Dermot’s seemingly effortless playing, combined with great subtlety, and a faultless ear, makes him one of the great accordion players of his generation. He is one of Ireland’s foremost traditional musicians having been awarded the Irish Television station, TG4’s Traditional Musician of the Year 2013. From Buncrana in the Inishowen peninsula, the most northerly part of Donegal, he played accordion from a young age with his father the inspirational Tomás O’Beirn, (Tommy Byrne) an enthusiastic promoter of the tradition. Dermot has had the good fortune to meet all the greats of Donegal music, including Johnny Doherty, Con Cassidy and Tommy Peoples making a great impact on the young Dermot, who went on to develop a unique style. A long-time anchor of Altan, Byrne’s subtlety as an accordion player has always marked him apart. In between he has found time to collaborate with Parisian harpist Floriane Blancke with Brendan O’Regan, Brid Harper and Steve Cooney, Dezi Donnelly and Jim Murray.
As well as his mastery of the Donegal style and repertoire, Dermot can turn with ease to other styles and traditions such as French musette, or South American choro music. Dermot has guested on collaborations with many great musicians including Seamus and Manus McGuire, Sharon Shannon, Frankie Gavin, Pierre Schryer, Tim O’Brien , The Stunning, Salsa Celtica and the late jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. His eponymous solo recording, which he has reissued recently, has received great critical acclaim.