“Marvelous music.” Duquesne University
Photos by Heather Mull

Hooley’s performers

Oliver Browne, fiddle
Dublin born and bred in a rich musical tradition (his brother Peter is a respected uilleann piper, along with his cousin Ronan), Ollie has earned the reputation as one of the finest fiddlers playing today and has played with the best. His session playing in Clare, Donegal and especially Belfast decades ago is still revered.

Bruce Foley, uilleann pipes, tinwhistle, guitar, vocals
A gifted singer, musician and regarded by many to be one of the most accomplished in the US. Bruce has performed with The Irish Tradition, Paddy Reilly, James Kelly, Tommy Sands and regularly Guaranteed Irish. The resident expert on uilleann pipes, Bruce has twice hosted the East Coast Tionol (annual gathering of pipers).

Les Getchell, bodhrán, bones, other percussion
One of the most highly-regarded traditional Irish percussion players around, Les has studied and played with the best. Les has taught bodhrán at music camps Ashokan Northern Week in Saugerties, New York and Augusta Irish Week in Elkins, West Virginia. When not playing Irish, Les plays Brazilian and West African percussion.

Bruce Molyneaux, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki
An authority on traditional Irish music, Bruce is a sought-after banjo and mandolin player. His grandmother was a concertina player from County Kerry, and introduced him to Irish music. So, it’s Bruce who usually slips in a fine polka or slide.

Ray Werner, concertina, vocals
Ray has been hooked on this music ever since he stumbled upon The Willie Clancy Festival some years ago. With a particular affection for the sean-nós style, Ray is occasionally Hooley’s songwriter, when they have a bent for the original.

Richard Withers, flute, tinwhistle
Richard’s remarkable flute playing has earned for him a stellar reputation, both for his playing and his repertoire. He plays a wonderful flute given to him by the late Mike Gallagher of Tubbercurry, Sligo, his mentor. Richard is also a gifted composer. His “Put The English On It” is a lively salute to Mike.

Maggie and Sally Folan, step dancers
As you guessed, they’re sisters, and dance as only sisters can. Dancing since the age of four, they have been spreading the gospel since by teaching a hundred plus children in a group called The Irish Reelers, regulars at regional folk festivals and Irish events. In addition to step dancing, Maggie and Sally also teach set and céilí dancing. Their spirited dancing in the old (sean-nós) style is a highlight of every Hooley performance.

The sean-nós style of step dancing is the framework on which the modern style of step dancing is based. Unlike today’s competitive version, as popularized in such productions as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, sean-nós step dancing is highlighted by legs together, feet close to the ground, little traveling and a more relaxed upper body. It is always danced in harmony with the tune, the feet picking out a rhythm, moving with the notes.

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