Dougie MacLean  
Dougie MacLean is one of Scotland's premier singer-songwriters. A past member of the Tannahill Weavers and Silly Wizard, MacLean has used his songs, including "Caledonia," "The Singing Land" and "Solid Ground," to capture the natural beauty of his hometown on the border between the Highlands and the Valley of Strathmore.

MacLean first attracted attention as a teenager when he formed a band with future Silly Wizard members Andy Stewart and Martin Hadden. While performing as a street musician in Kinross in 1974, MacLean was invited to join the Tannahill Weavers. He remained with the group for three years before he moved to Germany and launched his solo career. For a while, MacLean also performed in a trio with Alex Campbell and Alan Roberts. MacLean's breakthrough came with the release of the album, Caledonia, in 1979. Returning to Scotland in 1980, he spent six months as the replacement for fiddler Johnny Cunningham in Silly Wizard. Although he temporarily returned to the Tannahill Weavers, afterwards, he resumed his solo career in 1981.

In addition to his busy schedule as a touring singer/songwriter, MacLean has been an influential record executive, having founded Dunkeld recording studios and record label with his wife, Jennifer, in 1983. Among the many tradition-rooted Scottish musicians that have recorded for the label, whose slogan is "Scotland's new heritage music," are Sheena Wellington, David Allison, Gordon Duncan, Hamish Moore and Frieda Morrison.

A tour of the United States in 1989 was conducted in conjunction with Fiona Ritchie's National public radio show, Thistle & Shamrock. The following year, MacLean returned to the U.S. for a 17-concert tour with other Dunkeld artists. In 1995, MacLean played guitar and sang harmony on country artist Kathy Mattea's album, Good News and toured as opening act for Mattea's North American tour .

Several of MacLean's songs were heard on the soundtrack of the film, The Last of the Mohicans. In 1993, MacLean served as music director of the TAG Theater Company's production, A Scots Quair. A 40-minute documentary on MacLean's life and music, The Land: The Songs of Dougie MacLean was aired by the BBC.

Tracks from MacLean's three albums on the Plant Life label were assembled on the 1997 album, The Plant Life Years. A sampling of tunes from MacLean's albums on Dunkeld were included on the 1995 album, The Dougie MacLean Collection. Craig Harris, All-Music Guide

Tony MacMahon  
Tony Macmahon is an excellent button accordion player from Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, a noted center for traditional music. Among his influences were Joe Cooley and Sonny Brogan among accordionists, as well as piper Willie Clancy, fiddler Bobby Casey and singer and piper Seamus Ennis. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Buddy MacMaster  
Buddy MacMaster has been called "the dean of Cape Breton fiddlers." Although MacMaster was little known outside of Cape Breton, an island off the coast of Nova Scotia, until retiring as an agent operator from the Canadian National Railway (C.N.R.) in 1988, his subsequent tours of the United States and the United Kingdom and his two albums -- Judique On The Floor in 1988 and Glencoe Hall in 1991 -- have enabled him to share his waltzes, jigs and reels with an international audience.

Although MacMaster was born in Ontario, his life has been profoundly influenced by the musical culture of Cape Breton, where he moved with his family in 1929. As an infant, MacMaster spent hours listening to his father play Cape Breton tunes on the fiddle. At the age of three and four, he imitated the fiddle style with small pieces of wood. Finding his father's fiddle in a trunk, at the age of eleven, he played his first tune the same day. By the following year, he was playing well enough to enter an amateur show in Port Hood. MacMaster played his first dance at the age of 14. Over the next four decades, MacMaster's fiddle playing was featured regularly at house parties, weddings and concerts throughout the region. Music, however, remained mostly a hobby as MacMaster took on a position as telegrapher and station agent with the C.N.R. in May, 1943.

During trips to Scotland with the Cape Breton Symphony in 1982, 1984 and 1988, MacMaster explored the roots of his music. MacMaster returned to Scotland in 1991 for a tour with Alistair Fraser and Barbara Magone. A show taped by the BBC marked MacMaster's recording debut.

MacMaster's first album, Judique on the Floor, released in 1989, featured piano accompaniment by John Morris Rankin of the Rankin Family. On his second album, Glencoe Hall, released in 1991, MacMaster was accompanied by Rankin and guitarist David MacIsaac.

