The traditional music of Ireland combined with virtuosic musicianship and warm vocal harmonies have made Arcady one of the most-respected traditional bands in Ireland. According to Pulse magazine, Arcady "is poised to emerge as the strongest act in the current wave of Irish folk revivalism." Dirty Linen described Arcady as "a band with its own vital identity ensured of a place among the first rank of Irish traditional groups." Arcady was formed by bodhran, bones, and percussion player Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh shortly after leaving De Dannan in 1989. Initially an eight-piece group, Arcady has gone through numerous personnel changes. Among their most illustrious alumni are Sharon Shannon, Frances Black, Seán Keane, and McDonagh's De Dannan bandmate Jackie Daly. The group made their debut in a big way, performing at Ireland's largest hall, Point Depot, in a show that was filmed for the television show The Sessions. After recording a still un-released album, Arcady released their debut album, After the Ball, in 1991. Recorded with a six-piece band, the album took a pan-Celtic approach with songs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Brittany, and the United States. Their second album, Many Happy Returns, was released four years later. The album, which featured the lead vocals of Niamh (pronounced: Neeve) Parsons, who replaced Frances Black, and the accordion playing of County Clare native of Conor Keane, who replaced Jackie Daly, stuck closer to home and emphasized songs that would not sound out of place in an Irish pub. The present lineup of Arcady features flute, whistle, guitar player and vocalist Nicolas Quemenar from Brittany, keyboardist Patsy Broderick, and fiddler Brendan Larrisey, along with McDonagh, Parsons, and Keane.
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