Thomas McCarthy and Sorcha De Róiste
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Sorcha De Róiste
Saturday 28 Sept |1.00 p.m.
Price: €10

Venue: The Corner Gallery, Main Street, Drimoleague

Join TG4 Singer of the year 2019 Thomas McCarthy and Sorcha De Róiste for an afternoon of songs from the heart of the singing tradition on this island and farther afield.

Thomas McCarthy

Thomas McCarthy was born in the town of Birr, County Offaly, into a well-respected Irish Traveller family. His grandfather was known as a “Seanachie” and thus was someone with a profound orally derived knowledge of the history and families of Ireland.

Thomas learnt his craft of singing and storytelling from his mother, Mary McCarthy, aunts and uncles. In fact his extended family has a long history of musicianship and includes the well-recognised and respected Doran Brothers and their grandfather “Big John Cash”, who all played the uilleann pipes.

At age ten Thomas moved to London but continued to travel with his family back and forth and around Ireland and England. He was recognised by his own family as a gifted singer from a young age, but was “discovered” in 2008 by the wider public after a “tip off” from a barman at a family wedding. This led him to Cecil Sharp House in Camden Town, London. Here he joined singers at a folk song club, who were amazed by his powerful yet subtle, ancient and authentic Irish Traveller style of singing and by the rare songs that he brought with him.

Since 2011 he has recorded three CDs. The first, the Ron Kavana-produced ‘Round Top Wagon’, appeared back in 2011, under the name Tommy McCarthy and caused quite a stir, not least for its welcome presentation of what for many listeners was a branch of traveller folk-singing not well represented on record.

The second CD “Herself and Myself” in 2014, was dedicated to his mother and pays direct tribute by including a recording of Mary singing ‘Young Willie’. The third recording in 2017 was a collaboration with the Cornish Romani Traveler Viv Legg. In reference to the two Travelling traditions, this CD is named “Jauling the Green Tober”. “Jauling” is a Romani word for walking and “tober” an Irish Traveller word for the road.

Thomas is also an activist on behalf of his people. This can range from a positive education about his people during performances, talks and storytelling to confronting racism and racist language against Travellers when he comes across it. He has contributed to a number of educative equality and diversity events and conferences, where he has communicated useful information and understanding to professionals wishing to work constructively with the Traveller community.

Sorcha De Róiste

Sorcha comes from Glanmire in Cork, where she is fortunate to be surrounded by a a strong singing and Irish speaking community. Singing and music have been handed down on both sides of the family and Sorcha is currently collecting songs from the many sung by her great-grandmother, Minnie Lyons, who came from Mountcollins in West Limerick.

An award-winning sean-nós singer, she has appeared as a guest on several recordings, and is currently working on a solo album. Sorcha also works in more experimental forms of music and composition. Current projects include music for film and for an experimental archeology project. 

More information at