NoCrows Founder Members:
Anna Houston studied Cello at the Conservatory in her home town, Bern, Switzerland from age 9. All through her teens she played in different orchestras, classical Trios and Quartets, and also did recording work on Cello and Bass with several Singer-Songwriters.
In her late teens she became very interested in Irish Traditional Music and moved to Ireland in 1991. Although classically trained on the Cello, she is also an accomplished Banjo and Mandolin player.
In 1993 she met harpist and singer Deirdre Byron-Smith, and they started performing as a Harp and Cello Duo. The Duo are the core members of well known Sligo band “Cadenza” who recorded 2 albums of original songs and instrumental compositions, “Making Waves” in 2000, and “Attic Notes” in 2004. Both albums received critical acclaim from the press, and the band toured extensively at home and abroad.
Anna has performed with various acts including Mike Scott and Steve Wickham (The Waterboys), Dervish, The Sligo Early Music Ensemble, with whom she has made several solo cellist appearances, and shows with the Sligo Musical Society. She has arranged and recorded material with Sligo bands including Those Nervous Animals, Cathy Jordan, James Blennerhassett, Steve Wickham and many others.
Anna also teaches the Cello and Banjo at Sligo Academy of Music and holds numerous music workshops for kids.
Steve Wickham started to play violin at the age of three. Later, he studied at the Royal College of Music in Dublin. In 1982 Steve met ‘The Edge’ at a bus-stop, and went on to record “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and tour with U2.
Around the same time Steve and a couple of mates started ‘In Tua Nua” which featured Sinead O Connor as one of the vocalists. In 1985, following some recording sessions in London, Steve got asked to join ‘The Waterboys’ and he then went on to make many records with them, including the seminal “This is the Sea” and “Fisherman’s Blues”.
Steve is a much respected session fiddler and has recorded with Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Sinead O Connor, World Party, and more recently with Declan O’Rourke.
He continues to be an integral part of “The Waterboys” and has recently released his first solo album ‘Geronimo’. Many Sligo musicians feature on Geronimo, including bodhran maestro Junior Davey, cellist Anna Houston, guitarist / flautist Tommy Scanlon, and harper Deirdre Byron Smith. Other guests include Waterboys keyboardist Richard Naiff and Steve’s guitarist brother Henry.
Geronimo, named after his beloved long-serving violin, also marks Steve’s first venture into production. The result is a lush, rich interweaving of rock and folk textures, shot through with the warmth of Steve’s personality and the ever-present beauty of his playing.
Felip Carbonell was born into a musical family. As a child, Felip was always exposed to music of all kinds but it was not until his father brought him and his older brother to see a concert by the Valencian political singer/songwriter Raimon that Felip found his calling. He was 9 years of age and at this early stage he became conscious of the political situation of his country. Shortly after that he got his first guitar and started learning music, playing, singing, and following musical and political movements against the dictatorship of General Franco. Three years later he started writing songs in his native Catalan language, influenced mainly by songwriters such as Raimon, Lluís Llach and Quico Pi de la Serra from Catalonia, or Victor Jara from Chile.
At the age of 19, Felip made his debut as a solo performer in Bar Terra in Palma, an alternative music venue in the city. He also formed his first band, Camamil.la, along with percussionist Toni Amengual and vocalist Cati Llull with whom he would work in several projects in the future. In 1990 one of his most successful bands, Tumbet, released Felip’s song Fer Cantó, an urban poem about drugs and prostitution that received several awards as well as extensive airplay all across Spain. Another of his songs Païs de la Felicitat was also included in a Spanish compilation album and released by AZ Records.
In 1998 Felip left Mallorca and moved to Sligo where he started working as manager of traditional band Dervish. Since 2004 he has delivered a series of concerts based on his project Els Ritmes de la Mar (The Rhythms of the Sea), with a group of international musicians based in Sligo and in Mallorca.
Apart from NoCrows, Felip keeps playing in a number of jazz and Latin ensembles and performs regularly among others with Mike Nielsen, Ray Coen, JazzTam, The Vendetta Orchestra and Rumbatism. He has recorded as session musician with Yvonne Cunningham, The Vendetta Orchestra and the Mallorcan based jazz group Katau.
