Michael McGoldrick – flute, whistles and uillean pipesMusician of the Year – 2006 BBC Folk Awards
Born in Manchester to Irish parents, Michael McGoldrick was encouraged by the thriving traditional Irish music scene in the city and by the age of 15, he had already won numerous All-Ireland Championships after swapping bodhran to play flute and whistles.
He made a name for himself whilst still at school, as a founder member of Toss The Feathers, Manchester’s influential Celtic rock band. He became the first piper/flautist to win the acclaimed BBC Radio Two Young Tradition Award in September 1995 resulting in the recording of the superb “Champions Of The North” album with Toss The Feathers’ highly acclaimed fiddler Dezi Donnelly.
December 1996 saw Mike fulfill a dream shared by many a Mancunian; performing as himself, he starred at an Alec Gilroy party in Coronation Street!
In 1998, Mike was invited to join Scottish folk-legends Capercaillie (which Mojo magazine described as “a folk marriage made in heaven”),and has gone on to record “Beautiful Wasteland”, “Nadurra” and the recent award winning “Choice Language” while contributing classic compositions like “Failte Gu Whalley Range” and “Kepplehall”. That year he helped form yet another band; the self-titled debut album from Irish folk artists, Lunasa, won many plaudits and he returned a year later to contribute to the follow-up album, “Otherworld”, which includes the track, “Heaton Chapel”.
In July ’98 he found time to team up with artists like Jim Kerr, Youssou N’Dour and John Cale to appear on Breton and Celtic musician, Alan Stivell’s “1 Douar” album. By this time, Michael had earned a reputation for redefining traditional music, and his next contributions were to reinforce that opinion; he appeared on the amazing Kate Rusby’s first two albums (“Hourglass” and “Sleepless”) before joining the Afro Celt Sound System and fellow members of Capercaillie, (Charlie McKerron, John Saich and Laura McKerron), for two new projects: Big Sky’s “Volume One – The Source” and Afro Celt Sound System’s “Volume Two – Release” (both 1999), winning widespread praise in the music industry.
In 1999 Michael contributed to Idir’s world music album, “Identites”, before returning to a more traditional approach on Karan Casey’s “Seal Maiden” album. Karan returned the favour a year later by recording a track for Mike’s second solo album, “Fused”.
“Fused” is a masterpiece, mixing traditional with trance and fusion. The collection of some of Mike’s favourite tunes as well as some brilliant self-penned tracks has been described as one of the most ground-breaking folk albums of all time, redirecting the future of traditional music. The album boasts contributions from some of the leading lights in Celtic music, including Capercaillie’s Donald Shaw with Alan Kelly and Dezi Donnelly, who by now had been crowned 1999 Young Traditional Musician of the Year.The album also features the guest vocals from Karan Casey and Capercaillie’s Karen Matheson.
In 2005 Michael released the follow-up to Fused – “Wired”. It is the natural successor to “Fused”, only even bolder and more captivating, incorporating alternative sounds into traditional music to create a brilliant fusion at the cutting edge of folk music that positively bursts with energy.
“[A] treasure-trove of gorgeous tunes, razor-sharp grooves and sublime playingÖ if there’s any justice, Wired should be up for next year’s Mercury Prize.” ***** Sunday Herald
By fusing traditional music with trance or jazz, Mike is already regarded as one of the greatest flute players of all time. Check him out and you too will become hooked to the crossover of traditional Irish music to modern day sound.