Cormac Byrne is a bodhrán player and percussionist from Waterford, Ireland and is now based in the UK. He has received many awards for his work including The John Wray Percussion Prize at the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), The BBC Young Folk Award and was winner of the BBC Fame Academy Arts Bursary in 2006.
Cormac has appeared at numerous festivals around the world and has toured extensively. Primarily playing with Mercury Music Prize Nominee, Seth Lakeman, he was also a founder member of BBC award winning band, Uiscedwr.
His versatility has seen him in much demand across many genres, both live and in the studio, from Traditional Irish and Folk, World Music, Classical, Jazz and Pop. He has worked with the multi award winning Backbeat Percussion Quartet (featuring Simone Rebello), Les Commandos Percu, Fidget Feet Performance Company, Michael McGoldrick, Abigail Washburn, Damien O’Kane, Solas, Pól Brennan (Clannad), Soumik Datta (Indian Sarod virtuoso), Ashley MacIsaac, Val Doonican, Kefaya, Show of Hands, Giuliano Modarelli, Andrew Dinan, Emma Sweeney, Cara, Ducie, Cara Dillon, Rioghnach Connolly, Stuart MacCallum, The Priests, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, The RTE Concert Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Simon Emmerson, Lisbee Stainton, O’Hooley Tidow, Jesse Banister, Declan Bennett, Neil Yates 5 Countries Trio, Craig Owen (Duel), Baltic Crossing, as well as several other bands, orchestras, musicians and producers.
He was most recently approached to perform with Irish super-group, The Chieftains.
“Cormac’s quite simply the most extraordinary of the many enterprising and musicianly bodhránists on the scene today”
He has appeared on TV and Radio many times including performances on MTV, BBC’s Top of The Pops, BBC Breakfast, GMTV, Sharon Osbourne Show, Sky Arts, BBC Alba, RTE, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and RTE Lyric FM. He recorded music for BBC Film series ‘Inspector George Gently’, UK’s Channel 4 series ‘The Mill’ and Ireland’s TG4 series ‘An Bronntanas’. He worked with James Divine (the world’s fastest tap dancer) on the international touring show ‘Tapeire’ and with Damien Barber on the dance show ‘The Lock In’.
Cormac is principal Bodhrán and Folk Percussion tutor at Newcastle University (Folk and Traditional Music Degree course) and the Birmingham Conservatoire and is a guest tutor at The Royal College of Music in London and The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In addition he has given Bodhrán and Percussion workshops and clinics for several organizations and Universities including Celtic Connections, Leeds College of Music, The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, The UK’s EFDSS (English Folk Dance and Song Society), York University, Farncombe Estate Adult Education Centre, Folkus, The Music Workshop Company, The Music Room in Cleckheaton and several youth music groups around the UK and Ireland. Cormac has appeared as a soloist at the prestigious Picking Up Sticks Festival in Oldham, UK, and has appeared as a guest at The Royal Northern College of Music’s renowned Day of Percussion Festival in Manchester on two separate occasions. He is also a regular tutor at the world famous ‘Craiceann’ International Bodhrán festival in Ireland every year. In 2013 the world premiere of his work ‘Craiceann Concerto’ was performed at this festival by 80 Bodhrán players, in association with the Irish Arts Council and was televised on RTÉ’s TG4. He was featured in Rhythm magazine in November 2006.
“Throughout the album (Uiscedwr – Circle) Cormac Byrne’s bodhrán astonishes. How he manages to coax such melodic as well as rhythmic range from a wooden hoop and a patch of goat-skin remains a mystery. His percussion piece, ‘Tree’, will convert the most ardent despiser of the drum solo”
“The essential percussive playing of Cormac Byrne conjured a sense of the playfully magical”