Sharon Shannon is an Irish folk musician, best known for her superlative accordion and fiddle playing.
Being raised in a family with strong roots in traditional music, Sharon began performing at the age of ten and as a teenager was regularly playing at pubs. In the late 1980s, she had a short stint with The Waterboys before striking out on her own. Her 1991 debut album Sharon Shannon became the best selling album of traditional Irish music ever released in Ireland and her lively, fleet-fingered playing has made her an icon in Irish music.
Although Shannon is considered a traditional musician, she has always added elements from outside the tradition, through atypical instruments or tackling songs from other genres. Her work demonstrates a wide-ranging number of musical influences, including reggae, cajun, Portuguese, and French Canadian music. She also collaborates extensively with musicians from a wide range of genre including Jackson Browne, Steve Earl, Dónal Lunny, Moya Brennan, Kirsty MacColl, Christy Moore, Sinéad O'Connor, Mundy, Belinda Carlisle, amongst others.
As a solo musician, she has toured extensively overseas and has also performed for politicians such as Bill Clinton, Mary Robinson and Lech Wałęsa. She continues to record her music and perform with her tour band, The Woodchoppers but can often be found performing with only one other musician, the multi-instrumentalist Alan Connor, who she said brings a new perspective to Irish music 'that people will be imitating for years to come.'