Steáfán Hannigan and Saskia Tomkins moved to Canada in 2007 from England with their three children: Oisín, Eilé, and Ayisha. Steáfán, from Northern Ireland, and Saskia, from England, met in the UK and have been performing together for 20 years. When the children arrived, they naturally accompanied their parents to gigs. After a while, it was obvious that the children wanted to share the stage, so Clan Hannigan was born.
Clan Hannigan has played across Ontario. Highlights include Massey Hall (with The Chieftains), Blue Skys Festival, and St Patricks Day @ The Tranzac Club. They collaborated with The Peterborough Singers, Toronto Tabla Ensemble, and the Northumberland Orchestra and Choir.
They toured in the Czech Republic and Austria in 2010, were featured as a gaelic speaking family in two 4th Line Theatre plays: “The Cavan Blazers” and “The Winslows of Derryvore”. They are regular featured performers at Lang Pioneer Village Museum on special events, and were the guests for the Illumination at Sharon Temple in 2016.
Steáfán plays over 40 instruments, many of which he has featured on albums or live by major artists such as Loreena McKennitt, Olivier Schroer, James Keelaghan, Stephen Fearing, IL Divo, Julian Lloyd Weber, Pete Lockett, Bjork, Depeche Mode, Gary Barlow, Uriah Heep, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, John Kirkpatrick, Luke Daniels, Sin É, LinnTilla, Eileen McGann, Band of Hope, Lammas, Tim Garland, Brian Willoughby from the Strawbs, Jeff Martin, The Tea Party, The Afro Celt Sound System, and many more. He is a respected teacher of Irish traditional music and wrote The Low Whistle Book and CD as well as The Bodhran Book and CD. Having completed the music and sound effects for a 26 episode animation, The Legend of Ponnivalla, now airing on ATN; Steáfán is a freelance musician and photographer.Saskia is also a respected teacher and player of the violin, viola, and nyckelharpa. Her musical abilities on these instruments are wide ranging, from classical to celtic, gypsy-jazz, and songwriter accompaniment. She is an excellent reader of music, charts, and play-by-ear. Saskia completed a BA in Jazz and popular music at Middlesex University, focusing on different fiddling styles. She has played with countless artists in many genres, including Caroline Lavelle, Ron Korb, and Robb Johnson, as well as playing for Uriah Heep‘s 30th anniversary concert, improvising with dancers at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, and learning cello for Michael Bogdanov and the English Shakespeare Company‘s 6 month tour of Beowulf. She has recorded on over 60 albums for other artists and several with her own groups. Saskia is also the All Britain Champion for Irish Fiddle. Canadian performances and recordings include: Sultans of String, David Newland, Donald Quan, 4th Line Theatre (2009-2016), Relic Hunter soundtrack, Canadian Aboriginal Awards 2017, The Chieftains and Toronto Tabla Ensemble, both at Massey Hall. She has worked on the development of Come From Away before it hit Broadway.
She co-wrote the music for Driving Miss Daisy with Steáfán Hannigan at The Capitol Theatre, Port Hope, and played 1st violin for Last 5 Years at the same theatre. Saskia’s current projects include the Celtic trio Cairdeas with Steáfán Hannigan and Lakefield singer Marsala Lukianchuk, the Gypsy Jazz trio Hot Club 3, and the instrumental duo 2ish. She leads the Viola section in Northumberland Orchestra and Choir and the 2nd Violins in Quinte Orchestra.
Steáfán and Saskia have just released their first celtic duo album Moorchild.
Oisín took to hitting drums as soon as he could crawl and learned his chops sharing the stage with his parents. He has been teaching and playing at a professional level since the age of eleven. Some of his past successes include: winning the Comhaltas Mid Atlantic Bodhrán championship in 2009, playing with The Chieftains, once at the age of 9 at Massey Hall, and once again at Roy Thomson Hall age 11. Recent projects include: opening for Lauryn Hill at venues including Massey Hall, and Radio City Music Hall in New York City with Award winning musician Paul Beaubrun (with Aubrey Dayle, Brad Cheeseman, and Rich Brown), playing with Juno Award winner Divine Brown at her Christmas special, playing in David Newland‘s band Uncharted Waters, recording for multiple Gemini Award winning composer Donald Quan on his soundtrack for the T.V series Star Hunter, and soon to be working with Juno award winner Tanika Charles.
Eilé and Ayisha both have taken to singing and dancing, with an interest in traditional songs as well as contemporary songs. They are also champions coming 1st and 2nd in the Comhaltas Mid Atlantic competition in traditional singing.
Eilé‘s dance experience includes Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Acro, and Irish Dance. She has won awards for her performances right across all genres. Eilé is learning the guitar, is interested in fashion and design, and is hoping to go into Child Advocacy in law after graduating high school.
Ayisha‘s dance experience includes Hip-Hop, Ballet, Musical Theatre, and Irish Dance. She also won awards in Musical Theatre and Irish Dance. As well as performing, Ayisha is really interested in special effects makeup and photography.
in concert - May 4
Ceili - May 5
Ceangal (kyan-gul) means link or connection in the Irish language. Connections across the Atlantic, from city to city and with the music they play, that is what brought this foursome together. From Dublin, Saint John and Fredericton the members are hardly newcomers to the Celtic tradition. With their individual backgrounds in folk/traditional music they easily blend their strengths to achieve a new perspective on an old art form.
Ceangal offers an array of songs sung in both Irish and English, fetching instrumentals and to top it off, traditional Irish dance. The band’s repertoire accommodates their collective creative bent with original material and contemporary Celtic arrangements. Be prepared for the sweet sound of a haunting melody or the bold rhythm of an energetic jig. And one thing is for certain, the passion they have for their music is both conspicuous and infectious.
Ceangal is preparing to take the performing stage for the first time in early 2018 so is very happy to be the opening act for Clan Hannigan at this year's JP Collins Celtic Festival on May 4.
Between them, the members of Ceangal have extensive teaching experience and are very happy to be able to share their knowledge while leading many of the workshops at JP Collins in 2018.
The group's members are:
Ian MacGabhann - vocals, guitar
Carolyn Holyoke - accordion, piano, vocals
Marilyn Inch - whistle, vocals, bodhrán
Adam McIntyre - bodhrán, sean nos dance, vocals