MacMaster is the uncle of Cape Breton fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Ashley MacIsaac. Craig Harris, All-Music Guide

Natalie MacMaster  
The niece of influential Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster, Natalie MacMaster has turned the music of Cape Breton, an island off the east coast of Canada near Nova Scotia, into an international phenomenon. Whether performing with her band, featuring guitar, piano, bass, drums and percussion, or with a classical orchestra such as the Edinburgh Symphony, MacMaster has thrilled audiences with her exciting fiddling and dynamic stage persona.

Inspired by the musical members of her family, MacMaster began playing fiddle at the age of nine on an instrument given her by a great-uncle. She took formal lessons along with her cousin, Ashley MacIsaac, with whom she played often as a youngster.

After releasing two self-produced cassette-only albums -- 4 On the Floor in 1989 and Road to the Isle in 1990 -- MacMaster expanded her following with her first release in the United States, Fit as a Fiddle, which received a East Coast Music Award as Best Roots/Traditional Album of 1992. Tracks from MacMaster's first two albums were reissued by Rounder as A Compilation in 1997. MacMaster's first album released by Warner Brothers Canada, No Boundaries, included "Drunken Piper" (featuring vocals by Cookie Rankin of the Rankin Family), and established her as one of the top musicians in Canada. In addition to hosting the East Coast Music Awards, MacMaster received awards as "Female Artist of the Year, Roots/Traditional Artist of the Year and Instrumental Artist of the Year. MacMaster was also named Fiddler of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association. The album was dedicated to the memory of MacMaster's grandmother, Margaret Ann Beaton, who would often sing Gaelic lyrics to songs that MacMaster was learning on the fiddle.

MacMaster has maintained such a busy schedule as a performer that she had to turn down an invitation to be a featured musician in the Irish music and dance production Lord of the Dance. In 1995, MacMaster performed for more than 80, 000 people as the opening act for Carlos Santana in Chattanooga, TN. The following year, she spent four weeks as the opening act for the Chieftains on their tour of the United States. MacMaster's fiddling has also been heard on television commercials for Tim Horton Donuts and General Motors Pontiac.

MacMaster released her second album for Warner Brothers Canada, My Roots Are Showing, in 1998. In My Hands followed a year later. ~ Craig Harris, All-Music Guide

Joanie Madden  
Irish whistle virtuoso Joanie Madden was born in New York in 1965; the daughter of Irish immigrants, she initially began her musical studies on violin and piano, but only the tin whistle truly captured her imagination.

As a teen she was named the World Champion on the whistle and the concert flute, and in 1984 became the first American tin whistler ever to take top honors in the Senior All-Ireland Championship. Soon after, Madden joined the traditional Irish group Cherish the Ladies, which issued their debut album The Back Door in 1992; two years later, she also released her solo debut, A Whistle on the Wind. Subsequent efforts include 1996's Song of the Irish Whistle as well as its 1999 sequel; additionally, Madden guested on countless recordings from artists including Sinéad O'Connor, Pete Seeger and Eileen Ivers. ~ Raymond McKinney, All-Music Guide.

Tommy Makem  
Folk singer Tommy Makem is one part storyteller, one part musician, one part singer, and one part actor, so his live shows are usually quite lively and engaging, especially since he has spent more than five decades in folk music. A typical Makem concert involves traditional and contemporary Irish tunes performed on banjo and tin whistle, with a bit of background on each song's history as well.

Makem was born and raised in Keady, County Armagh, Ireland, and got much of his musical education from his mother, Sarah Makem, herself a legendary folk singer and an ethnomusicologist before the term was coined. The songs Makem learned from his mother provided the foundation for his later efforts with the Clancy Brothers and his work as a duo with Liam Clancy.

As a young man, Makem most wanted to become an actor, so he moved to New York in the mid-1950s. He began singing professionally in New York one night in 1956 when he was asked to sing at Greenwich Village's Circle in the Square Theater. After receiving 30 for singing just a few folk songs, he was hooked. Makem began hanging out with Pete Seeger and the other members of the Weavers in 1956, when he first saw them perform.

