BMus Hons Music, T.T.C.T
Paul Harrigan is from the Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal. Born into a musical family, he was influenced at an early age by his teachers Dinny McLaughlin, Evelyn Boyce, and Theresa McClure. He has the distinction of being All-Ireland champion on both the Uilleann Pipes and Piano Accordion.
He has been teaching Traditional Music for the past twenty-five years. A respected and versatile musician, Paul has traveled extensively, performing in Canada and the USA, and through out Europe and China. He has toured and recorded with groups such as Lunasa, Tuath, (Ireland), Dirty Linen, (France) and BlØf (Holland), and with virtuoso solo performers and composers Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, (Ireland), Benoit Guerbigny, Renaud Séchan and Jean-marc Padovani (France).With friend and colleague Terry Woods, Paul has been a member of the Woods Band and original member of The Hell Fire Club with Shane McGowan, Terry Woods, (The Pogues), and the legendary Ronnie Drew (The Dubliners). Performing with such a wide variety of musicians has enabled Paul to fuse Irish traditional music with such musical genre as Jazz, Rock, Blues as well arranging music for ‘Anair’, a collection of poetry and translations of the Connemara Tradition with Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin and John Ryan. In July of ‘09, together with Terry Woods and actor Adrian Dunbar, he performed and appeared in a documentary by Brian Ó Flaghartaigh on the life of James Connolly. In March 2009, Paul traveled to Beijing with contemporary Irish composers, Brian Bridges, Linda Buckley, and Hugh O Neil, to perform a series of concerts and lectures featuring Paul on the Uilleann Pipes. The Melting Pod project in 2014 was an opportunity for Paul to collaborate with musicians Ralphe Rolle and Selan Lerner (Chic) bringing together Inishowen music and newly composed pieces from all participants. An exciting meeting of ‘Bronx meets Inishowen’ Paul also performed and recorded on his sister, Roisin McGrory’s debut album “The Brae Road” 2016
Paul returned to college in 2008 and graduated form the University of Ulster with Bmus Hons in 2011. Paul has tutored with the University of Limerick, providing master classes on both Uilleann Pipes and Piano Accordion for the MA in Performance and the BA in Traditional Music and Dance. He set up his own traditional music school ‘Ceol na Coille’ in 2011. Ceol na Coille opened its door’s to musicians of all ages and provides tuition on a wide variety of instruments. From 2004, Paul has also worked closely with local national and secondary schools as a part time tutor and also creating and delivering programs through the Music Education Partnership, Donegal VEC and Peace III initiative. From dealing with a large number of young musicians in a variety of musical genre, he felt the need for creating a musical platform for young musicians of different musical backgrounds to come together and perform in a variety of settings, formal and informal, at home and abroad. With this in mind, Paul decided to form the project ‘Coirm’ in September 2013.
From discussions with parents and other music teachers locally Paul felt the need to address a gap in services to traditional music in the area. In 2012 Paul set up the first Ceol na Coille Summer School of Irish Traditional Music. Ceol na Coille’s aims are to deliver high quality level of master classes and tuition in traditional music inviting nationally recognized musicians to deliver the master classes. The Summer School to date has welcomed students of all ages from USA, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Japan, Hungary and throughout Ireland. To accommodate the growing interest and numbers, Ceol na Coille have moved to the fantastic new facilities in Coláiste Ailigh, Cnoc na Mona, Letterkenny. The Summer School program also runs a very successful CPD course for teachers in traditional music ‘An Integrated Approach to Irish Music Pedagogy’ and has been approved by the Department of Education and Science.
Paul still performs throughout Ireland and abroad and is highly sought after as a tutor for master classes and stagecraft performance. Paul’s musicianship reflects his musical apprenticeship, a deeply rooted education in the style, tradition and flair of the Irish music of his native Inishowen. His command of the music enables him to show his virtuosity with versatility.