Songbird sees one of Ireland’s leading traditional musicians, Louth man Dónal O’Connor, join forces with soulful Greek vocalist and percussionist Chrysoula Kechagioglou, to create brand new music inspired by Irish and Greek instrumental and song traditions. Exploring both contemporary and traditional compositions and new approaches to musical accompaniment, this promises to be a stunning cross-cultural collaboration, connecting the musical language of Ireland and Greece in fresh and innovative ways.
Commissioned Artists/Lead Collaborators: Irish/Greek Dónal O’Connor & Chrysoula Kechagioglou
Dónal O’Connor: fiddle, harmonium
Chrysoula Kechagioglou: voice, percussion
Maria Ploumi: lute
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh: vocals, flute & whistles
The initiative is presented in association with Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda, Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar and Siamsa Tíre in Tralee this autumn.
Dónal O’Connor is a musician who comes from a long and distinguished line of Irish traditional musicians and singers. Described as a ‘fearless musical adventurer’ and ‘a renaissance man’, he has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading record and television producers and has played and recorded with the likes of Karen Matheson of Capercaillie, Duke Special, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, John McSherry, Davy Spillane, Four Men & A Dog, Steve Cooney, Mary Dillon, The Horslips, Darlingside, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Cathal McConnell, Bob Brozman, Harry Bradley, Ríoghnach Connolly and Niall Hanna. Having inherited a musical legacy of at least five generations of fiddle playing, he has toured the world from a young age and his collaborations have variously included membership of Ulaid and At First Light, Lá Lugh and the Gaelic Song Supergroup A Stór Mo Chroí.
Renowned Greek singer Chrysoula Kechagioglou (Chrysoula K.) has recorded and performed with numerous Greek, European and U.S. artists including Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Bruce Molsky, The Horslips,Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, John McSherry and Donal O’Connor. She leads her own all-female band Chrysoula K & Púrpura, which aims to create a new sound, combining aspects of traditional and classical forms with compositions influenced by diverse musical cultures. She has recorded two albums with Chrysoula k. & Púrpura, Chrysoula k. & Púrpura (Australia 2018) and Lost City (Athens 2022) and toured extensively in Europe, Australia, USA, Egypt and Ireland.
Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is an award-winning traditional singer and musician from Corca Dhuibhne, West Kerry. Formerly lead singer and flute player with the Irish band Danú, Muireann recently recorded Róisín ReImagined, an album of sean nós songs arranged by contemporary Irish arrangers with the Irish Chamber Orchestra..
Maria Ploumi is a Greek traditional lute player known for her dynamic style of playing. Having studied musicology and Greek traditional music, her interest in exploring diverse musical languages is apparent in her collaborations with some of Greece’s leading traditional musicians and singers, and in her String Theory Ensemble duo ‘ with pianist George Paterakis.