David Munnelly Band

Years at Winfield: 

The David Munnelly Band is one of Ireland's most exciting groups. With their exuberant style, as wild & free as the West coast of Ireland where they are based, the David Munnelly Band has been making waves on both sides of the Atlantic with their high energy, ragtime inspired traditional Irish music.

Since their 2005 debut appearance at Walnut Valley, the band has been headlining numerous festivals across the U.S. & in Europe, including Milwaukee's Irish Fest (largest in the world), Celtic Fest Chicago, Bethlehem Musikfest, New York's Irish Arts Week, Cleveland's Irish Cultural Festival and Michigan's BlissFest. They headlined Ireland's prestigious Ballyshannon Festival in 2006 & 2008, and have performed at Belgium's Dranouter Festival (largest in Europe), Denmark's Skagen Festival, the Israel Irish Festival, and Scotland's Celtic Connections. During their 2005 & 2006 concerts at The Kennedy Center, families danced in the aisles to the band's infectious music.

The band has been featured around the world on BBC World Television's "Destination Music" program, and on a PBS special, and NPR concerts in America. UK music critic Aiden Crossey says, "Music like this doesn't come along every day. Catch a ride on the Munnelly juggernaut & enjoy the journey." 

David Munnelly 
Accordion, melodeon, piano 

Irish button accordion wizard David Munnelly brings new excitement and depth to traditional music while drawing for inspiration on past masters including the Roaring 20's Flanagan Brothers. The David Munnelly Band exploded onto the scene with hit albums in Europe & Japan, dual CD releases in North America, and a full tour schedule. "They are a creative force at the true epicentre of Irish traditional music." (liveIreland.com)

David has toured & performed with The Chieftains, DeDanaan, and other legendary Irish artists. David also composed & recorded the original soundtrack for the TG4 special "Solas sa nDorchadasm" for which he received the 2004 Composer of the Year Award. He also received the 2005 Composer of the Year Award.

In 2001, David released his first CD, Swing, in effort to craft a sound that was both unique, yet reminiscent of the free-spirited exuberance which typified the American Irish Dance Hall scene of the Roaring 20's. In 2003, he and his band joined the prestigious Irish Unplugged tour of Europe with Francis Black. One year later, David's second CD, "By Heck," was released to critical & popular acclaim in Ireland, Europe & Japan, and was recently released as well in North America.

2005 saw the band's highly successful U.S. Debut Tour, when they covered over 10,000 miles on the highways & byways of America, from Maine's Atlantic coast to Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Michigan's North Woods to Kansas' Great Plains. In 2006, David & the group have been featured around the world on the BBC World Television programme "Destination Music: Ireland." In America, they are featured in a two part concert on the National Public Radio program "Celtic Connections," and in a PBS Television special.

Now poised to conquer a new continent with their peerless playing, unique musical style, and irrepressible enthusiasm, come see for yourselves why, in describing David Munnelly, German music promoter Carston Linde says, "Pure Irish magic! 

Kieran Munnelly 
Flute, bodhrán, snare, backing vocals 

Kieran is a young flute player and percussionist hailing from the west of Ireland. Kieran is a founding member of the David Munnelly band. He continues to keep his musical collaborations alive and vibrant. Kieran released In Safe Hands with Aidan O Donnell (TG4 Young Musician of the Year, 2010) to critical acclaim. Kieran continues to work on the live circuit with some of the freshest talent on the celtic/folk/roots scene, and despite basking amongst the success of today's best known traditional musicians, Kieran has by no means reached the peak of his career. He has performed with world renown musicians such as Bobby McFerrin as well as along side leading traditional artists ranging from Matt Molloy, to Kieran Goss. His skills go beyond the art of stage performance - he has also conquered the academic sector of the tradition graduating from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick with First Class Honours.

He continues his studies as he balances his musical career with a Masters in Traditional Music within the same highly acclaimed institute. He has managed to achieve what many his age would aspire to have attempted over the course of a lifetime.

Kieran will go on to influence a generation to follow. 

Shauna Mullins 

All-Ireland singing Champion and award-winner (Newcomer of the Year, LiveIreland, 2008) Shauna has been singing from an early age and attributes much of her style and repertoire to her family, namely her granduncle, the great Paddy Tunney. Having studied under the tuition of Dr Michael O'Suilleabhain at the University of Limerick for five years where she earned a degree and a masters in traditional Irish music, she joined the David Munnelly Band in 2007 and has been singing with them professionally for the past three years.

Philippe Barnes 
Guitar, flute

Philippe is one of the leading exponents of traditional music on a Boehm system flute.

