Photo: Evan Smith
Andi Leahy, from New York City, began playing the fiddle at the age of 9, studying with New York Irish fiddler and first American born All-Ireland Fleadh Champion, Kathleen Collins. Andi traveled in Ireland several times as a youngster, honing her craft through the aural tradition of music among great Irish musicians there, and also at home amongst New York-based Irish musicians.
Her early influences include Kathleen Collins, Tommy Peoples, Kevin Burke, Paddy Glackin, and old recordings of Michael Coleman, as well as the many brilliant musicians of County Clare and Galway and parts of Northern Ireland. She later went on to expand her knowledge of music and her instrument, studying with Julie Lyon Lieberman, author of Improvising Violin (among many other musical publications).
At the age of 13, she took first place in the Bronx Fleadh Ceol, but soon abandoned the philosophy behind competition in music for various reasons. However, while respecting the tradition, she holds that “music is played, not to win medals, but to individually and collectively create beautiful music and to perform with sincere passion which comes from the heart.”
As a teenager in the mid-1980s, Andi co-founded the band Ground Plan (Irish Traditional Music/World Fusion), with her sister and flute/clavinet player Fionnghuala Leahy. The band's core members consisted of the Leahy sisters and Eileen Ivers, and it was managed by Phelim Lunny, brother of Donal Lunny. After a couple of years playing the circuit, they performed at the renowned venue, The Bottom Line in NYC, opening for The Moving Hearts at the age of 17. Early recordings of the band were recorded live at WBAI radio in NYC. The tune, "The Ground Plan" (also known as "The Destitution") has been named after them (https://www.facebook.com/groundplan/). She has also played in various traditional Irish duos and trios, led sessions at the former Yaffa Café in the East Village, NYC, and has played and recorded with various local rock/alternative bands (such as Copernicus, recording on the Ski Record Label on the albums Nothing Exists, Victim of the Sky, and Deeper). She also briefly performed with The Ken McIntyre Jazz Orchestra.
Andi later went on to study music production and engineering at The Institute of Audio Research, NYC, and then went on to university, studying Biology. She is currently very pleased to be playing lots of music and working with guitarist Peter Gallagher of Sligo, Ireland and her sister Fionnghuala Leahy.
Photo: Kyle Gorman
Peter Gallagher started his music career at an early age when he began learning the Tenor Banjo. Spending summers competing in competition after competition, it was becoming clear that this was his chosen path. Through his teenage years the guitar came into the picture and the love affair of a lifetime began.
After spending years honing his talents playing with various groups and becoming a popular feature at special occasions, it was time to take this a little more seriously. In the early years of his development, Peter listened to a lot of music from the Sixties and Seventies in the genre of Rock and Blues.
At a time when frustration had kicked in due to “other career paths” getting in the way, he came across Christy Moore and his guitarist Declan Sinott. This was his introduction to folk guitar. So many people came into the picture. Artists like Jim Croce, Willie Nelson, and Woody Guthrie. More recently Peter met top guitarist Jim Murray who introduced him to Double Drop D tuning, which is tuning the first string down to D and the 6th string down to D to accompany traditional music.
Ever since that fateful meeting, Peter has been a regular on the Traditional Irish music scene. 2017 saw new horizons opening, as he got together with musicians based in the North West to produce his Debut EP, Legacy Series Vol. 1 (https://www.petergallaghermusic.ie/). This project was inspired due to the sudden death of composer and very good friend Connor Walsh from Swinford, Co. Mayo. RIP.
Peter and fiddle player Andi Leahy (from New York City, U.S.) made contact through a professional networking site online. They have since completed one recording and hope to roll out a number of different tracks over the next few months.
Photo: Andi Leahy
Photo: Mick Cantarella
Fionnghuala Leahy, from New York City, began playing guitar and singing at the age of 9. Soon afterwards she began playing the Irish Traditional wooden flute, along with the clavinet. As a child she mentored with Bronx, New York-based Irish Traditional flute player Jack Coen from County Galway, Ireland. She traveled to Ireland several times at a very young age, mentoring there with legends such as Seamus Tansey, Roger Sherlock, and Michael Horgan (uilleann piper/flute player from County Down and member of the band Shantalla).
Early influences with the Traditional Irish flute included Jack Coen, Matt Molloy, Seamus Tansey, Roger Sherlock, and older recorded influences, that of John McKenna and Tom Morrison. She played with many brilliant hometown New York Irish musicians and also in Ireland with many great players from County Clare, County Galway and parts of Northern Ireland. She is listed in "A Guide to the Irish Flute" (http://www.irishfluteguide.info/players/) as part of a recommended list of influential traditional flute players to note.
In the early 1980s, she co-founded the Irish progressive band, Ground Plan along with her sister, Andi Leahy (Irish American fiddler). The core members consisted of the Leahy sisters and Eileen Ivers. The band was managed by Phelim Lunny, brother of Donal Lunny. After a few years of playing the scene, they performed at the renowned venue, The Bottom Line in NYC, opening for The Moving Hearts at the age of 17. Early recordings of the band were recorded live at WBAI radio in NYC. The tune,
"The Ground Plan" (also known as "The Destitution") has been named after them. (https://www.facebook.com/groundplan/).
She recorded and played with various local and international bands such as Copernicus, recording on the Ski Record Label on the albums (Nothing Exists, Victim of the Sky, and Deeper). She later went on to explore songwriting and collaborated on original musical recordings with Roli Mosimann of The Swans/The Young Gods, Larry Kirwan of Black 47, and Pierce Turner of The Major Thinkers, recorded on the Beggars Banquet label on the album It’s Only A Long Way Across (produced by Phillip Glass).
She is currently very happy to be collaborating on original music and Irish Traditional music with her sister Andi Leahy and guitarist Peter Gallagher of Sligo, Ireland.
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