Donal McCague and Tommy FitzHarris @ Tunes in the Church
Described by Matt Molloy as “a remarkable musician”, Dónal McCague from Co. Monaghan was a worthy recipient of the prestigious TG4 Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana award in 2013. Dónal is well known for his vibrant, fresh and unique fiddle style. In 2011 he released his critically acclaimed début solo fiddle album entitled Bits ‘n’ Pieces.
Donal McCague: Dónal has twice performed at the Frankie Gavin International Fiddle Festival; Galway 2005 & The National Concert Hall Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day 2006. He has performed on Irish TV programmes such as Fleadh Live, Bosca Ceoil, Geantraí, Imeall & Gradam Ceoil on TG4 and on the Fleadh Programme on RTÉ 1 as well as on national radio. He was won awards at both the Fiddler of Dooney and the Fiddler of Oriel which has been won by Liz Carroll, Liz Kane, Tommy Peoples and Jim Mc Killop to name a few. Dónal is greatly influenced by the fiddle playing of Tommy Peoples, Séamus Quinn, Brian Rooney, John Carty and Frankie Gavin.
In recent times, Dónal has recorded on Michael McCague’s album of self-compositions entitled “The Waylaid Man” (www.michaelmccague.com) and also recorded on & arranged the material for “Our Dear Dark Mountain with the Sky Over It”. This album of traditional Irish music features music sourced in the 18th & 19th centuries from the Sliabh Beagh region which takes in parts of counties Monaghan, Fermanagh & Tyrone. The album, which features many musicians from the Sliabh Beagh region, was released in 2014. www.deardarkmountain.com.
As well as being an accomplished solo musician, Dónal has substituted for Oisín MacDiarmada in the well-known band “Téada”. He has also performed with the “John Carty Festival Band” and with members of De Dannan, The Chieftains & The Bothy Band as well as with Matt Molloy, Frankie Gavin, John Carty and Arty McGlynn to name a few.
Tommy Fitzharris: Multi-instrumentalist Tommy Fitzharris, hails from Stradbally, Co Laois, and has been playing traditional Irish Music since the age of seven. He comes from a musical family and is self-taught on the flute, concertina and whistle.
Tommy made a first ever for his county in 2009 when he won the Senior Concertina Title in the All-Ireland Fleadh. In 2012, he then triumphed in the All Ireland Senior Flute Competition winning it also at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Cavan.
Tommy has been a tutor on the BA in Irish Music and Dance and on the MA in Traditional Irish Music Performance in the University of Limerick from 2009 to present. In addition, he is in constant demand as a tutor and performer on the traditional Irish music festival scene and continues to give workshops and concerts at various traditional music festivals nationally and internationally. Tommy has toured Europe, the United States and Asia extensively with the band Ciorras who were formed as part of the Lorg Lunny programme on TG4. He has featured on the Fleadh programmes, BBC Alba and its annual coverage of the famous Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Beijing TV, Geantraí, Ceilí House and The Tubridy Show. He has performed in some the worlds most prestigious music venues including The Forbidden City Concert Hall Beijing, The National Concert Hall in Dublin and the Munich Philharmonie Concert Hall to name but a few. Tommy holds an MA in Irish Traditional Music Performance and a Grad Dip in Music Education, attained from The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.
Donal McCague (fiddle) and Tommy Fitzharris (flute/concertina) first met at the Ennis Trad Fest in 2012 while having a few tunes with the great Peter Carberry. Donal is a worthy recipient of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Young Musician of the Year award in 2013, while Tommy has won numerous All-Ireland titles on both concertina and flute. The duo have performed at numerous music festivals together including at the Tonder Festival, Denmark, in 2014. Both are really looking forward toperforming at the Tunes in the Church series for the first time.