Ulster hosts ‘The Music and Song of Ireland and Scotland’

Two major traditional music talents from either side of the Irish Sea will celebrate their shared musical heritage at an event on the University of Ulster’s Coleraine campus.

Harpist and singer, Mary Ann Kennedy and fiddle player, Gerry O’Connor are performing ‘The Music and Song of Ireland and Scotland’ at the Octagon on the Coleraine campus on Tuesday, 19 February at 8pm.

Both are among the most highly respected musicians of their respective traditions.

Mary Ann Kennedy is one of the younger generations of Isle of Skye, Gaelic song dynasty, the Campbells of Greepe.

She studied at the RSAMD in Glasgow and at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she was the first harpist ever to be given the college’s highest performance award. Although trained as a classical musician, she ultimately chose to work mainly with the traditional music that has always been part of her life.

Mary Ann Kennedy now combines her career as an award-winning musician with broadcasting, writing and producing. She directed the music for the award-winning BBC TV series on Gaelic song, ‘Aig Cridhe ar Ciùil’ and has produced albums for many other singers and musicians.

Her profile as a world/roots music presenter on radio and television was recognised in 2007, when she was named ‘Radio Presenter of the Year’ at the international Celtic Media Awards.

Gerry ‘Fiddle’ O’Connor was born in Dundalk and comes from a family that have played fiddle for at least four generations. He learned his craft from his mother, and also from hand-written manuscripts passed down through the family.

His professional music career has brought him to all corners of the earth, playing the music of southeast Ulster in a variety of musical combinations. He is known for his mastery of many different Irish fiddling styles and has established a reputation as a respected master of the Ulster music tradition.

In addition to his solo performances and acclaimed solo recordings, Gerry is known internationally for his work with Skylark and his own band La Lúgh.

His solo fiddle album ‘Journeyman’ was described in Scotland’s ‘The Living Tradition’ magazine as ‘one of the great records of fiddle music’.

He recently documented Cathal McConnell’s (Boys of the Lough) formidable unrecorded collection of Ulster songs in ‘I Have Travelled This Country’, published by Lughnasa Music.