Fintan McKenna (January)
Fintan McKenna started teaching himself guitar about 3 years ago and since then his talent has gone from strength to strength. He began to enter competitions last summer and started to play gigs with the band. Now fronting the band ‘Rubenne’, Fintan’s performances have varied from the ‘Alternative Blues Stage’ at the Harvest Time Blues Festival to The Garage Theatre to Dublin Bay Cruises.
Dara MacGabhann and Band (February)
Dara MacGabhann has been writing songs and poetry since her teenage years. Although she writes in a wide range of genres, she has become synonymous for her blues and jazzy tones and will be performing with Dez Murphy (guitar), Alex Watson (bass), Eddie Hamill (saxophone/flute/harmonica), Howard Hughes (drums) and Aoibhín Ní Ghabhann (backing vocal).
Tomisina McGinnity (March)
From Drumhowan, just outside Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, singer Tomisina has been involved in music from a young age and has played in venues such as the National Concert Hall and the Waterfront in Belfast. In 2006 she took up singing with Olive Powderly and the ‘Tocatta House Music School’ in Drogheda, where she qualified with a Licentiate Diploma in Classical Singing and Associate Diploma in Musical Theatre with the Victoria College of Music and Drama, London in 2012 and 2013.
The Oriel Singers (March)
Formed ten years ago, this singing group have performed in annual concerts throughout the county and have taken part in competitions in this country and in Wales. In 2007 they took part in a performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall in London which was a memorable experience. Their musical director is Elenor Gilsenan who is a highly respected musician, director and adjudicator.
Barry Jay Hughes (April)
Carrickmacross-based Singer Songwriter Barry Jay Hughes launched his 4-track EP earlier and 2015 and has been gigging throughout the county and beyond to promote his new EP. “This Way Up” – is a wonderfully crafted production which is predominantly Pop/Rock in style but has definite elements of folk and trad with the inclusion of Fiddle player Lisa Butler on the first track “Judgement Day”.
Aisling Mc Cormilla (May)
Aisling is a visual artist and performer from Monaghan. As a singer/songwriter she has performed her work in numerous venues around Ireland and further afield, including Berlin and Nagoya, Japan. Her songs are personal, intimate and observational, often concerned with the complexities and contradictions of relationship, both with self and others.
Brenna Tierney (June)
Brenna is from Newbliss, Co. Monaghan and started singing at 6 years of age in a local school concert and currently attends Classical voice training with Lauren Murphy and is studying piano through the University Of West London College Of Music. She has performed for the President, Michael D. Higgins at the official opening of the Peace Link in Clones Co. Monaghan and has been accepted for voice training by Dr Veronica Dunne.
Kelle Redmond (July)
Kelle has supported Charlie Mc Gettigan, Jack L, Mick Flannery, and Ben Reel. She has sung on a Brown Notes’ album, the last three of Ben Reel’s albums, and has toured with the Ben Reel band in Holland along with Julieanne Black. She is currently working on contributing vocals to Niall Mc Guigan’s latest project to be released this year
A four piece Original Indie Rock band based around the outskirts of Monaghan town, these boys have been playing gig after gig since they formed in February 2015. With Keelan O’Reilly on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Peter Toal on drums, Colin Peppard on bass and backup vocals, and Ben Goddard on lead guitar, their songs echo a sound of Irish indie Rock. The boys recently hit number 18 in the Irish charts with their single ‘Black Cats’.
Joanna Boyle, Alison Crossey and Emma Robinson trad trio (August)
Joanna is from Glaslough, County Monaghan and plays banjo and sings. She started playing banjo at the age of 9 and has been competing in competitions ever since.
Alison Crossey is a regular feature on the Traditional Irish Music scene around her home town of Lurgan and can be often found at sessions all over Ireland.
Emma Robinson is a flute and whistle player from Lurgan, Country Armagh. She had been playing music since the age of 10 and has taken part in many fleadh cheoil competitions receiving many medals at all levels.
Damien Sherry (August)
Damien Sherry is a local musician and singer songwriter who grew up in the Ballinode area of county Monaghan. He comes from a family with a musical background and has played guitar from when he was just seven years old. Damien has been writing songs from the age of thirteen with a mixed style of country and blues among other types of music. Damien hopes to release his first EP within the next year.
Tara and Rossa Gilsenan (September)
Sisters Tara and Rossa Gilsenan hail from Clontibret. Tara plays harp, flute whistle and piano. As a Sean Nós singer, she has reached the All-Ireland finals in both English and Irish singing, winning a medal in English singing.
Rossa is a highly accomplished violinist reaching an All-Ireland final in 2014, and, as a ceili drummer, she has played with a number of bands and reached the All-Ireland in the solo ceili band competition.
Seamie Deeney (November)
Seamie previously played with the successful traditional / folk band ” Reel to Reel and has an eclectic interest in music ranging from traditional, folk, blues to Cajun, rock and classical. He is interested in the relationship between the lyric and the melody and the resultant communication percept.
All hosted by resident MC and comedian Lorcan McGrane, who also showcased in June, (BBC Ulster, Live at the Sunflower)
“The future of Ulster comedy is in very safe hands.”- Belfast Telegraph
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