Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
|Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh|
Mairéad performing with Altan at the 2003 Cambridge Folk Festival.
|Birth name||Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh|
26 July 1959 |
Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland
|Associated acts||Altan, T with the Maggies, String Sisters|
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Irish pronunciation: [ˈmaɾʲed̪ nʲiː ˈwiːn̪i]) (born 26 July 1959) is an Irish fiddler and the lead vocalist for the Irish traditional band Altan, which she co-founded with her late husband Frankie Kennedy in 1985. Today, Mairéad is recognised as the leading exponent in the Donegal fiddle style, and she is often considered as one of the foremost singers in the Irish language, her native tongue. After 24 years with Altan, Mairéad released her first solo album Imeall, in 2009, and she was part of the Irish supergroup T with the Maggies, who released an album in 2010.
Her father, Francie Mooney,(in Irish Proinsias Ó Maonaigh) taught her to play the fiddle. She received tuition from fiddler Dinny McLaughlin, who was a frequent visitor to the home when she was young. Ciarán Tourish, who would later join Altan, was also a frequent visitor to the family home and also received tuition from McLaughlin.
Ní Mhaonaigh has two siblings. Her brother Gearóid played guitar for Ragairne (a short-lived band formed by Ní Mhaonaigh and Frankie Kennedy, of which singer Enya was a member), appeared on the album Ceol Aduaidh, and organises the Frankie Kennedy Winter School. Her younger sister Anna has contributed backing vocals to several albums and was a member of the group Macalla.
She met Frankie Kennedy at a session at age 15. Kennedy was inspired to learn to play and soon became a talented flute player. They married in 1981.
Forsaking their jobs as teachers, Ní Mhaonaigh and Kennedy formed the band Altan during the late 1980s. Kennedy's death from cancer in 1994 put the band's future in question, but she decided to continue at Kennedy's explicit request.
As well as her work with Altan, Ní Mhaonaigh over the years has presented traditional music programmes on radio and television, including the radio show, The Long Note and the television series, The Pure Drop.
T with the Maggies & String Sisters 
Mairéad along with friends Moya Brennan, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill came together as T with the Maggies in 2007, and released their debut album in October 2010. Ní Mhaonaigh is also a member of the fiddle ensemble, String Sisters.
Solo work 
Ní Mhaonaigh's first solo album, Imeall, was released in 2009. It was recorded in 2007/08 and co-produced by Manus Lunny. The title is Irish for 'Edge' or 'Threshold' and features traditional/folk songs as well as new compositions by Ní Mhaonaigh. Ní Mhaonaigh débuted songs from the album on 28 December at the 2008 Frankie Kennedy Winter School in an intimate concert with Lunny and also released a small number of albums. The album was officially launched in Dublin on 12 February 2009. She has only released 3000 physical copies worldwide from her website.
Ní Mhaonaigh also performed two special concerts with long-time friends Moya Brennan and Maighread & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill at the Temple Bar TradFest in January 2008, the second time the four musicians performed together. It was the first time she performed songs from her forthcoming album and was joined by special guests who spent the last few years recording with her. Mairéad also contributed a track, Má Théid Tú Chun Aonaigh to the Irish charitable album Ceol Cheann Dubhrann which was released in December 2009 to raise funds for two projects in Ranafast, a Gaeltacht area from which Mairéad has collected songs.
Personal life 
Ní Mhaonaigh was named Donegal Person of the Year in 2009.
Solo albums 
- 2009 Imeall
As Frankie Kennedy & Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh 
With Altan 
- 1989 Horse with a Heart
- 1990 The Red Crow
- 1991 Harvest Storm
- 1993 Island Angel
- 1996 Blackwater
- 1997 Runaway Sunday
- 2000 Another Sky
- 2002 The Blue Idol
- 2005 Local Ground
- 2009 Altan: With the RTÉ Concert Orchestra
- 2012 Gleann Nimhe - The Poison Glen
With String Sisters 
- 2007 Live (CD/DVD)
With T with the Maggies 
Guest roles 
- 1991 Albert Fry (Albert Fry)
- 1991 Fiddle Sticks (various artists)
- 1993 The Holy Ground (Mary Black)
- 1994 Lullaby: A Collection (various artists - Ní Mhaonaigh sings The Cradle Song, wrongly attributed to Karan Casey)
- 2001 Little Sparrow (Dolly Parton)
- 2001 Volume 3: Further in Time (Afro Celt Sound System)
- 2008 Tráthnóna Beag Aréir (Albert Fry)
- 2008 The Original Transatlantic Sessions DVD (various artists)
- "Altan Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- RTÉ News http://www.rte.ie/tv/thefullset/presenter.html
|url=missing title (help).
- "T With The Maggies". The Irish Times. 11 November 2010.
- "Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh Official website". Mairead.ie. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- "Folk Superstars to perform for Children". Clannad.org.uk. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- "Temple Bar to come alive: Mairéad, Moya, Maighréad & Tríona in Concert". Clannad.org.uk. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- "Moya Brennan on the songs of Rann na Feirste". Clannad.org.uk. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
- T with the Maggies Web Site
- "Altan: The History". Altan band web site. Retrieved 10 January 2006.
- O'Regan, John. "Angels of the Island". The Living Tradition. Archived from the original on 11 March 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2006.
- Robinson, Michael (Fall 1995). "An Interview with Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh". Fiddler Magazine.
- Vallely, Fintan; Piggott, Charlie (1998). Blooming Meadows: The World of Irish Traditional Musicians. Nutan. Roberts Rinehart Publishers. ISBN 1-86059-067-5.