In the late 1950s, Makem teamed up with Tom, Liam and Paddy (Patrick) Clancy to form the Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem. The group made their professional debut at Circle in the Square Theater in the Village and was signed to Columbia Records by talent scout John Hammond in 1961. By then, folk music had come into fashion in a big way. Makem frequently shared festival bills with Seeger, Bob Dylan and other beacons of the acoustic movement. At the 1961 Newport Folk Festival, Makem and Joan Baez were chosen as the two most promising newcomers to the American folk music scene. After playing to sellout audiences at Carnegie Hall in the early 1960s, the Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem made appearances through the 1960s on major TV shows like Ed Sullivan, The Tonight Show, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and other programs. Makem originals like "Four Green Fields," "Gentle Annie," "The Rambles of Spring," "The Winds Are Singing Freedom" and "Farewell to Carlingford" have since become Irish folk music standards, performed around the world.

In 1975, realizing he was forever bumping into his old friend and partner Liam Clancy on the road, Makem and Clancy decided to pair up for a show in Cleveland, Ohio. The audience response was enough to convince both that they needed each other, and for the next dozen years the two often toured together. The pair earned platinum and gold records in Ireland.

Makem's albums (aside from those with the Clancy Brothers) are available on his own Red Biddy label. His sons, the Makem Brothers, are carrying on the Irish folk music tradition by running the label and performing at folk festivals around the U.S. and Ireland. Makem's solo albums from the late 1960s and early '70s include Tommy Makem and Love Is Lord of All on GWP Records. His more recent 1990s recordings include From the Archives for Shanachie Records and Ancient Pulsing, an album of his poetry. Makem has also been involved in numerous television projects over the years, presenting Irish traditional music to the masses, mostly on public TV. Based in Dover, New Hampshire, Makem continues to record and perform. Richard Skelly, All-Music Guide

Billy McComiskey  
Simply the best Irish accordion player in America, McComiskey is also one of the best in the world. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Cathal McConnell  
Cathal McConnell is a singer and flute player from the North of Ireland. He has been a member of the Boys of the Lough for many years. Len Graham is a folk revival singer of great renown. He fronts the group Skylark. Both are all-Ireland champions. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Arty McGlynn  
Celtic folk guitarist Arty McGlynn was born in Omagh, Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland; his first musical instrument was the accordion, and by the age of five he was already playing reels with considerable skill. Given his first guitar six years later, McGlynn found early inspiration in jazz artists Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel, and by age 15 he was performing professionally. Only during the late 1970s did he turn to traditional Irish music, recording his debut solo album McGlynn's Fancy in 1979; a sought-after sideman who recorded and toured in support of Van Morrison, Christy Moore, Planxty and countless others, in 1989 McGlynn teamed with his wife, fiddler Nollaig Casey, for the duet collection Feed the Knave, followed in 1995 by Causeway. ~ Raymond McKinney, All-Music Guide

Seamus and Manus McGuire  
The McGuire brothers are two of Ireland's great fiddle players who rarely tour internationally. They can be heard on several grand recordings, though, including those by Buttons And Bows. Daithi Sproule is a distinguished Gaelic singer and guitarist now living in the US. He, too, has played with several great bands, including Skara Brae and Altan. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Loreena McKennitt  
When Loreena McKennitt released her first album, Elemental, in 1985, listeners thrilled to her delicate renditions of mythic tales and poems and especially to her vituoso harp playing; what was most amazing about that album, however, was that McKennitt had been playing the harp only two years at the time of its release. McKennitt, who grew up in rural Manitoba, Canada, studied classical piano for ten years, took five years of voice training, and had extensive stage and theater experience. From her first album onwards, McKennitt has sought to explore the British (and especially) Celtic tradition in its most lyrical and haunting manifestations. A literate and engaged musician, she has set the poems of Yeats, Tennyson, and Blake to song, while also branching out from her British preocupations to experiment with tinctures of jazz and eastern music. Leon Jackson, All-Music Guide

Susan McKeown  
The traditional vocal sounds of Ireland are fused with a modern urban sensitivity by Dublin-born and New York-based vocalist Susan McKeown (pronounced "mick-yone"). Accompanied by her band, The Chanting House, McKeown's alto vocals have inspired comparisons to June Tabor, Chrissie Hynde, Sarah McLachlan, Grace Slick and the late Sandy Denny. McKeown's musical approach was described by Time magazine as "the kind of music that will link Ireland's musical past with its future."

