The Heartstring Quartet

Nollaig Casey, Chris Newman, Arty McGlynn & Máire Ní Chathasaigh


Quartet Photo Cork Folk Festival

Quartet News

We are heartbroken to tell you that Arty McGlynn, Nollaig's husband and one of the finest guitarists that Ireland has ever produced, died on December 18th, 2019 after a long illness, surrounded by his family. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal ceolmhar - ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann.

Arty suffered from pulmonary fibrosis - an auto-immune disease for which there is no cure - and faced his condition with great bravery and without complaint. His creativity burned brightly to the end.

He was waked on Thursday December 19th and Friday December 20th at 4 - 9pm, at Maguire’s Funeral Home, Omagh, Co Tyrone. His Requiem Mass was held at Sacred Heart Church, Omagh, Co Tyrone on the morning of Saturday December 21st at 10am and he was buried afterwards in St Mary’s Cemetery, Drumragh, Omagh. Saturday was a day of mourning, but a celebration too of Arty’s life and extraordinary contribution to Irish artistic and cultural life over a period of six decades.

Around two thousand musicians, family, friends and neighbours came to Omagh over the three days to pay their respects to Arty, one of the great heroes of the Irish tradition. Hundreds more from all over the globe who couldn't attend sent messages of condolence. The church was packed for the Requiem Mass. For those of you who couldn't be there, here's a quick rundown of the order of service. Chris and I played "Molly St George" at the beginning, then Máire Ní Ghráda, Maeve Donnelly and I played "Planxty Sudley". Neil Martin spoke about Arty and played "Seán Ó Duibhir a' Ghleanna" on the cello (with Rod McVey on keyboards) too. My cousin Fr Peter Casey gave a very personal homily - he had married Nollaig and Arty on Inishbofin back in 1984. Close family did all the readings. My sister Mairéad sang "'S é an Tiarna m'Aoire" (The Lord is my Shepherd) and here's a recording of it:…/Mair%C3%A9ad%20N%C3%AD%20Chathasa… At the Communion Matt Molloy played "The Parting of Friends", Seán Keane played "Casadh na nGéanna" and Arty's widow, my sister Nollaig, played "Moran's Return" (which she recorded with Arty in 1989 on their first duo album, Lead the Knave, and which they played on countless duo gigs since then) with enormous beauty and emotion, with Dónal Lunny, Chris, Neil, Rod and I accompanying. Here's a recording of all three performances:…/Matt%20Molloy%2C%20Sean%20Keane%2… At the end of the Mass, the above musicians were joined by my sister Mairéad on fiddle, Bríd Harper, Cathal Hayden, Seán Smith, John John Carty, Jacqueline McCarthy, Marion McCarthy, Paul McGlinchey etc to play a set of reels, The Crooked Road and The Bucks of Oranmore. Frankie Gavin, Matt Molloy and Seán Smith played another set of reels at the graveside. Hundreds more of Ireland's leading musicians - a veritable Who's Who - were in the congregation. A fitting tribute to an exceptional man. Ní bheidh a leithéid arís ann...

Older news...

The quartet had a wonderful seven-week tour of Australia (February - April 2015), headlining at a number of the major Australian Folk Festivals - Port Fairy, National Folk Festival among them - plus a most enjoyable tour of Denmark after their performance at Halkaer Kro Festival. See here for details of where they've been. The quartet's second album, Heartstring Sessions 2, was recorded in January and manufactured in time for the Australian tour! It hasn't yet been released in Europe or the US, but pre-release copies are now available to buy exclusively from our Old Bridge Music website!!!

Máire and Chris have a few UK concerts coming up - notably the Edinburgh Harp Festival - in mid-April before heading to the US for a duo East Coast tour
in April - May. A Heartstring Quartet tour of Denmark follows in June. All concert details here.

An interview with Máire was published on April 8 in The Herald (Scotland) prior to her concert with Chris at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival on April 13.

A pic of the quartet was published here in the Canberra Times on March 31, prior to their appearance at the National Folk Festival there...

During their 2014 tour, the quartet performed live on ABC National Radio's "Music Show" - available on podcast afterwards here.

Here's a link to M
áire's interview with the Bunbury Mail about the quartet and 2014 tour of Australia.

Here's a video clip of a recent performance at the Cork Folk Festival...

On stage at the Cork Folk Festival, 2013
Photo courtesy of Jim Byrne / The Living Tradition

News about Nollaig, Máire and Chris...

In the autumn of 2019, Ireland's Irish-language TV station TG4 made a documentary programme in its "'S é mo Laoch" series about Nollaig and Máire. Nollaig and Arty were filmed playing as a duo, Máire and Chris were filmed playing as a duo, and the four of us were filmed playing together. We are so sad that this will have been our last performance together. The documentary will be broadcast in 2020.

TG4 made a documentary programme in its "'S é mo Laoch" series about Arty which was recently re-broadcast.

A television programme about Nollaig’s life and music was broadcast on Ireland’s TG4 in April 2014 as part of its “Fuaimrian mo Shaol” series.

Máire and Chris have just finished their sixth Celtic Christmas Strings tour of the UK and had a wonderful time on their travels - they were thrilled that eight of the concerts were sold out! (Their special Christmas show featured a selection of carols from their album Christmas Lights in addition to their regular repertoire of Irish traditional music, bluegrass, swing and original pieces.)

áire and her two fiddle-playing and singing sisters Nollaig and Mairéad performed and taught at the 3rd Harp Weekend at Bandon Walled Town Festival, held in their home town of Bandon, Co. Cork on August 30 - 31. Their concert on August 30th (to a capacity audience in St Peter's Church) included the première of their specially-composed Bandonbridge Suite - a musical representation of the history of the town - and their CD "Sibling Revelry" was released in the autumn of 2015. Here's a video clip of Máire and Nollaig playing together

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