Fiddle player Anna Falkenau has been described as an “excellent exponent of traditional Irish fiddle playing,” and as “an ambassador for what is best in Irish traditional music.”
Her current solo CD Féileacán na Saoirse features airs and tunes from the Irish and American old-time music traditions, as well as original compositions “by herself and other fine tune makers of today….soulful, inventive and infectious” is the verdict of Jackie Small of The Irish Traditional Music Archive. fRoots magazine labelled it “a hugely impressive debut recording. ”
On the CD she is joined be a cast of superb musicians with whom she has played over the years. Ged Foley (ex-Patrick Street) and Kevin Hough (who has recorded with Alan Kelly amongst others) provide expert guitar accompaniment. Harpist Holly Geraghty backs beautifully an original tune of Anna’s, Ivan’s Waltz. Richmond is a fiery old-time duo with five-string claw-hammer banjo virtuoso Lena Ullman (who plays with Martin O’Connor’s Buffalo in The Castle). Accordion player Steve Sweeney, steeped in the Connemara accordion tradition, joins her on a set of good-old session tunes. Last but not least, the banjo playing of Mary Shannon (ex-Bumblebees, Sharon Shannon Band) bounces along on Liz Carroll’s The Leading Role as does bodhrán legend’s Johnny McDonagh playing on a set of ‘big’ reels: The Jolly Tinker and the Scottish tune The Little Cascade.
Anna has been playing music since the age of five and traditional Irish and American old-time music for the past two decades. She has honed her skills in countless sessions, at workshops and studying for a Bachelor of Music Degree at University College Cork, from where she graduated in 2002 with distinction, followed with a MMUS from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA (2002-2005).
She was a featured artist at The Galway International Arts Festival 2012. A resident of beautiful Galway City for the past decade she plays regular gigs with the aforementioned Steve Sweeney (accordion, tin whistle), melodeon great Johnny Connolly, Mary Shannon, Lena Ullman and folk legend Johnny Moynihan amongst others. Anna has appeared at The Stirling Festival in the company of Mick Crehan, Sean Ryan, Meaití Jo Shéamais Ó Fháthart, Paul Moran, Cormac and Brennain Begley and at Feile Chois Cuain, Louisburgh with Verena Cummins and Lena Ullman.
Her music has been played on BBC’S Folk Club, Lyric FM’s Rolling Wave, on RnaG’s traditional music programs such as Peadar O’Riada’s Cuire Chun Cheoil and on Neansaí Ni Choisdealbha’s Ceol Binn ó na Beanna, BBC Radio Ulster, on Clare FM’s traditional music programs, on Shannonside Radio and on radio stations in France, The Netherlands and across the US.
Anna had the honour to play for Prince Charles and Princess Camille, The Irish President Michael D. Higgins and wife Sabina during the 2015 state visit.
Clare Accordion player and All-Ireland Champion Séamus Walshe recently recorded one of Anna’s compositions, Caesar’s March, on his 2014 CD Turas. Anna joins Séamus on the CD on the set of Marches that is concluded with Caesar’s March and on a lovely set of Waltzes (Margaret’s Waltz/Louis’ Waltz).
In late 2014, Anna joined Connemara singer and broadcaster Seán Ó hÉanaigh for the release of his CD The Tides that Bind/Fánaíocht.
During 2012 she performed with the late folk troubadour /songwriter Tony Small for several CD release gigs of Tony’s wonderful CD Mandolin Mountain.
With her duo Murray & Falkenau, Anna has toured internationally in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. Murray & Falkenau’s CD The Leipzig Sessions was „Album of the Week“ on Glasgow Music Station Celtic Roots Radio and has received airplay on RTE1, Lyric FM, RnaG, Radio na Life, Clare FM and a multitude of smaller radio stations in Ireland, the US, the UK, Belgium and Germany.
While studying for a music degree at University College Cork she was a member of Liz Dohertys “Fiddlesticks,” which played in prominent venues throughout Ireland, and appeared on Irish national television and radio.
She has in the past performed nationally and internationally at Folk Clubs, Festivals, University Concerts and House Concerts with guitar player/singers Mick Daly and Patsy O’Brien, flutist John Flanagan, accordion player John Whelan, old-time players Lena Ullman, Frank Hall, Tim Rodgers and Ben Keogh, Mel Mercier and many more.
Anna teaches Traditional Irish Fiddle Classes at the Moycullen Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and at The Athenry School of Music as well as privately. Her students have successfully competed at Provincial and All-Ireland level.