Artists 2023

Aodán Coyne & Tara Howley

Ennis born Aodán Coyne is a composer, songwriter, singer and producer. He is also a principal member of acclaimed folk band Socks In The Frying Pan, who has an enviable touring schedule in the USA and on the continent having won Best Live Band 2019. Having been brought up in the musically rich Coyne family where his grandfather Eamon and father Mick were both well respected traditional musicians, he began his music career as a guitarist and bouzouki player. He has taught guitar, vocals and songwriting for a number of years and his Solo Folk album, Gaps Between Stars, was released in 2019. Over the last decade Aodán has created an unique and exciting modern sound in guitar accompaniment.

Tara Howley is a multi award winning instrumentalist, singer songwriter, composer from Kilfenora ,Co.Clare. She was the uilleann piper with Riverdance for the past 7 years and is also the first female piper to perform with Riverdance in 25 years. She has toured extensively in Europe, Asia, America and Canada. Tara has recorded live with the RTE concert orchestra as a soloist on the Uilleann pipes and whistle and also as part of the ensemble for the new re-recorded Riverdance Album. She has also performed with the Grammy nominated ‘Afro Celt Sound System’, Sir James Galway Grammy winning composer Bill Whelan, as well as performing Tara has featured on a number of documentaries & movies. She has recoded pieces for the sound track for the John Humme in America documentary, that premiered in 2017. Her music is featured on the new animated movie “Riverdance the animated adventure”. Tara is working on a new album of original songs and tunes to be released in 2023.

Performances:

Thu 20.4. 19:00 – G Livelab
Fri 21.4. 19:00 – Tampereen Ylioppilasteatteri – Featuring with the Testostenorit

Trio Croisin

Eimear Coughlan from Tulla in Co. Clare continues the musical heritage of her grandfather Paddy Canny. As a multi-instrumentalist, she has performed on several music tours throughout Europe with the “Irish Harp Orchestra”. Over the past number of years, Eimear has accumulated many All Ireland titles at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. While also a fiddle player, Eimear learned her music from her grandfather and in more recent times, she has been performing with the highly acclaimed Tulla Céilí Band. Eimear’s harp playing can be heard on the new album “Úrnua” with Carl Hession and Francis Cunningham.

Francis Cunningham hails from Crusheen, Co. Clare. Described by Kevin Crawford as one of the finest young exponents of the concertina with a strong emphasis on the Clare tradition. He has just released an album with Carl Hession and Eimear Coughlan featuring 40 original compositions by Carl entitled “Úrnua”. Having won All Ireland concertina titles, he has taught and performed at various festivals.

Edel Vaughan has been the lead vocalist with the Kilfenora Céilí Band’ since 2016. Since her last successful album “Spreagtha”, Edel has been very busy touring extensively at home and abroad. As a solo performer over the years she has performed with many musicians, composers and performers. Edel has truly kept her roots in Clare, teaching traditional song with Comhaltas, teaching the Irish Language in the prestigious St. Flannan’s College.

Performances:

Fri 21.4. 21:00 – Ravintola Telakka
Sat 22.4. 18:00 – Tampereen Ylioppilasteatteri – Edel ja Eimear feature in the “I Will Sing Yo A Story” concert

Eala

Antti Havia is a violinist from Kaustinen, who is also familiar with the banjo and other string instruments. He is most comfortable in a gloomy jam corner in the middle of his favorite tunes. He dreams of instilling the Irish jam tradition in Ravintola Pelimanni, in Kaustinen. Antti has delighted with his playing in Eala since its beginnings.

Jyrki Koivisto’s enthusiasm for Irish music goes back to the years in Helsinki and O’Malley’s Sunday night jams. He has previously played e.g. in the band “Reel Music” and with Harry Bent and Dave Murphy. With Eala, Jyrki’s instruments are guitar, busuki and mandolin. Jyrki has played in Eala since the beginning.

Noora Karjalainen is a music lecturer and a long-time member of Eala band. Noora has completed Irish music and dance studies in many different levels and schools. Her instruments include the bodhran drum, tin whistles, concertina, and she is also the band’s lead singer.

