Angela Usher (IE)

Angela has played Irish traditional music in Manchester for decades and is dedicated to perpetuating the music through successive generations in her home city, teaching and inspiring hundreds of local school age children. Whilst Angela can play many instruments very well, for many years the banjo has been her instrument of choice.

Angela’s playing is unassuming, with refreshing interpretation and the melody always shines through in her subtle, intricate playing. Her feeling for each tune is personal and heartfelt. She also flows effortlessly from banjo to tin whistle, to guitar, to mandolin and back. The Gort Mile, Angela Usher’s first album, with tenor banjo taking centre stage, was released on Banjaxed Records in July 2018.

Eileen O’Brien (IE)

Eileen comes from a family background that is steeped in the Irish tradition. Her father Paddy was instrumental in establishing the B/C style of button accordion playing as we know it today. Paddy was also one of the most prolific composers of traditional music. Her mother’s family, the “Seery” family, Dublin, were also well-known musicians. Eileen is an All-Ireland champion in both senior fiddle and senior fiddle slow airs. She is also a composer and some of her compositions have been recorded by well-known artists including John Carty and Josephine Marsh. Eileen also has an interest in liturgical music and has composed music for two masses. Eileen has been teaching music for all of her adult life and has performed and given masterclasses and lectures at various seminars and music events in many countries including U.S.A, Europe, China, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. She is a highly respected teacher and has influenced many aspiring fiddle players.

Mary McNamara (IE)

Music was a way of life when Mary was growing up in East Clare. Born in the townland of Clondanagh between Tulla and Feakle, from an early age she was in the company of the great masters of Irish Traditional Music of the region such as John Naughton, Martin Rochford, P. Joe Hayes, Francie Donnellan, Joe Bane and Bill Malley. And there was plenty of musical guidance and inheritance from her parents who were both from musical families. Mary learned much from her mother Ita whose discernment in music was unquestionable, with a musical pedigree reaching back many generations. Mary’s musical style was further honed and perfected as a young girl sitting by the fireside in the homes of Mikey Donoghue in Ballinahinch and P. Joe Hayes of Maghera and then Sunday afternoon sessions with Joe Bane and Bill Malley in Lena's Bar in Feakle. This unique musical nurturing has resulted in Mary being a highly respected musician performing at home and abroad and also one of the most sought-after teachers of Irish Music today.

Dara O’Coisdealbha (IE)

Dara O’Coisdealbha is an award-winning accordion player from a hugely talented musical family steeped in traditional Irish music and based in Co. Tipperary.  Having only recently arrived in Australia, Dara is already in huge demand due to his fine musicianship and lively performances.  He has been touring across the globe for many years, delighting audiences, and will no doubt be a valued addition to the National Celtic Festival line-up this year.

Maggie Carty & Máirtín Staunton (IRE)

Maggie Carty (banjo, vocals) and Máirtín Staunton(flute,vocals), return to the NCF in 2019 with their rhythmic music from the core of their West of Ireland heritage. After a year in Australia they explore the link between Ireland and Australia and the history that binds them through their music and song. Their harmonious vocals reminiscent of Cash and Carter with an Irish folk twist, a treat for the soul. 

Duncan Chisholm (ScT)

Duncan Chisholm is one of the most accomplished and authentic interpreters of traditional Highland fiddle music. His music is elegant, trancelike and tender, laced with strokes of genius. The natural elements that make the Highlands of Scotland such a unique canvas are the force and motivation behind his music. Duncan Chisholm, awarded Composer of the Year 2018 at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards ceremony and the celebrations continued when Duncan’s latest album Sandwood was awarded Album of the Year 2018.

Aisling Vaughan (IE)

Aisling Vaughan is a well-known and highly regarded musician, dancer and singer from Co. Cork, Ireland. She has toured extensively around Ireland, Europe and America and has had the honour of touring several times with Comhaltas Ceolóirí Éireann as a musician and dancer.

Aisling has also enjoyed great success at competition level, winning five All-Ireland Titles at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Aisling has played a big role in Sydney’s Irish Traditional music scene in the past 18 months and is the current Musician in Residence for the Irish National Association where she teaches in The Gaelic Club, Surry Hills. She is delighted to be back performing at the National Celtic Festival again this year.