Réalta take a lively, exciting and respectful approach to Irish traditional music.
Reared on a staple diet of The Bothy Band, Planxty and other such classics, this Belfast based band captures the timeless aspects of the tradition and presents it in its raw form – fresh and beautiful…
…Or as one reviewer put it, “Réalta carry on the Bothy Band tradition of taking tunes by the scruff of the neck and firing excitement through them like hot flames!”
Based in Belfast, Ireland, this award winning multi-instrumentalist group have traveled extensively bringing their unique take on Irish traditional music to international audiences with an enchanting programme of dance music interspersed with the occasional air and song.
While Conor Lamb and Loïc Bléjean pursue the melody on uilleann pipes and whistles, guitarist and vocalist Deirdre Galway explores the harmony and rhythms within the tunes. All-Ireland champions Dermot Mulholland and Dermot Moynagh complete the line-up with dynamic accompaniments on double bass, bouzouki, banjo, bodhrán and voice making this one of the most exciting acts on the Irish music scene today.
The release of their second album Clear Skies has brought Réalta widespread critical acclaim, with the Irish Music Magazine summing things up by writing “Réalta have grown bigger, bolder and braver and this is one of the best CDs to have come out of Ireland this year!”.
A performance by Réalta is joyous, energetic, foot-stomping, unforgettable and unmissable.
Conor Lamb fell in love with the uilleann pipes and Irish traditional music when he first heard Liam O’Flynn perform at the Lorient Interceltic Festival… and he hasn’t stopped playing since!
Now regarded as one of the leading exponents of uilleann piping, Conor is a founding member of several traditional groups including Réalta, Madagán and Music in the Glen. He is a versatile musician who has performed onstage at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and has toured with several acts including Craobh Rua and Angelo Kelly. Closer to home Conor has collaborated with children’s theatre company Cahoots NI tand has helped set up the Belfast Traditional Music Trail. He has recorded at Abbey Road Studios for a Hollywood film soundtrack and can often be found performing for Irish dancers in the show Avalon Celtic Dance.
“Passion, empathy and respect” are the words used by Living Tradition to describe Conor’s latest album with the trio Music in the Glen, and they are apt words to describe Conor’s approach to piping. Always keen to share his music, Conor has given piping and whistle workshops across Europe including the Brittany Winter School, Lorient Interceltique Festival, Babieca Folk Festival and the Belfast Summer School. He has a passion and skill for helping others develop their playing and is available to give uilleann piping and whistle workshops of all abilities.
Uilleann Pipes – Low Whistles
Loïc Bléjean is a virtuoso uilleann piper and low whistle player from Brittany, that ancient land in the north-west of modern France. He started playing the pipes in 1989, under the tuition of Alain Le Hégarat and then travelled extensively in Ireland, where he met many wonderful musicians. Since those early days he has developed an extraordinary versatility and adaptability which has enabled him collaborate and work with a wide variety of musicians. His playing is characterised by a crisp clean style, with wonderful clarity in the separation of the notes along with the ability to pull from the pipes the evocative, almost mournful and eerie sounds so loved by aficionados.
Loïc’s ability to grasp and understand other genres has led to performances at the Globe Theatre in London as well as performances with the progressive rock band Children in Paradise and the exciting jazz band the Boclé Brothers, with whom he recorded the album ‘Rock The Boat’. Loïc is a skilled reed maker and has presented uilleann pipe maintenance and reed making workshops in addition to uilleann piping and low whistle performance lessons.
Guitar – Vocals – Piano
Deirdre Galway began her musical life studying and competing on piano and clarinet. After achieving distinction at Grade 8, she began experimenting with jazz, rock and Irish traditional music. Accompanying on DADGAD guitar and researching old songs, Irish music is now her passion. Deirdre is also an Irish speaker, with a first-class honours degree in Irish Language and Literature.
Deirdre is a founding member of the Irish traditional bands Réalta, Madagán and Music in the Glen. With these projects she has released three critically acclaimed studio albums, performed live on BBC and RTÉ TV, and at venues and festivals throughout the world including Celtic Connections (Glasgow), Sori (South Korea), Saarang (India) and Tønder Festival (Dermark).
Teaching has always been a passion. As well as leading festival workshops and tutoring in schools, Deirdre is co-founder of the Belfast Traditional Music Trail, which aims to give people an introduction to Irish music and its vibrant place in her home city. She is a regular on the Belfast session scene and also performs with Live Music Now, a charity founded by Yehudi Menuhin to bring music into various community setting. As a sympathetic accompanist, Deirdre is in high demand and has recently performed with singers Gráinne Holland and Amy McAllister, uilleann piper Chris McMullan, and the dance show Avalon Celtic Dances.
Bouzouki – Double Bass – Vocals – Banjo
Multi-instrumentalist Dermot Mulholland adds his talents to Réalta on banjo, bouzouki, double bass and vocals. He is a winner of several All-Ireland titles and is a founding member of the BBC Folk Award winning band Ioscaid. Beyond Réalta, Dermot is highly sought after for various performing, teaching and recording roles and has worked with artists and engineers including: Dónal O’Connor, Sean Óg Graham, The Shamrock Tenors, Chris McMullan, The Mulholland Family and Celtic Legends to name but a few. On stage, he has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals in the folk and traditional scene and some highlights include: Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Cambridge Folk Festival and Tønder Festival.
When he is not in front of the microphone, Dermot will often be found at the other side of the mixing desk in his role as head audio and lighting engineer for the live music venue, An Coire. Here, he also manages the events and has provided FOH and Monitor sound for a multitude of acts, including: Flook, Beoga (Trad); Monsters of Metal (Heavy Metal); and Gareth Dunlop (Singer Songwriter).
Dermot has been repairing and maintaining instruments since he was a young lad and has honed the skills required to maintain and build instruments to a high standard. He has taught music since he was 15 in a range of settings, including at home privately, local music schools, festivals and at the Armagh Piper’s Club, one of the most respected music schools in Ireland. His experience in teaching and playing is shown through his unique style and understanding of his instruments and is available to teach guitar, bouzouki, banjo, double bass, singing and Irish language.
Bodhrán – Percussion
Dermot Moynagh is one of the most influential and leading bodhrán players of his generation. His talents were highlighted when he won the prestigious All Ireland Fleadh-Cheoil championship at a young age and since then he has been in high demand as a live performer and session recording artist.
He has toured throughout Europe with a variety of bands including Réalta, The Rapparees, The Gráinne Holland Band and the contemporary rock and folk band The Emerald Armada. In the studio Dermot has featured as a guest artist on several albums including Music in the Glen (Lamb, Mulholland, Galway) and Autumn Winds (Niall Hanna).
Dermot is known for his unique style, and recounts learning bodhrán along to recordings of music as varied as Lúnasa, Bob Marley and The Prodigy. This contemporary approach to traditional music is helping him inspire younger generations. He regularly teaches bodhrán at the Andersonstown School of Traditional Music and he has travelled to Spain and France to teach at various workshops including the Babieca Folk Festival and the Cassel Festival de Musique Irlandaise.