Irish band Beoga have praised music star Ed Sheeran after he fought with his record label to keep them on his album.
The Antrim band feature on several songs on Sheeran’s new album Divide, including one which they co-wrote with the star.
However, they could have been dumped if Sheeran’s record label bosses had their way.
Sheeran put his foot down and insisted songs featuring Beoga were to stay on his album.
In the past, Sheeran has spoken about his Irish heritage, and although he admitted trad music “isn’t the coolest thing” he told his label “it was going to be massive” because of the huge numbers of families with Irish backgrounds around the world.
Beoga Bodhrán player Eamon Murray said: “Ed is proud of his heritage. I think it’s a great thing that someone who’s as good as Ed can see what Ireland has to offer.
“He is at the forefront and constantly coming up with new ideas and approaches so fair play to him.”
Sheeran invited the band to his Suffolk home after he was given a tape of theirs by a mutual friend.
Murray explained: “We brought over a few demo ideas, did a few run throughs and then ended up jamming on five or six songs, two of which made the cut, which we’re delighted with.
“One of the songs, we co-wrote with Ed is called Galway Girl.”
This Galway Girl is a completely new song written by Sheeran and Beoga, and not to be confused with the hugely popular Mundy hit of the same name.
Murray also revealed that the band were somewhat in awe of Sheeran to begin with, but he soon put them at ease once they started playing together.
He said: “When you walk in, there is that moment, you are looking at someone on TV but then the session starts, everyone relaxes, you all want to come up with something good.
“You forget you’re jamming with someone famous. He had no airs or graces. Moving towards Irish music comes very natural for Ed as he’s of Irish heritage and it’s in his blood.
“I think it’s great that he’s decided to shine a light on Irish music because it’s something that’s overlooked here in Ireland.”
Sheeran was also delighted that he and Beoga hit it off straight away, although he does have a bone to pick with the man he says was his inspiration to pursue a career in music after he saw him aged just 11.
Sheeran joked: “Every single hero of mine has got in touch with me bar Damien Rice, who I’ve never heard from, even though I have name dropped him in several songs.”