In 2012, three of Celtic music’s contemporary masters came together to create one of the most interesting musical collaborations of the year. Dubbed “the olllam” (an old Irish word which refers to a master of a particular trade or skill), the trio is the creative offspring of Belfast-native John McSherry (uilleann pipes and whistles), and Detroit-natives Tyler Duncan (uilleann pipes, whistles, guitar, Rhodes), and Michael Shimmin (drums and percussion).
Building on their tight-knit friendship and shared musical history together, they decided to write and record an album from across the Atlantic—via Skype, e-mail, and cell-phone voice memos. Almost as soon as they began, they discovered a synergy that took on a life of its own, creating an intensely heart-felt, powerful, and personal sound that actually gave them chills. Listeners may be reminded of modern artists such as Radiohead and Coldplay at one moment and seminal Irish artists such as The Bothy Band and Planxty may be equally reminiscent at another. Yet, the overarching musical impression is organic, focused, distinct, and musically mature.
John McSherry was a founding member of the groups Lunasa and At First Light and a lead instrumentalist in Donal Lunny’s super-group Coolfin. Over the course of his 15-year career he has set new standards on the uilleann pipes and has been called a true master by Irish Music Magazine.
Mike Shimmin and Tyler Duncan are founding members of the Irish traditional-fusion crossover band Millish and earned two International Acoustic Music awards while still in their teens. Both have degrees in jazz performance. Mike Shimmin is a nationally recognized, award winning jazz percussionist and Tyler Duncan is a World Uillean Piping champion.
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