Still barking after all these years

FOUR MEN AND A DOG: (l-r) Cathal Hayden, Gino Lupari, Donal Murphy, Kevin Doherty, Stephen Hayden
Robert McMillen

The first ever Celtic Fusion in county Down; the Black Box; the Conor Hall and the Lyric Theatre. These are just some of the places I have danced like a puppet to the sounds of one of the most energetic, fun and musically accomplished bands we have, Four Men and a Dog.

The team has changed over the years but, unlike Manchester United, the quality and joie de vivre of its members are as infectious and inspirational as ever due mainly to its founding members, Cathal Hayden, Gino Lupari and box-player Dónal Murphy.

This is a band how love what they are doing and that is why this weekend they will be celebrating 25 years of superlative music making with concerts in Cookstown and Belfast and the launch of a new CD, And the Band Played On

If Flann O’Brien had seen Cathal Hayden in full flight, he might have foregone the bicycle and chosen the fiddle (or banjo) instead and written of the danger that some people “get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their fiddles” such is the musical energy running through the Pomeroy man's veins.

While Cathal might not share his DNA with his instrument, he does share it with his brother and bandmate Stephen Hayden, a young man who is rightly regarded as one of the finest fiddle players of his generation.  

Gino Lupari on bodhrán uses his beater to drive the music along, like a conductor urging his orchestra to a mighty crescendo – but who is also the source of much comic relief!

Dónal Murphy from County Limerick will get you off your feet with the raison d’etre of traditional music, a dance, from a reel to a hornpipe and more. 

Kevin Doherty is one of the country’s best songwriters of his generation with is most recent album ‘Telegraph’ being hailed as “undoubtedly one of the year's best albums". 

The success of Four Men and a Dog is not only its feel for traditional music but that irresistible synergy of Irish trad and all sorts of Americana that has been fashioned by our emigrant nation.

‘The Dogs’ will take to the stage on Saturday 16 April at the Burnavon Theatre Cookstown, and on Sunday 17 April at the Lyric Theatre Belfast, each performance commencing at 8.00pm. Tickets are available directly at &

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