Mícheál Ó Catháin

Mícheál Ó Catháin grew up in Kildare immersed in Irish language, song and music. Originally a traditional fiddle player and singer in recent years he has built on these foundations to develop a comprehensive command of the early Irish harp.

Faithful to historical practices, Mícheál sings with the harp on his left shoulder and employs specialised fingernail techniques to shape the resonance of these metal-strung instruments. His arrangements of manuscript pieces breathe fresh life into Ireland’s ancient harp music for contemporary audiences. A soloist in his own right, he has played alongside Cormac Begley, Siobhán Armstrong and Javier Sáinz, as well as his long-time mentor and collaborator Ann Heymann.

Mícheál was the recipient of a recent Arts Council Traditional Arts Bursary. He is working on a debut solo recording of pieces collected from Denis O’Hampsey, the eldest of the harpers at the 1792 Belfast Harp Meeting.