More Bodhrán Performers


This is a friendly website: I'll list any bodhránist playing in a band, playing gigs, or teaching classes. If you or your favorite drummer isn't listed, let me know. If possible, please include names of bands, sources for particular recordings, and like that.


Junior Davey

Davey is a five-time All-Ireland champion, and has retired from competition (perhaps to give someone else a chance!). He tells us his inspiration was Ringo MacDonagh's music with Arcady, and his favorite bodhránists today are Mossie Griffin, Ronan Maloney and John Joe Kelly. He uses drums made by Seamus O'Kane, Darius Bartlett and Norbert Eckerman. He also teaches. We've heard him on The Sound of Coleman Country (Coleman Heritage Center, County Sligo; phone 011-353-71-82599). He was fantastic. He has an album out, playing with Declan Folan and Andy Davey, Junior's father. Skin and Bow is published by Sound Records, Grattan Street, Sligo, phone 353 071 43784. He's also featured on Siona -Launching the Boat, Peace in Eirn - Mai Hernon, Bri - Nigel Davey, Cadenza - Making Waves, Loosing Air - Garry Shannon and on Oisin McDiarmada, Brian Fitzgerald and Michael Rooney (no title)"

David Fallon, The Chieftains

Fallon was a member of the original Chieftains, but appeared only on their first album, Chieftains 1. Here's an AU sound clip from that album, courtesy of Jeremy Skinner.

Steaphan Hannigan, Sin E

Andy's Front Hall also recommends Hannigan's album Natural Selection (Ossian OSS 58). Hannigan is also the author of one of the better introductory book and video sets for the bodhrán.

Tommy Hayes considers Lunny to be the greatest practioner of the hand style of play; Johnny McDonagh considered him one of the two top players active.

Lunny plays beautifully in Music in the Glen, on Old Hag, on The Best of the Bothy Band (Green Linnet 3001), and on Altan's The Red Crow (Green Linnet 1109). He joins Colm Murphy in Altan's A Bhean Udai Thall on Horse with a Heart (Green Linnet 1095).

Colin Hogg

Hogg was All-Ireland on the bodhrán in 1995 and 1996. He teaches in the summer.

Donal Lunny, Bothy Band, Planxty

[Picture] Gino Lupari, Four Men and a Dog (also here)

Lupari has the dual distinction of being one of the finest and the largest bodhrán-player. He shines on both of the group's albums, and leads the song that may be the bodhrán-player's anthem, Wrap It Up.

Barking Mad, Green Linnet 3085.
Shifting Gravel, Green Linnet 3084.

Mel Mercier

Mercier, son of Peadar Mercier, and now a faculty member at University College Cork, is a fine bodhrán player. Tommy Hayes calls him the greatest bones player alive. He has an instructional video. His skill on the bodhrán can be heard on Mícháel O Súilleabháin's Casadh (Virgin, CDVE 904).

[Picture] Peadar Mercier , Ceoltóirí Chualann, The Chieftains


Mercier played with The Chieftains from 1969 to 1976, replacing David Fallon, and appearing on Chieftains 2 through Chieftains 5. Jeremy Skinner provides an AU sound clip from Chieftains 4. Alan Ng recommends Chieftains 3 and Chieftains 4.

[Picture] Christy Moore, Planxty , Moving Hearts

Moore shows off his artistry on his album Live at the Point. Also check out the songs Green Island and Aisling, on the album Smoke and Strong Whiskey (Columbia/Newberry Records). Johnny McDonagh considers him one of the two top players active. He exclusively plays drums made by Malachy Kearns, shown on the left in the picture.

Robbie Walsh

I had the great pleasure of meeting Walsh in June 1997, when he was in New York for a few months. I had not heard him perform before, and I was absolutely floored by his lively, jazzy style. He played a relatively unornamented style, but with very pure tone and very precise use of pitch, following the rhythm and melody very closely. Overall, his style is exceptionally musical.

Walsh was bodhrán champion of Leinster from 1979 to 1985. He has played bodhrán since the early 70s, playing with Van Morrison, Declan Masterson, Clannad, Jackie Daly, Sean Keane, and most recently with Sean Tyrell and Davey Spillane. Walsh also teaches.

