Sheehan and Grey are an accordion and fiddle duo hailing from Birmingham and Loch Ness respectively.
Hugh Sheehan, now based in Helsinki, Finland, grew up immersed in Irish traditional music, whilst Charlie Grey, now living in Glasgow, Scotland, in his homeland’s tradition. The pair met in 2017 at a festival in Birmingham and a shared approach to tune playing and a mutual love of exploring the intricacies of a melody brought them together. Returning to the same festival a year later the opportunity for more tunes naturally arose once more, and so the duo established a more official collaboration.
In summer of 2019 Hugh and Charlie spent a week in a family cottage in Co. Down on the north-west coast of Ireland. They spent the time writing, arranging and improvising, as well as discussing their approach to the idiom (amongst many other things), cooking and drinking, and exploring their surroundings; and thus putting together a set of music that ranges from centuries-old melodies to self-penned tunes that arose from late night improvisations, in an inherently wholesome and unaffected manner.
Their music focuses on the intricacy and intimacy of the Duo form, exploring the myriad combined timbres of reed and string that their instruments afford though the medium of tune playing. Improvisation is a key part of both musicians’ practice, and the duo incorporate it into their composition and arranging process, and furthermore into their live performances, with tunes spontaneously emerging from passages of free playing and vice-versa.
In addition to the influence they take from their respective traditions of Ireland and Scotland, the duo also consider other traditional and styles in their playing, including the music of Hugh’s adopted home of Finland, Nordic folk music more generally (and interest of both musicians), and elements of contemporary classical music.