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Guest Musicians on Strawberry Town

Philip Catherine already guested on Restless Home, Orion's third album. Philip hails from Belgium and is internationally known as one of the world's leading jazz guitar players. He has performed and recorded with many of the giants of jazz: Dexter Gordon, Charlie Mingus, Benny Goodman, Chet Baker, Stéphane Grappelli, Larry Coryell, Carla Bley and Mike Mantler, Jean Luc Ponty, Didier Lockwood, Christian Escoudé, Charlie Mariano, Michaël Gibbs and many more. It is however mostly through his solo albums that he has influenced a whole generation of European jazz musicians with his delicate and sensitive playing. Philip has a direct link with Ireland through his mother's folks who were Irish immigrants in London.

Gérard Hirsch: one of the founder members of Orion (1987-1988). He is a professionnal musician since 1985 and plays guitar, Irish harp, bouzouki, cittern, fiddle, hammer dulcimer and nyckelharpa. He first introduced the Irish backing style on the guitar in Belgium and his influence on other prominent belgian folk guitarists is evident.
Gérard now lives in Brittany, and toured all over Europe with bands such as Afterhours, Kieran Fahy, Les Frères Hirsch, Orion and Meghan.
Sometimes he performs with other artists ( a.o. Laïs in l'Anciènne Belgique). In Britanny he worked with musicians such as Loic Bléjean (Denez Prigent, Glaz, Gwazigan, ...) and Hervé Guillo (Storvan, Ortolan, ...). Currently, he plays with Raquel Gigot and Rudy Velghe in the Irish trio Branra. With his own band Meghan, he released four albums so far ( Fantasia, Nostalgia, Idylle and La Guerlais).

Johnny ‘Ringo' Mc Donagh: one of the most respected traditional percussionists in Ireland. He was a founding member of the legendary Irish band DE DANANN, with whom he recorded 7 albums. After leaving De Danann, he formed ARCADY together with Jacky Daly, Frances Black, Nicolas Quemener, Patsy Broderick and Brendan Larissey. They released two albums: After The Ball and Many Happy Returns. Arcady entered the Irish charts and received a platinum disc for After The Ball. Johhny also worked with Mike Oldfield, recorded with many renowned Irish artists (Mary Bergin, Frankie Gavin, Altan, ....) and was playing with RIVERDANCE for many years. After a long break, Arcady is now back on the tracks with a different line up. Johnny guested also on Blue Room, Orion's second album.

Jean-Philippe Poncin plays bass clarinet on Strawberry Town. He studied clarinet and chamber music at the Royal Conservatory Brussels and at the Conservatory of Mons with Ronald Vanspaendonck. He then followed master classes with Walter Boeykens and Donald Oehler, and directed his efforts more towards the bass clarinet (masterclass with Henry Bock). A few years ago, Dick van der Harst encouraged him to take up yet another instrument: the tenora. With his own chamber ensemble Triancia, Jean-Philippe won the 2002 Tremplin Festival and got a scholarship the same year from the Mathilde Horlait Dapsens Foundation. As a free, open minded musician with an unprejudiced spirit, he made excursions into jazz, contemporary music, traditional folk and rock. Besides his work as a clarinet teacher at the Academy of Eghezée, he has been mainly working with composer Dick van der Harst in different projects from Muziek Lod:"Dakrismena Poulià", "Bègue l'Opera", "Banda Azufaifo", “La Casa de las Musiquillas Ocultas II”, and "The Attendants' Gallery ".

Arne Van Dongen is a double bass player who is active in numerous musical contexts and covers huge musical grounds : classical music, improvised music, world music, etc... He started playing recorder, switched to drums and then finally turned to the double bass. He attended the Conservatories of Antwerp and Brussels, where he obtained first prizes for double bass, music history and written harmony. He worked as a freelance musician in symphonic orchestras as the Monnaie Opera, the Flemish Opera (VLOS), the radio (VRT), Antwerp Philharmonie (KFOVV), and in chamber orchestras such as Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Australian Chamber Orchestra, I Fiamminghi and Prima La Musica. He also played in ensembles such as Oxalys and Champ d'Action.
He became active in improvised music and jazz-oriented groups in collaboration with Barre Phillips, Joëlle Leandre, Gerri Hemingway, Eric Vermeulen, Diederik Wissels (a.o. Silent Song Sextet, his Federico Mompou project with a.o. Laurent Blondiau and Bart Defoort), Véronique Bizet, Christian Leroy, Erik Thielemans and many others...
He plays in groups such as One One One (Mathieu Ha), Koba (Jan Rzewski), Snark (Anja Kowalski). Arne worked also in music theatre (Muziek Lod in Gent and Sarah Goldfarb in London) and for dance (The french company of Loïc Touzé). He is a member of Panta Rhei (with Philippe Laloy, Kathy Adam, Stephan Pougin, Pascal Chardome and Didier Laloy).

