THE West Ocean String Quartet is delighted to be returning to Letterkenny’s Regional Cultural Centre, for its first Donegal performance since July 2010, on Saturday, March 3.
Donegal has always been very close to the core of the quartet, made up of Seamus McGuire and Niamh Crowley on violin, Kenneth Rice on viola and Neil Martin on cello – the song cycle for Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and the quartet, Oileán na Marbh, and the suite for quartet and guitar Droichead na nDeor being two such examples.
On the cusp of recording their 4th album, An Indigo Sky, the concert on March 3 will feature material from that cd, as well as music from the earlier albums.
Formed in 1999, the West Ocean String Quartet’s vision, eclectic repertoire and style have won them global praise. Their music, most of it written and arranged by Neil Martin, lies somewhere in between the worlds of classical and traditional music.
Disregarding rules and boundaries, they have found for themselves a unique voice, and have collaborated with many leading artists, both on stage and in the studio, including Christy Moore, Mary Black, Matt Molloy, Brain Kennedy, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and Liam O’Flynn.
The quartet’s debut album, Unwrapping Dreams (2004), was released to very considerable acclaim both in Ireland and around the globe. It won the award for Best Newcomers Album in Chicago’s American Live Ireland Awards that year and a BBC television documentary on the quartet followed.
Universal praise continued with their second album, The Guiding Moon (2006) featuring The Chieftains’ flute player Matt Molloy. Their third album, Ae Fond Kiss (2009), with special guest Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill, similarly garnered applause worldwide.
The quartet has performed widely, including sell-out performances in Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Belfast’s Waterfront Hall and Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.
Their music has taken them to USA and France and their appeal is truly universal – all three of the quartet’s cds were played aboard the International Space Station during the first half of 2011.