Connla are an exciting new band with strong traditional roots as well as influences from across the globe. Their sensitive and innovative arrangements of traditional and modern folk songs and tunes have earned them praise across the folk community. Having met whilst studying Music at Ulster University, they quickly began performing together and developing friendships.
They hail from the cities of Armagh and Derry: Ciara McCafferty (vocals), Ciaran Carlin (whistles) and Paul Starrett (guitar) are familiar faces on the local music scene, and are joined by Armagh siblings Emer and Conor Mallon on harp and uilleann pipes. 
Ciaran Carlin
Flute & Whistles
From Derry City, Ciaran started to learn tin whistle at the age of eight and had the advantage of being brought up in a well known musical family. At the age of twelve Ciaran started to learn the flute from both Sean Gallagher and Marcas Ó Murchú and within the next few years he gained two all Ireland titles in Ballina Co.Mayo and In Enniscorthy Co.Wexford. Ciaran has played in numerous bands and as a session musician at Festivals all over the world.
He recently complete his music degree at the University of Ulster and is now focused on performing. Ciaran has been hugely influenced by the great Roscommon flute player Josie Mc Dermott who Ciaran describes as “The king of traditional flute music” he is also influenced by the likes of Kevin Crawford, Michael Mc Goldrick and Alan Doherty. Ciaran has a love for all styles and genres of music and this is also had an influence on his performance.
Ciara McCafferty
Vocals & Bodhran 
Ciara is a folk singer from Derry who has always had a love for music. After achieving her grade 8 in singing she then progressed on to study music at the University of Ulster. Although classically trained her heart has always been with traditional and folk music.
In 2014 she featured in The O’Carolan Family album “A Language Within” which was voted album of the month by Tradconnect in April 2014. Irish Music Magazine describes Ciara’s style as “laid back” adding that “her sweet vocals is a gentle reminder that you don’t always have to be on full burner to bring soul and class to your musical party”
Emer Mallon
Harp & Vocals
Emer Mallon from Keady, County Armagh is a multi-instrumentalist and leading harpist. As a session musician and performer she has thrilled audiences at festivals across Ireland, Europe and the USA including the William Kennedy in Armagh, Tonder in Denmark, Piping Live in Glasgow and the Milwakee Irish Fest in the USA.
Emer is a prolific performer, appearing on numerous TV & Radio shows for the BBC, TG4, and RTÉ.
As a harp tutor with the prestigious Armagh Pipers Club she is inspiring the next generation of traditional Irish musicians. In addition to all this Emer is a qualified music teacher and holds an Honours degree in Music and a PGCE from the University of Ulster.
Paul Starrett
Paul is from Derry City and has been playing the guitar from around the age of 14. In July 2011 he graduated from the University of Ulster with a Bachelors Degree in Music (Bmus). He has been involved in teaching the guitar from a young age, from giving group lessons in the Nerve Centre in the city to private tuition in his home. Paul brings experience from a wide range of styles having played in jazz, rock, blues and other traditional groups.
Paul also enjoys work as a session musician and has played at numerous festivals/events throughout the world including The Fleadh, The Walled City Tattoo, The Olympic Torch and the famous Milwaukee Irish Fest.
Conor Mallon
Uilleann Pipes & Whistles
Conor Mallon started his musical career with the Armagh Pipers Club where he attended Uilleann Pipe lessons. He has progressed through ranks and is now one of the senior teachers at the club.
Conor is the recent winner of the ACNI/BBC NI Young Traditional Musicians Platform award and subsequently was a guest musician with the Ulster Orchestra and with the award winning Foden’s Brass Band. Conor is a Senior County, Ulster and All-Ireland Champion on Uilleann Pipes in the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and has won many other awards including the Uilleann Piping Scholarship by the Na Píobairí Uilleann Dublin in 2008 and was the first recipient of the Mark Donnelly Bursary for Uilleann Piping Award in 2010.
Conor has performed at many festivals in Ireland, Europe and the USA including the William Kennedy Piping festival, Piping Live in Glasgow, the Milwaukee Irish Fest and has toured extensively with Comhaltas. He has performed for a number Radio shows, TV programmes for RTE, TG4 and the BBC

Find out more about Connla including upcoming tours and contact information.


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