Cross Cultural Music, Song & Dance on the banks of the Bann.

Dave & Michelle Sheridan, Alan Costello and Eoghan O'Brien

For the last twenty years musicians have travelled from all over the country and beyond to participate in what we consider to be one of the hidden gems of the festival, the session trail. Three hugely talented musicians who have been central to this, faithfully supporting the session trail and the festival during this time are Dave, Michelle and Alan. We are thrilled to announce that they will bring their music to the main stage especially for the twentieth festival. What a treat is in store for anyone lucky enough to get tickets for this show!

Also in sincere appreciation of their friendship, dedication and contribution to the festival they will on the night be presented with a heartfelt acknowledgement from the committee.

Dave Sheridan is originally from Tubber, Co. Offaly. He learned his music from local legend, Dan Cleary, a master on both pipes and fiddle. Dave enjoyed great success during these years, winning All Ireland titles in 1979 and 1984. He also appeared on his first radio and TV programmes around this time, playing on ‘The Mountain Lark’ and ‘Céilí House’. Dave moved to Carlow in 1996 and lives there to this day. He immersed himself in teaching the youngsters of Carlow to play fiddle and has worked with individuals and many youth groups over the years. He also ran a very popular folk club for ten years with his wife Michelle which brought many well-known faces to Carlow. He has travelled abroad extensively, playing music and representing Ireland in Japan, China, India and Mozambique, to name a few exotic venues! He still plays weekly in Carlow, leading a session he has attended since that first night.

Michelle Sheridan is married to Dave and hails from Navan, Co. Meath. She started learning the fiddle with Gerry O’Connor when she was ten years old and as a teenager continued learning with Geraldine Smith. Michelle took part in Fleadhanna Cheoil though her teenage years and has a lifelong love and devotion to traditional Irish Music. In addition to Gig’n the Bann Michelle along with Dave is also a regular guest musician at numerous other annual traditional music festivals such as Feile Strokestown, Ennis Trad Fest, Fleadh by the Feale, Con Curtin Music Festival and Newport Traditional Music festival Tipperary.

Born in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, the accordion player and pianist Alan Costello grew up surrounded by music and musicians. He is the eldest of five siblings, who are all multi instrumentalists and solo All Ireland Champions.  A student of the late accordion virtuoso Paddy O Brien, Alan displayed early prodigious talent, winning his first All Ireland title at the tender age of nine. Alan’s competitive career was rounded off in 1997 when he won the Senior All-Ireland Button Accordion title, along with the Senior Duet (with his sister Aisling Costello) and the Senior Trio competition (with Aisling and Darragh Pattwell). Alan went on to tour with Irish Dance shows ‘Magic of the Dance’, ‘Gaelforce Dance’, ‘Ragús’ and ‘Celtic Legends’. He has also performed for two Irish Presidents, HRH Prince Charles, Nelson Mandela as well as headlining the closing ceremony of the Special Olympics in Croke Park in 2003, alongside Westlife.  Alan currently lives in Glasgow where he is Programme Coordinator for the MMus Piano for Dance course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) and staff pianist both at the RCS and Scottish Ballet.

Accompanying them on the night will be a musician who needs no introductions, local man Eoghan O’Brien. It is very apt that as we celebrate the twentieth festival that Eoghan should perform on the main stage again as he was one of the founder members and first chairperson of the festival. Eoghan comes from a very musical family in Portglenone. His late Mother Ann was a beautiful fiddle player and highly respected teacher and along with his late Father Colm they instilled a love of music in their family. Eoghan and his sister Kate were members of the hugely successful band Déanta achieving great success in the late 1980s and nineties and recording three albums where Eoghan played guitar and harp. There was much excitement when the band came together again to play at Gig’n the Bann in 2017.

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