JOANIE MADDEN is considered one of the greatest musicians and personalities in the history of Irish music in America. She was born in the Bronx, New York of Irish parents, and she is the second oldest of seven children raised in a musical household. Her mother Helen hails from Miltown Malbay, County Clare and her father Joe, an All-Ireland Champion accordion player, was a native of Portumna, County Galway.

Joanie was exposed to the finest Irish traditional music early in her life, listening to her father and his friends play music at family gatherings and social events.


Recent Articles

  • May , 2016




    “When distinguished tin whistle or flute players over the past quarter of a century come to mind, Irish traditional music aficionados invariably will add Joanie Maddens’ name to the list. Her music is pure art, compelling and creative, vibrant and virtuosic. It is filled with style, substance, sensitivity and soul.”   Earle Hitchner, The Irish Echo


    “Madden has become a preeminent Irish flute and whistle virtuoso, constantly in demand for session and commercial work. She has gone on to become both a dazzling technician and spellbindingly articulate interpreter of slow airs. She displays a range of texture and emotion that many singers would envy.”   Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe


    “Joanie Madden is one of New York’s finest flute and whistle players, not to mention the only American born, All-Ireland Champion on the whistle. Her music sizzles with life, outstanding for it’s total command of technique and remarkable breath control. Her whistle playing flows smoothly, showcasing a dazzling sequence of devices, cuts, crans and rolls known only to the brave and to the good.”.   Nuala O’Connor, The Irish Times


    “Joanie is among the most brilliant whistle players ever recorded. Her compositions, mostly bouncy, major-key melodies, are among the finest examples of modern traditional composition and an accurate reflection of her upbeat personality and virtuosic musicianship.”   Don Meade, The Irish Voice


    “Breathy and singing in her airs, and light, facile and fleet as a hummingbird in barreling jigs and reels, she left the crowd slack-jawed with her music.” Dan Buckley, The Tucson Citizen


    “Irish people love characters…gifted people who combine exceptional artistry with extreme sociability. Joanie Madden is a character, one of the greatest you could meet in a long day’s travel. She is also one of the most talented individuals in the history of Irish music in America. Joanie has become one of the most visible Irish musicians in the world over the past two decades touring the globe with Cherish the Ladies, a group she has led since its inception in 1985. Not only is she renowned as a virtuoso tin whistle and flute player but as a highly energetic and invariably hilarious stage performer. Her huge repertoire of music spans a wide range of expression from exuberant dance tunes to slow, stately and evocative pieces. She is a consummate musician and one of the most mercurial and best loved figures in Irish music today. ”   Dr. Mick Moloney, Irish Music Review


    “It may be hard to imagine, but the leader of one of the foremost traditional Irish music groups in the world is a woman born and raised in New York. Say hello to Joanie Madden, the remarkable flutist and whistle player from the groundbreaking all-female band, Cherish the Ladies who are being compared to the deans of Celtic music; the Chieftains.” Billy Altman, The New York Daily News


    “You would have to walk many a long mile to find a flute and whistle player who was more skillful, energetic and dedicated then Joanie Madden, the First Lady of Irish American folk music. Her tone is impeccable, her playing is expert and her tunes run the gamut from the well-worn to the brand-new…what more could you ask?” Steve Winick, Dirty Linen Magazine


    “Joanie Madden’s music is music to be danced and dreamt to. A mood altering experience.”    Siobhan Long, Hot Press Magazine


    “Madden is the group’s star and leader for a couple of reasons, for one, she’s a larger-than life personality with a stand-up comic’s sense of timing and humor. Above all, Madden is a consummate virtuoso, perhaps the best Irish whistle and traditional Irish flute player in the world.”   John Pitcher, Omaha World Herald


    “Madden’s tenacious but tactful helming of the ensemble should be studied in business schools. It should also be scrutinized in music schools. For 25 years and counting, Cherish the Ladies have shown that Irish traditional music from America remains a vibrant, diasporic marvel.”  Earle Hitchner, The Irish Voice


    “The best flute and whistle player Irish America has ever produced.”   Paul Keating, The Irish Echo


    “Joanie Madden is the best whistle player in the world”   Sir James Galway