Return of the Steeple Sessions

Frankie Gavin and De Dannan
Frankie Gavin and De Dannan

THE fourth edition of the ever more popular Steeple Sessions Autumn Concert Series in Dublin begins on Friday September 5, and the programme it boasts is an eclectic one

The Series has grown so much in popularity that it has now outgrown its traditional venue, the Unitarian Church. This year’s line up of atmospheric, candlelit acoustic concerts will be held in the larger yet equally ornate and historic Catholic University Church, also on St. Stephen’s Green.

The programme kicks off on September 5 with Frankie Gavin & De Dannan, while on October 17 it is the turn of Alec Finn’s recently re-formed De Danann.

Confused? Don’t be. Once described as The Rolling Stones of Irish music, De Dannan disbanded some years back, and subsequently two of its founding members Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn reformed as separate bands. Audiences can now experience both legendary masters perform in the same festival.

Gavin is widely considered to be the world’s greatest Irish fiddle player (he’s in the Guinness World Records as the fastest fiddle player in the world) and his band has been responsible for bringing some of Ireland’s immensely talented traditional performers to the world stage.

De Danann returned to the festival stage in 2009 with a new album Wonderwaltz. The band was formed in 1975 in Galway and became one of the most influential in traditional Irish music before going their separate ways in 2003. The group released their debut album “De Danann” in 1975 and in total have recorded 14 albums including Anthem, Star Spangled Molly and A Jacket of Batteries.


Famous for their cross cultural experiments, they recorded Irish versions of The Beatles Hey Jude, Handel’s The Arrival of The Queen of Sheba which they called The Arrival of The Queen of Sheba to Galway. They also recorded Jewish Klezmer music with Andy Statman, even making an album called Half Set in Harlem featuring American gospel singing.

The Máirtín O’Connor Trio plays on September 12.  Since 2001, the current line up of the Máirtín O’Connor band has been steadily evolving into a cohesive musical entity. The three musicians have built a formidable musical relationship over the last few years gigging together frequently as well as collaborating in the studio.

On September 26, No Crows take to the stage, a multicultural acoustic melting pot combining the rhythms of Catalunia and South America with original songs and tunes, Irish and American folk songs, a hint of Gypsy swing with an exotic eastern influence, and some Irish traditional music thrown into the mix.

No Crows recently added Russian Gypsy violin virtuoso Oleg Ponomarev and singer songwriter Ray Coen to the already heady mixture of Mallorcan, Swiss and Sligo musicians, and the band’s new CD, Waiting for the Tide is a collection of primarily original tunes and songs penned by all six band members. Prepare for an eclectic evening.

Seven-piece Kila conclude the festival on October 24.  Hailed as one of Ireland’s most innovative bands its members, all from Dublin come from different musical backgrounds. With roots in traditional Irish, their sound features strong, percussive-like singing underpinned by gorgeous melodies.

All the Steeple Sessions concerts take place at the Catholic University Church, St Stephen’s Green, every Friday at 8pm throughout September and October. Tickets are €20 /€18 early bird and can be booked by calling 00353 (01)6788470 or online at


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