Áine Heslin is a composer/flute player, who plays and composes Irish traditional music. She used to play in Cruises Bar in Ennis every Thursday night with accordion player Jimmy Clancy, from 2015 up until Jimmy’s passing in February 2020 RIP – a very sad time for Áine, Matt and many musicians and customers alike. It had been a very popular open session with regular visiting musicians from Clare and much farther afield! See posts on Aine’s (now unused) music facebook page ‘Aine Heslin Music’ and photos in Gallery on this website.
It was one of many sessions she played in around the county (Clare) regularly eg; Keane’s Bar, Carrigaholt, Madigan’s Bar, Doonbeg, The Stella Maris Hotel, Kilkee, Dan O’Connell’s Bar, Ennis, Myles’ Creek, Kilkee, Carmody’s Bar Carrigaholt, The Long Dock, Carrigaholt, Morrissey’s Bar, Carrigaholt, Foley’s Bar, Cross, Crotty’s Bar, Kilrush, O’Mara’s, Kilkee…and more reccently; The Temple Gate Hotel in Ennis and The Locke Bar in Limerick!
Shortly after Jimmy died, Covid-19 pandemic locked down the country and affected the entire world. The now-cancelled weekly session in Ennis showed a gap in entertainment and connection and Áine was very aware of the absence of live music in people’s lives. She began a weekly Live Stream from her home along with her husband Matt. They continued with their weekly stream on Facebook @ Aine Heslin Music and thereafter @Áine Heslin, where they did a half hour session – Áine playing trad tunes, with Matt accompanying on guitar and singing a few songs. 85 weeks later and the videos have reached thousands of people around the world. Here is a link to the first part of the Series of videos:https://www.facebook.com/watch/AineHeslinMusic/1141357042901931/
The rest of the videos can be found on her personal page @Áine Heslin by clicking on ‘videos’.
Áine started out learning traditional Irish music on tin-whistle as a child in West Clare and moved on to playing classical music for many years. She has a lot of varied experience in performance – solo classical, orchestral, musical society pit-orchestras, concert band, solo trad, group trad, trad pub gigs, wedding and funeral services. She completed with honours a Master’s in Irish Traditional Music Performance in 2004 at UL.
Áine spent many years in West Clare playing with local traditional musicians, including Tom Carey (R.I.P.), Bill McNamara, Pete Haugh, Michael Falsey and for about ten years in a row….Martin Noel Tubridy (after he had produced the CD below). She still loves Martin’s style of playing although they don’t play together often enough these days – the pub they played in weekly closed down a few years ago!
In 2011 Áine began composing Irish music and enjoyed writing tunes in the style of the West Clare traditional music that she was immersed in from childhood; jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas and airs. She has written tunes to particular themes/emotions and named them accordingly. Her tunes have been well received by musicians so far. One tune (entered on a whim) reached the 2012 All Irelands Finals in the Newly Composed Tunes competition.
The Tunes Foundry 2
This, Áine’s most recent album, The Tunes Foundry 2, is a follow-on from her CD The Tunes Foundry (an album made up entirely of her own newly composed tunes (23 in total – see details of that album below).
This new album has again, new tunes composed by Áine but this time, rather than joining the tunes together in sets that play well together – she gave each tune an individual track – 30 tunes/30 tracks – her idea being that musicians might find it easier to decide which tunes they would like to learn.
The CD has Áine playing solo tinwhistle with her husband Matt accompanying with DADGAD guitar on various tunes and has a unique feel to it with it’s variety of short tracks.
Tune-book of Newly Composed Irish Tunes
Áine self-published this book so that all her recorded tunes would be available to anyone interested in learning a new tune. It has the 23 tunes from the album The Tunes Foundry as well as the 30 tunes from The Tunes Foundry 2.
This lovely production has her own personal touch in it by the addition of little stories about the tunes and why they were written or named, making it a pleasant read for even someone who does not read music!
eg; from The Tunes Foundry…..
1. Walking the Dog / A Tribute to Michael Tubridy ( jigs )
1. Walking the dog – This jig portrays for me the joy and excitement of a dog taken on a walk, whether
on or off the lead – dogs love walks!
1a. A tribute to Michael Tubridy – At the Dan Furey festival in Labasheeda in 2013 a tribute concert
was held to recognise all the work and dedication that Michael Tubridy flute-player (original flute-
player of The Chieftains) gave unsparingly to our local festival over twenty years.
I dedicated this tune to him – a gentleman (and a fine dancer too!).
and from The Tunes Foundry 2…
Jimmy Clancy’s Fancy (Composed 22/04/17)
For the past few years I’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside Jimmy Clancy from Kilfenora, Co Clare. He’s a most generous fellow and a supportive friend. We’ve had many laughs and made countless friends at our weekly session at Cruises Bar in Ennis. I hope, like our friendship, it’s a good solid reel!
Girls Day Out! (Composed Aug/Sept. ’17)
My sister Liz and sister-in-law Ailish helped me out by coming up with an appropriate name for this tune – it has an element of care-free happiness about it to warrant the title!
(It is for sale separately from the two albums – all can be bought @ Kilbaha Gallery & Crafts and @Custy’s Music Shop as well as here on the SHOP page Shop and through the Aine Heslin Music facebook page @ Aine Heslin Music )
The Tunes Foundry
Áine was frequently asked to record some of her new tunes and so recording started in early 2013. She began with Graham Dunne, Ennis, who doubled as sound engineer and guitar accompanist, and Brian O’ Grady on double bass. After some time recording and some fine tracks recorded, life events took over and there was a break. The remaining tracks were later recorded in Dave Keary’s studio in Limerick in 2014, with Áine’s husband Matt accompanying on guitar and she was fortunate once again to have a stellar line-up – with Máire Breatnach playing fiddle on some tracks, Paul Moore on double bass and Dave Keary himself doing some guitar and bazouki accompaniment. Shane Hayes plays accordion on the track of Shane’s Bminor Jig – a jig that was written for him in 2011.
The album ‘The Tunes Foundry’ was released in Nov 2014 and compiles of 11 tracks made up of 23 new compositions. She had successful local launches in Co Clare and was delighted to have been chosen by IMRO as one of their Showcase performances at TradFest Jan 2015. The album’s next launch took place on Fri 27th Feb at the Russell Memorial Weekend Festival in Doolin.
Áine and Matt continued playing – in 2015 they performed at a Premiere screening of a film that contained a soundtrack piece ‘Bláthú’ that Áine had been commissioned to write. The film is called ‘Connected 2 Each Other’ and Áine and Matt performed live at the screening in London Dec 2015 at The Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith, more recently at the premiere in Cultúrlann Sweeney, Kilkee.
During the pandemic, Áine decided to share some of her tunes in a manner in which they could be easily learned online – so here is a link to those 5 free videos:
Áine is still composing and will be doing concerts/gigs to introduce the new tunes soon.
She composes by commission for gifts/special occasions if requested.
Check on the home page for updates.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.