[Picture] Jesse Winch, Celtic Thunder (discography)

Once upon a time, seeing Winch play in NYC on St. Patrick's Day was what convinced me to teach myself to play bodhrán. Winch has been at the forefront of the Irish music scene in the US for years; he was once a student of Johnny McDonagh.

Celtic Thunder's first album was self-titled (Green Linnet 1029); I have their second, The Light of Other Days (Green Linnet 1086), and their new album, Hard New York Days, (Rego Records R3035, phone them at 800-854-3746; re-issued by Kells Music KM-9503, phone 800-854-3746 or e-mail to They also appear on The Rights of Man: The Concert for Joseph Doherty (SIF 1111) track 6.

Winch shines on The Light of Other Days, and has a solo piece called The Flaming Shillelagh which really shows off his talent. It has some rather silly mixer tricks -- the drum bounces back and forth between the left and right speak -- but only for a few seconds. Hard New York Days also shows off Winch's talents and includes another solo piece. I saw the band at their album release party at Tommy Makems in NYC, where they played a lot of the music on the new album. About half the time, Winch played his bodhrán with a framedrum style. He also uses doumbek and ceili drums on the album. Winch has another solo on The Rights of Man.

In October 1995, Winch took part in a session in NYC which was filmed by PBS for a special on Evelyn Glennie, the Scottish percussionist. Along with Winch, the session included Linda Hickman (flute and whistle), Patrick Ourceau (fiddle), Eamon O'Leary (banjo), and Greg Anderson (bazouki). The special should air in April.

These days, Winch is touring with two bodhráns: One by Charlie Byrne and one of Fred Halpin's new tunable drums with a tanned goathide skin. He also teaches.

Thanks to Jeff Cook for the photo.


Albert Alfonso

Mark Stone writes that Alfonso is "an excellent player who has an eccentric style...not very trad and he prides himself in that. He's a good friend of mine and I've learned a trick or two from him. One should give a listen if presented with the opportunity... he'll either piss you off or astound you. ... He's done some great work with Seamus Egan and Eileen Ivers as well as sitting in with the likes of Altan, Green Fields of America, and others. Check him out." Alfonso also makes drums.

Darrin Baird, Laughing Sally

Baird has been a session musician for a number of years. He also teaches

Rob Bitter, Finglas

Bitter has been playing gigs with Finglas in Holland, and also teaches.

Mick Bolger, Colcannon

I saw Colcannon's PBS television special; Lovely songs.

Myron Bretholz

Bretholz also teaches.

Caroline CorrCorr

The Corr's website also includes their biography. There is also another website written in Italian.



Eddy Cotter, Jr., The Gabriel Hounds

Cotter played previously with a rock band, The Bellows and has recorded with Inisheer.

Kevin Crawford, Moving Cloud

I heard Crawford at a recent performance of Moving Cloud. His primary instrument is the flute, but he also plays bodhrán and a variety of other percussion. It is instantly clear that Crawford plays bodhrán for the fun of it: His style is downright acrobatic, enhancing the band's performances in the same way as his on-stage banter. He has just released a solo album, 'd' flute album (Green Linnet 1162), which features his bodhrán work extensively. Crawford also plays with singer/guitarist Martin O'Malley. He uses a drum made by Martin Murphy.

Joan DiBlasi, Celtic Odyssey, Fiddlesticks, The Connaught Regional Airport Band

DiBlasi also teaches.

Paul Donnelly, Atlantic Shore

Donnelly has been playing in bands in Minnesota and California. Atlantic Shore's album The Gathering Storm (privately published) includes a bodhrán solo in track 8.

Nicolas Dupin, Steam Up

Nicolas Dupin (bodhran & bones) has been playing traditional irish music for several years in France. Based in Fontainebleau (70 km south of Paris). He plays on Kevin O'Connell, Norbert Eckermann and Brendan White drums and uses Kirk Witmer tippers.

Benjamin Edom & Debra Carey, Celtic Soul

These two Australian performers also sell drums and teach.

