Dermot Byrne, Éamonn Coyne & John Doyle

Three figures synonymous with Irish music today, Dermot Byrne, Éamonn Coyne and John Doyle first played together in a pub session at the Carrick Fleadh, in South West Donegal, in the late 1980s. Three decades and countless thousands of miles later, they have recently completed an album of lesser known traditional music and song from the area, affirming just how their meeting there has been a cornerstone of each of their disparate journeys and musical careers. 

The trio’s repertoire is that which is known in the area, but with special emphasis on less common repertoire. Their (re)union showcases the special connection they have with the area and its music, and how it remains a source of inspiration. 

Dermot Byrne (button accordion and melodeon) was born into the heart of the music of South West Donegal, with his father hailing from Teileann, outside Carrick. Having played from a very young age, Dermot has a vast knowledge of Donegal’s music and song. 

Originally from Roscommon but brought up in Dublin and now resident in Edinburgh, Éamonn Coyne (banjo, tenor guitar) spent many summer holidays in Mucross, just outside Kilcar - before he ever played the banjo. Being invited back to play at festivals in the area made him aware of a musical heritage that had previously escaped him. 

John Doyle (guitar, bouzouki, vocals) – from Dublin, and now living in Ashville, North Carolina, USA – spent many holidays in South West Donegal, fuelling a deep interest in the music and song of the area.

To say that the music they heard, learnt, played, and subsequently recorded in many different line-ups, came partly from those youthful sessions wouldn’t be a great exaggeration. Annual attendance at different festivals in the area cemented their friendship, whilst the music and song of the area is never far from their minds. It underlies much of the music they make - be they playing with bluegrass royalty Tim O’Brien and Jerry Douglas in Nashville, Scotland’s Salsa Celtica in Columbia, or Altan in the White House. 

The trio will re-explore this music, connecting the area’s tunes and songs - some garnered from archive material - to their wider influences gained from their worldwide travels.