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Gradam Ceoil TG4

Josephine Marsh – Composer of the Year


Multi-instrumentalist and composer Josephine Marsh primarily works as a full-time musician and teacher, playing the accordion as her main instrument and also the fiddle, concertina, whistle, mandolin, guitar and banjo. She has recorded several albums to date and has had her compositions recorded by various artists including Mick McGoldrick and John McSherry, Padraig Rynne, Liadain and The London Lassies.

Born in London to Irish parents, Marsh now lives in West Clare. Her father Paddy played concertina and accordion and was her earliest musical influence. When she first became interested in the accordion at age seven, she was encouraged in primary school by her principal Niall O’ Donnell and started taking lessons at age ten. She started playing with a local music group and entered the Fleadh Ceoil and the Oireachtas, as well as Gael Linn youth festival Slogadh.

In 1996, she moved to Sydney, Australia where she began teaching music and touring as a musician, including performances at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, Port Fairy Festival and Geelong Folk Festival. Since then, she has toured across the US, Europe, the UK and Ireland and has performed with musicians such as piper Tommy Keane, sean-nós singer Lillis Ó Laoire, fiddle player Liz Doherty, concertina player Kitty Hayes, and harmonica player and Marsh’s partner, Mick Kinsella, among many others.

In addition to years of experience as a touring musician, Marsh has composed music since her late teens and has over one hundred tunes in her own collection. In 2003, as part of a Musician in Residence award in Mountshannon, Co Clare, she composed all the music for a theatre production called The Music of Ghosts, which was recorded and aired on Lyric Fm.

Marsh has recorded with many traditional music artists such as accordion player Máirtín O’Connor, singer Niamh Parsons and Tommy Peoples, having also recorded four solo albums: To meet a friend with Cyril O’Donoghue (1987), Josephine Marsh (1996), I Can Hear you Smiling (2001) and Music in the Frame (2018).

Her background also includes television, having made appearances on Nationwide, The Pat Kenny Show and Geantraí, a TG4 traditional music production.

Currently, Marsh is a performer and tutor at the Willie Clancy Summer School and just completed a tour of Ireland, performing in a four-piece with fiddle player Tara Breen, harpist Laoise Kelly and singer Nell Ní Chróinín, for which, she was commissioned to compose two new pieces, ‘Spideog’ and ‘The Coffee House’.

She plans to release a collection of her own compositions next year.

“Josephine Marsh is a musician with a highly personalised and distinctive style. She looks for the deepest feelings in the music and has a way of bringing about a mood of great happiness and uplift” – Martin Hayes

“Her playing is loose, free, spiritual, simple, joyous, flowing” – Phil Gaston, Folk Roots