Since emigrating to the United States in 1990 with a scholarship to attend a New York performing arts school, McKeown has been attracting attention with her dynamic vocals and enthusiastic stage persona.

The Chanting House, which initially focused on an updated version of traditional Irish music when founded by McKeown, Eileen Ivers and Seamus Egan, has increasingly added elements of modern rock since the departure of Ivers and Egan in 1993.

Although they released a pair of self-produced cassettes, Chanting House Live and Snakes, in the early 1990s, McKeown and the Chanting House came into their own with the Prime CD-released Bones in 1996. Their second CD, Bushes and Briars, released in 1998, featured musical accompaniment by Celtic musicians Johnny Cunningham, Andy Irvine, Seamus Egan and Jerry O'Sullivan. McKeown and Chanting House bass/bass clarinet/tin whistle player Lindsey Horner collaborated on an album of seasonal songs, Through the Bitter Frost and Snow, in 1996. McKeown was a featured vocalist in the Obie award-winning musical Peter and Wendy, singing Johnny Cunningham's score at the Geffen Theater in Los Angeles in December 1997 and on the soundtrack album released by Alula. Craig Harris, All-Music Guide

Brian McNeill  
Brian McNeill was involved in the Edinburgh folk scene in the '70s, when he formed The Battlefield Band with Alan Reid. Although he originally specialized in the fiddle, and is still a superb fiddle player, he is also a multi-instrumentalist of amazing breadth and a songwriter of the first order. His solo works, both before and after leaving Battlefield at the end of 1990, are varied in content but consistent in quality. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Matt Molloy  
Matt Molloy of Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon, Ireland, is one of the standards against whom Irish flute players are measured. His characteristically strong blow and robust tone make him a powerful addition to any session. He was an original member of The Bothy Band in the '70s, then joined Donal Lunny in the reformed Planxty when The Bothy Band broke up. After his stint in Planxty, he replaced Mick Turbridy in The Chieftains, Irish music's most famous instrumental group. With them, he's toured the world, from China to the U.S.A. Along the way he's recorded several solo, duo, and trio projects, and settled down as a pub-owner in Co. Mayo. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Mick Moloney  
Moloney is one of the most active members of the Irish-American musical community. In the '60s he played with The Johnstons, one of the most important early revival bands. A singer, instrumentalist, and folklorist, Moloney hails from Limerick but now lives in Philadelphia, where he recently earned his Ph.D. in folklore with a brilliant dissertation on Irish music in America. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Christy Moore  
The older brother of Irish folk-pop singer-songwriter Luka Bloom (Barry Moore), Christy Moore is one of contemporary Irish music's best singer-songwriters. The former lead vocalist and chief songwriter of Planxty and Moving Hearts, Moore helped to bring the musical traditions of Ireland up to modern standards. As a solo singer-songwriter, Moore has continued to add elements of rock and popular music to his well-crafted, tradition-based tunes and has been a major inspiration to such modern Irish artists as U2, Sinead O'Connor and The Pogues.

Traditional Irish music had little influence on Moore's early music. Trained in old-time pop tunes and religious music, Moore was inspired as a teenager by the rock & roll of American artists including Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. It wasn't until he had moved to London, where he heard Irish folk songs sung in Irish ghettos, that he became aware of the musical traditions of his homeland. Acquiring an acoustic guitar and Irish drum (bodhran), Moore began busking in the streets. Moore continued to attract attention with his original, folk-like songs after returning to Ireland in the late 1960s. Moore's debut solo album, Paddy on the Road, was released in 1969.

While recording his third album, Prosperous, in 1972, Moore assembled a band that evolved into Planxty. The group's fusion of Celtic music and high-energy rock made Planxty one of Ireland's most influential bands. With Moore singing lead in his heavily accented brogue and playing rhythm guitar and bodhran, Planxty brought together such top-ranked Irish musicians as Donal Lunny (guitar, bouzouki, bottleneck bouzouki), Liam O'Flynn (uilleann pipes, whistle) and Andy Irvine (mandolin, mouth organ). Although he left Planxty in 1974, Moore returned when the band's original lineup reunited in 1979. He remained with Planxty until 1983, when it evolved into a new band, Moving Hearts. Moore served as frontman for Moving Hearts until leaving to resume his solo career in 1985.