[Picture] Mance Grady, Nee Ningy Band, The Erinoids, Pendragon, The Pure Drop, 100th Monkey

Several people in have raved about Grady's abilities; I saw him perform recently, and I agree that he is a fine bodhránist and general percussionist. He began his career in percussion playing classical snare before branching out into other musical idioms including blues, Latin, rock, jazz and both traditional Irish and Celtic fusion genres. He has been playing bodhrán for over 20 years, and began incorporating ethnic percussion instruments such as congas, bongos, and djembe with traditional Irish music back in the late 70's with the Nee Ningy Band and in the 80's with the Erinoids. He invented the slide bar and has developed an interesting variation of the tunable bodhrán. Grady has a new self-titled album, available from him; I've reviewed it. He has appeared on albums with Seamus Connolly, Zan McLeod, Johnny Cunningham, and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill; his recordings include Robbie O'Connell's Never Learned to Dance (Green Linnet 1124) and Michael McKinley's The Executive Session (Stonington Island Records).

Grady also makes drums and teaches.

Mark Hellenberg, The House Band

Peter Irvine

A member of Cordelia's Dad, lives in Athens, Ohio, where he plays percussion in various genres, works in a woodshop, and produces for a public radio station. Thanks to Rusty Smith for filling out this entry.

Rick Jones, Song of the Lakes, The Lizard Lickers, The Motor Town Jukeboys

Cathy Jordan, Dervish

Thanks to Jack Norie for pointing us toward Cathy.

Brian KahlerBrian Kahler, Arcona Reel Band

Kahler is one of the founding members of the Arcona Reel Band, a group based in SE Pennsylvania. Recordings are available at the website.


Tom Keller, The Pint

Keller plays drums made by Marc Moggy and Norbert Eckermann.

John Joe Kelly John Joe Kelly, Flook
We've received high praise for Kelly, who plays with a group called Flook on an album called "Flat Fish". He also plays on the album "Pure Bodhran", Disk 1, track 10.


Ken Larson Ken Larson, website, email, Gallowglass

Corvus Elrod raves about Larson's playing. Ken is the only bodhran player I know that could do a solo show. He's that good! He compliments Larson's showmanship and command of the bodhrán. Larson also makes bodhrán beaters.



Paddy League, Larsen and League
According to the program notes in "The Green House", League has managed to incorporate multiple cultural influences into his Bodhrán playing. Paddy has also been included on releases by Susan McKeown, John Whelan, Mick Moloney, and Connie Dover. He also teaches in the Washington DC area and at festivals when he travels.Learn more about him at the website.


Iain MacDonald, formerly with Battlefield Band
MacDonald left Battlefield Band back in about '97, but recordings are available through the website. Iain has an impressive bodhran solo on track 13 of the "Across the Borders" album, but when you consider his work with the Highland pipes, the flute and the whistle, it's hard to say what is his primary instrument.

[Picture] Sean McCann, Great Big Sea

Erin Fraser wrote to tell me that McCann is well-known in Newfoundland for his unique skill on the bodhrán. Charlie Fudge added his enthusiastic praise. He recommended Excursion Around the Bay from their debut album Great Big Sea.

Deirdre McCarthy

In the summer of '94, I was walking along Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and I stopped to listen to a fellow playing hammered dulcimer. He turned out to be Glenn Morgan, and I bought a copy of his album Southwind (Fishbite Recordings, 1992). Every cut on the album is dulcimer accompanied by bodhrán, bones, and other instruments; and while the pieces are not the most complicated in the corpus of Irish folk music, the percussion is a joy to hear: intricate, imaginative, and precise. McCarthy also plays with Margaret Davis and Kristoph Klover in Avalon Rising; their self-titled album is available for $16.50 from Flowinglass Music, 2821 Truman Ave., Oakland, CA 94605.

Deirdre plays drums made by David Gormlie and Charlie Byrne.

Jackie Moran, Trinity Dance Company, Wilding, The Drovers

Moran has broad interests in many styles of music, and plays a variety of instruments including the bodhrán (plus guitar, mandolin, doumbek, tar, bendir, congas, djembe, banjo, etc., but vehemently not the tin whistle, with which he was tortured as a child). Born in Thurles, Tipperary, he only plays drums from Charlie Byrne. He studied with Kevin Rice, among other teachers, and placed third in the 1994 All Ireland Fleadh Cheol. Based in Chicago, he has played with Liz Carol, Jimmy Keane, Larry Nugent, Kathleen Keane, and the Trinity Dance Company. He also teaches.

James Móran, Deffgoat,

"...a rare treat to hear ..has a style not too different from John Joe Kelly" - Máirtín Gillespie (5/2001)

Alan Ng, The Snug

Alan plays a double-headed Brendan White drum. He is also a teacher of the bodhrán.

