Although born in London, Tad’s family roots are firmly in Ireland – his family hails from Castlebar in County Mayo. His musical life started, as it does for many, by learning the piano as a child. He then rediscovered his early love of Irish music in his mid-teens and started on the bodhrán, the Irish drum. It took many years of attending sessions, those informal gatherings of traditional musicians so strong throughout the diaspora, under the watchful eye and tutelage of such luminaries as Mick O’Connor, to learn about the music and develop his technique. Then, in 2008, he took up the bouzouki, an instrument he loves and which he was almost destined to play; the right-hand techniques learned painstakingly on the bodhrán transfer directly to it and he is noted for his driving percussive style and the ability to create complex and changing rhythm patterns when backing melodic lines. He currently uses a guitar shaped design, but will soon add a more traditional tear-drop shaped one to his ‘armoury’!
Now a full time professional, Tad has worked with many well-known and respected musicians, both in the studio and in live performance: bands include Barrule, Celtic Crossroads, Joglaresa, The Bible Code Sundays and The Long Notes and he has worked with individuals including Cara Dillon, Luke Daniels, Sylvain Barou, Kristina Train and Jody Talbot. He was a member of Ranagri for five years and together they collaborated with Tony Christie, he of ‘Amarillo’ fame, on the latter’s album “The Great Irish Song Book” released in 2015. He is a founder member of the acclaimed CrossHarbour, whose eponymous first album was released in 2014. Currently he is working on a recording project with Loïc Bléjean, the noted Breton uilleann piper, which is due for release in the autumn of 2016.
In the summer of 2016 he was part of the team at The Globe Theatre in London for the highly praised production of “The Taming of the Shrew”, directed by Caroline Byrne. He was one of the four musicians integral to the action, opening both halves of the play, to the delight of the audience!
Through his work he has played now played all over Europe and the USA and at some of the most prestigious venues in the UK – The Royal Albert Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre among others. His festival appearances include Glastonbury, The Hop Farm, Cambridge Folk Festival and the Annual Irish Festival in London’s Trafalgar Square. There have also been numerous appearances on TV and radio, for the BBC and many other broadcasters in both the UK and across Europe.
Other notable recordings include “Manannan’s Cloak” for Barrule and the 2010 John Landis film “Burke and Hare”, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis.
Tad is also highly committed to passing on the tradition to the next generation, young though he is! He teaches bodhrán, bouzouki, guitar and piano and is the resident bodhrán and accompaniment tutor at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.