The excitement of Moore's concerts has been documented on two albums. Live In Dublin, released in 1978, featured accompaniment by Donal Lunny. Live at the Point, released in 1995, captures a solo performance at the Point Theater in Dublin in July 1994. Moore's solo recordings between 1973 and 1978, were compiled on The Folk Collection, released in 1978. His solo recordings between 1981 and 1991 were anthologized on The Christy Moore Collection, released in 1991. Moore's 1985 album Voyage featured backing vocals by Sinead O'Connor, Elvis Costello and Mary Black, plus accordion player Shamus Shannon. Craig Harris, All-Music Guide

Moving Cloud  
The traditional dance music of Ireland is played with fervor and excitement by the County Clare-based quintet Moving Cloud. Originally formed to provide the accompaniment for set dancing, Moving Cloud has evolved into a virtuosic concert band. Their self-titled debut album, released in 1994, was named Best Traditional Album by The Irish Echo. Their second album, Foxglove, released in 1998, further established the band as one of Ireland's leading instrumental ensembles. Moving Cloud, named after a classic Irish reel, made their debut appearance at the Old Cloud Hotel in Ennis, County Clare on May 18, 1989. The group brought together five musicians who had established themselves with other bands and solo recordings. Accordion player Paul Brock had recorded an album with De Danaan fiddler Frankie Gavin in 1986. His solo album, Mo Chairdin, was released in 1992. Galway-born composer, arranger and keyboardist Carl Hession had previously performed with Gavin, Joe Derrane, Matt Molloy and Joe Burke and had been a member of the Shaskeen Ceili Band. Hession has recorded four solo albums: The Galway Suite (1984), Echoes of Ireland (1987), Ceol Inne/Ceol Innui (1995) and Tra (1997). A native of Birmingham, England whose parents hail from West Clare, Kevin Crawford (flute and percussion) has lived in Ireland since 1988. In addition to recording with Joe Derrane, Crawford has performed with the septet Grianan and the trio Raise the Rafters. His debut solo album, D'Flute Album, was released in 1995. A major characteristic of Moving Cloud's sound is the twin fiddling of Sligo-born Manus McGuire and Galway-born Maeve Donnelly. McGuire previously toured and recorded three albums with Buttons And Bows, a quartet that also featured his brother Seamus, Jackie Daly and Garry O'Briain. The winner of several All-Ireland fiddle championships, Donnelly is a master of the East Galway fiddle style. ~ Craig Harris, All-Music Guide

Moving Hearts  
This Irish folk-rock group of the first half of the '80s had a lineup including Brian Calnan, Keith Donald, Donal Lunny, Christy Moore, Eoghan O'Neill, and Davy Spillane. It was the forerunner of such followers as The Pogues, the Mekons, and the Oyster Band and mixed a traditional approach (they played acoustic instruments, such as bodhran and Uilleann pipes, as well as electric ones) with a contemporary repertoire, some of it socially conscious material. For example, Moving Hearts in 1981 included "Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette." The second album, Dark End of the Street, was internationally hailed.

The band's talented lineup had trouble staying together, and Live Hearts in 1983 was their last real album, though The Storm in 1985 was an interesting instrumental collection. The band's influence has been extensive, and Christy Moore has gone on to a successful solo career. William Ruhlmann, All-Music Guide

Martin Mulvihill  
Martin Mulvihill, a fiddler who came from Limerick, Ireland, to the Bronx, had a major impact on Irish music in the eastern U.S. It was not so much his playing that influenced others, but his teaching; Mulvihill ran a highly successful Irish music school and even went on the road to other cities to teach Irish music to interested youth. Many of the good and great young players studied with Mulvihill. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

Denis Murphy  
Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford were from the area of Co. Kerry, Ireland known as Sliabh Luachra. They were brother and sister, both students of the fiddle master Padraig O'Keeffe. Steve Winick, All-Music Guide

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