Catching Up with Stephen Doherty(Grada and Celtica instrumentalist)

Artist profile:

Name : Stephen Doherty

Instruments: Flutes, whistles, melodeon, bodhran, cajon

Plays for: Grada and Celtica

Website:, and

Stephen Doherty (Flute), David Doocey (Fiddle) and Patrick Doocey (Guitar) performing a selection of jigs ‘The Hag’s Purse’ at the Pub ‘An Trá Buí’ in Dumha Thuama’, Co. Mayo, where the program ‘Geantrai’ has been presented by Box Player Fiachna Ó Mongáin.

This interview has an interesting background. It took me weeks to finally get something out of Stephen due to his rigorous schedules. Last time he talked to me, he was in London. I was finally able to catch up with him while playing in Switzerland.

Stephen is a down to earth fellow. He actually apologized for not being able to answer the questions due to his commitments. It think it’s funny because while I was reminding him( yes I am a very aggressive music reporter) he was all over Europe!

I discovered Stephen Doherty through the Irish band Grada.  His flute and melodeon sound gave the band their bright, exquisite signature. Listening to the music reminds me of picking up a bunch of fresh mint leaves in the morning. There is that undeniable sweetness + optimism + poignant atmosphere whenever you listen to each of the track from the band.


Celtica are:

Gary Smyth – Guitar and vocals
Eamonn Walsh – Drums
Sean Hynes – Guitar and Bass
Ciara Walsh – Fiddle, Bass and Vocals
Stephen Doherty – Bass and Accordion

  1. Being a multi-instrumentalist, what’s your most favorite instrument .I find it hard to decide between accordion and flute, but i think flute is my most natural instrument,

    2. Tell us about the style of traditional music you make.

    I’m involved in various shows and bands, buts it all mainly based around Traditional Irish music, in the ceili bands, we play a straight fast traditional style, while when Playing with Grada, its more Contemporary and original twist on irish music, with some of our own compositions and some improvisation, and whilst playing with shows, the music can be slightly more commercial at times, i enjoy all these styles, but like to fall back to traditional music of the heart,

    3. List at three musicians who influenced you.
    Michael McGoldrick, Mairtin O Connor, Frankie Gavin

    4. You started early, and while people your age dig pop artists; why traditional Irish music?

    Traditional music was strong in my family and area, so I was surrounded by it growing up!

    5. What’s the trend in Irish music today?

    There are many trends! I think festivals are a great meeting point for sessions and craic and meeting other musicians. Many people  are still sticking to traditional styles whilst others trying to progress the tradition to new things, all are great in their own way.

    6. Where did you learn playing the box?
    I learned box from brother, in the C#D old melodeon style, and developed my playing listening to people like Mairtin O Connor, Dermot Byrne, David Munnelly.

    7. Tell us where we can catch you next in performance.
    I’m currently in Switzerland Playing Ceilis for the weekend, Back in Ireland Next Weekend playing at Beofest in Connamara with Fuaim Connamara, and then a 10 day tour of Denmark with Grada kicks off on April 28th

  2. Grada in Folk Up, Germany
    Grada in Folk Up, Germany

Catch more of Stephen Doherty through Grada and Celtica(LIKE them in facebook).

2 thoughts on “Catching Up with Stephen Doherty(Grada and Celtica instrumentalist)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s