Biography

Éamonn is one of the most sought after percussionists working in Ireland today. Whether he is playing jazz, Irish traditional music, African music or any of the multiple fusions he thrives on, he marries virtuosity and sensitivity with ease in his playing”      Mel Mercier, Professor of Music, University College Cork

“Éamonn Cagney is a superb percussionist and a top-class musician”
Míchéal Ó Súilleabháin (Director, Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

“Spinetingling percussion…Cagney’s percussive contributions were calculus-like”
Siobhan Long, Irish Times

Éamonn Cagney

Éamonn Cagney is an Irish percussionist, composer, performer and educator. He has established himself as one of Ireland’s premiere musicians and as well as collaborating with many artists, ensembles, choreographers, composers and performers he also leads his own groups Treelan and RITHIM.

He has performed worldwide over the last 20 years and his deep experience of world, jazz, Irish traditional, improvised and contemporary music inform his many projects and collaborations, including his acclaimed 2011 album “Convergence” and his latest album with Treelan “Enchantment”.

He has recently worked with: Iarla Ó Lionáird, John Spillane, Afel Bocoum, Mel Mercier, Míchéal Ó Súilleabháin, Julie Feeney, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Roger Doyle, Conor Linehan – Abbey Theatre, Karen Casey, Martin Tourish – Altan and Niwel Tsumbu.

He is also very active in music education, teaching and facilitating in Primary, Secondary and third level throughout Ireland.

2015 and 2016 were two of Éamonn’s most active artistic years to date, highlights included performances and touring with the following groups:

RITHIM:

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Éamonn’s new World-Irish Percussion group RITHIM got off to a high-profile start with headline concerts at Dublin’s “Big Bang” and “Hotter than July” festivals in July 2015, performing Éamonn’s compositions. The group is comprised of Cuban, Irish, Brazilian and African percussionists. Éamonn was commissioned to write an ambitious new percussion work entitled “Waves”, which he premiered with RITHIM at The Dingle Global Rhythm festival in July 2016. RITHIM are currently scheduling nationwide Irish dates for summer 2017.

Duo with Niwel Tsumbu:

Eamonn-&-NiwelÉamonn Cagney and Niwel Tsumbu’s duo is one of the most authentic, organic and exciting cross-cultural encounters to emerge in Irish World Music in the last ten years.” – Mel Mercier

Éamonn and Niwel began working as a duo in 2005, and their immediate creative empathy ignited a very productive musical period in both their careers. Their resulting 2006 album “Nzela Molayi”, was accompanied by numerous high profile headline concerts, including Bray and Cork Jazz festivals, and critical acclaim including Siobhan Long of the The Irish Times declaration: “this duo had a cataclysm of moods and moves to share, unveiling a cavernous stash of redemptive music, and promise of much more to come.”

Since then Niwel and Éamonn have collaborated continuously and intensively together, as a duo and in larger ensembles such as Treelan, Rithim, RiZA, Trasna and many others. In 2016 they returned to the fertile and creative ground that is their duo. They will premier a concert of new works at Listen at Arthurs, Dublin on April 1st 2017.

Treelan:

Throughout the gig Treelan magically conveyed a sense of timelessness and contemplation that allowed for a genuine sense that music has no boundaries. Cagney underpins it all with subtle percussive aplomb, and his “duelling bongos” duet with Tsumbu was arguably the highlight of their Wexford Arts Centre show. “                        Jackie Hayden (Hot Press)

Éamonn’s group Treelan had a great time at festivals in 2015 including UCC FUAIM series, Cairde Festival Sligo, and Cork Folk Festival in October.

2016 saw the release of their album “Enchantment” and a hugely successful national and Northern Irish tour that saw them playing 12 concerts in Belfast, Dublin, Dingle, Cork and many others. Treelan performed live on Lyric FM, RTE Radio 1 and many other radio stations during the tour.

RiZA:

Éamonn is percussionist with Niwel Tsumbu’s RiZA and in 2015 – 2016 has launched the project with concerts of their new music at Africa day, Bello Bar and Block T. Their were two video – single releases: in May 2015 “Kabembe”, and October 2016 “Gratitude”. Éamonn recorded extensively for RiZA’s new album in July 2014 at Peter Gabriel’s legendary Real World Studios.

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Some other recent highlights:

Éamonn was asked by the Abbey Theatre to perform a “Noble Call” (Solo performance) in response to their production of Jim Sheridan’s “The Risen People”, directed by Conall Morrison. Éamonn composed a piece for the occasion entitled “Ní neart go cur le chéile”. Have a look!

He subsequently collaborated with composer Conor Linehan and Cora Venus Lunny on the soundtrack to the Abbey’s production of “Sive” by John B. Keane, which is toured nationwide in 2014.

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Éamonn has performed live in March 2014 with Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney as part of the UCC FUAIM 2014 concert series. He also performed live with John Spillane at Cork Opera House in April 2014.

He is collaborating extensively with Altan’s Martin Tourish, notably on Martin’s commissioned piece to the launch of Dublin’s new Rosie Hackett bridge, “The Ballad of Rosie Hackett”.

In March Éamonn was awarded an Arts council Music bursary award to develop a body of solo percussion compositions and to explore Central African and Bodhrán rhythm, a project which he has recently completed.

He has just completed production on the new “POD Fusion” album, recording the original compositions of band leader Paul O’Donnell, lecturer in Jazz at UCC school of music. This is scheduled for early 2015 release.

The wonderful Loah,  with her upcoming 2017 album release, here on her “Cortege” single featuring the Éamonn’s djembe sounds…

Education:

Éamonn is very active in music education, and is in high demand for percussion and composition workshop programmes all over Ireland. He teaches in both English and Irish and is active in Gaeltacht areas from Donegal to Kerry. Currently Éamonn has just completed two Artist in schools residencies, funded by Cork County Council.

He is a visiting tutor in UCC School of Music and Theatre , teaching performance seminars on the M.A. Ethnomusicology, and the M.A. Music Performance. He is also a visiting tutor in the University of Limerick’s B.A. In Voice and Dance, and M.A. in Traditional Music.

see the dedicated Workshops page on this site for more detail!

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