Meet the Team

Jo Pue - Founder / Musician

This is Joanne, Director and co-founder of Melody Makers. Joanne is a Full time Musician, Performer, Early Year's Music Specialist (Kodaly), Strings Specialist (violin) and a mum of two children. Since graduating from University in 2001 with a BSc(hons)Degree 2:1 she has undertaken extensive teacher training in Music Education with the Voices Foundation, Music Leader and the British Kodaly Academy to develop her teaching skills and has completed a PGCert(Music Education) Post Graduate Degree as part of a Masters Programme at Edge hill University. Jo set up her own business 'Melody Makers' in 2009 after the birth of her first child and has since been commissioned by Wirral LEA to provide Early Years Music Education across Cheshire and Merseyside as well as Celtic Music workshops, performances and Eco instrument making workshops. She has delivered many training packages and mentored Early Years Practitioners. Jo is also a freelance Strings tutor for Cheshire Music Service and Music for Life running the First Access Programme in Primary schools and also leads the Cheshire and Cheshire West Strings ensemble in Ellesmere Port. Joanne has a passion for Irish and folk music which stems from her Irish background. Joanne's main instrument is the Fiddle (violin) which she has played since the age of six, but she also plays ukulele, guitar, tin whistle, bodhran. Joanne has her own band called Calico which encompasses many styles from folk, country, bluegrass, Irish, contemporary and performs regularly at corporate functions and folk clubs and festivals. She has also collaborated with Liverpool based legendary singer songwriter John O'Connell (Groundpig) and his Simply Dylan Band. She has performed at venues such as the St Georges Hall, The Cavern, Palm House, Alexander's in Chester, The Brindley, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and has toured Spain.

Mikey Kenney - Musician / Tutor

Hi, my name is Mikey. I grew up in Liverpool and have been possessed with the fiddle since I first begged my parents for one when I was 6 years old. I graduated in Music at Lancaster University, where I specialised in composition and then took up a post as Musical Director for various youth theatre productions at the Lancaster Duke's Theatre. These days I'm back living in Liverpool and working as a full-time musician, touring with my band 'Ottersgear', working as a session-musician both live and in studio and playing fiddle with other various bands I'm involved with. I have spent these last few years playing fiddle with touring acts and travelling across much of Europe and the USA. Besides my passion for the Celtic traditions, I also have a love for American and French jazz fiddle styles and I was recently the subject of an article in the UK specialist fiddle magazine 'Fiddle-on'.

John Walsh - Musician

Hi I'm John. I grew up in Liverpool. I'm first generation Irish with roots in Connemara on the West coast of Ireland. I sing, play guitar, bass and mandolin. Irish music has always played a major part of my life starting as a child with tin whistle at the Liverpool Irish Centre and moving on to join many folk groups eventually forming established Liverpool Irish group "Cream of the Barley". I have worked on radio, TV and film and taken Irish music on tour to Ireland, the USA and Europe. I have worked in primary education as a teacher for many years and love involving children in music making whether for fun or performance.

Rob - Musician

Hi, I'm Robbie Taylor from Liverpool. I am currently a Community Musician, teacher and performer of banjo, fiddle, Bodhran, guitar, tin whistle. When I was a child I lived in Donegal, Ireland and it was here that I learnt to play Celtic Fiddle from a famous fiddle player "Martyn Hayes". Upon moving to the UK I attended the Liverpool Irish Centre regularly and went on to compete in the Comhaltas Fleadhs. I came first in the all Britain Comhaltas Fleadhs competition performing Bodhran and fiddle. I perform live regularly in venues across the UK with some excellent local musicians including Jo Pue/Richards. I believe that it is important to keep Irish music alive and pass on our musical skills to the next generation.

Andrew Connally - Musician / Tutor

This is Andrew Connally from the Wirral. He is second generation Irish descendant of Grandparents from Mayo, Galway, Limerick and Tipperary. Music came across the Irish sea with his Grandfathers and was passed down to his father before landing with him. Andy plays the Flute, Tin Whistle, Piano and Bodhran. As a child he learnt to play Irish music in the old Irish Centre and from his Dad. He went on to compete in the Comhaltas Fleadhs and performed on the UK music scene with his Dad for many years. Andy still performs in a couple of bands with some excellent local musicians including Jo Pue/Richards, Andy Saunders, Anita Rochford and Chris Boland. For the last four years he has been helping teach Irish music to the next generation in St Michael's Irish Centre in Liverpool.

