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Dermot Byrne

  • The accordion player for traditional Irish band Altan, Dermot Byrne has taken a fresh approach to the squeezebox tradition of his homeland. The son of a musician, Tomas O'Beirne, Byrne continues to build on his father's legacy. In addition to his work with Altan, Byrne has performed or recorded with such stellar Irish musicians as Seamus and Manus McGuirethe ChieftainsFrankie Gavin, and Dezi Donnelly. His debut solo album, released in 1995, featured accompaniment from guitarist/keyboards player Steve Cooney; double bassist Trevor Hutchinson; and bouzouki, guitar, and bodhran player Donal Lunny. His second solo outing, 2 Worlds United, was recorded with Ontario-based champion fiddler Pierre Schryer, and included French, Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton tunes. Taught to play the accordion by his father, Byrne mastered the two- and single-row accordion by his teens. A guest on two Altan albums -- The Red Crow and Island Angel -- he became a full-fledged member in late 1993. Since then, he has been featured on three of the Donegal-based group's albums: BlackwaterRunaway Sunday, and Another Sky.

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