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dezi donnelly - champion of the north
Dezi Donnelly
" As an interpreter of traditional music, Dezi Donnelly stands apart from others of his generation. Despite his young age his playing bears all the hallmarks of someone who has grown naturally with the music." - Paddy Glackin - from the liner notes of Familiar Footsteps

It is a well known cliche, to describe a fiddle player as "a devil fiddler" but in Dezi Donnelly's case this is more of an understatement! The sibling of a Manchester fiddler dynasty is both All Britain and All Ireland Champion, a title truely deserved for his brilliant jigs and reels.

Having played the fiddle since the age of 7, Dezi was North West and All Britain fiddle champion by the age of 9. Amazingly, by the age of 15, he had won the All Ireland championship an astounding 5 times!

Dezi joined legendary Manchester-Irish band, Toss The Feathers, whilst still in his teens. Between 1988-91 and 1994-95 he appeared on the brilliant "Columbus Eclipse" and "Awakenings" albums.

It was during this period (in 1989 to be precise) that Dezi recorded some tracks with Mancunian flutist Michael McGoldrick. Mike's flute and Dezi's fiddle gently spar on most of the tracks, however each take the lead when required and the arrangements allow them to swap leads within sets to great effect. The tracks were later released on the album, "Champions Of The North", and Dezi also featured on Mike's amazing "Fused" album.

On the critically-acclaimed 1995 album, "Welcome", Dezi duos with guitarist Skirm and they compliment each others' playing superbly. Described as a unique musical experience, the album is a masterpiece of improvised brilliance and received rave reviews.

1997 saw Dezi become runner-up in the BBC award "Young Traditional Musician Of The Year", a title previously held by Michael McGoldrick. He is no pure traditionalist however. He is the unpredictable wonderboy of fiddle improvisation.

Dezi went one better in 1998, scooping the "All Ireland Young Traditional Musician Of The Year". The award pocketed him IR£5000 and a recording contract. The best prize however was on his doorstep when he arrived home, in the form of a congratulatory letter from his idle, ex-Manchester United legend, Eric Cantona.

The "All Ireland" award created a very productive period for Dezi. He was invited to join Irish traditionalists, Stockton's Wing in May '99 and by July he had released his debut solo album. "Familiar Footsteps".

"Familiar Footsteps" is already recognised as one of the greatest traditional fiddle albums of all time and has won rave reviews. An achievement so scary for a musician so young!

With fellow Mancunian guitarist, Kieran Cunningham, Dezi has also found time to form Quare Craic which has given him a further stage to astound new audiences all over Europe with his energetic fiddle playing. He is fast becoming recognised as the greatest fiddle player alive today!



Buy the Champions of The North Album
Buy the album


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