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From Carnegie Hall to Cultúrlann Sweeney

HAVING graced such a coveted venue as Carnegie Hall in New York, Grammy-nominated singer Iarla Ó Lionáird will head west to Kilkee this Friday night to perform in concert with Steve Cooney at Cultúrlann Sweeney at 8pm.


Iarla and Steve first came together last summer when they performed an impromptu lunchtime concert at the Blas Summer School of Irish Traditional Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, where Iarla is also a PhD student.

Iarla has established himself both as a masterful exponent of sean-nós song and a pioneer in its renewal and development.

Iarla signed to the prestigious Realworld record label, owned by internationally acclaimed singer Peter Gabriel, in the mid ’90s. He went on to make many ground-breaking recordings with the multi-million selling Afro Celt Sound System, receiving two Grammy nominations.

His solo albums, Seven Steps to Mercy and Invisible Fields, brought widespread acclaim, confirming Iarla as one of contemporary music’s most ambitious singers and recording artists.

He has worked extensively with acclaimed Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy and his group, The Crash Ensemble, having just completed a sell-out show in Carnegie Hall with the group.

Iarla’s Kilkee concert, which marks his West-Clare debut, sees him team up with virtuoso guitarist, Steve Cooney, to explore some of the great songs of the tradition in an acoustic setting.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Steve has cropped up in many seminal Irish traditional groups, as a major contribution to Sharon Shannon’s first album and in performances and recordings with Altan, Martin Hayes and others.

He is one of the most sought-after musicians at work in Ireland currently and has recorded and performed live with Moving Hearts, Donal Lunny, Sinéad O’Connor, Paul Brady and Altan.

The duo have performed a couple of times since the Blas Summer School and have been attempting to record an album together for some time.

However, due to their busy schedules, they haven’t been able to get enough time together to record material.

“To this end, their Kilkee concert is being recorded by the Ennis sound technician Matt Purcell and the concert will form a large part of the new album, which is very exciting for the Cultúrlann and for Kilkee, as both will be mentioned on the eventual sleeve notes,” a spokesperson for the arts theatre said.

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