Northern Irish folk outfit Beoga established themselves on the world music stage with albums like Mischief (2007) and The Incident (2010), the latter of which was shortlisted for a Grammy Award. Their skilled playing and fusion of traditional Irish material with jazz, R&B, and pop eventually led to them to work with U.K. star Ed Sheeran on his 2016 hit "Galway Girl," boosting their popularity significantly.
Based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Beoga (the Irish word for "lively") formed in 2002 around the talents of Seán Óg Graham (accordion/guitar), Damian McKee (accordion), Eamon Murray (bodhrán), and Liam Bradley (piano). Born out of the folk-dance scene, the group's 2004 debut, A Lovely Madness, offered up a spirited collection of reworked traditional Irish folk songs and original compositions that flirted with a variety of genres. In 2005, the group was joined by classically trained violinist and vocalist Niamh Dunne, who helped to expand their sound on the 2007 follow-up Mischief. 2010's The Incident was shortlisted for a Best Contemporary World Music album Grammy Award, and 2011's well-received How to Tune a Fish helped to further cement Beoga's reputation as a top-tier contemporary Irish folk act. Live at 10: 10th Anniversary Concert arrived the following year.
Beoga's profile received a mainstream boost when they collaborated with British star Ed Sheeran on the song, "Galway Girl." Released in March 2016 as the third single from his ÷ album, the co-written song topped the Irish singles chart and reached number two on the U.K. singles chart. Beoga issued their fifth studio album, Before We Change Our Mind, that same year then joined Sheeran again in 2017 to play on the track "Nancy Mulligan." When he performed the song at Glastonbury that summer, Beoga backed him up on-stage. Over the next two years, they continued to branch out, first collaborating with Northern Irish singer/songwriter Ryan McMullan on the 2018 single "We Don't Have to Run," then with American country artist Devin Dawson on the 2019 track "Matthew's Daughter." ~ James Christopher Monger & Timothy Monger, Rovi