Mike Nielsen

Mike Nielsen

Mike graduated in Physics and Music (microtonal guitar system and development and composition (MPhil 2003, Physics Dept., Dublin Institute of Technology (link: https://arrow.dit.ie/scienmas/27/). He received a First Award for his interdepartmental research and in 2015 Emmy award winning guitarist, John Schneider, featured Mike’s research in his publication The Contemporary Guitar. In 2012, he was awarded a ViceChancellor Scholarship to study improvisatory-based microtonal development and performance, which included developing a microtonal guitar system and a collaboration with a vocalist (PhD 2017, Ulster University, Derry, N. Ireland). Previously, Mike received a scholarship and Jim Hall Incentive award to attend Berklee College of Music, Boston (1983-85), and he holds a diploma in classical guitar performance (Licentiate of Trinity College of Music, London, 1994). In 2008, he initiated a Masters in Jazz Performance programme which he coordinates at the Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin Institute of Technology (first in Ireland). Since 2006, he has been involved with the Sligo International Summer School and Jazz Festival as a tutor, performer and ensemble director. A study of rhythmic concepts led to workshops in odd-metre performance at Berklee College of Music, Boston, New School, New York and Tufts University, Boston (1994). Consequently, he published a book on rhythm, which includes six original compositions (Precision Timing for All Instruments: The Ultimate Rhythm Workout, Schott, Germany, 2016). Mike’s performance interests comprise a wide range of contemporary, world musics and interdisciplinary projects. His first jazz performance experience was with a Dixieland Group. Since returning from Berklee College in 1986, he has performed extensively in Ireland and abroad and has toured and recorded with Dave Liebman, Pat LaBarbera, and Karnataka College of Percussion, India with Turkish percussionist, Okay Temiz. Some of his other performance credits include the world premieres of Ronan Guilfoyle‘s Concerto for Jazz Guitar Trio and Orchestra (1994) and Parabola for RTE Concert Orchestra which was conducted by Jim McNeely and featured Joe Lovano (live recording for Lyric FM, 2000) and The Music of Duke Ellington, RTE Concert Orchestra with Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach, Anders Bergcantz and Norma Winstone (presented as part of Dublin 1991 European City of Culture). Furthermore, as a solo guitarist Mike has performed on the same bill as John McLaughlin (first visit to Dublin, 2008) and opened for Elvin Jones at the ESB Dublin Jazz Festival (2000); with Dave Liebman he toured Europe and was headline act at Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Australia (2004) and in 2009 he performed at the Cork Jazz Festival with Dominique Di Piazza and Paul Wertico. Interdisciplinary projects include: improvised music with singer Ellen Demos for an audiovisual presentation in Portland, Maine, in aid of Alasksawild Foundation (2006) and improvised music in response to original art by Anne McManus at the Cherry Lane Arts Centre, Wicklow (2007).

As an offshoot of his PhD research, he formed a microtonal trio, Crimo Trio, and performed on the same bill as Jeff Ballard’s Fairgrounds for Note Productions, 2015. Most recent performances include the Galway Jazz festival in duo with Simon Nabatov and as a solo guitarist; Cork Jazz Festival with saxophonist Andy Middleton; the Sligo International Summer School and Jazz Festival with Virgil Donati, Steve Hamilton, Paul Clarvis and John Goldsby and a recording and video in Abby Road Studios with Irish Singer Sibéal for Universal Records. Mike features on 19 recordings as leader and sideman and recently release a 2nd solo CD, Solo Sound Recipes: Improvisations, for Model Citizen records (www.modelcitizenrecords.com), in addition to, a video featuring microtonal guitar and voice (PhD project: https://youtu.be/dpUq2eMjVuY), and a new live microtonal recording (Arts Council Project Award) Crimo Quartet, https://youtu.be/ENw6QUb---8 As a composer Mike was commissioned by Newpark Comprehensive School to compose music for choir celebrating their 25th anniversary (1997), the Kilkenny Arts Festival to compose for jazz quintet featuring trumpeter Guy Barker (2001) and the Ulster University Classical Department to compose music for guitar quartet (2004), by Temple Bar Properties to compose for jazz quintet, featuring Jason Moran (2003) and on two occasions to compose for the Improvised Music Company’s octet TIME (1997).

Six of his original compositions feature in the publication Dublin Jazz Book (2014) and over 100 of his works are registered with the Irish Music Rights Organization; many feature on his recordings. While Mike writes for various ensembles as leader, he is currently the recipient of an Arts Council Project Award to assist with the development of his microtonal group the Crimo Trio. What the critics say: “Guitarist Mike Nielsen is certainly one of the most innovative European jazz musicians of his generation”. Irish Times (2018) “A new age of jazz is being spawned by an exciting and innovative crop of Irish musicians...the spadework was done by pioneering musicians such as Mike Nielsen.” Sunday Times (2016) “Mike Nielsen is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Europe’s most distinctive and iconoclastic guitar voices, equally innovative on electric and acoustic guitars.” Sunday Tribune “I have always loved Mike’s unusual approach to guitar and music in general. Truly a unique, one of a kind voice, the music here burns with creativity and passion”. Solo guitar CD sleeve note by Dave Liebman ...sort of chops that lead many to consider him as the best guitarist in Ireland.” Ian Patterson, All That Jazz (2015). Michael features on over fifteen recordings including two with Dave Liebman. Teaching since 1979, he lectures worldwide on jazz guitar, improvisation and microtonal composition.




