Festival Director

Festival Director

Aibhlín McCrann

Aibhlín has been involved with the Irish harp as a performer, teacher, arranger and advocate for more than forty years, and has been a strong force for encouraging the integration of the Irish harp into Irish traditional music. She studied concert harp with Caitríona Yeats and Mercedes Garvey and holds BA Hons, BMus degrees from University College Dublin. She has a long standing association with both classical and traditional music as a solo harper and ensemble musician, with extensive radio, television and recording experience.

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Festival Mentors

Drawn from the most internationally renowned performers in the world of Irish harping, the Festival mentors/tutors are among the most respected and experienced teachers in Ireland. 2021 mentors will include:

Maire Ní Chathasaigh

Máire Ní Chathasaigh is no stranger to the international harp scene. She grew up in a well-known West Cork musical family, who were active in the Cork Pipers’ Club and was already proficient in a variety of other instruments by the time she began to play the harp at the age of eleven.

Máire has developed a variety of innovative harp techniques, particularly in relation to ornamentation with the aim of establishing an authentically traditional style of Irish harping. She records and tours extensively with guitarist Chris Newman and with The Heartstring Quartet.

Gráinne Hambly

Gráinne Hambly, a native of Claremorris, Co. Mayo, is a critically acclaimed and leading exponent of the Irish harp and concertina worldwide. Highly proficient and accomplished as a multi-instrumentalist, her expertise in tuition, master classes and concerts is in demand internationally.

Gráinne specialises in teaching Irish traditional music ‘by ear’ and has featured on a number of recordings; having released solo CDs and published a number of Irish traditional music books for the Irish harp.

Áine Ní Dhubhghaill

Áine Ní Dhubhghaill has worldwide acclaim as a harper and teaches harp at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Her recordings include several film scores and CDs and a feature on Ciarán MacMathúna’s series A Touch of the Master’s Hand.

Áine has played with orchestras and ensembles including RTÉCO and RTÉNSO. Áine was Festival Director for 5 years when Cairde na Cruite was awarded a TG4 Gradam. She is also co-editor of Rogha na gCruitirí, Harpers’ Choice, 100 Tunes for Irish Harp.

Anne Marie O’Farrell

Anne-Marie O’Farrell’s development of the Irish harp as a concert instrument has led to performances and recordings for TV and radio throughout Europe, the USA, Scandinavia and Japan. Anne-Marie is especially noted for her transcriptions of keyboard, lute and pedal harp repertoire for the Irish harp, and for her unique levering techniques.

Anne-Marie holds a PhD from Queens University, Belfast. She has released solo albums and recorded with Cormac de Barra, The Chieftains and Brendan Power. Anne-Marie’s Eitilt for orchestra, commissioned by the RTÉ NSO, conducted by David Brophy, was premiered at New Music Dublin on 23 April 2021.

Cormac de Barra

Cormac de Barra is a third generation harper in a family of traditional Irish musicians and singers. He first studied with his grandmother Róisín Ní Shé in Dublin and went on to study concert harp in the USA. He has recorded and performed with musicians such as Anne-Marie O’Farrell, Máire Breatnach, Moya Brennan, Julie Feeney and Hazel O’Connor. Cormac has also worked as a television presenter over the years having presented the award-winning traditional music series Flosc and Imeall, both for TG4.

Úna Ní Fhlannagáin

Úna Ní Fhlannagáin, is a harper and singer based in Galway. Rooted in the music of North Clare and the sean-nós singing of Connemara, she is also influenced by American post-minimalists and free jazz.

Úna has performed all over Europe, and in North America, the Middle East, and Asia. Artistic collaborations include Celtic music icon Alan Stivell, Grammy-winner Bobby McFerrin, and free jazz legend, Anthony Braxton. Passionate about music education, she is the first, and so far the only Irish harpist to qualify as a Suzuki harp teacher.

Deirdre Granville

Deirdre Granville hails from Dingle, Co. Kerry; a multi-instrumentalist and singer, she studied both traditional and classical music from a young age. She has toured and performed extensively worldwide and has featured on Radio, commercial recordings and TV performances both solo and with other celebrated musicians. A music graduate from University College Cork and a MA performance graduate from University of Limerick, she has won numerous solo and group performance medals.

She is co-ordinator and founder of Dingle Tradfest successful music festival.

Deirdre’s debut solo album was released in the summer of 2015.

Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla

Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla is a harpist and educator originally from Co. Meath, now based in Dundalk, Co. Louth. With over 20 years experience teaching harp, Deirdre now works with Music Generation Louth where she leads the traditional music programme, Harp Ensemble and is Project Manager of Nós Nua – Louth Youth Folk Orchestra, a very successful collaboration with Oriel Centre, Dundalk Gaol (CCÉ NE Regional Centre). Her connection to the Oriel Centre does not stop there. She performs regularly at the Centre and is also engaged with Guth na nGael, a cross community language and musical exchange programme for young people in partnership with Feisean nan Gaidheal in Scotland.

In her spare time Deirdre works with a number of youth groups at her local branch of CCÉ Craobh Dhún Dealgan

Kim Fleming

Kim Fleming is one of Ireland’s most respected harpers and enjoys a successful career as a musician, teacher and arranger of traditional Irish repertoire. Having travelled throughout Europe, Africa, USA and Russia, Kim is now settled in Longford where she teaches music in Ballymahon Vocational School.

Kim has adjudicated the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil for many years and continues to be in high demand as an adjudicator and examiner for the Department of Education.