Port - SJ McArdle

  • 16th Nov
  • 20:00
  • €18/€16
  • Droichead Arts Centre,

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Saturday 16th November

Port is a collection of songs by current Droichead Artist in Association SJ McArdle, all inspired by real and imagined stories associated with Drogheda Port’s rich and storied history, composed for folk-rock ensemble and guest vocalists. Joining SJ to perform the song cycle will be his Kern band members Brendan McCreanor (uilleann pipes) and Barry Kieran (fiddle), along with special guests Carol Keogh, Josh Johnston, John Ruddy and Michael Holohan. 

As a singer-songwriter, SJ has released three albums, most recently Blood and Bones in 2014. The album’s lead-off song, Two Steps From Heaven, was the main song in the Cecelia Ahern-written movie, Between Heaven and Here, while another of SJ’s songs, Till The Docklands Drown, was performed during Element Pictures’ A Date For Mad Mary (2016). SJ has performed in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, the UK and the US, most recently as one third of critically acclaimed folk trio Kern, whose new album is due later this year .

“Bravo for an artist who has taken contemporary Irish music to parts it far too seldom reaches” - Hot Press

Funded by the Arts Council and Create Louth, Louth County Council Arts Office. With sponsorship from Drogheda Port Company.

Barry Kieran grew up in Kilkerley, near Dundalk, Co. Louth. He learned fiddle as a child from legendary teachers like Rose O’Connor, going on to be Leinster underage champion. Barry stopped playing for several years while he was living in far-flung places like Luxembourg and South Africa, where he earned a living as a sailor. Upon returning to Ireland, Barry discovered that a neglected fiddle lying around the house was in fact the fine 19th Century Vosges-built instrument he plays to this day. Restoring the fiddle unlocked the wild, pure Oriel sound in his bones, and he hasn’t stopped playing since, composing new tunes to add to the vast repertoire he already possesses.

Brendan McCreanor is an uilleann piper of rare passion and versatility. From Dunleer in Co. Louth, his distinctive playing is at once both modern and rooted in tradition and has been featured with such diverse artists as Baile an Salsa and Pat McManus. He has toured extensively with a variety of acts, appearing in Scotland, Russia, the US and across Europe.

Irish singer and songwriter Carol Keogh has written and sung lead vocals for a number of Irish bands including The Plague Monkeys, The Tycho Brahe (Tychonaut), The Natural History Museum (with Dunk Murphy) as well as a prominent guest role as lyricist and vocalist on three albums by Autamata. Keogh's first solo release (backed by The City Fathers), Mongrel City, was released in 2014. 

Josh Johnston is a pianist, arranger and composer/songwriter from Dun Laoghaire. He has played live and recorded to one degree or another with musicians from across the musical spectrum such as Roesy, Truly Divine, Kila, SJ McArdle, Breda Mayock, Keith Mullins, Peadar King, Maggie Breheny, Stewart Agnew, Hank Wiedel, and Ronan Swift, among others. Josh’s latest album, The Art Of Saving Lives, is a collection of original songs written or co-written and entirely arranged by Josh. 

John Ruddy is a singer, composer and actor originally from Co. Kildare but now semi-native in Monaghan. He cut his teeth during the halcyon days of Calipo and Upstate theatre companies, but has since swapped acting for parenting. He has three recorded collections of his music – his latest, Echoes, is available on all good music platforms.  

Pianist/Composer, Michael Holohan has had his music performed and broadcast both in Ireland and internationally. His many orchestral works have all been premièred by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He has collaborated regularly with well-known Irish poets and playwrights including Seamus Heaney, Richard Murphy, Dermot Healy, Susan Connolly and Donal O’Kelly.