Presenter: Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
Fiddle player, singer Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is instantly recognisable as the front person of Altan, one of Ireland's greatest traditional music exports, Mairéad has led the band from simple beginnings in small kitchen and pub sessions to international fame and they now rank as one of Ireland's leading traditional music bands. Born and raised in the Irish speaking Gaoth Dobhair area of Donegal Mairéad was surrounded by music song and lore from her earliest years. Now recognised as one of the leading exponents and champions of the Donegal fiddle style Mairéad received her start on the instrument from her father Francie, a renowned fiddle teacher with a wealth of local tunes, many of which he had learnt in turn from his mother Róise. Mairéad also received tuition and inspiration from fiddle player Dinny McLaughlin who was a frequent visitor to her home. Travels in her teens with Belfast flute-player Frankie Kennedy saw encounters with musical greats like John Doherty, Con Cassidy and James Byrne. Mairead has always had a love of singing and many of her songs come from neighbours and friends in Gaoth Dobhair. Her work with Altan has brought her to headlining at venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, Sydney Opera House, The Royal Albert Hall but over the years Mairéad has found the time to present traditional music programmes on radio and television, including the respected radio show, "The Long Note" and the television series "The Pure Drop."