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Four Men and a Dog perform ‘vivacious blend of traditional Irish music’ at Aonach Mhacha

These three well known musicians were the founder members of the infamous Trad Band “Four Men and a Dog” whose first major gig was at the Belfast Folk Festival in 1990.

Their debut album “Barking Mad” was released the following year and became Folk Roots Album of the year marking the first time that an Irish group had ever won the prize. Four Men and A Dog made a name for themselves with their eclectic and vivacious blend of traditional Irish music with a wide spectrum of other genres, including rap, Southern rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass, polka, country swing, and even salsa.

The band’s music is enthusiastic and infectious. The three lads have re-united for a mini Irish and intend to showcase some of the older classics from the early “Dog” recordings.

Cathal Hayden was born into a deep musical background in the village of the Rock, Co Tyrone outside Pomeroy. His father played the banjo and fiddle, and his mother was a pianist, while both grandfathers were fiddle players. His first instrument was a tenor banjo before progressing on to fiddle.

From when he first picked up an instrument, Cathal Hayden’s only ambition was to be a professional traditional musician, and to make a career out of his dream. After over 40 years of playing, he has certainly accomplished his desire. His musical talent is famous, not only in his home village, but throughout Ireland and the entire world, Dónal Murphy hails from Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick and is a well known button accordion performer.

Donal was one of the five founder members of the original Four Men and a Dog in 1990 at the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo and played their first gig at the Belfast Folk Festival later that year.

The Dogs celebrated 30 years on the road in 2020 and performed a major concert with the 70 piece Imbolc Trad Orchestra at the iconic Guildhall in Derry. He is also a member of 3 piece Breaking Trad and released the same titled debut album in May 2015.

He also a performs with Sliabh Notes, alongside Matt Cranitch (fiddle) and Tommy O’Sullivan (guitar and vocals), they recorded three albums, Sliabh Notes, Along Blackwaters Banks and Gleanntan. He performed with Michael Flatley and his show in Feet of Flames in 1998 to an open-air audience in Hyde Park London. He has also performed with Riverdance at a concert at Dublin Castle. He released his first solo album Happy Hour in 2009 to critical acclaim.

Donal has toured the world with his various groups and continues to excite audiences worldwide with his powerhouse Polkas and Slides etc. He released his second solo album Tailored in May 2022 which features some of his own compositions, the album also features some of his family (Melanie on fiddle and Eoin on guitars and bass) as well as tasteful accompaniment from the legendary Steve Cooney.

Brian McGrath comes from Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh, an area steeped in traditional music. Brian’s first professional work was with Dervish. He then joined Four Men And A Dog and played on the award-winning album Barking Mad. He moved his career on, accompanying Noel Hill, Paul Brock and Frankie Gavin, among others, before joining the Sean Keane Band as pianist.

Brian joined De Dannan where he stayed till the band broke up in 2003. Brian now plays with At The Racket, and is much sought after as a session musician on piano, banjo and mandolin. He has toured extensively, playing with all the biggest names in Irish traditional music, including Frankie Gavin, Noel Hill, John Carty, Matt Molloy, Paul Brock, Charlie Lennon, Joe Burke, Sean Maguire, Brian Rooney, Cathal Hayden, Joe Derrane, Arty McGlynn, Alec Finn, Alan Kelly, Dolores Keane, Maura O’Connell, Tommy Fleming, Steve Cooney and Eleanor Shanley, as well as doing extensive TV and media work.

Aonach Mhacha

Sunday May 14, 2023

Start time: 8pm

Tickets £15.00

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