Born in Dublin in 1961, Eddie grew up in Sligo and is steeped in its music scene. A self-taught musician with a career spanning 30 years as bassist, producer, composer and recording artist, Eddie has toured internationally and/or recorded with many of Ireland’s top artists. In the rock and pop world Eddie has worked with The Pale, Juliet Turner, Buck Taylor, Those Nervous Animals, Brian Kennedy, Auto da Fé, Katell Keineg, Nine Wassies from Bainne; in folk/world territory with Stockton’s Wing, Maura O’ Connell, Dolores Keane, Kieran Goss, John Faulkner, Frances Black, Gary O’ Briain, Colm O’Donnell, Seamie O’ Dowd, Speranza, Dervish and Café Orchestra. Eddie has also collaborated on projects with Enya, Bill Whelan, Donal Lunny and co-produced many recordings in a wide range of genres over the years.
Eddie has played an important part in the development of the Irish jazz scene in recent years, being administrator of Sligo Jazz Project’s annual summer school and festival, in the process performing with Irish artists such as Andreas Varady, David Lyttle, Michael Buckley, Richie Buckley, Justin Carroll, Sean Hession, Michael Nielsen, Louis Stewart and international jazz artists such as Sandro Gibellini (Italy), Cleveland Watkiss, John Goldsby, Michael Manring and Paul Clarvis. Eddie has been teaching bass and music theory in Sligo since 1999 and is a co-founder/director of Sligo Contemporary Music School. He regularly performs as bassist with NoCrows, The Odd Couple, Mike Nielsen’s Latin Jam (featuring Felip Carbonell), Sinead Conway’s Swing and Soul Revue and the musical theatre show “An Evening with Sgt Pepper”.
Special guest: Oleg Ponomarev, the 5th Crow
Born in Khabarovsk, Russia, Oleg Ponomarev is a violinist, bassist, pianist, guitarist, composer, arranger, producer, singer, teacher, biker and co-founder of the “DOGGYBAG PRODUCTIONS”.
He moved to Moscow at a very early age to study music with his grandparents and started touring with members of his family very shortly after that. Meeting Yehudi Menuin on stage in Paris must be one of the most memorable moments of his career as an artist.
After touring with the Russian/Gypsy Band LOYKO for 10 years, recording more than twenty albums, writing off two motorbikes and getting five stars at the Edinborough festival, Oleg finally settled down in Ireland.
He is currently working with so many projects, it’s nearly impossible to name them all. These are some of the more relevant: Yurodny, Koshka, Cafe Orchestra, Caroline Moreau, The Hot Club of Dublin and NoCrows.
In the context of NoCrows, Oleg’s gypsy style is the perfect complement to the band’s sound. The fire and electricity discharged on stage is something extremely special and unique that needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Ray Coen, hailing from Sligo, has over 18 years experience as a guitar and fiddle player. In recent years Ray has moved from backing others to increasingly perform his own material. His debut album ‘Out of Sight’ was released in May 2009 and described by Hotpress as both ‘beautifully recorded and arranged’ and ‘music that is happy in it’s own skin’. Ray has been a regular collaborator with NoCrows since 2007 and keeps playing with them often on the Wednesday night session in Shoots as well as tours in Europe. Ray will be joining NoCrows in November 2012 when the band visit Switzerland for their 3rd annual tour.
Ginger O’Keeffe has been a musician for nearly thirty years. He has played Double Bass, Electric Bass, Banjo and guitar for various artists during this time including Jack Lukeman, Camille O’Sullivan, Mary Coughlan, Sharon Shannon, Sean Millar, The Whirligig, Mary Black, Ronnie Drew, Les Batard’s in Germany and Stephane Sanseverino in France. He has toured in America, Asia, Australasia and Europe extensively. He has recorded many CDs, soundtracks and TV work as a session musician. He is currently a ‘de facto’ member of the Sligo based world music combo “No Crows”. Ginger is the co founder and song writer with amongst other things The Black Romantics and, currently, The Vendetta Orchestra. He has eleven tattoos and is a grandfather. He currently resides in the West of Ireland and is employed as a Language Tutor.
Collette Sheerin is a flute and tin whistle player as well as singer songwriter from Croghan, County Offaly. She moved to Sligo town many moons ago, having been in awe of the thriving music scene then and which still exists today. In 1999, she appeared on the “MacTire” album, a fine compilation of folk and traditional songs by fellow musicians Ray Coen and Rodney Lancashire. In 2001, she joined celtic rockers “Flutehooks” in Perth for a series of performances. Whilst in Alaska in 2006 she performed with the gentlemen of Anchorage based band “Last Nights Fun”. Back in Sligo, after several months of regular appearances in the weekly Wednesday night session in Shoot the Crows, in 2010, she was ‘over the moon’ when No Crows asked her permission to record one of her compositions titled “Marianne’s Demise” on their new album. She also appeared as guest musician on this track and has become a regular collaborator with the band since then. Also in 2010 Collette recorded and released “Take Your Colours”, her own first solo album.