With an exciting blend of eclectic fiddle and guitar music, Zoë Conway and John Mc Intyre bring to the stage sympathetic arrangements of traditional Irish music, compositions and songs, old and new. The husband and wife folk duo possesses a rare facility to draw pieces into their repertoire from other genres such as classical, jazz and world music and express this material in way which not only displays the sheer range and knowledge of both instrumentalists but also exhibits the wonderful versatility of their instruments.
They have released two recordings to date – the newest release is a superb collection of live European performances, Live in Concert, released in spring 2017. The album showcases their mesmerising musical interaction on-stage, and also reveals some of their more virtuosic repertoire outside of the Irish traditional genre. Relaxed and atmospheric, the respect and understanding that they have of traditional Irish music and song also shines through.
Their debut duo album, entitled Go Mairir I Bhfad (Long Life To You), received a glorious 5 stars from national paper, The Irish Times. For this unique album, they commissioned twelve leading Irish composers to each compose a piece specifically for Zoë and John, for fiddle and guitar, with the aim of collectively presenting a snapshot of traditional Irish music alive today. The renowned composers who took part in the project were Liz Carroll, Steve Cooney, Frankie Gavin, Andy Irvine, Charlie Lennon, Donal Lunny, Máirtín O’Connor, Peadar Ó Riada, Mícheál Ó Súilleabhán, Tommy Peoples, Niall Vallely and Bill Whelan.
They have also been collaborating with award winning musicians, Julie Fowlis and Eamon Doorley, and in Autumn 2018 released a new collection of songs inspired by Irish and Scots Gaelic poetry entitled, ‘Allt’. Emotive and powerful melodies coupled with thoughtful and understanding accompaniment, this album recorded live in the round, captures the spirit and the energy of a live performance. The release of these albums has brought international attention to the duo, and so they are increasingly in demand in Ireland and abroad for performances, talks and workshops.
Zoë, no stranger to the stage, has performed with an impressive list of international artists including Riverdance, Damien Rice, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Rodrigo y Gabriella to mention but a few. In contrast to this, she has been an important figure within classical music circles in Ireland and abroad, as her crossover discipline has allowed her the pleasure of appearing as soloist with acclaimed orchestras such as The Irish Chamber Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and German WDR Symphony Orchestra; pieces recited include her own compositions and works composed for her by world renowned Irish composer, Bill Whelan.
John grew up in the Cooley Mountains of north County Louth where he took up guitar at 8 years of age. He began his career as electric guitarist with the successful indie band, The Revs with whom he performed on many famous stages and festivals including Oxygen, and Slane in Ireland, Reading and Leeds in the UK, and toured extensively in USA, Australia and Europe. He has worked alongside many world renowned producers, and is now also producing and recording in many genres. John studied classical guitar and piano for many years, and from early childhood was immersed in the language, songs and traditional dance music of south west Donegal – his father’s homeplace.
Together, Zoë Conway and John Mc Intyre have been described as “simply one of the best folk duos on the planet” (BBC), and audiences in Ireland and beyond keep coming back for more. They have performed for rock stars, millionaires and dignitaries around the world, including Irish Presidents Mary Mc Aleese and Michael D. Higgins. Zoë is a ‘Folk Instrumentalist of the Year 2018’ nominee from RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards. They were awarded Best Live Show from popular YouTube channel, Balcony TV, and have received in excess of a combined half a million views online.
“An ceol is binne agus is cruinne dá gcuala mé riamh.”
“simply one of the best folk duos on the planet”