Liam O'Maonlai, Hothouse Flowers, Alt

According to Melanie Bourne's recommendation, O'Maonlai is a fine bodhránist. He won the All-Ireland bodhrán championship three years running as a boy in the late 70's, and is front man for Hothouse Flowers (London Records). He appeared on Luka Bloom's Riverside and Acoustic Motorbike, both available from Reprise Records.

Guido Plueschke

Marienstr. 67, 21073 Hamburg, Germany
Tel.: 0049(0)40/76751638, Fax.: 0049(0)40/76757285

Pluschke plays with Garifin and also teaches.

Damien Quinn, Geiro, Black Oak, Cian

Quinn studied with Tommy Hayes; his style is characterised by an unorthodox rapid staccato downbeat..., according to Anthony McCann of The Galway Edge Magazine.

Quinn performs on Donal Lunny's self-titled album (CIF 133); Andy's Front Hall recommends it. He has worked with Andy M. Stewart and Manus Lunny, and appears on Noirin ni Riain's Stor Amhrain and Seoirse O Dochartaigh's Blath Bui. He played in the group Black Oak in the mid 1990s; he's now playing in Cian, which cut its first CD in 1999.

Kevin Rice, Baal Tinne

Kevin was kind enough to send me Baal Tinne's two albums; they're a lot of fun. Kevin is an excellent and versatile bodhrán player, and the band's arrangements give him lots of room to shine. Baal Tinne performs a style that ranges from jazz/Celtic fusion to jazz/folk-rock. Kevin's skills show up particularly well on tracks 1 and 6 of ...About Time -- track 6 contains a bodhrán solo -- and on tracks 1 and 4 of the band's latest album, The Haunting. The new album is also reviewed in the April/May 95 issue of Dirty Linen (#57).

John Skelton, The House Band

I've always managed to be busy when the House Band came to town.

Ben Stephenson, Cooking for Brides

Stephenson, who lives in Australia, also gives lessons.

Mark Stone, St. James' Gate, Agus, Wheels of the World

Stone is a past student of Kevin Rice; one correspondant raved about his performances with the San Antonio, TX band Agus, with Zan McCleod, and with James Kelly. You can hear him on St. James's Gate IV, which is privately published and can be ordered from Cliff Moses at (210) 492-5748 or e-mail at Mark plays drums made by Albert Alfonso.

[Picture] Jim Sutherland, Easy Club<

Tommy Hayes considers Sutherland a top performer. Jim Stewart, a visitor to these pages, describes him as "one of the most versatile bodhrán players around." Sutherland is Scottish; he appears on the new Jimmy Page/Robert Plant album No Quarter and is touring with them as well.. He invented the brush stick, and has used the bodhrán is a variety of innovative ways: Jack Evans of Easy Club notes that Sutherland is the only bodhran player I've ever heard play When the Saints go marching in on the drum! On a forthcoming recording for Eclectic Records, our version of Irving Berlin's Let Yourself Go, Jim uses the bodhran to supply the bassline!

Floyd Stuart

London-based bodhránist and acoustic bassist.

Greg Taylor, The Pub Scouts.

The Pub Scouts (formerly called Reel Time) are based in Chico, CA, and play around northern California.

Kevin Toney , Distant Oaks

Toney can be heard on the band's album Dance to Bright Steel.

Frank Torpey, Nomos

Torpey plays small drums, actually bendirs. He prefers the higher ranges of the drums, uses lots of backbeat accents, and generally emphasizes pure rhythm over tonality. Nomos often fills in the bass line with an electric bass. Paul Donnelly called him one of the best bodhrán players I've heard.

Ton van den Heuvel

Van den Heuvel plays with the Dutch bands Shannon and Garlic.

Rolf Wagels

Wagels plays with DeReelium in Hannover, Germany. Rolf has added a soundsample to his website. You can direct download this MP3 file, but it's 3.4 mb and takes at least 15 minutes to download with a 56K connection.

Steve Wehmeyer Stephen Wehmeyer, Gaelic Storm

Gaelic Storm was the band playing in steerage in the movie Titanic. You can hear their album on their website. Take a look at their website: I love their logo!

Mark Woolley, Dansaul, Shanachie

Mark wrote me to ask to be listed;



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Josh Mittleman