Siobhán Armstrong is one of a small number of harpists worldwide who play harps from earlier centuries. She has a large collection of copies of instruments from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque era. Siobhán was born in Dublin, lives in Ireland and works as a freelance performer and teacher, mainly in Europe. With fairly eclectic interests, she is equally at home playing seventeenth century Italian opera, performing on Hollywood film soundtracks and gigging at the world’s biggest traditional music festivals.
Her greatest interest is encouraging the revival of the early Irish harp. To this end she founded and chairs the Historical Harp Society of Ireland and is the director of Scoil na gCláirseach–Summer School of Early Irish Harp which takes place each August in Ireland. She plays a copy of the medieval Trinity College harp – the national emblem of Ireland–strung in brass and 18-carat gold. Her solo recording on this instrument, Cláirseach na hÉireann–The Harp of Ireland, was released in 2004. Alongside her solo work, Siobhán Armstrong performs and records with the leading early music soloists, ensembles, and directors in Europe. Siobhán has performed, broadcast and taught throughout Europe, North America and Japan.
Barnaby Brown is dedicated to revealing the ancient artistic traditions of Scotland’s music. He champions an early music approach to ceòl mòr, the ‘great music’ of the Highland bagpipe. He also leads the revival of the northern triplepipe, the ‘organ’ of the Celtic Church and precursor to the bagpipe in Britain and Ireland. As a performer, animateur and scholar with a passion for illuminating uncharted musical territory, Barnaby Brown contributes regularly to television and radio programmes. He made his mark giving solo performances at the Edinburgh International Festival and William Kennedy Piping Festival and works internationally as soloist, collaborator, workshop leader and lecturer.
Barnaby Brown’s recent inter-cultural explorations include: forming the duo Band-Re with Sardinain guitarist Gianluca Dessí; reviving the Silver Pipes of Ur (2450 BC); co-composing with Gamelan Naga Mas; developing the Four Nations Piping Concert; performing with the Izmir State Orchestra; and co-directing the Scottish Government commission Yatra for the Edinburgh Mela, combining Japanese taiko, Indian dhrupad, and Scottish traditions. Since 2006, Barnaby Brown has taught Composing and Arranging, Listening Skills, and Musics of the World at the RSAMD. He is editor of the Siubhal Series, which has raised the benchmark in quality of research and production for Scottish traditional music CDs.
Griogair Labhruidh belongs to the well known Labhruidh family of North Argyll who are renowned in Scotland for Highland music, and although he was brought up on Loch Lomondside he was immersed in his family’s traditions from a young age. The natives of North Argyll are heir to a unique culture and dialect with a multitude of songs, tunes and stories. There have been numerous Gaelic singers, pipers and storytellers among his forebears on both sides of his family (also having ties to Argyll and Skye on his mother’s side) and Griogair’s father passed on the piping tradition to him, making Highland music an intrinsic part of his upbringing. Griogair released his critically acclaimed debut album Dail-rìata in 2007 and since then he has been involved in many musical collaborations with some of the most notable performers in Scottish and Irish music. He has resurrected numerous songs and tunes which have been forgotten in contemporary Gaelic Scotland through his research into his tradition and is very proud to be keeping the dialect, singing and piping tradition of his people alive.
Griogair’s main influences as a performer have been Allan MacDonald, Charlie MacColl, Calum Beaton (Calum Eardsaidh Choinnich) and the numerous singers who were recorded by the School of Scottish Studies (particularly Donald MacColl, Angus Campbell – both from Ardnamurchan in North Argyll, Donald Joseph MacKinnon from Barra/South Uist and Annie Arnott from Trotternish in Skye). He has recently released a new album called Guaillaibh a Chéile, along with the Donegal singer Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde which shows the strong connection between the Scottish and Irish Gaelic song traditions.