Biography

Seán was born in London; his parents emigrating from Longford and Leitrim in the late ’70s. A pupil of the renowned traditional music teacher Brendan Mulkere from a young age, Seán grew up within the vibrant Irish music scene in London.

At 18, Seán began studying classical mandolin at Trinity College of Music under the tuition of the late Alison Stephens. While at Trinity, Seán met with Lamond Gillespie, another former student of Mulkere, and began performing regularly with him in various sessions, events and music venues around the capital. It was during this period that Seán recorded Lamond, John Blake and Mick Leahy for their critically acclaimed début album Traditional Irish Music from London.

After graduating from Trinity, Seán moved to Ireland and began his Masters in the Centre for Computational Musicology and Computer Music (CCMCM), University of Limerick (UL). That same year Seán recorded Gillespie, Blake and Leahy’s follow-up album, Humours of Highgate, in the CCMCM studio, UL.

Following his graduation, Seán lectured within the CCMCM on the Masters in Music Technology, Masters in Interactive Media and BSc in Music, Media and Performance Technology. He also lectured in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, UL, giving individual tuition and master classes on banjo and mandolin, as well as constructing and delivering various elective modules for a number of courses within the IWAMD, including the BA & MA in Irish Traditional Music, MA in Ethnomusicology, MA in Community Music and PhD in Arts Practice.

For more than a decade, Seán has worked as a sound engineer and/or producer on a number of commercial albums of Traditional Irish music and song – many of them highly critically acclaimed. These have ranged from location recordings of solo and duets, to large scale studio-based ensemble recordings, to digital re-mastering of analogue recordings (vinyl, tape etc.) Below is a selection of these albums:

  • Lamond Gillespie, John Blake & Mick Leahy – Traditional Irish Music from London
  • Séamus Tansey – King of the Concert Flute {digital remaster}
  • Le Cheile – Lord Mayo {digital remaster}
  • Kieran Munnelly & Aidan O’Donnell – In Safe Hands
  • Eliot Grasso – Up Against The Flatirons
  • Lamond Gillespie, John Blake & Mick Leahy – Humours of Highgate
  • Fidil – 3 {5 Star review and CD of the Week in The Irish Times. Featured in the soundtrack for the award winning short film Noreen and motion picture The Stag}
  • Munnelly – A Tight Squeeze
  • Seán Potts – Number 6 {location recording of guest artist Peadar Ó Riada}
  • Shauna Mullin – The Wishing Tree
  • Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde & Griogair Labhruidh – Guaillibh a’ Chèile
  • John Gannon, Colm Gannon, Maureen Creighan & John Blake – Trasna Na dTonnta
  • Northern Lights – Dubh agus Geal, Darkness and Light – Loric Colloquies
  • Derek McGinley & Tara Connaghan – The Far Side of the Glen 
  • Fidil – The Old Wheel of Fortune {CD choice in the Irish Times. 5-star review, CD of the Month & ‘Top of the World’ award in Songlines Magazine. Featured in the soundtrack for the motion picture The Stag}
  • Cormac Cannon, Lamond Gillespie & John Blake – Trip to Carrick
  • Colm Gannon – The Rights of Man
  • Seamus Meehan – The Bunch of Keys {Compilation Album of Piano Accordion}
  • The Yanks – The Yanks {Début at #1 on bandcamp.com}
  • Tomás Ó Gealbháin, Caoimhín Ó Fearghail & Seán Ó Fearghail – Lá ag Ól Uisce {location recording of guest artist Jimmy Canavan}
  • The Friel Sisters – The Friel Sisters
  • The Yanks – Haymaker {Producer & Co-Engineer with 4 time Grammy Award winner Glenn Barratt at MorningStar Studios}
  • Charlie Lennon – Áille na hÁille/A Terrible Beauty {Suite of new music commissioned by Gael Linn, featuring performances by Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Elizabeth Cooney, Finghin Collins and the RTÉ Contempo Quartet}
  • Jesse Smith, Sean Gavin & John Blake – Music From the Lost Continent
  • Josh Dukes & Dylan Foley – The New York Connection
  • Tommy Peoples – Recorded at Fiddler’s Hearth
  • Matt Molloy & John Carty – Out of the Ashes
  • John & Maggie Carty – Settle out of Court
  • Leo Rowsome – Master Pipers Vol. 3 {digital remaster}
  • Liam O’Connor – The Loom {5 Star review & Best Traditional Album of the Year in The Irish Times}
  • The Druid Pub – Live at the Druid
  • Kevin Crawford, Dylan Foley, and Patrick Doocey – The Drunken Gaugers
  • James Carty – Hiding Daylight in Dark Corners
  • Tony O’Connell – ‘live and Well {location recording of guest artist Arty McGlynn}

Seán has extensive experience in live sound engineering; recent events have included the Global Irish Economic Forum, the Frank Harte Memorial concert in the Teachers Club, Dublin, and the Na Píobairí Uilleann Ace and Deuces concert in Liberty Hall, Dublin. As a classical performer, Seán has given recitals in many of the most prestigious venues in the UK and abroad including the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and the Shakespeare’s New Globe Theatre. He has also been a soloist under Sir Colin Davis for Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ and performed at Teatro Comunale Di Bologna, Italy, as part of The European Guitar & Mandolin Youth Orchestra. In 2015 Seán performed as part of the RTÉ All Star Ceili Band at the annual St. Patricks Day Celebration concert in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, alongside Liam O’Connor (fiddle), Seán McKeon (uilleann pipes), Paudie O’Connor (accordion), Aoife Ní Chaoimh (fiddle), Conal O’Gráda (flute) and John Blake (piano/guitar).

At the Fourth Annual Art of Record Production Conference 2008, at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA, Seán presented a paper on “The Influence of Music Technology in the Development of Performance Practices and Regional Stylisation within Traditional Irish Music”. In October 2010 Seán presented a performance-based lecture for Na Píobairí Uilleann on “The Introduction and Development of the Tenor Banjo in Traditional Irish Music” as part of their ‘Notes and Narratives’ series. In 2012 Seán presented research papers at the annual International Council for Traditional Music conference in Queens University, Belfast, and the Society for Musicology in Ireland conference in NUI, Maynooth.

Seán was Project Manager & Co-Producer for Na Píobairí Uilleann’s ‘Pipe Up‘ – Irish Traditional Music Resource DVD-ROM for Windows, Mac & Interactive Whiteboard. Part funded by Arts Council of Ireland under the Deis scheme, the resource was publicly launched by Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in Na Píobairí Uilleann’s Headquarters, Henrietta Street, Dublin 1.

In 2015 Seán was involved in the production of an online resource showcasing the compositions of renowned fiddle player Connie O’Connell. The resource was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland under the Deis scheme and is hosted by the Department of Music, University College Cork.

Seán is currently lecturing on the BA (Hons) in Production of Music and Audio and the BA (Hons) in Applied Music at the School of Informatics and Creative Arts, Dundalk Institute of Technology.