Rising talent Emma Sweeney has marked an outstanding year with the release of her debut album, Pangea. Emma s trad Irish background is the cornerstone of this exciting debut, but the Manchester-based fiddler integrates a select fusion of world influences that accentuate her truly unique style and approach. Pangea brings together a diverse mixture of trad jigs and reels, fluidly blended with Emma s own compositions. It also features a bluegrass waltz, an Indian-influenced piece and an original take on Nick Drake s A Place to Be. The album features a spectacular cast of contributors, including Matheu Watson, Duncan Lyall, Mike McGoldrick, Matt Griffin, Manus Lunny, John Doyle, Donald Shaw, Ian Fletcher, Johnny Hulme and John Joe Kelly. Emma was introduced to Irish music aged seven, taking tin whistle classes under Sligo s Marian Eagan. At ten years of age she progressed onto the fiddle, taught by Colin Farrell and later, Andy Dinan. Her potential flourished further under the mentorship of Mike McGoldrick, who encouraged and tutored her in whistle and fiddle. Although Emma s career is young, she has amassed an abundance of live experience performing alongside a whole raft of revered traditional musicians, including Dick Gaughan, Cara Dillon, Sam Lakeman, Ed Boyd, Luke Daniels, Donald Shaw, Eamon McElholm, Ian Fletcher, Mike McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly, Andy Dinan, Tony Byrne, Matt Griffin, Mick O brien, Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Donal Lunny, Martin O Connor and John Joe Kelly. A finalist at the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2003, Emma s devotion to music has taken her across Europe and beyond. At the age of eighteen, she travelled to Kolkata, India, where she founded a project teaching the tin whistle to 300 street children and orphans from the city s slums. Her debut EP, The Other Crossing, released in late 2010, received excellent reviews and airplay, including Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2. This led to her coming second runner up in the 2010 Tradition Award, run by FATEA magazine.
Emma is one of our finest young fiddlers and her self-released five track EP of tunes is a real gem --Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2
Emma Sweeney proves herself to be a highly capable composer, and an excellent fiddle player with the confidence to bring her own personality to the traditional tunes --Mary Stokes, Bright Young Folk
An impressive debut from an impressive performer --Pete Fyfe, Folking.com