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Four Men & a Dog

Four Men & 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. 

July 29, 2023
Mandela Hall
13:30 - 16:00

Four Men and a Dog made their debut performance as a band in ‘Murphy’s Bar’, Dungiven, County Derry, in 1990 before going on to steal the show at the Belfast Folk Festival later that year, with a high-energy approach that combines furious traditional dance tunes with irreverent new music and inimitable covers. Barking Mad, their debut album from Cross Border Media, swooped an award for Album of the Year from Folk Roots magazine in 1991, marking the first time that an Irish group had ever won the prize. Four Men & a Dog’s music is enthusiastic and infectious. The band have headlined some of the largest music festivals around the globe. Cathal Hayden from Pomeroy Co. Tyrone is a founding member of Four Men and a Dog and is one of the biggest names on the traditional music circuit to-day.

His recordings whether solo or in collaboration with Four Men and a Dog, Maritin O’Connor Trio, and more recently with Bow Brother’s and Christy Moore, have become standard bearers for emerging musicians over the last twenty years. Cathal is one of the foremost fiddle and Banjo players of his generation. His long awaited debut banjo album ‘Hooked on Banjo’ was recently launched in 2016 and described by the Irish Times as ‘..a force to be reckoned with’. Stephen Hayden, brother of Cathal, is regarded as one of the finest fiddle players of his generation. He first rose to fame as the fiddle player in energetic trad band Upstairs in a Tent, with renowned flute and whistle player Brian Finnegan, over 20 years ago. In more recent times Stephen has performed as a guest with bands such as the Mairtin O’Connor Trio and Four men and a Dog, before coming a full-time member of the bandin recent years. He is also a member of the fiddle trio ‘Bow Brothers’ with his brother Cathal & Niall Murphy. Kevin Doherty from Buncrana, Co Donegal joined Four Men and a Dog back in 1991. He is acknowledged by many as one of the foremost songwriters of his generation. Kevin’s debut album ‘Strange Weather’ was acclaimed as ‘nothing short of a revelation’ by Country Music International, followed by ‘Sweet Water’ which became popularized as the soundtrack to the hit TV series Watermelon, and then ‘Telegraph’, reviewed by the Irish Time as “..undoubtedly one of the year’s best albums”.

His latest album ‘Seeing Things’ has been described by Folk Words as a future classic. Kevin’s lyrical creativity has long been central to the success of Four Men and a Dog, an irresistible synergy of Irish Trad and bluegrass. Gino Lupari from Magherafelt Co. Derry, he too is a founding member of Four Men and a Dog. Gino is one of the most exciting and captivating Bodhran players to be found. He has travelled the globe, playing in all the major International folk festivals, including The Cambridge Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival, (Canada) and The Woodford Fest, (Australia.) He is always in demand as a session and recording player and he has performed with top artists including Sinead O Connor, Shane McGowan and Lunasa. Recently he stepped in the world of TV, co-presenting the groundbreaking show on TG4, ‘Fleadh Live’ (from Derry.) He also has his own Radio show on BBC local radio. ….. and finally, Donal Murphy, the last surviving founding member of the original ‘Dogs’. Over the years he has also performed as a member of Sliabh Notes, alongside Matt Cranitch and Tommy O’Sullivan, recorded three albums, ‘Sliabh Notes’, ‘Gleanntan’ and ‘Along Blackwaters banks’. Dónal released his long-awaited debut Solo Album “Happy Hour” in 2009 to great acclaim, and when not performing with ‘Four Men and a Dog’ can be heard regularly with his new three-piece Breaking Trad, along with Niall Murphy on Fiddle and Mike Galvin on Guitars, who’s recent album has been described as ‘Dazzling’, ‘unorthodox and unique’.

Donal released his 2nd solo box album “Tailored” in Spring 2022 showcasing many newly self-composed tunes. Tonight the 'Dogs' will be joined by James Delaney -  James Delaney is an Irish keyboard player who has, over the last 20 years, performed with a wide assortment of well-known artists such as Mary Coughlan, Van Morrison, Davy Spillane, Mick Hanly and Sharon Shannon. In the 1980s he was considered one of the legendary 'Keystone Cops' group of Irish session players who provided most of the music for projects recorded in Dublin's Keystone Studios. 

Individually, the County Down trio of Ciara McCrickard, Niall McCrickard and Stephen Rooney have toured their song and music all over their world. However, they are now combining their musical talents to collectively create a new sound which pays tribute to their traditional roots. Look forward to hearing traditional songs both in English and in Irish sang with Ciara’s unique tone and crystal ornamentation, complimented by the creative accompaniment of the very talented duo of Niall McCrickard and Stephen Rooney, who both bring experience of traditional, folk and other musical genre influences to the Fore. 

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