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‘Does dance explain why the rhythm in her playing is so striking? It must be part of it.’
The Journal of Music
Caitlín Nic Gabhann – concertina / dance
Caitlín Nic Gabhann is a concertina player, performer, teacher, composer and percussive dancer. Having toured for years as a dancer with Riverdance, 3 time All-Ireland concertina champion Caitlín is a regular performer at festivals and concert halls from North America to Asia over the last 15 years. Caitlín’s life’s work to date has been recognised with her being chosen as UCC Traditional Artist in Residence for 2022.Raised in a house full of music in Ashbourne, Co.Meath, Caitlín learned most of her music, style and rhythm from her father Antóin Mac Gabhann. Her mother Bernie is immersed in the Clare set-dancing culture and she passed a love of this on to her children with Caitlín being her dance partner at ceilís from a young age, again heavily influencing her approach to style and rhythm. Caitlín’s compositions have been performed in the Cork Opera House and The National Concert Hall, Dublin. The most well known would be the waltz Sunday’s Well and the reel The Leeside Sessions, both composed whilst studying in the music department of University College Cork. They featured on her debut album ‘Caitlín’ which received ‘CD of the Year’ from TradConnect.com and was labelled the ‘top Irish traditional album of 2012’ by The Wall Street Journal.
Whilst dancing with Riverdance, Caitlín got to perform at the pyramids in Egypt as they shared the bill with Mariah Carey. As a solo dancer she was the main performer in the Celtic Christmas Sojourn in Boston and ‘Ceiliúradh’ in the Royal Albert Hall, London as a guest of President Michael D. Higgins. She has performed with the RTÉ Vanburgh Quartet, Paddy Keenan, Liam Ó Maonlaí and for Presidents and Royalty around the world. She also teaches concertina annually at summer and winter schools in Ireland, Europe and USA.
Today, Caitlín is married to fiddle player and documentary maker Ciarán Ó Maonaigh and they have 3 year old twins, Rosie and Frankie. From their home in the Donegal Gaeltacht she runs IrishConcertinaLessons.
Caitlín is a first class honours graduate of both University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin, She is also involved as musician and dancer with The High Seas, Caitlín & Ciarán, Cruinniú, NicGaviskey, Birkin Tree and The Irish Concertina Ensemble.