This unlikely pairing of an Australian ex-rocker guitarist (Stephen Cooney) and Kerry accordion player (Seamus Begley) is now recognised as one of the top acts in Irish music, playing traditional dance music with a fire that is true to the tradition, and much appreciated by the dancers for whom the music exists. The duo specialise in the songs and dance music of the Cork/Kerry region, mixing the local polkas and slides with the more usual jigs, reels
and hornpipes. The music is naturally full of vigour and energy; this pair are true to this essence, but bring their own style and innovations that have made their music wildly popular around the world.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Steve started his professional musical career at the age of 17, playing for a while in the US before returning home, where he was in a number of rock bands, (Bushwackers, Fruitcake) and the successful folk/rock band, Red Gum. In 1981 he bought a one-way ticket to Ireland, from where his ancestors had come, where he busked and worked odd jobs for a few months, before joining Stockton's Wing as bassist with whom he stayed until 1981. Since then he has popped up all over the place, with a major contribution to Sharon Shannon's first album, and performances and recordings with Dermot Byrne, Altan, Martin Hayes and others. While guitar, and rock guitarists have raised eyebrows in trad Irish music in the past, Cooney is no noise machine. His technique is excellent, and his understanding of traditional music and accompaniment is attested to by the number of traditional groups and albums he has contributed to.
Begley comes from the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) of Dingle, in Co. Kerry, the son of local accordionist Bhreandáin Bheaglaoich. He played music from an early age, and at 14 started playing accordion at local dances. In 1972 he recorded his first album, An Ciarraíoch Mallaithe with his sister Máire. He lived in Chicago, working as a truck driver, in 1976, and since then has lived in Kerry. Máire and Séamus made a second album for Gael Linn in 1989, with Seamus on accordion,. Máire on piano and piano-accordion, both singing, and introducing Stephen Cooney on guitar and piano.
Séamus Begley & Stephen Cooney
199? Meitheal Hummingbird HR-004 (Ireland)
Kells KM 9504 (USA)
Séamus & Máire Begley
1972 An Ciarraíoch Mallaithe Gael Linn CEF 037
1989 Plancstaí Bhaile na Buc Gael Linn CEF 138
Meitheal should be available at a
discount online at
Home | Artists | Feedback