Basork is a ten-piece fusion group whose compositions are influenced by Irish, European and Middle Eastern sounds. Brass, Strings and Woodwind combine with hints of jazz, funk and various traditional music with big melodies and lots of improvisation. ​ Martin Coyle - Bouzouki, Baglama, Backing Vocal Marc Forbes - Bass Robert Peoples - Violin Aideen Davis - Vocal Conor McAuley - Drums & Percussion Paul Cutliffe - Saxophone, Clarinet & Whistle Donal McGuinness - Trombone Robert Goodman - Trumpet Amanda Koser-Gillespie - Tuba

Contact Basork



TEL: 0044 7821541811



Richard Nelson

Richard Nelson

If you turn on an Irish radio station and hear a pedal steel guitar, chances are that the man in the driving seat is Richard Nelson. The list of musicians he has performed with reads like a who’s who of top Irish musicians, from Van Morrison, Daniel O’Donnell, Mick Flavin, Mary Duff, Philomena Begley, Brendan Quinn and countless other. He has played on over 200 albums over the years. He is one of the most sought after session musicians on the island. ‘Song for my Father’ is Richard’s 2nd jazz album. In a personal homage to his late father Richard pays tribute to him by covering the Horace Silver classic. To most people the pedal steel guitar is a bizarre, bewildering instrument and the sheer technical prowess required puts most musicians off ever attempting to play it. But to play jazz on the instrument is a testament to the man himself. On 7 Brothers, Nelson deftly navigates complex lines which showcase his stunning virtuosity. Blue Moon reveals the instrument’s Hawaiian origins. His daughter Klara guests on ‘All of Me’, a version that Lady Day would be proud to call her own. There are many highlights on this exciting album, notably Miles Davis’ Nardis, Green Dolphin Street and The stunning cover of Nowhere Man by The Beatles.

Ronan Gallagher

Ronan Gallagher

After a film script on which he had worked on for six impoverished years was rejected by the film board, broke, dejected, and finished with the film business, Leitrim native Ronan Gallagher bought his first guitar for €45 and decided he’d be a songwriter. He was barely able to play, had never stood on a stage, never sang publicly or had any history of music. Oh! And did we mention that he was also in his mid-fifties, an age when some are thinking ahead to retirement. Six months after buying his guitar Gallagher had written over ten songs, one of which, ‘Long Gone’ was written in his local train station after a chance meeting with a young emigrant leaving Ireland for Australia. A few months later he formed his first band and took to the stage for the first time, and as Gallagher puts it himself, “Though there wasn’t many people at the gig, I felt absolutely at home on the stage from the minute I got on it, and when we finished the gig I knew that this is what I’d be doing for the rest of my life, crowd or no crowd.”

After many gigs locally he honed his songs and learned his trade and things were looking up, but, as anyone who knows the music business, break ups are inevitable, and soon he found himself band-less after three years of graft. A chance phone call to Brian Sweeney of Free Speaking Monkey whom he had met at Stoneywoods Festival in Kiltyclogher changed everything again when Brian mentioned the vibrant music scene that was happening in north Leitrim and Donegal. As Ronan describes it; “A fair wind took me to Kinlough, Kiltyclogher and Bundoran where I met an amazing group of musicians who not only believed in my songs but brought their own unique talent to them, not least my producer, double bassist and dobro player Marc Geagan (ex Mirenda Rosenberg Band, Erdini) who opened up a whole new landscape for my music and songs”. Other members in this stellar line-up include Sean Reynolds (Slow Place Like Home) on drums, Donal McGuinness and Matt Jennings (Bazork, Henry Girls) on trombone and tenor sax, Sean McCarron (Henry McCullough) on alto sax and Zac Drummond ) Riverdance and Mirenda Rosenberg Band) on guitar. The result of that meeting and the years that led up to it are encapsulated in his debut album ‘Always Broke Never Broken’ which will be released soon on Modal Citizen Records and contains ten of those first songs including the aforementioned ‘Long Gone’. After some high energy performances at the Stoneywoods and Allingham Festivals, the Ronan Gallagher Band are getting ready for a busy 2019 that will see them launch their debut album and begin touring around Ireland.

Email: theronangallagherband@gmail.com Facebook: @RonanGallagherMusic

Phone: Ronan 087 9713659 or Marc 0868933644


Meitheal, our inhouse project band, features some of the finest performers of traditional music from South Donegal. Some of the musicians who appeared on their first album 'Songs of Erne Volume 1: Traditional Music from South Donegal and West Fermanagh' included...

Special guest appearances by Steve Cooney on The Hawk of Ballyshannon and Junior Davey on Bodhran

Meitheal Musicians 

Marc Geagan: Acoustic Guitar, Dobro, Bouzouki, Double bass, Percussion

Farrah Bogle: Vocals and Fiddle

Jessie Solange Whitehead: Fiddle, Harmony Vocals

Seanan Brennan: Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Octave Mandola, Vocals

Enda Ferriter: Piano

Donna Harkin: Button Accordion, Tin Whistle

Kit Good: Banjo Anthony Totten: Banjo

Stephen Gallagher: Double Bass and electric bass

Dominic O’Callaghan: Organ 

Donal McGuinness: Trombone

Robert Goodman: Trumpet, Flugelhorn

Paul Cutliffe: Tenor Sax, Low Whistle

Catherine Barret: Fiddle