John Carty is one of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians having been awarded the Irish Television station, TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year in 2003. He was recently appointed Sligo Traditional Musician in residence.
Born in London, fiddle and banjo player John Carty has established himself among the elite in Irish traditional music and as a staunch supporter of its preservation. Carty developed his love for fiddle, banjo, and flute, all of which he has mastered, through his multi-instrumentalist father who was a member of the Glenside Ceili Band in London in the 1960’s.
Soon after settling in Boyle, Co Roscommon, Carty released his 1994 debut banjo album, The Cat that Ate the Candle to positive reviews. This led to his first fiddle album, Last Night’s Fun, released on Shanachie Records in 1996 and was closely followed by two further solo fiddle albums Yeh, That’s All It Is and At It Again. These albums have been described as milestones in recorded fiddle music. In 1997 he formed At the Racket, a fun, loose, free-spirited dance band named after an old Flanagan Brothers 78 rpm. The group has recorded three highly acclaimed CDs all on John’s own label Racket Records and continues to tour all the major European festivals.
2005 saw the launch of I Will If I Can Carty’s latest solo CD featuring banjo and tenor guitar. Accompanied by Alec Finn, Brian McGrath and Johnny McDonagh, Carty once again shows his plectrum prowess to full affect.
John performs regularly with Chieftain’s flautist Matt Molloy exploring the North Connaught tradition they both love. In 2008 they released Pathway to the Well a CD of their music accompanied by Arty McGlynn and recently released a follow up Out of the Ashes.
In 2011 John released The Crimson Path, collaboration with Sligo poet Ann Joyce, which is a CD of original poetry and music for which John composed all the music. This was quickly followed by the release of At Complete Ease, a duet fiddle album with Brian Rooney from Kiltclogher, Co Leitrim. This CD has already been described as one of the all times greats of duet playing. John is also a member of super group, Patrick Street which includes legendary musicians Andy Irvine and Kevin Burke. He has also appeared as a special guest with the Chieftains and De Dannan.
More recently John put together a new eight piece band, The John Carty Festival band which was launched in summer 2012 and has since played at festivals in Ireland and the UK. In 2012/13 John was part of the County Leitrim Traditional group in residency scheme which comprises of himself and two other legends of traditional music namely Seamus Begley on accordion and vocals, and Donál Lunny on bouzouki and guitar. In 2013 they launched the album, Leitrim Equation 3, which includes many Leitrim guests they met during the residency.
John has performed in two feature films Jimmy’s Hall and Brooklyn, for which he also arranged all the traditional music pieces. His has released two family CDs, the first in 2016, Settle Out of Court with his daughter Maggie showcasing her unique singing voice and the second in 2020 The Wavy Bow Collection, with his son, James on fiddle introducing another generation to the tradition. The duos have completed many tours and have appeared many times on Irish TV.
In addition John is a tutor on the BA course at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick and with such experience is a highly sought tutor for workshops and summer schools