An amazing performer graces the stage, video, and audio recordings in music. Her name is Máiréad Nesbitt, and she has many loving terms of endearment that describe her from her many fans. Yet, whether you call her fairy, pixie, sprite, or anything else that bespeaks of her diminutive size and graceful energy, she is a force all of her own. She is an accomplished artist of the first order in her chosen field playing the violin/fiddle. She also has tremendous passion for the music she plays, and does so with a beauty and versatility like no other. One encounter with her on a video or at a concert and you'll know that movement and music can be combined in one person to produce a sight and sound that you'll likely not hear anywhere else this side of Heaven.
Máiréad's roots are in the historic and beautiful County Tipperary in Ireland. It is a land of inspiration, and a land of contrast. The flowing waters of The River Suir, and the quiet peace of The Golden Vale stand in sharp relief to the ancient Rock of Cashel and its triumph and tragedy. In this setting has lived the family Nesbitt, all blessed with musical gifts that are both typical yet atypical of Ireland. Mum Kathleen is perhaps the premier fiddle instructor in the country. Sister Frances is an award winning fiddler in her own right. Four brothers with varying gifts round out a family that would provide Máiréad with the support and inspiration that would send her on a road of success. No doubt the father, John, was a wonderful role model as well.
Máiréad began playing fiddle at the age of six. She is highly educated, and her music studies took her on journeys through the Ursuline Convent in Thurles, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork School of Music, London Royal Academy, London Trinity College, with post-graduate studies in violin and piano. So what has Mairead done with all of that inspiration from home, and education? A great plenty.
Starting with The National Youth Orchestra, Mairead moved on to the RTE concert orchestra. Máiréad is on the original soundtrack of Riverdance, as well as Lord of the Dance, and Feet of Flames. She was on three world tours with Lord of the Dance. Máiréad also performed at the Abbey theater in Dublin as violinist for the Dion Boucicault play The Shaughran. She has performed with the Afro-Celt sound system, and Donal Lunny's Coolfin. You can find her on videos performing with The Irish Tenors, Feet of Flames, and others. She has been on several audio recordings, and composed the original score for the show Irish Dance Invasion, later shortened to Invasion, which toured for a couple of years. Along the way she became an All-Irish fiddle champion, and was named traditional female in 2003 by Irish Music Magazine.
Most notable has been Máiréad's own CD, Raining Up, which is a marvelous mix of traditional and newer music with her own unique interpretations. Some of her family members join her on the CD and brother Karl, a gifted musician in his own right, composed the title track. This is a must have for anyone who enjoys good music. The past several years though has seen Máiréad primarily involved in the marvelous ensemble Celtic Woman. This group of gifted artists has soared to the top of the world billboard charts and stayed there with each of its creations. Rightfully so. Mairead is an integral part of this ensemble and the exposure to large volumes of fans particularly in the United States and Japan has given the world a great gift. Máiréad's performances take an audience from teary eyed silence to beaming smiles and clapping. The passionate slow airs stroke the soul like a mink mitten. The fast airs and accompanying dance in joyful abandon will leave you breathless and smitten at the ability of this amazing woman to play without fault while leaping, twirling, and swaying, all in heels.
So, enjoy this fan site and forum, jump the links to Máiréad's official site, and most of all, support this most amazing gift from County Tipperary in the emerald isle by purchasing her CD, and going to a Celtic Woman or other Máiréad performance. You will be so glad that you did.
Scott Manke-Administrator, Máiréad fan forum