Cathie Ryan Band
Patsy O’Brien (guitar, banjo, vocals)
“Patsy O’Brien is Ireland’s best kept musical secret..” — Irish Examiner
“Like a good wine, guitarist and singer/songwriter Patsy O’Brien has let his musicianship flourish…. throaty vocals, languid guitar.” — Irish Times
Patsy O’Brien is an award winning songwriter with three critically acclaimed CDs to his credit. He is also one of Irish music’s most respected guitar accompanists.
Born in Co. Cork, Patsy began performing his genre-hopping, blues and jazz influenced originals in clubs throughout Ireland. He then took his music to the United States where his songs began to win awards and acclaim, including a feature on NPR’s All Songs Considered. But the pull of working with others was great and he began sitting in on sessions at St Louis’ famous session pub, McGurk’s. It was only a matter of time before word spread throughout the Irish music scene about Patsy’s guitar mastery. He has since worked with some of the most respected players in Irish Music including fiddle player Eileen Ivers and piping legend Paddy Keenan.
Patsy’s guitar playing moves from driving rhythm to delicate and melodic finger picking. Of the range of emotion he draws from the guitar, The New Haven Advocate writes, “His music is stomping and ocean breezy – sure footed and fragile …” He has performed with The Cathie Ryan Band for the past five years and his interpretive skill and great wealth of talent shine out in Cathie’s concerts.
Matt Mancuso (fiddle, trumpet, octave mandolin, guitar, and vocals)
New York born, Matt Mancuso is an extraordinary musician. His playing is spirited and exuberant, yet underpinned by deep technical mastery.
As a young child, Matt was introduced to Irish Music by his father Pete, a respected guitarist and record producer. Matt studied with the renowned musician and teacher Maureen Glynn and went on to compete in the prestigious All Ireland competitions. He placed second three years running. An extraordinary feat for an Italian – Irish American in what can be a very closed musical society. But there was no denying his talent or his fire.
As Matt grew his musical horizons broadened. He went on to add the love of Jazz to his firm grounding in traditional Irish music. He picked up the trumpet and immersed himself in the Jazz stylings of the greats – Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and Clifford Brown, among others. It was not long before he brought the same mastery to the trumpet as he had to the fiddle. And he continues to add instruments to his list, most recently the octave mandolin and guitar.
Matt Mancuso is a musician of great musical scope. His Irish and jazz influences make him a unique player in the world music scene. It accounts for why he was the star fiddle player in Lord of the Dance – performing to sell out crowds throughout the world; a founding member of the rousing ensemble The Mickey Finns, and has toured Europe with Irish super-group Grada. For the past three years he has brought all of this energy and talent to the Cathie Ryan Band.
Fiddle virtuoso Patrick Mangan is held in very high esteem in the world of Irish traditional music. Earle Hitchner, critic of the Wall Street Journal, recently wrote that Patrick “embodies all that is admirable and durable about the Irish tradition in America.”
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Patrick studied fiddle with the renowned traditional musician, Brian Conway. He was also mentored by the late Sligo fiddle legends Andy McGann and Paddy Reynolds. His deep respect for traditional music and his gift of playing with fluidity and fire twice earned him the coveted All-Ireland fiddle championship – there is no higher honor for a traditional musician. And Patrick is no ordinary traditional musician.
At sixteen, he was invited to appear in Riverdance on Broadway, becoming the youngest fiddle player in the show’s history. Since that auspicious beginning, he went on to dazzle audiences across the US, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Germany, France, South Africa, Japan, China, and Taiwan as the show’s featured soloist.
In addition to the demands of full time touring with Riverdance, he also released a critically acclaimed CD, “Farewell to Ireland,” composed the awarding winning instrumental “September Sky,” and has performed with Irish music luminaries such as John Whelan and Cathie Ryan. Patrick is currently taking a break from Riverdance to tour as a member of the Cathie Ryan Band.
Brian Melick (percussion)
Brian Melick’s career in World Music spans over 30 years and includes playing with a diverse range of musicians, being featured on over 250 commercial recordings, and sharing his love of percussion both as an educator and a consultant to school arts programs.
Brian’s mastery of world music rhythms and his exuberant playing keep him in high demand as a percussionist. He currently performs with a range of ensembles including the Celtic/Bluegrass influenced Kevin McKrell and the Hard Road Céilidh Band, Flamenco and Classical guitarist Maria Zemantauski, Jazz, Latin and Classical group The Bernstein Baird Ensemble, the Brazilian and Jazz greats Sonny Daye and Perley Rousseau, Celtic harpist Martha Gallagher, the improvisational Jazz ensemble TrioLOCO, and Soul Session. He is also featured on over 250 CDs by musicians such as Pete Seeger, Bela Fleck, Livingston Taylor, Jorma Kaukonen, John Sebastian, Rory Block, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Stuart Duncan, Bruce Molsky, and Scott Petito.
Brian is also actively involved in developing educational programs for students of all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens, at schools, day camps and with community-based organizations.