Gabriel McArdle, a native of Co. Fermanagh in the North of Ireland, is a traditional singer with a formidable reputation in his own land.  His repertoire of songs comes mainly from the Ulster, and more specifically, the Fermanagh singing tradition.  There is a rich vein of traditional singing in the music of Fermanagh.  Today partly because of the work of musical envoys, such as Gabriel McArdle, the colourful range of traditional music composed in the County occupies a prominent place in the canon of traditional Irish music.

For over 2 decades Gabriel McArdle has been performing on the folk circuit.  In that time, as well as playing at Ireland’s major folk festivals, he has travelled to Britain, Germany and France with his music. McArdle can be seen regularly playing music at home in Northern Ireland, notably on tours sponsored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Music Network Tours, organised by Comhairle Ealaion, The Arts Council of Ireland.  As well as performing live, he has made many recordings for radio and has appeared several times on television.

Earlier in his career McArdle recorded and performed with the prominent Belfast based traditional music band, Na Draidore.. More recently he has recorded for Claddagh records with other musicians from the music heartland of Fermanagh / Leitrim border, Seamus Quinn, Ben Lennon and Ciaran Curran.  The result of these recording sessions is the record, Dog Big, Dog Little.  The record was released to huge critical acclaim.

Neil Johnston of the Belfast Telegraph called Dog Big, Dog Little, “One of the best collections of traditional tunes and songs I have heard in a long time.” He writes,

“Together they have produced, for the Claddagh label, a lovely selection of Irish music which manages to combine relaxed power with sweetness of tone…Then there is the traditional singing of Gabriel McArdle who, with his fellow Fermanagh man, Cathal McConnell, are quite simply in a class of their own when it comes to performing the ballads of that region.  Here, Gabriel is in peerless form, whether unaccompanied or backed sympathetically by Ciaran.  You’ll go a long way before you hear better than his versions of ~Willie Rambler~and~Edward of Lough Erne Shore~.  For good measure he also includes the Burns composition, ~Now westlin Winds~ and a thoughtfully slow interpretation of the anti-recruitment song, ~Pat Reilly~.

The whole production is an absolute delight.”

Gabriel also has visited America, with his music and songs and has been recorded on the Hidden Fermanagh Project.  Gabriel has also recorded on Clo Lar Chonachta Albums “Natural Bridge”,
“Within a Mile of Kilty”, “Caise Ceoil”, “Claddagh’s Choice” & “An Anthology of Traditional Irish Music Vol. 1 & 2”.  

Gabriel took part in an extensive European Tour with Gerry O’Connor (Fiddle) and Martin Quinn (Box) in November 2007 and also visited Washington at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival where he sang and played the concertina with fellow Fermanagh musicians.