Short Biography

On the soul side of Folk . . .

Ciarán is from Belfast, born and raised; he has shared the stage with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Arlo Guthrie, Nancy Griffith and more. He writes it and his band rocks it! - writing in all the genres of Folk, Bossa, Jazz, Rock and Blues. He has a way with words, a fabulous voice and an extraordinary talent for whistling!

As a performer his lineage is that of Van Morrison and Paul Brady, i.e. on the soul side of folk.

Ciarán had his first band by age 22, appearing on both British and Irish National Television (BBC, RTÉ) and recording on the famed Good Vibrations Label. An early collaboration with Gerry Rafferty Band (of Baker Street fame) gave him national recognition and rotation on RTÉ and BBC Radio 1.

But those were dark days in the N. Irish conflict; pubs were bombed, people were shot. When the band’s residency was blown up Ciarán left for southern France. There on the Mediterranean he was soon immersed in Latin rhythms of bossa, jazz and swing, blending them in astonishing style into old Irish ballads while writing fresh material, strongly upholding his traditions while evolving under global music influences. 

There followed collaborations with pop musician Julian Littman (David Bowie, Sheena Easton), soul bassist Nicky Scott (bassist, Van Morrison, Mary Black) and lately with Irish traditional legend Steve Cooney; their gloriously fresh version of ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ played recently on over 60 stations of the FolkDJ worldwide network.

He is presently recording and touring with Robbie MacGregor, renowned guitar virtuoso of Scottish and Irish roots, with whom he is attending Folk Alliance International 2021, hoping to play for you as “ The 2Macs: MacGowan&MacGregor ” .

Pre-pandemic they had just embarked on an Ireland/UK tour but after two sold out concerts came the shutdown. So during the pandemic they been preparing an album for release in Spring '22 while recording a house video concert. Please spend a moment enjoying it at:


Press Photos / hi-res

Ciaran Mac Gowan