RICK EPPING (Harmonica /Concertina)

Seamie O’Dowd (Guitar)

Róisín Dubh / Thurs 14 June at 8pm / Admission €20

Frankie is the TG4 2018 Irish Traditional Musician of the year.

Frankie is a fiddle player of traditional Irish music from County Galway coming  from a musical family; parents and siblings being players of the fiddle and accordion. As the age of 4 he strated playing the tin whistle and, later, the flute, making his first T.V. appearance three years later. He received some formal training in music, but his musical ability on the fiddle is mainly self-taught. When 17 years old, he gained first place in both the All Ireland Under-18 Fiddle and Flute competitions. Mainly learning by ear, he was strongly influenced by the 78 recordings of Michael Coleman and James Morrison. In the early 1970s Gavin played musical sessions at Galways’s Cellar Bar, with Alec Finn (bouzouki/guitar), Mickey Finn (fiddle), Charlie Piggot (banjo), and Johnnie (Ringo) MaDonagh (Bodhrán). This led to the formation of De Dannan in 1973. His Currandulla connection came in useful when De Danann were looking for a singer, and it was he who came up with Dolores Keane from nearby Cahirlistrane. When De Danann brought out their first album, her singing of The Rambling Irishman gained a lot of airplay for the group. Although De Danann has had many highpoints over a quarter of a century, particularly with the singing of Dolores Keane and Maura O’Connell and the box playing of Mairtin O’Connor, Frankie’s powerful virtuoso fiddle playing has always been at the core of the De Dannan sound. Frankie has recorded 16 albums with De Dannan as well as a number of solo albums, and three collaborations: one a tribute to Joe Cooley entitled ‘Omos do JoeCooley’ with Paul Brock; a fine collaboration with fellow De Dannan member Alec Finn; and one with Stephane Grapelli exploring the languages of jazz and traditional music. He has also guested with The Rolling Stones on their ‘Voodoo Lounge’ album, with Keith Richards on ‘Wingless Angels’ and with Earl Scruggs the great banjo man.  Exposure to American audiences began in 1976 when he played with De Danann at the American bicentennial celebrations in Washington DC, with artists such as Junior Crehan and Micho Russell. Frankie has also been invited to play for numerous State officials including President John F. Kennedy on historic visit to Ireland in 1962, French president Francois Mitterand and England’s Prince Charles. Of a special event in America, United States Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith is reported to have commented that “The best all ’round performance of the entire week at Kennedy Center was by DeDannan.”

Rick Epping is a California-born musician who has immersed himself in American old-time and Irish traditional music since the 1960s. He is a player of the harmonica, concertina, banjo and jaw harp. During the 1970s he lived in Ireland where he studied traditional Irish music. He was the 1975 All-Ireland Harmonica champion and a member of the folk group Pumpkinhead. He has recorded with other Irish and American musicians and groups over the years, including Andy Irvine, Christy Moore, Mick Hanly, Bob Zentz, George Winston, Mary Staunton, Priscilla Herdman and Robbin Thompson. Epping worked for the Hohner company for many years and during that time patented the “Extreme Bending” harmonica, which includes additional reeds that allow players to “bend” notes that cannot be so altered on traditional diatonic instruments. He conducts workshops internationally for Hohner harmonicas. Epping has involved himself with a number of musicians and projects, including the trio “The Unwanted”, which features himself, Dervish singer Cathy Jordan and fiddler Seamus O’Dowd.
Seamie O’Dowd is a guitarist,singer, and songwriter who also plays fiddle,harmonica,mandolin,and a number of other instruments. He has travelled worldwide playing music and has shared stages and played with many great musicians and bands including Mairtin O’Connor, Cathal Hayden, Tommy Emmanuel, Dervish,Steve Wickham,Matt Molloy, Liam O’Flynn,Thom Moore, Dick Gaughan, Rick Epping,Aminah Hughes and many others. His experience also includes recording production, teaching and more recently, film soundtrack work, and encompasses solo performance as well as extensive work with bands and small groups as both a member and a session musician.

Róisín Dubh