Darren Maloney who?
- Who is Darren Maloney? A banjo player from Cavan in Ireland, who has
just released a new banjo album being distributed by Claddagh Records
in Ireland, that's who!
The name of the CD? It's "Darren Maloney... who?"! :-)
It has received lots of airplay on RTE1 and Rng as well as some of
the regional radio stations, and Darren has recently completed a
feature interview with Siobhan Long from the Irish Times - which is a
real coup for an emerging artist.
His website is at: http://www.darrenmaloney.com
A new banjo CD entitled "who?" was launched on Friday November 19th
in the Farnham Arms Hotel, in Cavan, Ireland. Darren Maloney, from
Cavan, is the banjo player and he was joined on the night by Joe
Brennan(Dublin) on guitar and Brian Fleming(Dublin) on percussion.
Guests on the night included Colin Farrell from Manchester on Fiddle,
Gavin Whelan from Dublin on Whistles, Martin Donohoe from Cavan on
Box and Alan Maguire on Bouzouki.
The CD is excellant, 15 of Darrens own tunes, an Amy Cann tune, a
Bela Fleck piece and tunes from Manchester fiddler Colin Farrell and
Mike McGoldrick, flute player, also from Manchester.
"Darren Maloney is fearless on frets and pre-eminent with plectrum. A
new and emerging talent on the tenor banjo that reminds me of a young
Gerry O'Connor. I've heard Darren over the years on various
recordings for Ceili House on RTE Radio and always knew that he had a
bright future. Technically brilliant and musically clever, this
excellent new recording announces his arrival as a major force in
Irish Tenor Banjo playing."
Kieran Hanrahan, Stocktons Wing/RTE
Darren's love affair with the banjo started when found an old banjo
under his parents bed. The poor little seven-year-old was stuck at
home sick and couldn't go to football practice. He was devastated
until he found this strange four-stringed instrument which completely
changed his life!
"We were steeped in music in Cavan," said Darren. "All the
older people around me played music and danced. This old Abbott banjo
had belonged to my grandfather and I became obsessed! Before long I
was playing The Bucks of Oranmore, The Silver Spear, and all the old
favorites from O'Neill's."
Darren apprenticed himself to all the great old musicians
from the `northern' style and followed them from seisiun to seisiun
learning their tunes.
"The teachers at school found it very strange that I was spending my
nights in pubs!" laughed Darren. "But they didn't realize the
importance of learning the craft. Most of these musicians are gone
now and didn't leave recordings behind them. The oral tradition was
the only way to learn."
Twenty years and many fleadh ceol medals later, Darren has
become one of Ireland's best tenor banjo-players and has developed a
style which is revolutionary in Irish music. Knowing thousands of
tunes from the Dingle Peninsula and the lakes of Cavan to the plains
of Donegal he has thoroughly assimilated the tradition and is
carrying it through to the 21st century.
Darren has also studied the great five-string masters, from Bela
Fleck to Alison Brown and has transcribed classical, and jazz music
for the banjo. He has also become one of Ireland's foremost new
composers of Irish music. One of his tunes won the Waterford Spraoi
"I was with a band in County Waterford called Ephemera at the
time," he said. "We were fusing jazz and Irish music in a new way."
Darren also spent time in Manchester, England at the height of
Manchester's Irish music revival. He played with enthusiastic young
musicians such as Mike McGoldrick and Dezi Donnelly.
"We were intent on making Irish music exciting again. Mike was
working on his second album, `Fused', and that was the start of the
new revolution in Irish music.
Now Darren is releasing his own first album. It's a mix of old tunes
played with renewed vigour, and newly-composed tunes.
"It's for a new audience and for people who are already intimate with
Irish music and are interested in the strides new, young musicians
are making with the genre," he said.
Introducing Jigs and Reels to Sri Lanka!
A couple of years ago Darren and three other Cavan musicians brought
Irish music to Sri Lanka! They were the first group to play on the
sub-continental island. They introduced St. Patrick's Day to the Sri
"The Sri Lankans were amazed," he said. "They had never heard
jigs and reels before! They made us promise to come back," he laughed.
It was a new experience for the Sri Lankans. But also for the four
Irish lads. The owners of the concert venue were Nalin, a former
captain in the Sri Lankan army, and his wife Anette, originally from
"We shared a stage with a Beatles tribute band, called
unbelievably, `The Black Beatles," laughed Darren.
The audience included the glitterati of Colombo and members of the
English cricket team who were playing a series of tests against Sri
Lanka at the same time.
"The highlight of the gig was watching the Sri Lankans and the
cricketers being taught the Siege of Ennis by one of the members of
the band!" said Darren.
How bizarre the first Irish band in Sri Lanka watching the English
cricket team Irish dancing, 6000miles from home in 35 degrees of heat!
There is more info including some of the tracks on Darrens new