last few years including Caitlín Nic Gabhann's album, Caitlín, which was voted 2012 'Album of the Year' on Tradconnect, and Edel Fox and Neill Byrne's The Sunny Banks which was voted 'Album of the Year' for 2013 on Tradconnect. That same year he also recorded an album, Lá ag Ól Uisce, with his brother Seán and Tomás Ó Gealbháin. More recently he is featured on flute on Caladh Nua's newest album Honest to Goodness.

He has performed with the well-known group Danú on numerous occasions on various instruments. He's also featured regularly over the past six years in the Booley House show based in Ballyduff, Co. Waterford. He was the 2012 recipient of the TG4 Young Musician of the Year award (Gradam Ceoil TG4).

Saturday 6 May | Marquee | 3pm | €10

Very First Fiddle Fair Dance Festival
Nic Gareiss and Allison De Groot
Square Dance with Ava Honey and A Pretty Funky House Band

Michigan-born dancer and musician Nic Gareiss has been described by the Irish Times as "the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being," and "the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene" by the Boston Herald. His choreographic work re-imagines movement as a musical activity, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has concertized internationally for over ten years with many of the luminaries of traditional music, including Frankie Gavin, Dervish, Bill Frisell, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Phil Wiggins, Buille, Solas, Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, The Gloaming and The Chieftains. Nic holds a degree in Anthropology from Central Michigan University and a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick.

Allison de Groot combines love and passion for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo forming her own sound - unique and full of personality. Although firmly rooted in old-time and traditional music, she has shown her ability to collaborate and create outside this genre, pushing the boundaries of the clawhammer banjo. Allison has toured all over the world, and is currently performing with The Goodbye Girls, Molsky's Mountian Drifters (Bruce Molsky & Stash Wyslouch) and various other Canadian and American artists. In 2012, Allison was awarded the Slaight Family Scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. where she went through the American Roots Program on clawhammer banjo.

"Allison has it all.....great clawhammer technique, exquisite tone, timing, taste. She has deep roots in the old time tradition and yet she's fearless when it comes to breaking new ground. It's a thrill whenever I get a chance to play with her."- Tony Trischka

Square Dance with Ava Honey and A Pretty Funky House Band copy

Saturday 6 May | Fiddle Fair Marquee | 9pm

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham
Darol Anger's Republic of Strings

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham are two of the most famous musicians in traditional music. They are loved all over the world but in Scotland they are pure royalty. As well as being master musicians they are also very funny and their live shows are hilarious. I've been lucky enough to spend a lot of time on the highways and byways of England with these maestros and it is always one of the highlights of my year. This will be their second visit to the Fiddle Fair and we simply cannot wait!

Darol Anger's Republic of Strings With his unique genre-bending blend of bluegrass, jazz, folk and classical styles, Grammy-nominated fiddler Darol Anger is a master of the unexpected, darting from Swedish polkas to Brazilian choro before segueing seamlessly into a soul classic - all delivered with the rollicking abandon of a hootenanny.

Anger developed his signature sound working alongside great improvisers such as Stéphane Grappelli, Martin Hayes, Jerry Douglas and Béla Fleck, and over the past 40 years has produced an array of critically-acclaimed albums, including 17 with the legendary Turtle Island String Quartet alone.

For this journey into uncharted musical waters, he is aided and abetted by a trio of nimble-fingered pioneers. Long-time collaborator and 5-time Grand National Fiddle Champion Tristan Clarridge is co-founder of the chamber-grass group The Bee Eaters. Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist John Mailander has performed with such renowned artists as the Alison Brown Quartet, Victor Wooten and Steve Martin, while the riveting vocal sound of Emy Phelps has graced the albums of a long line of folk stalwarts including Patrick Brayer, Chris Darrow, Norma Tanega and Brian Ransom's Ceramic Ensemble.

"Darol Anger is to fiddle what Béla Fleck is to banjo" -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A cutting edge string quartet ... wildly virtuosic" -- Los Angeles Times
"On the front edge of progressive acoustic music" -- Fiddler Magazine [on Darol Anger]
"Ground-breaking" -- San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday 7 May | Saint Matthew's | 1:00pm | €15

Tim O'Brien and Darol Anger

Two of the greatest American musicians come together for a very rare show where they will showcase their incredible talent in the beautiful surrounds of Saint Matthew's Church

Sunday 7 May | Glebe Gardens | 3pm | €20

Erlend Viken Trio
No Crows featuring Steve Wickham

Norwegian fiddler Erlend Viken has teamed up with guitarist Marius Graff and cellist Leo Svensson Sander, creating an original expression that really stands out. This led to a long string of glowing reviews for their debut album in 2014.

"This is music that hits home whether you're a fan of folk, rock or blues" -- Adresseavisen
"The strength of the compositions and the power of interaction creates a music of pure genius" -- Bladet Folkemusikk.
"There are tracks here that take their place on any best of-playlist you can imagine" -- Lira.

The trio is touring actively both in Norway and abroad, and have gained many fans across the genre boundaries through their energetic live performances. Guitar and cello interacting with the fiddle gives the listener a raw acoustic experience based on Norwegian traditional music, while also inspired by rock, desert blues and American old time music.

All the trio's members are sought after musicians, and have played with several of the biggest names in rock, pop, jazz, hip hop and folk music in Scandinavia

No Crows featuring Steve Wickham is a dynamic folk orchestra from the multicultural melting pot of Sligo's music scene. Formed in 2005, NoCrows' growing output of original material reflects its diverse musical roots, from Irish traditional to Latin rumba, classical, jazz, rock and Balkan music. NoCrows celebrates twelve years of its musical journey in 2017 with a fifth CD, entitled "Why Us?".

"Essential listening for trad aficionados" -- Hot Press

Sunday 7 May | Fiddle Fair Marquee | 9pm

Tim O'Brien

On the surface, Tim O'Brien's career seems maddeningly eclectic. But over the years, he's become a subtle master at mixing the primary musical colors into his own distinct sound. You hear the numerous influences in every note, yet each and every note is uniquely his own.

"classic-sounding material stamped with his own perceptive personality." -- Wall Street Journal

It has been four years since his last solo recording, but between collaborations with Darrell Scott, the recent Grammy winning recording with Jerry Douglas's Earls of Leicester, and the rebooting of Hot Rize, he's barely had time for a shower. Still, somewhere in O'Brien's vivid imagination, the seeds of Pompadour began to sprout, and the fruits of his recent wanderings, music making and worldly observations have blossomed into eleven exquisitely varied, true-to-life and above all musical tracks.

Each of O'Brien's solo albums has a distinctive identity. Many have specific themes, including Red on Blonde, an insightful collection of Bob Dylan compositions, and his Grammy-winning celebration of Appalachian music and its Celtic roots, Fiddler's Green.

Altan are probably our all time favourite Fiddle Fair band and certainly our most influential in bringing our festival to the 'next level'. I was fortunate enough to get to do some touring with them back around the turn of the century and they introduced me to artists such as Tim O'Brien and Dirk Powell who have become Fiddle Fair favourites over the years. By agreeing to perform at the Fiddle Fair back on the small stage in McCarthy's Bar, hey added serious credibility to our festival and for that we are eternally grateful.

They also happen to be an amazing live act that have entertained audiences all over the word for the past 30 years whole remaining true to their Donegal roots, the spritual home of Irish Fiddle music.

We are thrilled that they will bring Fiddle Fair 2017 to a close and it promises to be epic!

*PLEASE NOTE all tickets purchased online are subject to a service fee