With his powerful tune
accompaniments and delicate melody playing, it is easy to see why reviewers and
audiences agree that Ged Foley is an extraordinary musician. Growing up in
County Durham in the northeast of England, Ged (Gerard) absorbed the area’s rich
tradition of folk song and dance music. It was there that he learned to play
mandolin and Northumbrian Smallpipes (the bellows-blown bagpipe native to that
part of England), and began to develop his guitar style.
At first he
teamed up with singer-songwriter Jez Lowe and toured the British Folk scene.
Several years with ScotlandŐs Battlefield Band followed. He toured with them
throughout Europe and North America before returning home to co-found The House
Band with Chris Parkinson. This saw the start of a long period of recording and
touring which has taken him all over the globe. Alongside his House Band duties,
in 1994, Ged was asked to take over the guitarist’s role in Irish super group
Patrick Street with Kevin Burke, Andy Irvine and Jackie Daly.
In 2001 he
became the accompanist for the unique trio of fiddlers, The Celtic Fiddle
Festival, now consisting of Kevin Burke, Christian Lemaître, and André Brunet.
The year 2002 saw another significant change in Ged’s career when for two years
he became Artistic Director of the Catskills Irish Arts Week based in East
Durham NY. This is a week long teaching festival covering all aspects of Irish
traditional music, dance and arts.
years Ged did duo work with Kevin Burke in and out of the US, and has also
played, toured and/or recorded with John Carty, James Kelly, Liz Carroll, Paddy
Keenan, Kieran O’Hare & Liz Knowles, Andrew McNamara & Patrick Ourceau, Laurence
Nugent, Mark Roberts, John Skelton, Michael Cooney, Vincent Griffin and Paul
Smyth. In addition to his considerable instrumental acumen on both guitar and
fiddle, Ged is also a fine singer and a well thought of Record Producer. His
teaching credits include guitar at all of the major teaching festivals in the
USA and fiddle at the acclaimed Feakle Festival in East Clare.
years of living in Athens Ohio, where he was twice recognized by the Ohio Arts
Council as a Master Artist, Ged and the family are now residing in Ireland where
he maintains a full schedule of playing, touring and teaching.
gotten to know Ged and his fiddle playing on his frequent trips to the St. Louis
Tionol over the last ten years. I always look forward to a Session with Ged, as
he is a dynamic player, has a great sense of the great old tunes of Irish music,
and he really knows how to share what is best about Irish music.
witnessed Ged teaching fiddle classes to players of all skill levels and find
him to have that special knack of communicating what needs to be known about
this style of playing. Ged is one of the few players who dare to play concerts
solo. By doing this you get a chance to hear a great player lay bare the basic
styles of traditional fiddle playing, and you will get a rare chance to hear
without distraction the real nuances of a great practitioner of the art. (Of
course when he picks up a guitar and sings a song or two, you are in bonus
is visiting town I look forward to great fiddle music and a chance to meet,
hear, and learn from him and to join along in a great session. If he’s coming to
your town I strongly recommend you make time to do the same.