Sheehan and Grey is an accordion and fiddle duo from Birmingham, England, and Loch Ness, Scotland, respectively.
Diatonic button accordion player Hugh Sheehan, now based in Helsinki, grew up immersed in Irish traditional music; fiddle player Charlie Grey, now living in Glasgow, Scotland, in that of the Scottish tradition. The pair met at a festival in 2017, a shared approach to tune playing and a mutual love of exploring the intricacies of a melody bringing them together. Returning to the same festival a year later the opportunity for more tunes naturally arose, and subsequently the duo established a more official collaboration.
In the summer of 2019 Hugh and Charlie spent a week in a family cottage in Co. Down on the north-east coast of Ireland. They spent time writing, arranging, and improvising, as well as talking music and life, enjoying food and drink, and exploring their rural surroundings. During this time they put together a set of music that ranges from centuries-old melodies to self-penned tunes that arose from late-night, spontaneous improvisation.
Their music focuses on the intricacy and intimacy of the Duo form, exploring the myriad combined qualities of reed and string that their instruments provide. Improvisation is a key part of both musicians’ practice, and, as a duo, they incorporate it into their composition and arranging process, as well as into live performances, with tunes spontaneously emerging from passages of free playing and vice versa.
In addition to the influences from their respective musical traditions of Ireland and Scotland, the duo also considers other traditional styles in its playing. This includes the music of Hugh’s adopted home of Finland, Nordic folk music more generally (an interest of both Charlie and Hugh), and elements of contemporary classical music.