In 2008 Philippe graduated from the University of Limerick with an MA - First Class Honours in Irish Traditional Music Performance. Since then he has toured all over Europe & America playing guitar & flute with the David Munnelly Band, toured Australia with his Celtic Jazz-Funk group All Jigged Out, & covered the british isles with Folk Hip-Hop rising stars Dizraeli & The Small Gods (on guitar, flute, keys and gaita!). Three-time runner up in the BBC Young Folk Awards and highly commended at the Danny Kyle Stage, Philippe has also appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC 2, Discovery Channel, MTV, ITV & TG4. Discography includes: Philippe Barnes & Tom Phelan "The Madrid Sessions" (Contemporary Celtic Flute & Piano), Lee Westwood Ensemble "The Nymph Suite & Other Stories" (Debussy-esque Flute, Guitar, Violin, Cello), All Jigged Out "Wish Hill", Attab Haddad Quintet "Days Distinctive" (Flamenco Arabic Oud-led Fusion)

Paul Kelly 
Mandolin, fiddle

Paul is an experienced multi-instrumentalist musician from Dublin, Ireland, who is equally at home in a variety of different styles of music. At 12 years of age, and already playing the guitar for five years, Paul was introduced to Irish Traditional Music by neighbour and well known fiddler Des Carty. During his teenage years he developed as a banjo and mandolin player, making many trips to Fleadhs (Irish Music Festivals), as well as many weekends in Co. Clare, where his style was honed, playing regularly with the Russell brothers from Doolin, Noel Hill, Tony Linnane and other great Clare musicians.

Paul added the fiddle to his repertoire and play with different folk bands in the Dublin area.

After Paul discovered Bluegrass he spent four years as fiddler with 'The Sackville String Band'. The band's reputation was such that many visiting U.S. musicians would jam on stage with them and so Paul got to hear and play with Bluegrass legends like Peter Rowan, Tex Logan and Kenny Baker.

A book of 110 tunes selected from his vast repertoire (including some of his own compositions) was published in 2007 and is widely distributed in the States by Mel Bay. Paul's fiddle playing is also featured on Grand Theft Auto IV, the worlds biggest selling video game.

Nic Gareiss 

A native of the state of Michigan, Nic Gareiss' dancing incorporates footwork vocabulary from many step dance styles to rhythmically accompany traditional music. Nic has studied a broad variety of percussive movement forms, focusing primarily on the dance traditions associated with North American fiddle tunes. In his teens, Gareiss received dual scholarships from the Wheatland Music Organization and the Augusta Heritage Center to apprentice with the internationally recognized company, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. Through high school, Gareiss performed with Footworks, including an ensemble role in "The Crossing," their production with Grammy-winning songwriter Tim O'Brien. During that period, at the tender age of sixteen, he took second place at the 2003 Clifftop Flat-footing contest in the 15-49 age group.

From his wide berth of traditional dance experience, Nic has gleaned figurations, motives and shoe sounds from percussive dance traditions worldwide. This becomes most evident when he is performing with a live musician, engaging in a musical dialogue between feet and instrument. Using imitation, ornaments and contrasting rhythmic patterns, Gareiss really is creating music on the floor.

With the David Munnelly Band, Nic integrates Irish dance traditions with American tap dance, exploring the reaction of Irish immigrants to the infectious spirit of jazz they encountered in the 1920s as they settled in the United States. Nic has danced at the Milwaukee Irish Festival, Virginia's Wolf Trap Farm Park, the Ann Arbor Ark, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and most recently at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. He has performed as a featured soloist with Solas, Dervish, Le Vent Du Nord and the Chieftains and has also taught at Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle Camp in northern California. In 2007, Nic spent a year studying traditional Irish music and dance performance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland. 


Concert of the Year 
Bill Margeson, LiveIreland.com 
March 2007 

We were at the Concert of the Year Thursday night, March 8. The David Munnelly Band was at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago under the invite of the man, John Daly and his concert series, featuring the best in Irish music.

The five artists provided the greatest Irish music concert we have ever attended. Dave Munnelly on box, Kieran Munnelly on flute and bodhran, Tony Byrne on guitar, and Paul Kelly on fiddle and mandolin were joined by guest vocalist, Chicago's own Kat Eggleston, in a stunner of an evening. Just ask anyone smart enough to have been there. The tunes! Good Lord -- then there was Kat singing her heart out and winning ours all over again.

As we write this, it was five nights ago, and we are still gobsmacked and out of words. Unbelievable.

What a great night!!! 

A Tour to Remember 
Paul Keating - Irish Voice 
August 2006 

ONE of the vignettes from the Catskills last month that will remain forever etched in my mind was an early morning rendezvous between two mighty box players a generation apart.

One man was last year's TG4 Traditional Musician of the Year, and the other received a Composer of the Year award from them as well in 2004 and 2005.

Perched on the porch bench outside Furlong's, the great music pub, sat Corkman Jackie Daly and Mayoman David Munnelly playing accordion duets with tunes that were as varied as they were masterful. Polkas, waltzes, reels, hornpipes and jigs played note for note in an amazing display of respect and recognition between the two box players like I had never seen before.

The ace Bullet from Belmullet made a big impression in the Catskills this summer, and even more so when his full band joined him at the weekend to perform in East Durham. Their jazzy, innovative approach to traditional music make the David Munnelly Band a real crowd-pleaser for sure, and one of the more fascinating groups coming out of Ireland these days.

Listening to them and watching them give a fresh contemporary interpretation to the music of the 1920's associated with the Flanagan Brothers, make them the band to see if you can.

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