SEAMIE O DOWD
Traditional Irish, Folk, Blues and Contemporary Music
Seamie O Dowd is a guitarist,singer, and songwriter who also plays fiddle,harmonica,mandolin,and a number of other instruments.
He has travelled worldwide playing music and has shared stages and played with many great musicians and bands including;
Mairtin O'Connor, Cathal Hayden, Christy Moore, The Chieftains, Jimmy Higgins, Tommy Emmanuel, Dervish,Steve Wickham,Matt Molloy, Liam O'Flynn,Thom Moore, Dick Gaughan, Cathy Jordan, Rick Epping, Kieran Quinn, John Joe Kelly. Aminah Hughes and many others.
His experience also includes recording production, teaching and more recently, film soundtrack work, and encompasses solo performance as well as extensive work with bands and small groups as both a member and a session musician.
Read on for a more detailed biog if required.
(It's a bit long so maybe a tea or coffee beside you won't go astray! )
SEAMIE O DOWD. Full biog.
Seamie O Dowd was brought up by parents steeped in the musical traditions of South County Sligo, Ireland. His mother, Shiela, was a highly respected musician and teacher whose father and brothers all played fiddle, while his father, Joe, was renowned as a fiddle player among musicians and music lovers worldwide. Seamie himself began playing fiddle at about eight years of age.
Making his first radio broadcast when he was ten years old,he established himself in competition and elsewhere as one of the finest fiddlers of his age in the west of Ireland. He began to cut his teeth in the local session scene alongside his parents and by the age of eighteen he was playing guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, bodhran and fiddle, as well as starting to gain a reputation as a singer.
He soon immersed himself in the extremely vibrant local rock and alternative music scene that existed in Sligo in the mid to late 1980s, becoming quite a talking point as an electric guitarist. His first rock band, "Peel The Grape" gained national airplay and local notoriety before breaking up in the late 1980s. He subsequently played with musical neighbour Gerry Grennan in a few acoustic and electric folk/blues outfits around Ireland as well as the theatre/folk pub circuit in Germany until the early nineties.
After a spell playing mainly around the north-west of Ireland,he was approached by a few friends who had established a band called "Dervish" and become one of Irelands major musical exports.
They toured world-wide playing to some of the biggest audiences that any band of any genre has ever played to. Seamie devised a new tuning for guitar and,along with Brian Mc Donagh and Michael Holmes, created a three-way rhythm section that became a hallmark of the band sound for the next six years.
The line-up recorded two award-winning albums, Midsummers Night and Spirit. In 2004 they were presented with the Freedom of Sligo Borough at a function held for them by Sligo Corporation.
While still with Dervish,Seamie was introduced to Mairtin O'Connor, arguably Ireland's most innovative accordion player to date, for what was initially planned as a one off performance, but out of this grew a working relationship that has lasted for nearly two decades.
He was actively involved in the making of two of Mairtin's solo albums, The Road West and Rain of Light, both of which received critical acclaim. The response to Seamie's playing on these albums (in particular, The Road West) coupled with numerous performances with various line ups of Mairtin's band (most recently,the pared down,extremely popular line-up of Mairtin, Cathal Hayden and Seamie) have served as confirmation that he can musically hold his own with the very best.
The above trio have recorded two albums, the critically acclaimed "Crossroads" album, and the 2012 release,"Going Places". Mairtin O'Connor and Cathal Hayden and Seamie have toured extensively around Ireland, Great Britain, mainland Europe, and more recently in Australia and New Zealand.
They have also toured the US as part of the "Masters of Tradition concerts" organised by musical director and top flight Irish fiddle innovator Martin Hayes. "Crossroads" has received widespread acclaim, including being voted one of the top Irish albums by New York's Irish Voice publication.
The trio have also toured and collaborated with the legendary Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, as well as touring with the legendary Christy Moore, with whom they guested on two albums, "Lily" and the double live "On The Road."
He recorded his first solo album, Headful Of Echoes, in 2006. It received critical acclaim from many sources and was playlisted on radio programmes in Ireland, the U.K., mainland Europe, Australia, and the U.S. His second solo CD "Wood And Iron" is an all instrumental traditional Irish guitar album that was cited as among the best Irish guitar recordings by Irish Music Magazine. Also guesting on the album were his son Stephen, Cathy Jordan, Kieran Quinn, Claudia Schwab, Aminah Hughes, Si Mallumby and the mighty Tommy Emmanuel.
As well as playing with uillean piper Liam O'Flynn,and producing a number of critically acclaimed albums, Seamie has involved himself with a number of musicians and projects, including the trio "The Unwanted", which features himself, Dervish singer Cathy Jordan and harmonica player Rick Epping. Their CD Music Of The Atlantic Fringe was picked in Irish music publication "Hot Press" as one of their top ten albums of the year.
In 2010 he was granted a further honour by Sligo Borough Corporation when the town's mayor afforded him a civic reception in acknowledgement of his contribution to the cultural life of Sligo
Seamie maintains working relationships with many of the people mentioned above and has also recorded an album with Kieran Quinn, an extremely gifted pianist from Sligo. Almost all original music inspired by the concept of fusion of jazz and traditional Irish idioms,, they based it almost entirely on acoustic guitar and piano which is not common in jazz circles and virtually unheard of in traditional Irish circles.The pair have begun working with bodhran/ percussion player John Joe Kelly on a project of original music that will hopefully bear fruit early next year.