"We are breaking stones and when our time comes, we'll pass on the tools to the next generation."
"We know that traditional Irish music isn't mainstream but that doesn't interest us. Pop and rock music goes up and down in terms of popularity, Irish music stays constant and earthed. When we give concerts people are all welcome to come and all welcome not to come! "Timmy "the brit" McCarthy."
How it all began ……
In 1995 David McMahon met the late great Timmy “the brit” McCarthy in Landshut, Bavaria for the first time, it was the start of a deep friendship that grew right up till Timmy’s heartbreaking passing on 12 September 2018.
In September 1995 Timmy was giving a set dance workshop and the story of how David and Timmy met can only be described as a wonderful twist of fate! The linchpin in our story is our great friend Andrea Lehnis.
By 2001 another great friend Verena Fritz who was organizing the set dancing workshops was struggling to get enough people to come together for the workshop and so made the pragmatic decision to call it a day, Timmy was brokenhearted as Landshut and Bavaria meant so much to him. Timmy asked David if it would be possible to organize a concert to take the pressure off Verena and allow the workshops to continue.
In 2002 two concerts were held in the Salzstadel in Landshut along with a dance workshop. The band was formed and given the name Na Ciotogi due to the fact that the original members were all left-handed. It was made up of 2 families Timmy and Tony McCarthy and David McMahon and his cousin Luke Crowley. Peter Corbett joined the band as fiddle player in 2003.
In 2004 Luke was offered a full time position with The Furey Brothers so Yvon Riou from Brittany joined the band as guitarist and the line up remained the same until 2008. In 2005 Na Ciotogi started a collaboration project with daHuawadaMeierundi under the title of Bayrisch Irish, it was another one of Timmy’s dreams fulfilled!
In 2008 Yvon left the band to concentrate on other projects in Brittany and initially Dan O’Callaghan was to join us on uilleann pipes. Due to work commitments Dan couldn’t make the tour so Eoin O’Riabhaigh joined the band until 2015. Peter Corbett was the man who inspired David’s son Sean McMahon so much so with the sound of his fiddle, that Sean took off on a musical journey at the age of 5 in 2007. By 2013 / 2014 Peter was touring so much with Matching Ties that he couldn’t give a 100% commitment to make the tour so Paddy O’Neill jumped in for us on fiddle.
2015 was a zenith year. Timmy celebrated his 70th birthday, we had a fantastic tour in Brittany followed by a Bayrish-Irish appearance at the the Cork Folk Festival founded by Timmy 39 years previously. A camera crew from BR made a fantastic road movie of the whole trip to Ireland. Timmy was presented with The Dan O’Connell Memorial for the first time. In October we had an amazing tour culminating in Circus Krone where 2,500 people sang happy birthday to Timmy. “it doesn’t get much better!”
In 2016, one hundred years after the Declaration of Irish freedom, Dan O’Callaghan took up Eoin’s position on uilleann pipes and what a year that was. We were delighted to do a benefit concert for Dr. Jahn and his Rwanda project.
2017 was also a fantastic year with so many happy times together but sadly the last year Timmy would be with us on tour in Brittany and Bavaria. In December just before Christmas, Timmy was diagnosed with cancer.
2018 was a really hard year, Timmy was very sick but had all intentions of coming on tour with us in October. His passing on 14 September 2018 totally broke our hearts but Timmy had the constant mantra of “I HATE NEGATIVITY,” so we decided to go ahead with our Bavarian tour in honor of the great man he was..
In 2019 Sean who had played as a guest musician with Na Ciotogi since 2013 took the empty chair Timmy had left behind and a new Bayrisch Irish collaboration began with Siegi Mühlbauer, Bernhard Stahl and Martin Holzapfel.
2020 the year of Covid-19 was marked by us giving 4 concerts. Despite all the negativity this year threw at us we spread positivity in memory of Timmy. Unfortunately due to the second lockdown the Bayrisch Irish gigs had to be cancelled. Our targets are set on a great year in 2021 and we look forward to playing for all our fans again!
2021 was another year where, despite all the difficult circumstances, we were able to spread some positivity into an ever increasingly difficult world. Our tour, this time including Bayrisch Irish, was allowed to finish “just in time” with great happiness and success and very much to our delight! Markus Gröller joined us for the first time on double bass and became a part of our dysfunctional Bayrisch Irish family! Welcome Markus – delighted to have you aboard “The Good Ship Venus!” A number of gigs are in the pipeline for 2022, let’s see what the future brings!