Dermot Byrne hails from the Inishowen peninsula of Co. Donegal, the most northerly part of Ireland, and has played accordion from the early age of four. He learned from his father Tomás O’Beirn from Teileann in South West Donegal who is an enthusiastic promoter of the tradition. Dermot at the age of only seven had already achieved an All Ireland Title at the Buncrana Fleadh Cheoil in the under eleven category for button accordion in 1976.
Dermot also had the good fortune of spending quality time to learn from Donegal fiddle players such as Johnny Doherty, Con Cassidy, James Byrne, Francie and Mickey Dearg O’Beirn, Danny O’Donnell, Tommy Peoples, Danny Meehan, Brid Harper, Ciaran Tourish and Maiaread Ni Mhaonaigh, Liz Doherty, Francie Mooney, The Campbell’s and Dinny McLaughlin.
Outside of traditional music, Dermot has also recorded and performed with artists such as Dolly Parton, John Prine, Stephane Grappelli, Vince Gill, Phill Coulter, The Stunning, Salsa Celtica, Brendan Quinn, Frankie Lane, Mary Black, Tim O’Brien, Alison Krauss and Paul Brady.
Over his many years of playing, Dermot developed a unique style. His seemingly effortless playing combined with great subtlety and a faultless ear makes him one of the great accordion players of his generation. As well as his mastery of the Donegal style and repertoire, Dermot can turn with ease to other styles and traditions such as French musette or South American music. In 2013, Dermot received the prestigious TG4 award for musician of the year.
He guested on two Altan recordings “The Red Crow” and “Island Angel” before joining the band in 1994. Dermot has also guested on collaborations with many great musicians including Buttons and Bows, Sharon Shannon, Salsa Celtica, Steve Cooney, Dezi Donelly, Brid Harper, Frankie Gavin, Tommy Peoples, Pierre Schryer, Tim O’Brien and the late jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli.
Dermot recorded his first self-titled CD in 1994 where he was joined by Steve Cooney, Trever Hutchinson and Donal Lunny. In 2004, he recorded a duet recording with Canadian fiddle maestro Pierre Schryer (2 Worlds United). His most recent recording is with French harpist Floriane Blancke (Dermot Byrne and Floriane Blancke). His most recent recordings are with Yvonne Casey (As We Feel It) and with Steve Cooney (The Donegal Melodeon).
Instructor – Button Accordion | Session – Playing Tunes with…