Rosie Wright - Ceili Dance & Junk Ukulele

Hello I'm Rosie, a local girl with a little girl, Melody and we're both learning the fiddle with Melody Makers. I specialise in Percussion, Ukulele and Ceili Dance calling. I have a strong interest in the environment and love doing the Junk Ukulele upcycling project. I've gone through many instruments from the age of 6 but focussed on percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music. I freelanced with orchestras in the North West as well as managing youth orchestras both regionally and nationally. I've been a percussion educator and workshop leader for many years. In 2008, I fell in love with the simplicity and social nature of the ukulele after receiving one as a gift. I've been attending weekly jams (singalongs) since then and led a singing group for brain injury survivors for 3 years. I'm now singing, strumming, teaching and presenting with the 40-strong Wirral Ukulele Fanatics and duo, Ukey Ladies, for community events and music reminiscence workshops for the elderly. I have organised many charity folk music and dance events which has led me to become a founding member of Fire In The Mountain festival in mid-Wales, programming and delivering Family Activities. I've always enjoyed country dancing from a young age and regularly call the dances at events with Jo's band, Calico or with Mikey and his pals. Music and dance nourish the soul and I share that joy with young and old!

Maria Malone - Ceili Dance Caller

Maria grew up in Birmingham, with a keen interest in the dance and music of her Irish heritage and of the many other cultures in the city. Having taken part in lots of Ceili's in the UK and on family holidays in Ireland she started calling in 2012. Maria's ceili calling is focused on having the most fun possible, exercising, laughing, loads of 'whoop'ing, and meeting new people all at the same time! The basis of Maria's ceili repertoire is Irish Ceili dances like The Seige of Ennis, The Waves of Tory etc with a few other simple folk dances from other countries like The Circassian Circle, Strip the Willow and Cumberland Square Set. A professional dancer herself, Maria believes that everyone can and should dance! She co-founded and runs a dance company called Movema, dedicated to getting everyone involved in exciting dances from around the world regardless of age, experience or background. In 2016 Maria will be going on a research trip to Ireland to learn more about Ceili, irish language and Sean Nos dance.

Sheenagh - Musician

Hi my name is sheenagh and I am a typical Irish red haired colleen from Dublin, Ireland. As a young child I learnt tin whistle, flute and piano by "ear" which is fundamental to Irish music and I learnt from community musicians passing on their skills. My tin whistle teacher is one of the most influential women I have ever met. My grandfather was a famous fiddle player and all of my family are all musicians so music is just second nature to me. I also speak the Gaelic language fluently. As part of my musical journey I have travelled to West Africa, Norway and Germany where I represented my country in music.

Michelle - Musician

Hi, I'm Michelle from the Wirral and I am a Community Musician. I started learning the piano accordian and tin whistle at the age of 7 at the Liverpool Irish Centre which I attended regularly for many years and went on to compete in the Comhaltas Fleadhs. I have a passion for Celtic music and a strong desire to pass on my skills to others to keep the music alive performing regularly in nursing homes and other community events with Joanne, Rob and Sheenagh.

Shannon - Musician

Hi, I am Shannon. I have played Irish music since I was very young and have grown up listening to Irish Music. I have attended the Liverpool Irish Centre since I was six years old. My main instruments are flute and tin whistle and Scottish War Pipes and I also sing and (lilt) mouth music. I have won many competition fleadhs. I was third all Ireland champion on the pipes and six years consecutively, all British Flute and Tin whistle slow Airs Champi I remember listening to finbar Furry playing the lonesome boatman and was hooked for life. I had to learn it straight away as it was such a lovely piece. My grandfather who was from County Mayo played the Flute and my great grandmother played the concertina.

Helen Maher - Musician

Hi, my name is Helen. My career as a full time professional musician is divided between performance, teaching and piano accompaniment. The path started 29 years ago when my parents bought me a piano. At 15 I started teaching the piano and by late teens was touring internationally in the Pete Best band. After completing a music degree I picked up the accordion and started performing regularly with bands and in a solo capacity. The Celtic inspired Amsterdam band and the Liverpool Country Dance band are 2 examples of the folk bands that I still play regularly with. As a side project, I have a strong interest in European Folk Dance and have organized events, danced and played in this style for about 15 years. I currently teach piano theory, accordion, I am a regular piano accompanist and perform regularly with my accordion, voice and quite often bands! I am also passionate about continuing to learn and grow and I am currently having accordion lessons from twice world champion accordionist Pearl Fawcett-Adriano.

Poppy Bryson - Community Artist

I have worked as a freelance Community Artist for the last 9 years. This has involved facilitating arts and crafts workshops with children, young people and adults in a plethora of settings. I have developed and delivered numerous projects in a wide variety of art and craft areas. I began my journey into Community Arts after attaining a first class degree in fine art, and discovering a deep passion for working with all sectors of society, particularly children. Although based on the Wirral, I have always had a strong affiliation with all things Celtic. A great deal of my childhood was spent to the back drop of Irish music, with my Mother being in a cielidh band. My father, who is a Celtic artist based in southern Ireland, taught me how to draw and paint the beautiful Celtic knot work designs which still influence my work today.

Saul - Actor

Hi, I am Saul and I produce and direct Theatre shows. I am artistic director with 100th Meridian Theatre Company and Imaginer/Producer with Redcap Productions as well as a part time Drama lecturer in Schools and Colleges around the North West of England. I have just finished my first Feature film as a co-producer and I have worked in films, TV and Radio as an Actor. He has Celtic roots on both side of the family as they came over to Liverpool in the last Century.