Patrick Désaunay was a member of Orion during five years (2000-2005). He plays guitar and foot percussion and is one of the pioneers of the folkrevival in France (Le Bourdon). He was a founding-member of La Chiffonie with whom he recorded three albums. He formed a duo with his brother Serge, the noted accordion player. Après La Pluie and Le Beau Temps, the two albums released by Les Frères Désaunay, are regarded today as milestones in french folkmusic and they profoundly influenced whole generations of folk musicians to the present day.
Pat did some important field research in Québec (album Henry Landry, Violoneux Des Cantons de l'Est, Buda Musique) and he is himself an accomplished fiddle player in the“Québec” - style.
He was also a member of the Irish band Taxi Mauve in France, then formed a gipsy-swing trio together with Bero Landauer and Mathieu Dalle, and replaced the defunct guitarist Didier Roussin in the Denécheau Jâse Musette Band. He went on playing with Michel Esbelin and Didier Pauvert under the name Les Costauds De La Lune (1 homonymous album, Buda Musique). Pat also performed with wellknown french singer-songwriters such as Graeme Allwright, Luc Romann, Gérard Pierron and Marc Robine.
He plays his own compositions with his own band “La Compagnie Désau”. He recorded on over twenty albums, and has one solo CD to his name (La Passagère).

Piet Van Bockstal is a classical oboist. He studied at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with Paul Dombrecht and took further lessons with Hansjörg Schellenberger (Berliner Philharmoniker) and John Anderson (Philharmonia Orchestra). Piet won several national and international competitions (Tenuto, Tromp Competition) and was proclamed young performer of the year by Youth and Music Flanders in 1990. He is a co-founder of the Ictus ensemble and is the first oboe soloist at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders. His concert performances span the whole body of the classical oboe repertoire both as a soloist (more than 50 concertos for oboe and orchestra) and in chamber music ensembles with various partners such as pianist Yutaka Oya, the wind quintet Arcane, the Lindsay Quartet and Arditti Quartet. Piet has performed all over the world (Japan, China, Brazil, Russia, Canada and in all European countries). He recorded on over forty albums, including an anthology of Belgian music for oboe and chamber orchestra and a recital recording of Jewish music for oboe and piano. Several composers have dedicated works to him. His musical curiosity takes him beyond the boundaries of classical music (he worked a.o. with the French jazz clarinetist Louis Sclavis). Never was Irish dance music played on the oboe in a purely traditional Irish style, before Piet did it on the Strawberry Town album. In a very tight unison duet with Raquel Gigot's accordion on The Open Gate, he plays effortlessly on his oboe all traditional Irish style elements: rolls, triplets, swing, littles melodic variations and turns, ... A real 'première' for the oboe and for Irish music!

Marc Keyaert: a truely versatile keyboardplayer. He is a much sought after arranger and studio- or stage musician, working with different Belgian and international artists such as Beverly Jo Scott (rock), Eddy Floyd, Carla Thomas, Kirotchi (soul music), Bula Sangoma, Feso Trombone (Afro Jazz), Flavio del Isola (Brasilian Music), Mamemo, and many others. Since 1990 Marc also composes for Belgian Radio and Television . He was awarded in 1994 with the prestigious Prix des Réalisateurs de la RTBF. He worked with most of the Irish musicians in Belgium and toured Europe with Irish singer and ex-Battlefield Band guitarist Pat Kilbride . Marc was an Orion member from 1997 till 2005 and appears both on Restless Home and Strawberry Town.

Fabian Fiorini started out on percussion and turned to the piano at the age of fifteen. Quickly he became a master pianist in the classical field as well as in jazz.
He studied at the Brussels and Liège Conservatories, where he obtained prizes for solfege, history, harmony and analysis. He also won the Jazz Composition Award from the RTBF-national radio in 1993 with the trio Vanderstraeten - Charlier - Fiorini. Fabian played and recorded with Fabrizio Cassol, Guy Cabay, Marcia Maria, Garrett List, Madjid Khaladj, Groupov, Jugalbandi Trio, Octurn, Jan Rzewski, Aka Moon, and others...
Besides composing for theatre, film and dance (Pierre Droulers), he was also teaching Chamber Music at the Royal Conservatory of Liège under the direction of Jean-Pierre Peuvion. Together with Orion, Ialma, Oxalys, Fred Malempré, Amparo Cortez, Sofia Yero, Kathelijne Van Laethem, Els Van Laethem and Dick van der Harst, Fabian took part in “La Casa de las Musiquillas Ocultas I and II”. An amazing musician.

Oxalys was founded in 1993 by a group of ambitious young students from the Brussels Conservatory of Music. Since then the ensemble has developed into one of the most esteemed professional chamber music groups in Flanders. Oxalys performs on some of the world's finest platforms and plays at the most prestigious festivals around the globe: the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the festival of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress in Washington, the Philharmonic in Saint Petersburg, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, China and Japan. Oxalys' concerts are regularly broadcasted by major European radio stations.
Oxalys was laureate of the Euphonia Foundation and recorded a CD with the world famous Alban Berg Quartet dedicated to the music of Richard Strauss. Other albums include works of Mozart, impressionist, post-impressionist and Russian music from the 20th century, as well as Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" in the version of Schönberg/Riehn. Oxalys' recordings received several awards from the leading music magazines. The musicians of Oxalys enjoy innovative and unexpected musical adventures. Oxalys consists of: Shirly Laub and Frederic d'Ursel on violin, Tony Nys on viola (replacement for Elisabeth Smalt), Martijn Vink on cello, Koenraad Hofman on double bass, Toon Fret on flute and Nathalie Lefèvre on clarinet.


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