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    home / jazz&dance / Dermot Somerville

    Dermot Somerville (Irish Traditional and Folk)

    Born in Dublin, Ireland, Dermot grew up in a musical family, where singing and music making were a part of everyday life. In 1974, Dermot moved to the US where he received a degree in music from Cleveland State University. He later returned to Ireland to continue postgraduate studies in Irish folk music at University College Cork, Ireland. He has appeared in performance with national and international performers such as Seamus Connolly, Liz Carroll, and with Early Music ensembles such as Cleveland's Apollo's Fire, Pittsburgh's Chatman Baroque and Washington DC's Folger Consort.

    Dermot has a rich and varied music experience, and with his extensive repertoire of songs, he presents a steady stream of high quality entertainment, utilizing highly original arrangements of songs, from the obscure to the well-known. He performs on the guitar, flute, bodhran, as well as sings selections from the repertoire of Irish songs. The music Dermot performs is a wonderful addition at both Irish-themed wedding ceremonies as well as at wedding receptions and parties for all occasions.

    Dermot Somerville (Irish Traditional and Folk)

    • When performing, what do you want to transmit to the audience?
      Sincerity. Sincereity is what I do. Also, a sense of authentic Irish history and culture. I achieve authenticity through the instrumentation in my musical arrangements and, occasionally, with commentary during a performance.

    • Why do you play the music that you play?
      I identify with it totally. It's part of my upbringing. Also, among the styles of music I play, I do the best job with Irish traditional. In this format and environment, I feel the most comfortable.

    • What qualities make your group different from other groups that play similar musical styles?
      The way I approach the music is the biggest difference. I always strive for a personal touch for each piece of music. It's not a canned approach. All of my arrangements are interesting and match the song in mood and support the text.

    • If you could perform with another musician, living or dead who would it be?
      Donal Lunny, an Irish musician. He is an innovator in terms of arranging and producing Irish music. There are a number of prominent musicians I've had the opportunity to perform with, but I've never had the chance to play with Donal Lunny.

    • What inspired you to be a musician?
      First, it was something for which I had a natural gift. Also, for whatever reason, I've always gravitated toward musicians socially. When I came to the United States, I was exposed to American traditional music: the blues, jazz, bluegrass. Later, I returned to Ireland and went to university in Cork, researching Irish music. I've used the influences of Irish and American music to inform my musical style ever since.

    • What are three words that describe your group?
      Original, Sincere, Musical.

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