New York group ‘Girsa’ release second album

Newry Times News Posted by
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

An American all-girl band with local connections is currently taking the New York music scene by storm, winning rave reviews from musicians and music critics alike throughout the state and further afield. Residing in New York but hearts which belong to South Armagh, Girsa is an 8-piece group of traditional Irish musicians who have just released their second album. All eight ladies were born in America but the father of Emily and Kristen McShane is a native from Crossmaglen. Peter McShane, son of Mary and the late Mickey, was raised in Cornonagh and moved to New York two decades ago. It was here he met and married his wife Debbie and the couple now have four daughters. Both Peter and Debbie come from very talented musical families – Peter’s father was a self-taught fiddle player and played in a local group – and this had a significant influence on their daughters.  Emily McShane (18) features on lead vocals, piano and bodhran while her sister, Kristen (21) plays the fiddle and caixixi.


The group spoke of their formation, saying, “We loved playing together so much that we started our own band just over 6 years ago and called it Girsa, which means “young girls” in Gaelic. We’ve been having tons of fun ever since.” The group is managed by Debbie’s sister, Pat Geraghty, whose daughter Pamela is also one of the performers. Most of GIRSA’s members come from musical families, their parents having learned Irish music from greats such as Martin Mulvihill and Pete Kelly and some of the parents and their friends now carry on this great tradition by teaching music in their own communities. Two years ago, Girsa released its debut self-titled CD, featuring 16 tracks steeped in Irish tradition and reflecting the many talents of the group.

Their debut album won widespread acclaim from both musicians and music critics alike, with renowned Irish fiddler Brian Conway describing the music as “simply exquisite” adding, “These young ladies have a refreshing sound that shows a deep, abiding respect for the tradition.” Earle Hitchner, Music critic for The Irish Echo newspaper in New York said the musicians of GIRSA “point to a new rising in Irish American traditional music” with their debut album. On the back of the huge success of their first album, Girsa has recently released their second CD, “A Sweeter Place” – an album which has already received a positive reaction from fans and critics.

The Irish Echo in New York spoke of the latest album, “The eight women in Girsa have grown up. Their splendid second album proves it. That’s why, in Irish music, they occupy a sweeter place than ever before. They earned it–and my strong praise–the old-fashioned way: through talent. Girsa possesses a rare bounty of four good singers, and each one undertakes two songs.”

Anyone interested in Girsa can visit

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