Maija Koskenalusta is the festival’s art director, composer, musician and music lecturer. Maija has studied Irish music at the University of Limerick. She currently works with several Irish musicians on many musical projects. Maija’s instruments include the Irish flute, tin whistles, piano and vocals. She is one of the founding members of Eala. Maija currently works as a theater musician at the Tampere Workers’ Theatre. Her most recent Theater work is the composition of the musical play “Mrs Tilda of the Theate”r and she also works as a musician for the play.

Performances:

Thu 20.4. 19:00 – G Livelab
Sat 22.4. 18:00 – Tampereen Ylioppilasteatteri – Noora and Maija feature in the “I Will Sing You A Story” concert

Brách

Laura Airola is an extremely versatile professional violinist, composer, lyricist and arranger. Besides Brách she plays e.g. in the Django Collective Helsinki, Riku Niemi Orchestra and Mustarastas, to name a few examples. She got involved in the Irish music through the group Mustarastas. She ended up joining Markus for duet tracks on his solo album and then joining Brách. Her musical career consists of over a hundred appearances on records. Laura also plays nyckelharpa, the national instrument of Sweden.

Flautist Markus Asunta embarked on a journey of Irish music around the turn of the millennium. Earlier on he had gotten a souvenir tin whistle from his sister, but one night his friends lured him to a session with promises of a free pint. As nights like that sometimes do, it turned out to be a longer voyage than imagined. Besides a seemingly endless chain of music sessions it took him to spend a year in Ireland, studying the flute at the University of Limerick under the guidance of Niall Keegan, June McCormack and Kirsten Allstaff. In 2008 Markus Asunta released his debut solo album Kuin unta ja varjoa (Like dream and shadow) and in 2012 he was one of the finalists in the first Seán Ó Ríada Gold Medal competition.

Ville Karas is one of the relatively few Finnish exponents of the Irish bouzouki. With a background in the acoustic guitar, he got into Irish music around the turn of the millennium. erving as a tour manager for many of the groups touring Finland as a part of the Irish Festival in Finland, Ville learned the secrets of the trade and befriended many mighty musicians, such as Cyril O’Donoghue and Eoin O’Neill. Besides the bouzouki, Ville also plays tenor banjo.

Performances:

Fri 21.4. 21:00 – Ravintola Telakka
Sat 22.4. 13:00 and 16:00 – Hällä Stage – Laura and Markus feature in the “Lähtö” performance

Other performers

Petra Karjalainen is an actress, singer and singing teacher from Tampere. She works at Tampere Workers’ Theatre, where she is mostly seen in big musical roles. Love for Irish music and especially singing Irish songs, storytelling and interaction with the audience are a great source of joy for Petra.

Performances:
Sat 22.4. 18:00 – Tampereen Ylioppilasteatteri – “I Will Sing You a Story”

Eugene Chernov started playing folk music in 2004 in St. Petersburg. His main instrument is the guitar, and in addition to this he also plays the bouzouki, mandolin and bodhran. ugene has performed in several different projects and ensembles at festivals and is an active Irish music session player. He plays Celtic, Nordic, medieval and Ingrian folk music and combines different musical elements with metal music and progressive rock music.

Performances:
Sat 22.4. 13:00 and 16:00 – Hällä Stage – Musician in the “Lähtö” performance

Dancers

Mark Hennessey is a multidisciplinary artist and educator with a distinct style and vision. He has had a varied career ranging from performing as a dancer and soloist musician touring with Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames & Celtic Tiger. Mark also composes in a range of styles including traditional and contemporary Irish music. Mark is the creator and Musical Director of the European Irish Music Ensemble. He has also developed “Trad Culture”, a specially devised program for young children. Among other things, he has previously lectured at Trinity College, Dublin.

Performances:
Thu 20.4. 19:00 – G Livelab
Fri 21.4. 20:30 – Ravintola Telakka – Ceili workshop
Sat 22.4. 13:00 and 16:00 – Hällä Stage – “Lähtö” 

Laura Merisaari is a passionate Irish dance enthusiast and has been involved in the scene for a decade competing, performing and teaching. Laura has gathered experience and lessons about Irish dancing from her Czech teacher, as well as while living in Switzerland and Ireland. In her competitive career, Laura has achieved e.g. Nordic championship (2015) and the 2nd place at the Continental European Championship (2016). Laura currently works as an Irish dance teacher in Helsinki at the inSpiral Dance Company.

