The Wrafter Family Band
Going From the Sitting Room to the Stage...Together!
Whenever you see them performing together there'll always be two things which immediately strike you about the Wrafter family.
Those two things are very simple, and yet, so important. The first is who they are, and the second is what they do. And it's this spellbinding combination that makes the Kilbeggan family unique in Irish entertainment right now.
Here you have the full of a house - father, mother, and three children - who share the same kitchen table at home day in and day out, but who also, when the occasion presents itself, share the stage together, too.
Peter, Noreen, Conor (14), Thomas (10), and little Aimee (9), cast aside all notions of the importance of age or experience calculated by years, and instead let their natural, yet lovingly honed and disciplined ability, demonstrate exactly why the Wrafter family are becoming a name on the tongue of music lovers throughout Ireland.
They play with the same sense of professionalism (witness Conor's intense concentration), passion (see Thomas clench his fist while lost in song), and pride (Aimee's smile as applause rises to acknowledge her dancing or concertina skills), of a band who have put in the countless late nights, traversed the many long and winding roads, and clocked up the hard miles that usually build to the delivery of such wonderfully beautiful and seamless musical moments.
But for the Wrafter family, the bonds formed around the kitchen table and while playing for the sheer love and enjoyment of doing so in their own sitting room, have, with the greatest of ease, transferred to even bigger stages, as if such a move was the most natural thing in the world.
And indeed, for the Wrafter family, it has been just that. It all began - in earnest and in the public eye at least -in March of 2017, when the country was charmed by their St. Patrick's Night performance of 'The Blarney Stone' on The Late Late Show. Since then, the gifted quintet has also opened for acts of international renown such as Finbar Furey during what became an emotion-filled evening performing for the Ceann Comhairle of the Irish Government in Leinster House in aid of Irish aid agency Trocaire, when the Wrafters also joined Finbar in song, resulting in not one, but two standing ovations from those in attendance.
They've also supported Nathan Carter, Johnny McEvoy (including a second performance for the family in Leinster House), The Fureys, The High Kings (three years in a row), George Murphy, and The Three Tenors (Ireland). As well as all of the above, the Wrafters were also honoured to be invited by Trocaire to play in the G.P.O., a revered landmark in Irish history.
The band have also taken their talents to the main stage at the National Ploughing Championships – the biggest outdoor event in Europe - in 2017 and 2018, and to the same stage at Tullamore Show, one of the biggest annual one-day agri-family events on the calendar. In 2018 the Wrafter Family featured on the first series of the TG4 show Realta Agua Gaolta, returning to TV screens on the same show in 2019 and going all the way to the final.
And remarkably, although not surprisingly either, even as Ireland was settling into life with the restricted freedom of movement that CoVid 19 made necessary, the Wrafters again appeared on the national television, joining Dáithí Ó Sé and Maura Derrane on RTE 1's Today show...via Skype from their hallway in Kilbeggan.
All of which goes to prove one thing for certain...if an occasion needs a song, the Wrafter Family Band will have one! At least one. But usually many, many more!
But for Peter and Noreen, the most important element to it all is simply this: that it remains fun for Conor, Thomas, and Aimee.
"Myself and Noreen are very lucky that we get to do this, to perform as a family in the way that we do. But we're the mammy and the daddy too, and that's always going to be what we are first”, explains Peter.
“We've encouraged and supported their participation in music from an early age, certainly. And they've grown up surrounded by music. But what we're happiest about is that they've discovered their own love of music, and their own love for being involved in music. So we know when they're practising that it's because they want to, and equally, when they get up on stage to play in front of a crowd, no matter what size it is, it's because they enjoy it."
And Peter quipped, "As long as that's the case with them, sure myself and Noreen will keep playing along and showing up, too!"