The Kane Sisters

Together Liz and Yvonne Kane create a highly exciting and vibrant sound. These sisters come from Dawros on the outskirts of Letterfrack, a village in Connemara along the West coast of Ireland. With a musical tradition on both sides of the family, it was only natural for the girls to play music. Their grandfather, fiddle player Jimmy Mullen, has been a leading figure on the traditional music scene in Connemara for over 50 years and it was his enthusiasm that encouraged the sisters to learn to play the fiddle.

They began learning music from both their grandfather Jimmy Mullen and South Sligo musician and teacher, Mary Finn McCrudden. Along with the recordings of the Rainey brothers, their grandfather and Mary were an early influence on their music. The Raineys were travelling fiddle players who visited Letterfrack and the surrounding areas in the 1950s.

Music very soon became an integral part of their everyday lives and holidays were spent attending summer schools in Tubbercurry and Drumshanbo. Liz was interested in competition unlike Yvonne who disliked the tense atmosphere. In 1992, Liz won the Fiddler of Dooney in Sligo and went on to win the All-Ireland senior fiddle and duet title as well as the Fiddler of Oriel in 1995. She returned to Monaghan the following year and regained the Fiddler of Oriel title.

Yvonne and Liz consider their style to be heavily influenced by South Sligo fiddle playing, the music of East Galway and in particular the fiddle playing and compositions of Paddy Fahey. In recent years, the sisters have been privileged to meet and play with Paddy whose music plays a central role in their repertoire. The recordings of Michael Coleman, Hughie Gillespie, Andy McGann and Kathleen Collins have also made an impact on their music.

Liz studied music at University College Cork and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree and a Higher Diploma in Education. Yvonne moved to Galway and began playing music fulltime. After finishing in Cork, Liz returned to Galway and they both shared a house with musician, Sharon Shannon. The following year, they joined her band as part of ‘Sharon Shannon and The Woodchoppers’. For the next three years, the band took them all over the world to promote the release of the album ‘The Diamond Mountain Sessions’.

They released their first album together ‘The Well-Tempered Bow’ in May 2002, and subsequently released their second album ‘Under the Diamond’ in 2004. The girls have also guested on a number of albums:

• The Diamond Mountain Sessions - Sharon Shannon (2000) Recorded in the Monastery Hostel in Letterfrack, Galway along with Donal Lunny, Carlos Nunez, Steve Earle, John Prine, Mary Staunton, Jackson Browne, The Hothouse Flowers and Dessie O’Halloran (Liz and Yvonne)
• The Fiddler Fair - compilation from Fiddle Festival Mc Carthy’s Pub Baltimore, Cork (2000) (Liz and Yvonnne)
• Behind the Mist - compilation of musicians who have been part of the Bog and Sea Week festivals in Letterfrack over the last fifteen years. (2000) (Liz and Yvonne)
• Idir Dhá Solas - Maighread and Tríona ní Dhomnaill (2000) (Liz and Yvonne)
• Providence - Providence (1999) (Liz)
• Transcendental Blues - Steve Earle (2000) (Liz and Yvonne)
• The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone - Cherish the Ladies (2000) (Yvonne)
• Memories from the Holla - Peter and Angelina Carberry (2001) (Liz)
• The Pound Road - Dessie O’Halloran (2001) (Liz and Yvonne)
• Mná na hÉireann (Liz and Yvonne)