Frankie Gavin & De Dannan

The current band comprises Frankie Gavin, Catherine Mc Hugh, Ian Kinsella, Diarmuid Ó Meachair, and Kaitlin Cullen-Verhauz.

The band playing at the Ulster Hall, Belfast, 16 March 2024

Here is their first public performance  RTE1, May 2023. Since then they have played at the Wickham Festival (UK), Ballyshannon Festival and the All-Ireland Fleadh and the Tower Festival (Denmark)

Frankie Gavin – fiddle, flute and whistle
Frankie Gavin was born into a musical family in Corrandulla, Co Galway in 1956. His parents and siblings all played music and Frankie was inspired by hearing musicians who visited the family pub. From the age of four, he played the tin whistle but a love of the music soon prompted him to start playing the flute and the violin. At the age of 17, he won the All-Ireland Under-18 Fiddle and Flute competitions. In the 1970s, when traditional Irish music was becoming a force to be reckoned with worldwide, Frankie decided that playing music, rather than following a conventional career was how he wanted to spend his life. It was then that he met guitarist and bouzouki player Alec Finn, and after just a few sessions playing together, they formed De Dannan, a band which toured world until the late 1990s. The original band split up in the early 2000s, but a few years later, Frankie formed Frankie Gavin and De Dannan, a band which continues to this day. Line-ups have changed but the quality of the music has remained world class. Most recently, he has formed a duo with pianist Catherine Mc Hugh and together they have toured Ireland and The USA promoting their 2022 recording Port Eireann. Frankie has also had a glittering solo career playing with some of the world’s greats, including Stephane Grappelli, James Galway, Yehudi Menuhin and The Rolling Stones. He has also played for four American presidents: John F. Kennedy, as a child, then later for Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.  He has also performed for the UK’s Prince (now King Charles) and Prince Albert of Monaco.
In this connection Frankie Gavin and Carl Hession composed The Princess Grace Symphonic Suite, a piece for orchestra which was performed recently in Monaco by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Monte Carlo.

 Catherine Mc Hugh – piano
From Annaghdown, County Galway, Catherine McHugh is one of the most outstanding young  piano accompanists and fiddlers in Irish traditional music today. Growing up in an area steeped in the legends of Irish traditional music, Catherine grew up listening to and playing with many of the outstanding East Galway musicians from her locality including Joe Burke, Paddy Fahey, Conor Tully, John Joe Forde, and the legendary Keane Family of Caherlistrane. Her approach to piano accompaniment, heavily influenced by legends of the piano Charlie Lennon, Carl Hession, Fr Seamus Quinn, and Brian McGrath, is far beyond her years with a unique understanding of the music she performs. A multiple All-Ireland Champion, Catherine is in constant demand as an accompanist and has performed at numerous festivals and concerts nationally and internationally in recent years. These include the Birmingham Trad Fest, Ennis Trad Fest, Return to Camden Town Festival and Féile Strokestown to name but a few. A regular performer on Irish radio and television, she has appeared on commercial recordings of Irish traditional music in recent years and is frequently found accompanying outstanding musicians of the tradition such as Frankie Gavin, Daithí Gormley, Tony Linnane, Orlaith McAuliffe to name but a few. In 2022, she accompanied Frankie Gavin on the recording Port Eireann.

Diarmuid Ó Meachair – melodeon and accordion
Diarmuid Ó Meachair is an accomplished accordion and melodeon player and sean nós singer from County Cork. In 2016, at of 19, Diarmuid won the Senior All-Ireland melodeon title at the Fleadh in Ennis. In 2022 he was awarded the prestigious TG4 Young Musician of the Year award. He is one of the most exciting box players of his generation and is currently a member of the teaching staff at the Department of Music in UCC, teaching his two instruments. A native Irish speaker from Cúil Aodha in the Múscraí Gaeltacht, Diarmuid has won many sean nós singing competitions at the competitive Oireachtas na Samhna, Corn Darach Ó Catháin and Corn Seosamh Ó hÉanaigh. His latest solo album Melodeon Medleys was released in July 2023 and his debut album Siúl na Slí was released on the Raelach Records label in 2022 with support from the Arts Council of Ireland and Ealaín na Gaeltachta. In 2023, he was commissioned by “Féile John Dwyer” and supported by the Arts Council to compose a suite of music in memory of the great Dwyer family from Beara.
As a soloist, Diarmuid has been invited to teach at various festivals such as Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, Catskills Irish Arts week, Éigse Dhiarmuid Uí Súilleabháin, Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh, Tunefest Dungarvan, Return to London Town Festival, Birmingham Tradfest and the Meitheal summer school. In 2018, Diarmuid graduated from Mary Immaculate College with a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education.

