Brendan Butler has been on the folk and bluegrass music for scene here for almost 30 years. He has played in many musical settings, bands and loose associations, but is best known for his work with the Lee Valley String Band since the mid-90s. He has been playing mandolin, singing high and lonesome with those boys since he returned to Ireland from Kentucky in 1994.
Brendan can be found playing regularly with Sara Corkery (Joyful Mysteries) in and around Cork city. He also teams up with his long time Lee Valley collaborator and friend Hal O’Neill on guitar for some bluegrass and country standards, as well as some original songs and tunes in the Brendan Butler Trio.
We’re Them Now is another of Brendan’s musical outlets, teaming up with Johnny Campbell (ex Chuck Berry and Rory Gallagher) on bass, Brian Calnan (ex Moving Hearts) on drums and Hal O’Neill on guitars to deliver a swinging country vibe with a more electric feel.
Julie Langan, Declan Askin and Freda Hatton are no strangers to the live music scene in Westport. They are regular performers in various sessions around the town and play weekly in The Clock Tavern. Each of them has performed all over the country and all over the world with various music groups and musicians.
Julie has several recordings and numerous television and radio appearances to her credit, including an acclaimed duet album entitled Fonnchaoi, with accordion player Verena Commins. She was involved with the Music of Mayo project which involved her recording some Mayo tunes for their archive, some of which were released on CD.
Declan is a guitar player, singer, writer, performer, and a founder member of the groups Céide, Coda and Tulsk. He has written many original songs as well as musical theatre and film soundtrack.
Freda won the Senior All-Ireland Harp Competitions at Fleadh CheoilnahÉireann and the O’Carolan Harp Festival, Keadue, and she composed and performed music with BranarTéatar do Pháistí for their production of ClannLir.
Freda first met Brendan at a late-night session in the wilds of West Kerry 10 years ago and they both immediately were taken with the sounds created combining American bluegrass music with Irish traditional harp. Since then, they have met up on many occasions and always relish the opportunity to recreate those magical sounds. They were due to perform as a duo at the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival in 2020, but as we all know, that plan had to be shelved. This year, we are delighted to explore these sounds again and to trace the path of Irish traditional and American bluegrass music, as we introduce this exciting new gig ‘Bringing it all back home’ – which will include traditional Irish, folk and bluegrass music and songs.