McDermott's Handy performing at the Cape May Convention Center for the Cape May Music Festival

About McDermott’s Handy

Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley are the husband-wife duo who have been performing traditional Irish music together in the Delaware Valley (South Jersey/Philadelphia region) as McDermott’s Handy since 1979. These talented multi-instrumentalists put on a super concert and combine their strong vocals and equally strong backing accompaniment with a commanding stage presence that comes from hundreds of performances in front of all kinds of audiences.

With a huge repertoire they’ve built over 35 years of playing traditional music, they sing in Irish and English. Kathy mainly plays harp and fiddle and occasionally adds 5-string banjo and bodhran. Dennis plays guitar, flute and tinwhistle and can be counted on to add in mandolin or bouzouki when the arrangement requires.

In 2014, Dennis and Kathy were inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Mid-Atlantic Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann during the weekend of the Fleadh Cheoil. The Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame inducted them into their Hall of Fame in November 2015.

 

 

McDermott's Handy has performed hundreds of programs for libraries and schools and concerts at festivals in a variety of settings.

weehawken program

 

Reviews
  “One of the finest and truest purveyors of Irish traditional music in the Delaware Valley”
     Irishphiladelphia.com
"They are ...a virtual folk orchestra"
     The Irish Echo  

Upcoming Engagements

LATEST CD!

cd2cover
Click image for sound clips and our purchase page

Sound clips from
Come Take the Byroads
  Boreens of Derry
  Connaughtman's Rambles/Jackson's Morning Brush (jig)
  Mary Ann
  No Sir

Promotional Materials
   Bio sheet & programs
   Press photo 1
   Press photo 2
   Press photo 3
   Staging requirements

 

 
 

Kathy DeAngelo

Kathy has rhythmic, driving harp and fiddle styles, with the nuances of one instrument influencing the other. With a strong voice that belies her diminutive stature, she’s as much at ease with a heart-rending ballad as a rousing comedic song and has a special affinity for Irish emigration songs.

She’s been playing and performing Irish music since meeting fiddler Ed McDermott in 1971; taking up the fiddle herself in 1976 and the harp in 1984. She’s been a catalyst on the folk harp scene since the early ‘90s. She co-founded the nationally-recognized Harpers Escape Weekend in 1991 and has taught at other harp conferences as well. She took over management of the Somerset Folk Harp Festival in 2008, one of the premier harp events in the United States. She served as the music director of the New Jersey Folk Festival from 2006 through 2014..

escapecdIn addition to their two McDermott’s Handy CD, Come Take the Byroads, and Bound for Amerkay (just released August 2013) Kathy has produced and recorded the Harpers Escape Ten Years of Tunes and Another Ten Years of Tunes compilation CD as well as published their companion music book of harp arrangements. To purchase those products, click here.

 

Workshops
Special Programs
   Bound for Amerikay
   An Irish Christmas
   The Harp in Irish History
  Hands-0n Harp Workshops
Events
    Harp Tour of Ireland
    Somerset Folk Harp Festival
 
 

Dennis Gormley

Although he can play practically any instrument and any music style (and actually has worked and recorded in bands from bluegrass and country to jazz), Dennis is simply one of the most artful guitar players around. Whether it’s flatpicking a dance tune, finger-picking his way behind a song they’re singing or providing rhythm accompaniment to Kathy’s fiddle or harp playing, Dennis is a tremendously skillful and tasteful player. He is also the consummate flute and tinwhistle player as well with an incredibly large repertoire of dance tunes.

Dennis is active in the Irish music community in the Philadelphia area and has been playing on the folk scene since the early ‘70s. In addition to anchoring the weekly South Jersey seisiun at the Treehouse, he’s a sought-after accompanist for ceilis. He teaches Irish music on guitar, tinwhistle and flute both privately and in classes for Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. Dennis has recorded with many other artists in addition to McDermott’s Handy’s CDs, Come Take the Byroads and Bound for Amerikay.

Workshops
Special Programs
   Bound for Amerikay
   An Irish Christmas

Tunes
See Dennis' Tune Page

 
 

Kathy performing with Ed McDermott at the New Jersey Folk Festival in 1976.

The Backstory:

A lot has happened since Kathy DeAngelo first met 75-year old fiddler Ed McDermott in 1971, who introduced her to traditional Irish music. Then she played the guitar. At the time of his death in 1977, she played guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, and banjo. She now plays mostly the harp, fiddle and 5-string banjo and sings in both Irish and English. Kathy started out her folk music career by revitalizing the Mine Street Coffeehouse in New Brunswick in 1973. The Mine Street Coffeehouse became "the" place in central New Jersey for all kinds of traditional music and also served as a springboard for Kathy's other musical interests. Having booked the coffeehouse for two solid years, Kathy then directed the music for the first New Jersey Folk Festival in 1975. McDermott's Handy was formed in 1977 when Kathy's friends at the New Jersey Folk Festival asked her to put together a tribute to the old fiddler for the festival. She gathered a number of musicians who had all learned Irish music from Mac. The tribute band consisted of Kathy (guitar), Barry Midderhoff (mandolin), Dick Levine (concertina), Joe Donovan (tinwhistle), and John Berger and Jack Davis (fiddles). She called it McDermott's Handy, which was the name of a set of tunes Gordon Bok had on an early album which he learned from Ed McDermott. McDermott's Handy has existed ever since in various configurations. Kathy and Dennis began performing together in 1978. Kathy began learning fiddle in 1978 and Dennis valiantly endured--they married in 1979, and Dennis hasn't been able to get out of the band since!

Ed McDermott performing with Dick Levine at the 1972 Middletown Folk Festival.

 
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