Cillian Doheny: My Life as a Member of a Traditional Irish Band(Interview)

Also in this edition: The Picts and Flutatious

Cillian Doheny; All Ireland Champion.

Riding the thunder: Apart from jamming with U2’s Bono and The Edge, Cillian Doheny gives us an insider’s look at the life of a musician in a traditional Irish band.

Cillian Doheny is based in Limerick Ireland. He plays the Tenor Banjo, Nylon & Steel String Guitar and  Mandola for Moxie. The band will release their first music video in January of 2013. They will also release their debut album next year. We will see the future of this amazing trad Irish band taking off and wowing listeners in both sides of the Atlantic.

What is it like to be a young musician playing in a trad band? Especially for someone who has bagged an All Ireland Winner title on Tenor Banjo under 18 years at the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil held in  August 2009? Ha! You shall find out. His recordings can be found in his Myspace music page.

Music is created through friendships with other musicians. This how the trad scene  continues to flourish. I notice more and more young ones getting into the music, performing and creating them. I see a bright future in the traditional Celtic music scene. It is a world that continues to blossom with such vigor that will make even those who don’t normally listen to such music stop in their steps and listen.

I appreciate this interview with Cillian. He is down to earth, enthusiastic and he also loves promoting other musicians. These qualities make him such a great asset to those whom he collaborates with. So other than the terrific banjo playing, with fingers that move like lightning, this young man is in the right and exciting path.

Your bio says you started playing music since you were 11. Now you have mastered theTenor Banjo, the Guitar (nylon and steel), Bouzouki, Bodhrán and Mandolin. What is your main instrument now and why?

My main instrument would have to be the tenor banjo. The reason for this is my love for the sound of the instrument. I’ve also found that it’s very adaptable in most genres of music as well as traditional Irish music, which is great news to my ears.

In one unique occasion you jammed with U2’s Bono and The Edge. How did this happen and how was the experience?

This experience was one of a kind and a great opportunity to catch up with the U2 members and see what they were like. Although they had a hectic day of travelling with their flight having to be rerouted to Shannon from Dublin due the bad weather at the time, they were very friendly, good fun and loved the music.

You have a new band called Moxie. Can you give us a brief timeline of the band’s activities up to the release of the debut album next year?

We formed the band at the annual Sligo Live festival in 2011 and since then we’ve been getting on great. At the moment we are looking at releasing our new EP, recorded and mastered in Big Banna Studios,Co. Antrim by Seán Óg Graham which will hopefully be available before Christmas. We have played at festivals such as Celtic Fringe Festival ( Jun 2012), North Atlantic Fiddle Convention ( Jun 2012), All Ireland Fleadh ( Aug 2012 ), Tuam Traditional Festival ( Sep 2012 ) and of course we just made our second appearance at Sligo Live this year which turned out to be a huge success for us a year on. We have plans to bring out our debut album in late 2013 but we’re not rushing with anything yet as there is plenty of time to perfect the sound and we are also waiting on a band member to finish out his exams.

What is so great being in a trad band composed of young people your age?

Tenor banjo master

I suppose the best thing about it without a doubt is the craic that we have. We grew up with each other playing music while having great fun all down through the years, to all of us that means a lot and without that it wouldn’t be what it is.

Do you have a kind of routine when you start recording with the band? And also, what do you do to make sure you give optimum performance both in recording and playing live?

Well I am going to use the overused and sometimes overlooked statement, “practice makes perfect”. Once the music is tight and everyone is comfortable with the arrangements, that’s when we can relax and work on the sound as a whole.

If given a power to change the music scene, what are the things you want to happen?

If I was given the power to change the music scene I would make undiscovered artist’s / band’s music widely available to the worldwide public. There are so many amazing musicians out there that don’t get the recognition that they deserve due to lack of funding or funding authorities making it difficult for up and coming artists to get recognized.

Please complete this sentence: When I am not playing music I………..

When not playing music I am usually writing music, listening to music, practicing or going to see gigs with friends. I also enjoy photography and I am a bit of a technology freak too.

What is something you can’t live without when you go on a tour?

Well I’ve had a long think about this and the answer would probably have to be my hair straightener… Kidding! My iPod would definitely be one of my prized possessions on tour, as I would most likely go insane without it.

Moxie on stage


The Picts


Grant McConnell- Accordions, Guitars, Bass, Vocals and anything else he can get his hands on..Douglas McQueen Hunter – Vocals, Guitars, Mandolins, 5 String Banjo and things that need plucked….Jeremy Stirling- Keyboards, Pianos and things that need plonked….

David Murray- Pipes, Whistles, Mouth-organ and things you blow.

Neil McDonald- Drums, Percussion and thing that need hit

Tracy Carmichael – Technical advisor, lighting and sound, driver and stage manager and anything that requires sorting.

Hometown Glasgow & East Lothian

Hypnotic,energetic and stunning! The Picts are a part of a New Wave of Celtic bands hailing from Scotland.   According to the band’s bio:

Formed in February 1997, The Picts have become one of the most popular live acts on the folk rock and concert scene. They have reached out with their unique brand of celtic rock and captivated hundreds of audiences both at home and abroad. There is a considerable influence of original material combined with the traditional. The songs and instrumentals are upbeat, powerful and irresistible for dancing, yet retain their original sentiment, feeling and intimacy.

A lengthy bio can be found here:


A new album out by Flutatious!

I am in the process of writing a review of this album by UK based Celtic fusion band Flutatious. Watch out for that one. You can purchase the album here:

2 thoughts on “Cillian Doheny: My Life as a Member of a Traditional Irish Band(Interview)

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