Mariah Wade present unique and beautiful interpretations of traditional Irish, British and old time American songs, interspersed with their own carefully crafted compositions. Formed of three long-time friends, Catherine Doogan, Mary Quinn and Glenn Cumiskey, they weave together stories on acoustic guitar and banjo with vocal harmonies that run as deep and clear as a mountain stream. Their music defies easy categorization - it embraces the pre-eminent ambassadors of traditional Irish, folk, Appalachain and country music.
"We feel a deep empathy with the early traditional music of the past," says Catherine, "And in our own way we try and communicate the emotion of that material." This approach is supported by unconventional and deceptively simple accompaniment. "I think much of the feeling of our music comes from the dislocation and loneliness that is part and parcel of the emigrant experience," says Mary. Their wistful, plaintive sound is also underpinned by the bubbling joy the group find in the simple act of making music together, as evident in their live performances.
The themes of emigration, love, joy and loss are reflected in the genealogy of the group's name. Mariah Wade was an emigrant from the hills of South Armagh in Ireland who made the long journey to a new life in America in the late 19th century. This sense of place, family, tradition and migration tie all of the group's members together. And it's why in their hands a Bill Monroe song can sit comfortably beside traditional sean-nós from the Donegal Gaeltacht.
“We love playing together,” Glenn says. “There's a timeless quality about much of the material we perform that really excites us. It feels as if, in our own small way we're continuing to weave a thin thread of tradition into the future.”
Mariah Wade have just completed their debut CD 'Drink Deep & Depart' and will be launching it online on August 24th 2015.
Catherine Doogan grew up in Co. Donegal, Ireland where she was exposed to the local singing traditions of Inishowen. Due to family connections in South-west Donegal, she also grew up listening to some of the great exponents of the unique Donegal fiddle playing style. She has performed at singing sessions and events nationally and internationally, and has recorded for TG4, the Irish language national television broadcaster and the Irish Traditional Music Archive.
Mary Quinn grew up in an Irish family in London, England and like many of her generation was heavily influenced by the strong musical ethic of this community. She started singing at an early age, supplementing her growing knowledge of the Irish song tradition with frequent trips back home to Mayo and Armagh. She has also sung as part of two highly successful London community choirs, The Heard and The Few, for a number of years.
Glenn Cumiskey grew up in the rich musical, singing and storytelling traditions of South Armagh, Ireland. He has played traditional Irish music from an early age and has worked for over a decade collecting thousands of performances of music and song for the Irish Traditional Music Archive. He has also worked on numerous oral history projects documenting the lives of older performers of traditional music and the Irish emigrant experience in Britain.