Irish Traditional Supergroup Arcady has reformed after a decade with a line up that comprises original members and exciting new additions. The new line-up continues Arcady's allegiance to the traditional music of Ireland, with fresh sounds and experimentations to make for something new


Since the formation of Arcady in 1988, dedication to the traditional music of Ireland combined with virtuosic musicianship have made Arcady one of the most respected traditional bands in Ireland. After the band's very first performances, it was assured that "Arcady are going to drag traditional music cheering, clapping and stromping through the 90's" (Garrisson Festival review, 1990). Dirty Linen were soon to describe Arcady as "a band with its own vital identity ensured of a place among the first rank of Irish traditional groups". The original Arcady was formed by bodhran, bones, and percussion player Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh shortly after leaving De Dannan in 1988. Initially an eight-piece group, Arcady has gone through numerous member changes. Among their most illustrious alumni are Sharon Shannon, Frances Black, Se..n Keane, and McDonagh's De Dannan bandmate Jackie Daly. Arcady recorded and released their debut album, After the Ball, in 1991 and their second album, Many Happy Returns, was released four years later. Many Happy Returns was said to demostrate that "individually, every member of the band shines as an inventive and virtuosic lead player". After the cessation of the band in 1996 when McDonagh joined Riverdance as lead percussionist, the coming together of two of the original Arcady artists today makes for a solid bedrock for the band's reformation. Patsy Broderick's piano playing is described in live performance as "propelling the medley along brilliantly..outstanding" and the percussion of Johnny 'Ringo' McDonagh is recognised as the "central heartbeat" of the band. His production of the album Many Happy Returns, which was described as "expert and beautifully arranged..a return to a repertoire of Irish music's traditional standards, because it takes tunes and songs from the very core of the tradition, presenting them in exciting and contemporary arrangements" (Dirty Linen, 1995) is continued now with his formation of a new band. 2007 sees the emergence of the third line up of Arcady. Reformed after 10 years, the band original band members - Patsy Broderick on piano, and frontman McDonagh on bodhran -are joined by Seamie O'Dowd on guitar; Rick Epping on Harmonica and Concertina; Jonas Fromseier on Banjo; and Maureen Browne on fiddle. The new line-up of Arcady echoes many of the old sounds, but with new elements and musical relationships that undoubtedly make for something new. The introduction of harmonicas from Rick Epping and the inimitable guitar playing of Seamie O'Dowd to the musical profile of the band represents an accommodation of new blues sounds, heralding new dynamics and experimentations as well as a fresh take on unifications of the blues and Irish music traditions. Here are some quotations from reviews of Arcady's live performances so far: "The entire ensemble, playing with an air of confidence, conveyed elements of Appalachia as well as evoking the spirit of the West of Ireland". "On occasion when too many diverse influences converge musically, the result can be turn out to be rather contrived and pretentious, but not with Arcady. A relaxed and apparent informality couldn’t conceal a tight presentation based on mutual respect, restrained virtuosity, and a love of playing together". “Overall, an engaging and gratifying performance”.


After the Ball (Shannachie, Dara)
Many Happy Returns (Shannachie, Dara)

Set List

Sample Set List: 1 hr 10 mins
1. Barndances & Hornpipe: The Balkan Hills; Johnny Doherty’s German No. 1; Ricket’s; Fisher’s Hornpipe.
2. Song: Amhran Mhaoinse (Song from Maoinis, Carna, Conamara) (Mairead Ni Fhlatharta)
3. Reels: McDonagh’s Reels 1 &2; The Flowers of Edinburgh
4. Song: Courtin’ is a Pleasure (Seamus O’Donnell)
5. Waltz: The Spinster’s Waltz
6. Song: Sadhbh Ni Bhronaille (Mairead Ni Fhlatharta)
7. Song: No Expectations (Rick Epping)
8. Reels: Spay ‘n Spate, Charlie Lennon’s, The Contradiction
9. Song: The Galway Shawl; followed by Reel: the Bucks of Oranmore
10. Reels: Sally Garden’s; Miss McLeod’s; Foxhunter’s; Lucy Campbell’s