Kaitlin Cullen-Verhauz – cello and vocals
Originally from New York City, now Dublin-based vocalist and cross-genre cellist, Kaitlin Cullen-Verhauz, has gained recognition for her versatility on stage and in the studio. Trained in classical cello under Vladimir Panteleyev (Leontovych String Quartet) at the Kaufman Center Young Artist Program, she earned awards from Wagner College, Kaufman Center Concerto, and international Liezen Wettbewerb competitions. She performed as a soloist and in various ensembles at prestigious venues such as Merkin Concert Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge, and Carnegie Hall before relocating to Dublin. In Ireland, Kaitlin’s session musician credits include collaborations with Natalie Ní Chasaide & Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill, Síle Denvir, Laura Jo Callaghan, Brí, Eugene Quinn, Reylta, Alan Doherty, Saarloos, and Aoife Wolf among others. She frequently partners with RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Award winner Eoghan O’Ceannabháin, recorded on hi sdebut album, The Deepest Breath and recently joined him at Temple Bar TradFest, Body&Soul, Quiet Lights, the Other Voices Music Trail in Dingle, and the Tradition Now festival at the National Concert Hall. In April 2023 Kaitlin accompanied Síle Denvir alongside Colm Mac Con Iomaire for Síle’s Gradam Ceoil Singer of the Year performance on TG4. Her global musical journey led her to represent Ireland at the World Expo in Dubai in November 2021 as part of the ‘Expo Players.’ Kaitlin is a core member of alt-folk outfit Saltaire, collaborating with Ian Kinsella and Conor Lyons. For more on this group, visit In 2022 Kaitlin joined Frankie Gavin and De Dannan at Théâtre Municipal le Colisée in Lens, France, and then again at the Orchestre Philharmonique De Monte Carlo as a cellist and featured singer.

Ian Kinsella – guitar
Ian began playing music aged 11, initially learning from his banjo-player father Jackie, who performed with Dolly Parton during his musical journey. Ian spent his teenage years forming bands with musicians who would later build their own careers such as Cormac Cannon and Zena Pritchard.  Having worked as a primary school teacher, Ian eventually decided to pursue music fulltime, initially playing in a duo with fiddle player Aoife Kelly. He then went on to play and record with nine-times All-Ireland champion fiddle player Padraig O’Neill. Subsequently, Ian formed a trio with Cillian Doheny of Moxie and Michelle O’Brien of Providence and the following years saw several tours, recordings and festivals with numerous musicians including separate tours of America with the Young Irelanders, Spain with Irish Celtic and other intercontinental events with artists and bands consisting of players such as Eamonn de Barra, Maitiú Ó’Casaide, Sean Garvey, Dessie Kelliher and John Francis Flynn. In 2021 Ian was brought to the world expo in Dubai in conjunction with the National Concert Hall to represent Ireland’s finest musicians. One of Ian’s most memorable performances was with internationally renowned Gavin James on the main stage at Electric Picnic, performing to over 50,000 people. Ian is a songwriter and is part of the original outfit Saltaire with Kaitlin Cullen-Verhauz and Conor Lyons of the Bonny Men. The band has released a first EP, with funding to record another in early 2024 with Alex Borwick producing and musicians Catherine McHugh, Eoghan Ó’Ceannabháin and Ryan McCauley also featuring. Ian is the guitarist with two times RTE 1 folk award winner Eoghan Ó’Ceannabháin who is currently enjoying success having played the National Concert Hall upon release of a critically acclaimed album.

The band performing at Tonder Festival in Denmark, Summer 2023

More information about the De Dannan story HERE