July 27, 2009

The Original Voice of Riverdance

Born in Dublin, now a Minneapolis-based member, Katie McMahon is widely known as the original voice of the Irish phenomenon, Riverdance. Majoring in both Harp & Voice at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, Katie’s career soared high. She performed and recorded with the vocal group Anuna, traveled the world as the lead singer with Riverdance and Secret Garden, and went on to record critically acclaimed solo CDs: After the Morning, Shine, Celtic Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day.

What are your most cherished memories of touring the world?

I've been so lucky to tour the world with both Riverdance and Secret Garden. Some cities and shows stand out like the premier of Riverdance in Hollywood where we could see movie stars like Christian Slater and Goldie Hawn giving us a standing ovation or the time I got to perform for and meet president Clinton or arriving in Sydney for the kick off of the gay mardi gras. With Secret Garden my favorite experience was getting to climb the great wall of China while in Beijing.

How did you come to make Minneapolis your home?

I met my husband Ben Craig backstage at a Riverdance show in Minneapolis. We had a long distance relationship for a while and then we decided to get married and I settled with him in Minneapolis.

How important is teaching in your life?

I really enjoy teaching and have been doing it for 17 years. It's great to see some of my students growing up, becoming their friends giving them a real sense of accomplishment.

How do you approach a new CD project?

I usually know what kind of CD I'm going to record years before I go into the studio. Ideally I will have performed the songs live with my band so they're tight and together by the time we're in the studio and then we record them as live as possible.

What is next for Katie McMahon?

I'll be going into Wild Sound Recording Studio in January to record a Christmas CD. After that I'm finally going to get around to recording the lullaby CD that I've been working on for years. Show wise I'll be playing the International Bazaar Stage at the State Fair on August 27th & 28th, a cancer benefit in Aitkin, MN, have a Christmas tour booked for this December and one with the O'Neil Brothers in 2010. With my teaching I have been expanding my studio, taking on more students in both harp and voice and have been investigating offering a national exam qualification for my students.

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