|Sunday 07 October 2018 @ 02:00pm : -
Catherine Ashcroft & Maurice Dickson
Northern Ireland's Maurice Dickson has been writing and performing his songs for almost 30 years. He has played in rock and blues bands around Belfast before forming his own band in 1976. Three years later he turned professional and continued to learn his trade in Europe and North Africa absorbing the cultures and the rhythms.
There is something deeply satisfying about listening to a musician who is obviously the master of his craft. It is even more satisfying to listen to one, like Maurice Dickson, who is not only a consummate musician but whose music is firmly rooted in something deeply personal. The ruggedly beautiful folk is as much a part of him as an arm or a leg, and just as vital. At times, you get the impression that it's a bit of a wrench for him to expose them to the harsh light of the outside world.
Catherine Ashcroft plays the Uilleann Pipes and Whistles with breathtaking speed and virtuosity. Although born in the North West of England she has had a passion for Irish music since childhood and growing up in a musical home she started playing the whistle at an early age before getting her first set of Uilleann pipes in her mid teens. Self taught, Catherine regards her early influences as Planxty, The Bothy Band, Lunasa, and Paddy Keenan. Catherine pursued both instruments avidly and in 2007 won All Britain titles on both whistle and pipes. In between trips to Ireland playing sessions she was performing regularly in the pubs and clubs of the North of England as a soloist and as a member of several Irish bands.
Maurice and Catherine met in 2008 when Catherine recorded her first CD “Take Flight and Follow” at Maurice's studio in Cumbria. This led to them collaborating and Maurice invited her to guest on his forthcoming European tour. A great success they soon formed the duo Mochara. Taking the name from the Irish meaning of “My Friend”. The pair have since performed at various festivals, folk clubs, theatres and music venues throughout the UK, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Denmark and Norway. They have also released 3 albums, “In Your Blood” in 2010, “Spirits and Dreamers” in 2013 and more recently the fabulous “Live at the Island” in 2015.