Teen duo who are bringing vibrant energy to trad scene

Fionntan McDonald and Eoin Kearns at the 'An Re Nua' competition INLM1325 005
Fionntan McDonald and Eoin Kearns at the 'An Re Nua' competition INLM1325 005

THEY have the raw and vibrant energy of youth, and the talent and skill of Eoin Kearns and Fionntan McDonald is undoubtable.

The Lurgan teens have already gained a fine reputation on the local traditional music scene and are on the brink of winning top national accolades .

Eoin (18) and Fionntan (19) are finalists in the ‘An Re Nua’, a showcase competition for the best new traditional acts in Ireland. It’s run by the Comhaltas and if the lads win, they will record on the Comhaltas label and play at the Fleadh concerts in Derry.

The duo scooped five top awards at the Armagh Fleadh. Eoin is Armagh Guitar Champion and Fionntan is Fiddle Champion. The pair were also Duet Champions.

They are both steeped in traditional music. Fionntain is the grandson of well-known fiddle player Patsy Toman and many a tune he learned from him. Eoin’s dad is Sean Kearns, a very well known singer, guitarist and bouzouki player in Lurgan and Donegal.

Eoin and Fionntan hit the ground running when they met at local trad session in Lurgan. They instantly clicked with their mix of tunes and songs and decided to take it on the road. While the pair play mainly traditional music, they incorporate their own style and compositions as well as other modern composers.

They set up in 2011. Fionntan’s the fiddle-playing powerhouse who cranks out the jigs, reels and everything in-between. Fionntan has competed in several All-Ireland finals and still does.

Eoin is a talented guitarist and has been playing for almost 10 years. He also plays the tenor banjo and mandolin and is a talented songwriter. The two lads are scheduled to record their debut EP with Jonny Toman (Cat Malojian, Baz McSherry) later this year.

Despite their youth, this dynamic duet are in demand and have a regular Sunday session at The Premier in Lurgan.

Gigs in the pipeline include Lurgan Golf Club Captain’s Day on June 22, Corner House on June 28, The Glassworks, Derry June 29.