Featuring Brendan Begley, Mike Galvin, Robbie Harris, Eoghan O'Neill, Conor Sheil & Cathal Synnott
Niamh grew up in Killarney, surrounded by a wealth of Sliabh Luachra musicians and has been playing almost all her life. Following 8 years touring the world with Riverdance as the featured fiddler and introducing Riverdance audiences to the concertina along the way, she has returned to Ireland where she is now based. This album her first, is the result, and draws on her experiences so far.
Hardiman the Fiddler:
- Rhubarb & Ginger/ the Swaggering Jig/ Hardiman the Fiddler. (Slip Jigs)
- Caoineadh Eoghan Rua (Air)
- San Antonio/ Mutt's Favourite/ The Turnpike (Reels)
- Micho Russell's/ Trip to Athlone/ The Luck Penny (Jigs)
- Deoráocht an t-Saighdiura / Downtime Delirium/ Splendid Isolation (Waltz/Reels)
- Giulio Regondi (Allegretto No 4)
- Crossing the Cumberlands (hornpipes)
- Jamesy Gannon's/ Cúil Uí Chorrbuí / Shetland Fiddler (Barndance/Reels)
- An raibh tú ag an gCarraig? (sung by Brendan Begley)
- Captain O'Kane/ Jug of Punch/ The Broken Pledge (O'Carolan/Reels)
- Wade Hampton's/ The Nightingale (Hornpipes)
- Dunántuúli Friss Csárdások/ The Gravel Walks (Czardas /Reel)
- Johnny O'Leary's/ An Choisir/ Lios U Bhigín/ The Hare in the Corn (Slides)
Niamh Ní Charra hails from Killarney, County Kerry in the south west of Ireland. Strongly influenced by the wealth of local Sliabh Luachra musicians, she started playing music at the early age of 4, under the tutelage of well known local musician Nicky McAuliffe. Equally talented on fiddle and concertina, she has won numerous awards, including Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Oireachtas, and Slógadh Náisiúnta and has represented Ireland at folk festivals in Britain and France. Somewhat of a child prodigy, she had support gigs for The Chieftains, and Noel Hill under her belt before she reached her teens.
Despite this rich background, she put aside her music to persue a career in Electronic Engineering. After graduating with honours, Niamh was employed by an Irish software company who regularly sent her on business trips to Boston. Here she was exposed to a continuous flow of Irish musicians (Arcady, Sharon Shannon, Nomos) as well as locally based musicians (Paddy Keenan , Seamus Connolly, Tommy McCarthy).
The draw of the music proved too strong, and Niamh decided to resign from work to persue a career in music. She moved to Cork to take a year-long course in 'Music, Management, and Sound' at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, where she graduated with distinctions in every subject - the only student ever to have achieved this feat. The college subsequently awarded her "Musician of the Year". She swiftly followed this with recordings for Irish radio and television, and performances with Riverdance 's european troupe in Europe, Asia and on board the QE2, before joining the U.S. troupe in 1998. Niamh performed with Riverdance from that date until December 2005, touring with them in North America. From Mexico to Vancouver, and Los Angeles to Broadway, New York, Niamh has delighted audiences with her fiery fiddling, fancy footwork and dazzling smiles. More recently she shared her talents in Riverdance's Irish and Far East productions performing in her native capital as well as the more exotic locations of Tokyo and Taipei among others.
Niamh has returned to Dublin, Ireland where she is working as a freelance musician, regularly gigging accross the city. She also teaches both fiddle and concertina at Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann's national headquaters, An Cultúrlann in Monkstown, and will shortly be releasing her debut album "Ón Dá Thaobh / From Both Sides".
It may appear to be a long journey from sessions in Buckley's bar with the old Kerry greats to world wide spotlight in Riverdance.Niamh Ni Charra makes it seem like a short step across the road.
Real music knows no boundaries, after all, and Niamh demonstrates as uncommonly broad range of musical expression. She is equally at homein the sparse but beautiful An Raibh Tu ag an gCarraig and in full-throttle ensemble pieces such as The Broken Pledge. This breath of musical vision is also evident in her choice ot repertoire. Regondi's Allegretto No 4 - an extraordinary piece of concertina whimsy - rubs shoulder with Micho Russell's Jig. The Hungarian tune Dunantuli Friss Csardasok finds a ready partner in The Gravel Walks.)
While most musicians struggle to master one instrument, Niamh possesses as effortless fluency on fiddle and concertina, allowing her to communicate both sides of her musical personality. Scattered throughout this collection are several tunes from her fertile musical imagination. This can be a hazardous strategy inviting comparison with well-established favourites. Niamh carries it off with style; each tune sits comfortably with its neighbours while retaining its individuality.
On Da Thaobh / From Both Sides is a contemporary album with its feet firmly planted in the tradition. The old Kerry masters would be well pleased.
Pat Herring Ahern Jan 2007
Copperplate is very proud to have this title on our roster and to help it achieve its full potential will be supporting this release with a full-scale promotional mail out to media and retail.
Press ReviewsThe Irish World
"From Both Sides is a wonderful musical experiment, and the results are more explosive than you could imagine. Just watch this blonde bombshell go..."
Folk Radio UK " This is master-class musicianship, and legend in the making"...Alex Gallagher
'There is spectacular work from Niamh Ní Charra, a gorgeous blonde who does things on the fiddle and the concertina, that must be seen and heard to be believed.' Slidell Sentry, New Orleans 05/2005
'Charming fiddler Niamh Ní Charra, who seemed to dance a jig while playing one, easily could have been a one-woman show.'
South Bend Tribune, South Bend 05/2005
'Of special note (was the ) beguiling fiddler / concertinist Niamh Ní Charra, who roamed and skipped the stage as she played.'
Times - Picayune, New Orleans 05/2005
'Niamh Ní Charra, the sassy electric fiddle and concertina player, was a crowd pleaser.' Charleston Daily Mail, Charleston 06/2005
'Kudos were in order for Niamh Ní Charra for her fancy fiddle work.' Arkansas Times, Little Rock 01/2005
'Fiddler Niamh Ní Charra, a striking blonde plays while skipping backward.' Star-Telegram, Grand Prairie 06/2005
'Blond fiddler phenom!' Charleston Gazette, Charleston 06/2005
"The company's indefatigable violinist, Niamh Ni Charra provides some fancy fiddling for the solo passages of this number, (America Wake) as well as for many other exciting moments in the show." United Press International New York 03/05
'jaunty fiddle playing' New York Times 03/05
"The jovial violinist snapped a few of her bow's strands as she rocked her space-age Stradivarius." Erie Times 03/05
The Folk Diary
The former child prodigy from Killarney has grown into an outstanding performer on fiddle and concertina, and she is now currently becoming a world-touring superstar. After eight years globe-trotting with the "Riverdance" company, she is currently touring widely with Carlos Nunez.
There is an amazing facility with the wide range of Irish musical styles and rhythms that she tackles on this, her overdue debut album, but you don't have to listen too hard to hear that she was introduced at a very early age to her wonderful local polka and slide music of Sliabh Luachra.
The album is full of exciting moments but it reaches its zenith in the last track where she plays music from her own county in the company of fellow-Kerryman Brendan Begley. Vic Smith.
TAPLAS The Welsh Folk Magazine 22.11.07 Adolygiadau