Just occasionally, there appears a virtuoso who can entirely change the way the world perceives their instrument. Sharon Shannon, the Co. Clare legend has done exactly that with the button accordion.
She is a musician who likes to surprise. While best known for her arrangements of traditional Irish tunes, she has always been eager to explore new styles, and has toured and recorded with a Who’s Who of Irish and global musicians including Bono, Adam Clayton, Sinead O’Connor, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Steve Earle, The RTE Concert Orchestra, The Chieftains, The Waterboys, Willie Nelson, Nigel Kennedy, Alison Krauss and Shane MacGowan.
Sharon’s current band features long time collaborators, Jim Murray on Acoustic Guitar and Backing Vocals; Sean Regan on Fiddle/Percussion/Beatbox and Jack Maher on Electric Guitar and Vocals.
Her 12 studio recorded albums have all been very different and ground breaking mixing traditional Irish with reggae, country, Native American, bluegrass, rap, dance, African and French-Canadian music.
Her early career took a massive lift when she joined the seminal rock band, The Waterboys. Her first show with that band was to an audience of 50,000 on the main stage at Glastonbury.
Her subsequent self-titled debut album was released worldwide and remains the best-selling album ever of traditional music in Ireland. The genre-defying star has had multi-platinum album sales and has had several number one albums, singles and DVDs. Her album Galway Girl went 4 times platinum in Ireland with the title track winning the Meteor award two years running for the most downloaded song.
She has entertained US Presidents Clinton at the White House and Obama in Dublin and Irish Presidents Robinson and MacAleese on presidential visits to Poland and Australia respectively. She recently accompanied Irish president Michael D. Higgins on his official tour of China
Among the many awards she has received including Hot Press and Meteor Awards, She also celebrates being the youngest ever recipient of the Meteor Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her most recent album Sacred Earth Sharon released In March, sees her bringing African music into the mix for the first time. The Guardian critic, Robin Denselow, said “Sharon has perfectly mastered an African/Irish crossover… Sacred Earth is a rousing reminder of why she is still so unique.”