Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival

Tom Byrne and Michael Gallanagh

Tom plays button accordion and chromatic and diatronic harmonica.  Michael is regarded as one of the more innovative guitarists in the traditional music scene in Ireland

Tom Byrne & Michael Gallanagh

Tom plays button accordion, chromatic and diatonic harmonica. Traditional Irish music is his main interest although he also plays classical, jazz, blues, French Musette and lately has even been exploring the distinctive rhythms of the music of the Balkans. Much of his time now is given to composition and song writing ; he is currently writing a musical with the modern composer John McLachlan. He is also prolific in his composition of traditional tunes and music of many genres particularly with a focus on improvisation. In 2016 Tom received two major music awards:

The 2016 Liveireland Male Musician of the Year Award’ and ‘Top Tradition in Review Awards Male Musician of the Year 2016.’ Chicago Irish American News…… ‘from the first notes of Tom Byrne’s self titled album you are stunned. You are in the presence of a master musician and you may well have never heard anything like this before. It is not enough to say that Tom Byrne plays the harmonica. He is the Paganini of the harmonica.’

This is Tom’s fourth visit to the Shetlands and he is absolutely  thrilled to return once again  to meet old friends and to be inspired by the incredible musical tradition of this famous area. Tom’s late father Paddy was, like Tom, a huge admirer of the music of Shetland and the music and playing of Willy Hunter in particular. Tom is delighted to be accompanied this year on guitar by Michael Gallanaghwith whom he played with in the group ‘Dalltach’ who made a big impression in the festival in Shetland a number of years ago.

Michael is from Buncrana in Inishowen and is regarded as  one of the most innovative and dynamic guitarists currently in traditional music in Ireland. Furthermore his unique versions of old Irish songs in particular, have earned him the respect of music lovers far and wide. Appearing in concerts with Phil Coulter and Joseph Locke in the Plaza Ballroom in Buncrana, he later became a founder member of the Buncrana based legendary band, The Pyros. Michael is also heavily influenced  by  bluegrass which features largely in his repertoire and he was a guest musician on a Disney Bluegrass CD  recorded a number of years ago. He lived for many years in London and in Paris playing with many of the leading musicians, his great style and technique  attracting the attention of the virtuoso fiddler Sean McGuirewith whom he played in concert. Now back living in Buncrana he enjoys music sessions with many local musicians including Roisin McGrorySeamus Maguire and Liz Doherty. For many years he played with Dinny McLaughlin and Tom Byrne in the popular group Shandrum. Over the years he has toured extensively making numerous appearances on tv and radio. Michael has a lifelong passion for music which is clearly evident in his collaborative work and particularly in his powerful  performances in session and on stage. He is delighted and honoured to return again to the festival now in its 30th Year having previously performed as a member of the  group Dalltach which also included Matt McGranaghan, Michael Carey and Tom Byrne.   


Tom Byrne and Michael Gallanagh is Playing at the Following Concerts