The show must go on


UPWARD TRAJECTORY Balla musician Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín and the fellow members of EADAOIN, who have already topped the iTunes charts in the UK and Ireland twice.

Ger Flanagan

TWO singles and two number ones on the iTunes World Music Charts in both the UK and Ireland, and a third track just released. It hasn’t been a bad start for Balla musician Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín and her new, four-piece band, EADAOIN.
The four world-renowned musicians – Éadaoin herself and Mohsen Amini, Benedict Morris and Cormac Crummey – have, in their own words, ‘all dedicated their time to making music that subtly underlines the beauty of traditional music, not as a lost art, but as one of progression’.
With their debut single ‘9 Years’ going straight to number one and their follow-up, ‘Bunalaka’, following suit, their dedication, it would appear, is bearing fruit.   
Although the band is named after Éadaoin, she’s quick to point out that it is a joint effort of the four, who first came together as part of Éadaoin’s final performance for her Master’s degree in the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
“We got a good reaction to our performance in UL, so we just decided that we would record, not having any intentions to be a band or anything,” she told The Mayo News. “All the lads have recorded before so had the experience of it, so we decided to release a few tracks and see how it goes.
“We never had a name on it until the end, so the story behind EADAOIN is that they all already have bands in their names and I was the only one without, so they’re like, ‘We’ll call it EADAOIN!’.”
When you take into account some of the personal achievements of the individual musicians in the group, it’s not difficult to understand the popularity of their joint effort. They include 2018 BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year, 2019 and 2016 BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year, a BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award, BBC ALBA Folk Band of the Year and more than 25 All-Ireland titles and All-Britain titles.
Éadaoin herself, a qualified primary-school teacher, is a multi-instrumentalist who has played music since the age of four and on multiple continents. She’s also an All-Ireland Fleadh champion and a winner of the Trophee des Harpes Camac at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.
It really is an All-Star line up.
Glasgow natives Mohsen Amini and Benedict Morris feature with the concertina and fiddle, respectively, Belfast’s Cormac Crummey is on guitar and Éadaoin also plays the fiddle. The end result is the creation of beautiful and stunning pieces of music.
“They’re my best friends and have done so well in the music world, I was so excited to get to record with them and it was a real privilege,” she added. “We really bounce off each other in the studio and have all totally different styles in arranging and everything, so it’s very enjoyable.
“I’ve learned so much from them. We recorded in GloWormRecording in Glasgow, and it took us weeks. I didn’t realise the amount of effort that had to go into it.
“You don’t just go in, set up and record a track; it’s completely different, it takes hours to put down one line of about 20 seconds!”
Their second single, ‘Bunalaka’, went to number in the Irish charts in less than 24 hours. The song itself is named after a Bun na Leaca, in Gweedore, Donegal, where the group wrote the song.
“We had a great time in Gweedore, and even though the lads don’t speak Irish, we decided on that name and said we’re spelling it phonetically,” she laughed.
Their third track, ‘Sundown South’, was released on March 22, and the band has high hopes for its success. Their sound, Éadaoin says, is in the folk genre but it is broader than that,  showcasing their own unique styles.
“We’re all from different backgrounds of music, so that’s why it’s so exciting musically for us,” she said. “It’s kind of classical folk, sort of Scottish folk, Irish traditional folk, they’re all intertwined together.
“We wanted to give people a totally different sound, and every track we wrote is different. You can fit them into a lot of different genres.
“It was amazing to go into number one in the charts. I didn’t expect it. We got a lot of reaction from the likes of America, Canada and France, and to get such a positive reaction is great because you just never how a song is going to do.”
Like all musicians right now, EADAOIN have found themselves in a difficult position, as Covid-19 sweeps across the world, they’ve had to cancel all their upcoming gigs and festival appearances. But, Éadaoin says, the music world has rallied to spread some positive vibes.
Once this pandemic comes to an end, expect to see and hear much more of EADAOIN.
EADAOIN’s music is available to download on all platforms, including Spotify. For more on the band, find @eadaoinband on Facebook.