Traditional Music and Song

july, 2022

sun24jul8:00 pmDermot Byrne, Dezi Donnelly and Steve CooneyTinteán Theatre, Hillview Close, Dromin, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry8:00 pm Ballybunion Arts Festival

Event Details

From Inishowen in Co. Donegal, Dermot Byrne’s accordion playing was honed in an environment heavily influenced by Donegal fiddle tradition exemplified by players like Johnny Doherty, Con Cassidy, Tommy Peoples and Francie Mooney. Over his many years of playing, Dermot (pictured above) has developed a unique style. His seemingly effortless playing, combined with great subtlety, and a faultless ear, makes him one of the great accordion players of his generation. As well as his mastery of the Donegal style and repertoire, Dermot can turn with ease to other styles and traditions such as French musette, or South American music. He guested on two Altan recordings The Red Crow and Island Angel before joining the band in 1994. Among the many other artists he has recorded and performed with are Dolly Parton, John Prine, Stephane Grappelli, Vince Gill,  Mary Black, Tim O’Brien, Alison Krauss, Paul Brady, Paddy Keenan and Frankie Gavin.

A scion of the Manchester-based fiddle dynasty, Dezi is a multiple all-Ireland fiddle champion in various age categories, as well as a two times winner of the Fiddler of London competition. A founder member of the band, Toss the Feathers, he appeared on both the Columbus Eclipse and Awakenings albums. He appeared on Alan Burke’s 1997 album, On the Other Hand. He has also enjoyed a lengthy collaboration with Manchester flute player, Michael McGoldrick which began when the two won the All-Ireland duet competition as teenagers and continued on albums like Champions of the North, Fused, Aurora and The Dog in the Fog. The two also played on Sharon Shannon’s album, Renegade. After his own highly acclaimed 1995 duet album, Welcome, Dezi picked up another award as Young Traditional Musician of the Year and was invited to join Stockton´s Wing in 1999 before releasing his solo fiddle album, Familiar Footsteps. Dezi is also an alumnus of the Transatlantic Sessions project with Jerry Douglas, Ali Bain, Dónal Lunny and James Taylor.

Dermot and Dezi will be joined by the ubiquitous Steve Cooney, best known for his development of an influential style of guitar accompaniment to the traditional dance music of West Kerry, for which he won the National Entertainment Award in 1997. Born in Melbourne Australia in 1953, he came to Ireland in 1980. He has ancestral links with Tipperary, Cavan and Galway. He has participated in making more than 250 CDs, either as a guitar or bass player or as producer and engineer. He has worked with many iconic international artists in rock and country but his primarily focus is Irish traditional music, and fusions of that genre. In 2020 he released a CD of solo guitar interpretations of ancient harp tunes, Ceol Ársa Cláirsí, which won three awards at the 2020 RTÉ Folk Awards as well as being named Irish Times traditional album of the year. He was also given a Lifetime Achievement award by RTÉ. He completed an MLittEd in 2011 and a PhD in 2018 on an intuitive musical notation system that he has developed for early learners and those who have difficulties with staff notation.

Tickets, each costing €25 (plus €1 booking fee), are available from


(Sunday) 8:00 pm


Tinteán Theatre

Hillview Close, Dromin, Ballybunion, Co. Kerry

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