Barq, featuring Westport man Stephen McHale - one of the top 10 guitarists in Ireland, according to music website GoldenPlec.

Recognition for Westport musicians

TWO musicians from Westport feature in a list of the top 10 guitarists in Ireland on the music website GoldenPlec.

The article, written by Stephen Byrne and published on March 12, includes Stephen McHale of Barq and Max Zaska of Zaska.

Regarding McHale, Byrne wrote: “Stephen McHale is one of Ireland's most in-demand players as both a live touring guitarist and session musician. He's on far too many records to mention, but standouts include his work with Lethal Dialect. McHale is finally making a name for himself in his own right thanks to his main project, Barq, and his upcoming fashion line of beanie hats.”

About Zaska he said: “The crown prince of Irish jazz, Max Zaska's place on this list was never in doubt. He's currently in the studio with a who's who of Irish musicians following a successful Fundit campaign to record his debut album. This New Park School of Jazz graduate is a technically gifted player famed for his improvisational live performances. Just ask anybody who attended the GoldenPlec JAMBoree at Christmas.”

GoldenPlec has been running since 2002, covering music in Ireland and supporting Irish and international artists. It is currently maintained by a team of 13 deputy editors, 52 writers and 25 photographers, and everyone works voluntarily on items they put themselves forward for.

The reason for this article, explained Byrne, is while we are currently living in what's regarded as the 'golden age of Irish music', it's rare that individual musicians are singled out for their talents on their chosen instrument.