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LEN GRAHAM plus THE BELFAST BOYS Appearing Sat Jul 9th 2016 at 8pm

Join us as we celebrate the traditional music of Ireland with three great performers from the Belfast region,   


$12 in advance
$15 at the door

Len Graham has performed at numerous Irish and international folk, literary and storytelling festivals, as well as appearing on many radio and television programmes. 

In 1992 he received the Seán O’Boyle Cultural Traditions Award in recognition of his work in Ireland as a song collector and singer. In 2002, he was honoured as the first recipient of the Irish television TG4 National Music Award for “Traditional Singer Of the Year.” 

In 2008 he was awarded “Keeper of the Tradition” from the Tommy Makem Festival of Traditional Song and the US Irish Music Award in the “Sean-Nós Singing” category.

In 2011 Len was awarded the Gradam na mBard CCÉ (CCÉ Bardic Award) at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

“Len Graham, another of the great naturals. The rich, grainy voice and fluid, unhurried style bring a reassuring quality of warmth to the songs, and creates the sense of total empathy between the musician and his material.”
The Guardian, London.

“Graham imparts with great warmth and in what was a masterclass in traditional singing, he used his knowledge, presence and smooth- grained vocal tone to make every song come alive in the moment.”
The Herald, Glasgow

“As any keen student of Irish music will tell you, Len Graham is one of the most majestic singers on God’s earth!”
Folk Roots, London.

County Antrim born, Len Graham has been a full-time professional traditional singer since 1982. After he won the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann traditional singing competion in 1971 his reputation began to spread, and at the same time his own passion for the songs of his native Ulster was growing. From the early 1960s Len sought out and recorded older singers such as Eddie Butcher and Joe Holmes. His musical friendship with Joe Holmes resulted in two albums being recorded – Chaste Muses, Bards and Sages (1975) and - After Dawning (1978).

Len’s first solo album was – Wind and Water (1976) followed by – Do Me Justice (1983) and – Ye Lovers All (1985). As a founder member of the group Skylark in 1986 he toured extensively for ten years. Skylark recorded four albums – Skylark (1987), All Of It (1989), Light and Shade (1992) and Raining Bicycles (1996). In 1993 he released his book and field recording collection – It’s Of My Rambles… and also that year he recorded an album with Cathal McConnell – For the Sake Of Old Decency. In 1996 – When I was Young an album of songs for children with Pádraigin Ni Uallacháin and Garry O Briain was released.

Over the years, Len has collaborated and worked with numerous musicians, poets and storytellers. His association with the late John Campbell brought storytelling and song to a world audience. Their work together over twenty years made a significant contribution toward creating a deeper cross-community understanding of shared cultural traditions during many years of conflict in the north of Ireland. Together they recorded two albums – Ebb and Flow (1998) and - Two for the Road (2001).

His latest solo albums are - In Full Flight (2008) and Over The Hills And Far Away (2010). See: Over The Hills and Far Away Review

Len’s book – Here I Am Amongst You on the songs, dance music and traditions of Joe Holmes (1906-1978)was published by Four Courts Press in 2010.

THE BELFAST BOYS are Alyn Mearns (guitar & vocals) and Adrian Rice (mandolin, bodhran & vocals). Classically trained, Mearns is well-known as a consummate guitarist and inspired singer-songwriter, whose work with his ex-band, Airspace, won many plaudits from those in the know. A new solo album of his own music is forthcoming. 

Rice is a musician and Irish poet of distinction. With book-cover recommendations from Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, his published poetry has found its way into the collections of London’s Tate Gallery, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and The Lamont Library at Harvard, amongst others. Rice's new chapbook of poems - 'Hickory Haiku' - will be published by Finishing Line Press (Kentucky) in August 2010. 

Mearns and Rice both hail from the Troubled streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland. 

Mearns has lived in the States since his late teens, but Rice only settled in Hickory (NC) in 2005, having come to Lenoir-Rhyne College as their Visiting Writer-in-Residence. Both men have been happily ‘captured’ by lovely American brides. The men met in a local Hickory bookstore and quickly formed a strong bond based on their shared Ulster heritage and ‘Belfast-speak’. 

They co-wrote a serious and heartfelt tribute song for one of Ireland’s national soccer legends, the late, great, George Best. The song, entitled 'The Conjuror' – composed largely in their local haunt, The Olde Hickory Tap Room – reached No. 1 in the Belfast music charts. As their friendship grew, the two men discovered their shared love of Irish traditional music. Back in Belfast, Rice had played in an Irish band in his college and post-college years; while Mearns has written and produced a successful Irish CD, entitled 'The Tree'. So it was only a matter of time before the idea of an Irish duo would surface: thus - The Belfast Boys. 

In performance, the boys work hard to deliver a serious traditional Irish set of jigs, reels, polkas and songs. They pay their own particular homage to folk classics from the likes of Planxty, The Bothy Band, and Christy Moore, mixed in with some tastefully popular pub numbers like ‘Molly Malone’ and ‘Tell Me Ma’. They even manage to breathe memorable new life into folk favourites like 'Danny Boy' and 'The Wild Mountain Thyme'. The duo also incorporate some of Rice’s own poetry, and create plenty of good wholesome ‘craic’ (fun!) from the stage. They also encourage audience participation and love to share the stage with any local musicians who may want to get up there and do their little bit to make the evening hum.