Established in June 2016, Ériu consists of three musicians from the north of Ireland, Caoimhe Ní Chathail on main vocals, Aodán (Jaff) Mac Shéafraidh on vocals, pipes, whistles and bouzouki and Frank Cassidy on guitar and bouzouki and vocals (when we twist his arm!)
Caoimhe hails from West Belfast in County Antrim from a musical family on both sides including both folk songs and instruments has been singing from very young having grown up on the music of The Clancys, Tommy Makem, Andy Irvine, Planxty and Christy Moore to name but a few. Other
influences include Billie Holiday and Nina Simone and of course the unforgettable Edith Piaf. Pegged by Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin as "Eartha Kitt na Gaeilge" (The Eartha Kitt of the Irish language) Caoimhe's rich vocals and sensitivity to the meaning of the words creates a magical presentation of traditional Irish language songs from Ulster and Caoimhe's translations of major songs from artists such as Edith Piaf, Jaques Brel, Bill Withers and Joni Mitchell.
Aodán Mac Shéafraidh (Jaff) a traditional musician originally from Carrickfergus was first introduced to traditional music as a teenager in the Glens of Antrim. Aodán integrates vocal and instrumental music in an interpretation that sees the fusion of the Gaelic culture of Scotland and Ireland as being at the heart of the Gaelic cultural experience. Playing Uilleann Pipes, Feadóg (Whistle) and Bouzouki, Aodán spent several years playing the folk music festival circuit in Australia, where he recorded several albums with Australian Celtic influence bands such as Tulca Mór, Shebeen and The Jar, as well as recording television soundtracks. A recording collaboration with fellow piper Billy McCormick produced the album “Just Intonational” which received very positive reviews. Aodán currently plays regular traditional sessions in north Antrim.
Experience : over 30 years experience playing mandolin, bouzouki, whistles and uilleann pipes. Aodán has a wide experience of playing in many genres of music, however the majority of his music experience has been with traditional music in Ireland and amongst the Irish community in Australia.
Musical training : Traditional music training acquired from many trad musicians over many years, focussed almost entirely on the oral/aural tradition.
Recordings: Aodán has recorded several traditional and folk music albums in Australia and Ireland, including recordings with high profile Australian Celtic band Tulca Mór as well as with “Shebeen” and “The Jar”. In 2006 Aodán recorded the CD “Just Intonational” with Co. Clare based piper, Billy McCormick. Aodán has also recorded on many televsion sound tracks such the Canadian Television series “The Lost World” based on Conan Doyle’s famous novel.
Aodán also played in the Ballycastle-based band Fonn for several years with Micheál Ó Seanáin, Catherine Sands and Caoimhe Ní Chathail.
Frank is the backbone of the group, providing funky rhythms and stunning runs on both bouzouki and guitar. From Kilkeel in County Down, Frank is a well renowned musician in his own right
having recorded on many albums with singers such as George Murphy, Mary Dillon, Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band and of course his sister Jane Cassidy. Known for his stunning, controlled and sensitive accompaniment and his keen sense of when "it's right", Frank combines traditional tunes with jazzy chords and ambitious runs and using his McIlroy guitar bouzouki creates a unique sound inspired by his hero Donal Lunny.