Archive: IMBOLC 2019

Brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn - aka Ye Vagabonds - grew up playing music together around their hometown of Carlow, in the southeast of Ireland. Moving to Dublin in 2012, they quickly became a staple of the live music and session scene, playing their own original songs as well as folk songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and America.

In 2014 they came to the attention of Arbutus Yarns’ music filmmaker Myles O’Reilly, whose videos gained international attention for the brothers. After a chance meeting at Electric Picnic in 2015, the brothers performed onstage with Glen Hansard, who invited them to open for him on his European tour the following October. Their EP Rose & Briar was released that same month.

Since then, they have been busy touring Ireland, the UK and Europe, opening for acts such as Villagers, Roy Harper and Lisa Hannigan (whose band they played in for her Irish tour, June 2016). They have also played sold-out headline shows in Ireland, Paris, Geneva and Solothurn, Switzerland. In October 2017 they launched their first, eponymous, album to great acclaim. Ye Vagabonds’ style comprises harmony-rich folk music, influenced by Irish traditional music, Appalachian singing and the 1960s revival.

"They remind me of my first days in Soho in 1965...Ye Vagabonds are a modern expression of a tradition that is truly robust and important to these islands." Roy Harper

"[They] make music that honours timeless sincerity with acoustic fireside storytelling that will sound as current a hundred years from now as it has a hundred generations past." Myles O Reilly (Arbutus Yarns)

Blás is David Doocey, Stephen Doherty, Anne Brennan and Shane McGowan, who hail from the west of Ireland. Formed in 2015, the group has grown from strength to strength with full-attendance performances in Ireland, Germany and the UK. All-Ireland champions, Stephen Doherty and David Doocey from Foxford, perform traditional and self-composed tunes on flute, accordion and fiddle. Anne Brennan from Connemara, sings a mix of traditional, folk and contemporary songs. All is accompanied by Sligo guitarist virtuoso, Shane McGowan.

David Doocey outlined Blas’s story to tradconnect blog in early 2018: “We're all living in the West with Anne living in Westport, Shane living just over the border in Tubbercurry, Sligo. Stephen and myself were living in Foxford, Mayo. Inevitably, our paths would cross a lot. So in 2016 we put the group together and then we were asked to do a tour of Germany, which included 35 dates. That, in turn gave us the impetus to record the album.”

Their perfomance on Fleadh TV was viewed by over one million people and they performed in Croke park at last year’s All-Ireland football final to a crowd of over 80,000. Collectively they have toured and performed with a wide range of artists, including Sean Keane, Sharon Shannon, Paul Brady, Lunása and Tim O'Briens.