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The Boatman


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Fiery is a term that’s frequently used to describe great Irish trad and when applied to the music - and performance - of Connla, the fit is perfect.

They have their sweet moments too, especially when the spotlight lands on vocalist Ciara McCafferty and she gets the chance to shine.

These five tremendous musicians came together while studying at Ulster University. Their debut EP won loads of attention and rave reviews. Irish Music magazine said of the sampler: “Consider this your early warning system…there is something serious on the horizon and that creative storm is Connla.”

Their 2016-issued River Waiting, won them even more well-deserved exposure.

When legendary English folk hero Mike Harding played tracks on his radio show, he told listeners: “A terrific band - their new album is superb - do go and see them if you get the remotest chance!”

No surprise, really as they had already been crowned Best New Group in the ‘Live Ireland’ 2016 Awards.

They embarked on their latest UK tour, opening with a show for the one and only Michael McGoldrick at his club in Manchester, and went on to win a standing ovation from a capacity crowd at Grayshott in Surrey, where local promoter, Des O’Byrne said: ”People were standing and applauding at the end of the gig and I can't remember that ever happening before.

"This is another great band in the long line of illustrious traditional Irish musicians.

“Both individually and collectively Connla are a really talented group of musicians and I can see they have a great future ahead of them.”

They are busy, busy, busy with tours in Germany and Austria, and have an eye on America too.

Described as “folk sensations” in The Herald, reviewing the new album, R2 magazine called the collection “astonishing and intoxicating.” Awarding the CD a 4-star rating, Songlines concluded: “A band this young shouldn’t be this good!” fRoots magazine called it “complex yet accessible, recalling early Lúnasa,” and added: “Their Celtic/pop/ambient crossover works convincingly.”

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