"BEST VIOLIN/FIDDLE - IRISH MUSIC AWARDS 2008" Irish Music Association, USA
"Best Traditional Music Act 2008", The Irish World
"Ón Dá Thaobh / From Both Sides" in Mojo's Top Ten Album's of 2007!!
Niamh Ní Charra hails from Killarney, County Kerry in the south west of Ireland. Strongly influenced by the wealth of local Sliabh Luachra musicians, she started playing music at the early age of 4, under the tutelage of well known local musician Nicky McAuliffe. Equally talented on fiddle and concertina, she has won numerous awards, including Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Oireachtas, and Slógadh Náisiúnta and has represented Ireland at folk festivals all over the world. Somewhat of a child prodigy, she had support gigs for The Chieftains, and Noel Hill under her belt before she reached her teens.
Despite this rich background, she put aside her music to persue a career in Electronic Engineering. After graduating with honours, Niamh was employed by an Irish software company who regularly sent her on business trips to Boston. Here she was exposed to a continuous flow of Irish musicians (Arcady, Sharon Shannon, Nomos) as well as locally based musicians (Paddy Keenan , Seamus Connolly, Tommy McCarthy).
The draw of the music proved too strong, and Niamh decided to resign from work to persue a career in music. She moved to Cork to take a year-long course in 'Music, Management, and Sound' at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, where she graduated with distinctions in every subject - the only student ever to have achieved this feat. The college subsequently awarded her "Musician of the Year". She swiftly followed this with recordings for Irish radio and television, and performances with Riverdance 's European troupe in Europe, Asia and on board the QE2, before joining the U.S. troupe in 1998. Niamh performed with Riverdance from that date until December 2005, touring with them in North America. From Mexico to Vancouver, and Los Angeles to Broadway, New York, Niamh has delighted audiences with her fiery fiddling, fancy footwork and dazzling smiles. More recently she shared her talents in Riverdance's Irish and Far East productions performing in her native capital as well as the more exotic locations of Tokyo and Taipei among others.
Niamh has returned to Dublin, Ireland where she is working as a freelance musician, regularly gigging accross the city. She has taught both fiddle and concertina at Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann's national headquaters, An Cultúrlann in Monkstown, and regularly gives workshops. She released her debut album "Ón Dá Thaobh / From Both Sides" in 2007 to much critical acclaim - apart from many great reviews, Niamh´s album was the only Irish album to be listed in Mojo´s Top Ten Folk Albums for 2007. She was also presented with the "Best Traditional Music Act" award, 2008, by The Irish World - the largest newspaper for the Irish community in Britain, and "Top Fiddle/Violin 2008" at the IRISH MUSIC AWARDS, josted by the Irish Music Association, USA. She is a member of the Carlos Nunez band and tours both with them and as a solo artist. She appears on the latest Carlos Núñez album "Alborado do Brasil" and the latest Cheiftains album "San Patricio", and is currently working on her next album due for release July 2010.
"The crossroads where the traditional and the contemporary collide: that's where Niamh Ní Charra lurks, not quite selling her soul to the devil, but bartering it for high stakes. She's brought her fiddle and concertina home, after a lengthy stint with Riverdance, and throughout Ón Dá Thaobh she strips bare old tunes, such as Caoineadh Eoghain Rua, and boldly reinterprets Jerry Holland's Mutt's Favourite, pairing it with her own jittering set piece, San Antonio. Forget talk of tradition versus innovation: Ní Charra's facility with everything from 19th-century Italian composer Giulio Regondi's Allegretto No 4 to a glorious set of Sliabh Luachra slides reflect a musician at home with music of any hue. Her concertina playing is particularly charismatic, with enough light between the notes to buoy this baker's dozen of tunes from start to finish."
Siobhán Long, Irish Times, 02/03/2007
"When Alan O'Leary at Copperplate told me he was sending me a new album that was right up my street, he wasn't kidding. This album is phenomenal. Niamh's fiddle and concertina playing are exquisitely mastered and with such charm as well! This is certainly going to be one of my top albums of 2007. I honestly don't believe she can be beaten. It's hard to pick out favourites from this album as the tunes have been so lovingly selected that you really want to listen to the whole album to appreciate the genius behind Niamh's playing. This is quite simply, ground breaking. This is masterclass musicianship, and legend in the making..."
Folk Radio UK
"Far more inspiring is the debut album by another Riverdance-featured fiddler, Kerry’s Niamh Ní Charra, and it’s certainly bolstered by her exceptional concertina playing (no better revealed than on the opening set’s audacious trio of slip jigs). The aptly named From Both Sides reveals a wonderfully sensitive player of airs (on both instruments), a sprightly interpreter of itinerant harper Carolan’s music, someone innately capable of rendering the jauntiness of hornpipes (check Wade Hampton’s for evidence) and a marvellously dextrous player of her county’s pet tunes, such as a set of slides kicked off by Johnny O’Leary’s."
Froots Magazine, July 2007
"Fresh from the footlights of Riverdance, Niamh Ní Charra is a consumate showgirl. Less than two minutes into this debut CD, the change from languid fiddle to fiery concertina grabs your attention, and from that moment you're hooked. Whether it's slow airs or reels, jigs or czardas, nothing disappoints. Yes, czardas: four of them, fiddle triupmhs each one, followed by a masterly handling of The Gravel Walks. Other forays beyond Irish music include Bill Monroe's bluegrass slow drag Crossing the Cumberlands and one of the many classical compositions for (English) concertina, both delivered with charm and panache. Niamh's native Kerry is evident in the relaxed pace of reels and jigs, and the contrasting vigour with which the final set of slides is attacked. Johnny O'Leary's and The Hare in the Corn get a good battering, while The Turnpike receives the sweetest treatment I can recall.
The lightning switches between fiddle and concertina are not a feature of Niamh's live performances, but most of the other arrangements stay clear of studio effects. To be honest, Niamh doesn't need 'em: she can vary the pace and style on her two instruments, and the addition of a few backing musicians is more than enough to fill fifty-two minutes. She also has the sense to bring in Brendan Begley for vocals on the song An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig, and to use his accordion for added punch on those slides. Her own compositions are better than good, six of them spread across thirteen tracks. San Antonio and Downtime Delirium are powerful modern reels, and the waltz Soldier's Exile shows a gentler side of Niamh's creative talent. Whichever side you look at it from, Niamh Ní Charra's solo debut is a total success: www.niamhnicharra.com will get you even closer to her music, and tell you what else she's up to."
Alex Monaghan, The Living Tradition