Date(s) - 03/14/2020
Valley Folk Music
“Their blinding technique, sizzling Irish reels and hot jazz improvisation brought an extended standing ovation… Newman has the great gift of being informative and hilarious simultaneously.”—West Australian
The celebrated virtuoso partnership of “the doyenne of Irish harpers” (Scotland on Sunday) and “one of the UK’s most staggering and influential acoustic guitarists” (fRoots), has graced venues large and small in twenty-two countries on five continents. Chris and Máire’s performances are rooted but eclectic, emotional but adventurous: a breathtaking blend of traditional Irish music, hot jazz, bluegrass and baroque, coupled with striking new compositions and Chris’s “delightfully subversive” wit.
Máire Ní Chathasaigh is one of Ireland’s most important and influential traditional musicians, awarded Female Musician of the Year in the Live Ireland 2016 awards and sole harpist recipient to date of Irish music’s most prestigious Award: Traditional Musician Of The Year – Gradam Cheoil TG4 – “for the excellence and pioneering force of her music, the remarkable growth she has brought to the music of the harp and for the positive influence she has had on the young generation of harpers”. Máire began to play the harp at the age of eleven. A West Cork background steeped in the oral tradition led her, while still a teenager, to develop new techniques that made it possible for the first time to play traditional music on the harp in a stylistically accurate way. She won the All-Ireland and Pan-Celtic Harp Competitions several times and in 1985 recorded the first harp album ever to concentrate on traditional Irish dance music, “The New-Strung Harp”. Her approach has been profoundly influential wherever lever harps are played. Maire performs and gives masterclasses at harp festivals throughout the world. Two volumes of her arrangements have been published.
Chris Newman is a “brilliant English master of the acoustic guitar” (The Daily Telegraph. He was Live Ireland’s Male Musician of the Year 2009. He began to play guitar at the age of four and at fourteen played his first paid gig in a folk club. A prolific composer, arranger and record producer, he’s played with luminaries of many musical worlds: folk (harper Máire Ní Chathasaigh and Boys of the Lough), jazz (Stéphane Grappelli and Diz Disley) and comedy (Fred Wedlock) – receiving a silver disc for producing Fred’s international hit Oldest Swinger in Town, to which he also composed the tune and which reached No 2 in the charts in the UK and No 1 in several other countries. As Fred’s Musical Director and bandleader, appearances on such iconic national TV progammes as BBC’s Top of the Pops followed. One day in 1985 he decided he’d really rather play interesting music than pursue interesting paychecks, so turned his back on the commercial world and returned to his folk roots. He has since concentrated on composition and on playing the traditional music of these islands and beyond. In addition to his work with Máire, Chris toured until 1997 as a member of Boys of the Lough. He has been principal guitar tutor for Newcastle University’s Folk B.Mus course since its inception and visiting tutor at the University of Limerick, the University of Ulster and the Carl Nielson Institute, Denmark. His book of guitar compositions and arrangements Adventures with a Flatpick was published in 2001.