Performances:
Sat 22.4. 13:00 and 16:00 – Hällä Stage – “Lähtö” 

Fuarán Irish Dancers

Laura Ahonen started practicing Irish dance in 2015. Right from the beginning it was clear that she had found her thing. During the past years of dancing, Laura has been able to compete, perform and later also teach dance lessons. However, the most important thing for her has been the fact that she has met many amazing people.

Karoliina Hirvonen has practiced Irish dance for over 15 years. In the dance, Karoliina loves its technicality and rhythmicity, as well as how the music and dance together create a captivating experience for both the audience and the dancer. She has accumulated performance and competition experience both at home and abroad. Karoliina practices and teaches Irish dance at the inSpiral Dance Company Finland dance school and she is one of the most sought-after Irish dance teachers in Finland.

Belinda Mäki started Irish dancing in 2015. Since then, she has been actively involved in Irish dance activities in Finland and participated in several international workshops and completed official Irish dance level exams. Belinda has competed in solo and group dances both in Finland and abroad. Her most memorable competition experience is competing in the ceili dance team at the European Championships in Poland in 2017.

Helena Rängman is a freelance actress, singer and dancer from Tampere. Irish dance has been part of her journey for twenty years, and now her childhood hobby of playing the flute lives on through the Irish flute and tin whistles. “Lähtö” is Helena’s first script and direction based on the Irish dance and music. In the past, she has directed and dramatized numerous musical theater performances and miniature operas. Helena has performed in musicals in many Finnish theaters and numerous TV series.

Jenni Saari. Riverdance once sparked Jenni’s interest in Irish dancing. The steps of Irish dance have been refined once a week for several years already under Virpi Miljar’s teaching. Irish music and the enchanting nature of Ireland are also close to Jenni’s heart.

Saara Hasu-Varttila got excited about Irish dance after seeing a Riverdance performance in the early 2000s. Irish dancing has remained in Saara’s heart ever since, although she was only able to return to the floor in 2018. In Saara’s opinion, the best thing about Irish dance is rhythm, challenge and athleticism. Saara has studied, for example, at the Riverdance Summer School in Dublin.

Performances:

Sat 22.4. 13:00 and 16:00 – Hällä Stage – “Lähtö”

Salla Rimmi & Niilo Sirola

Salla Rimmi is a singer and vocal coach with experience in singing solo, harmonies, in vocal ensembles and more. At the moment, the closest thing to her heart is folk music of all kinds, e.g. Irish and Celtic folk or even bluegrass. Salla’s voice is heard e.g. on the five albums of the folk rock band Greenrose Faire. She also found her husband and duo partner Niilo from within the band, but only after some twists worthy of at least one ballad!

Niilo Sirola is a bouzouki, mandolin and tenor banjo player, as well as a versatile producer and recording and mixing engineer. His path with Irish music began in 2008 at an Irish traditional music course where he entered as a rock bassist and came out as a mandolin player. Since then, Niilo has taught the Irish music course for some years, organized Irish music sessions in the Tampere region, and currently serves as the chairman of the Irish Music Society of Tampere.

Performances:
Sat 22.4. 15:00 – Pub Sisko ja sen Veli

Testostenorit

Testostenorit is a young men’s choir operating in Kangasala. The band was founded on the initiative of Kangasala high school students in 2010. When thinking about the name of the choir, one of the singers suggested “Testostenors” and as jokes often do, the name was immediately taken to use. In the beginning their activities were focused on having fun and a stage show, but for years the choir has been developing its singing skills by specializing in e.g. in the Irish singing tradition. Today, Testostenorit is a versatile and tonal male choir, whose repertoire covers a wide range of music genres.

Performances:
Fri 21.4. 19:00 – Tampereen Ylioppilasteatteri
Sat 22.4. 13:00 and 16:00 – Hällä Stage – Featuring in the “Lähtö” performance

The Pink House

The Pink House is a trio of three young women united by their love for Ireland and Irish music. The trio’s music combines beautiful stemma singing, strong storytelling and, above all, friendship.

Eveliina Virtanen (Irish harp, vocals)
Hanna Kainisto (vocals)
Saana Hellsten (vocals)

Performances:
Fri 21.4. 19:00 – Tampereen Ylioppilasteatteri – Featuring with the Testostenorit