The Emigrants play music that makes people dance, sing and have a good time. They have a proven track record in packing out pubs and boosting trade.


About the Emigrants

The Emigrants were founded – quite literally – on the banks of Lake Geneva in the summer of 2011 when Yvette Issar overheard John Lawlor singing Irish ballads at a lakeside picnic with some friends and spontaneously proposed that the two form a musical duo.

After a few quiet acoustic gigs as “Yvette and John” somewhere along the way the two bumped into Cian and Des and by the end of that summer, “The Emigrants” were born. From those humble beginnings, the band has grown to become one of Geneva’s best-loved live acts, packing out the pubs with high-energy folk tunes that make people sing, dance and smile.

Who are / were the Emigrants?

A true reflection of their city of origin, The Emigrants are a very international group. It’s hard to say how many Emigrants there are at any given time, but here below is a list of all those who are or have been band members at some point along the journey…

Active members

  • Cian O’Luanaigh – Ireland – Vocals and harp
  • John Lawlor – Ireland – Vocals, mandolin and bouzouki
  • Matevz Cerv – Slovenia – Guitar and Vocals
  • Yvette Issar – Kenya – Vocals and percussion
  • John Marc Davies – Wales – Fiddle
  • Nicola Brassil – Ireland – Flute and whistle


  • Matt N.K. Smith – USA – Fiddle and vocals
  • Doireann Ansbro – Ireland – Vocals and guitar
  • Christian Löffler – Germany – Percussion
  • Des Loughrey-Grant – Ireland – Vocals and bodhran
  • Donal Hill – Ireland – Fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocals
  • Tara Brian – Canada – Fiddle
  • Connor Sattely – USA – Percussion
  • Cathal O’Luanaigh – Ireland – Bass and vocals
  • Miha Cerv – Slovenia – Bass
  • David Bertsche – USA – Flute and whistle
  • Adrien Karlen – Switzerland – Whistle and bagpipes
  • Brendan de Belder – Ireland – Guitar and vocals
  • JD Dawson – England – Accordion, whistle and vocals
  • Siobhan Ni Mhaolagain – Ireland – Fiddle and whistle
  • John Lawlor Sr. – Ireland – Vocals
  • Heather McAslan – Scotland – Mandolin, vocals and percussion
  • Joe McKenna – England – Dancing




The Emigrants are available for pub gigs, festivals and private functions. To book a gig, e-mail or contact us on Facebook at