PERFORMERS & INSTRUCTORS
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Classes and Instructors
Director - Laura Byrne
Button Accordion (All Levels) - Billy McComiskey
Fiddle (Advanced) - Brian Conway
Fiddle (Intermediate/Advanced) - Patrick Ourceau
Fiddle (Intermediate) - Rose Flanagan
Fiddle (Adv. Beginner) - Joanna Clare
Tin Whistle/Flute (Intermediate/Advanced) - Joanie Madden
Flute (Irish, French Canadian, Acadian & Cape Breton- Int/Adv) - Chris Norman
Flute/Tin Whistle (Advanced Beginner) - Brendan Dolan
Tenor Banjo (Intermediate & Advanced) -- Eamon O'Leary
Concertina (All Levels) -- Alex Boatright
Uilleann Pipes (All Levels) - Dan Isaacson
Guitar (Intermediate/Advanced) - Sean Earnest
Guitar (Advanced Beginner) David McKindley-Ward
Piano - Donna Long
Bodhran (Intermediate / Advanced) - Josh Dukes
Bodhran (Fundamentals) - Myron Bretholz
Songs - Liz Hanley
Sean Nos Dance - Kelly Smit
Irish Social Dance - Megan Downes
Musician Health and Wellness - Sean McComiskey
Alex Boatright, Concertina
Alex Boatright is a concertina and harp teacher based in the Washington D.C. area. A multiple All-Ireland medalist herself, Alex is a top teacher in the USA with regional and All-Ireland Fleadh winning students and is half of the duo Síneadh Fada with Sean-Nós dancer Shannon Dunne. Her teaching style centers around the 'how' and 'why' of concertina playing in a way that empowers students of all levels and generations to take charge of this quirky instrument and progress toward their goals even after class has ended.
Alex studied both harp and concertina with Gráinne Hambly of Co. Mayo, but was also largely influenced by studies with Tim Collins during his stay in NYC and in yearly summer classes with Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh. She also studied fiddle with acclaimed NY Sligo fiddle teachers, Rose Flanagan and Brian Conway, whose iconic bowing style has shaped her own concertina fingering-system and bellows-work.
Alex has a Masters of Music Performance on the Cello from the University of Maryland and uses this background to bridge the classical to traditional divide many students feel coming to traditional music after already being accomplished classical players.
Myron Bretholz, Bodhran
A native and current resident of Baltimore, Maryland, Myron has lent his talents as a percussionist to more than fifty recordings of Irish, Scottish, and other folk music. Since the late 1980's, Myron has taught bodhran and rhythm bones at many workshops throughout the United States and Canada, including Boston College's Gaelic Roots, Gaelic College in Cape Breton, the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in Texas, and the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, New York. In March 2000, Myron was privileged to receive a Maryland State Arts Council grant for solo instrumental performance, and he was also honored to play at the White House on four occasions in the late 1990's and early 2000's. In addition, Myron's prodigious knowledge of the history and lore of Irish tunes has led to his being invited to contribute liner notes to a number of recordings over the past quarter century, and he is often called on to emcee at concerts and festivals as well. Myron received early inspiration and instruction in bodhran from Jesse Winch and in rhythm bones from Karen Seime Singleton, and also counts among his influences the playing of Robin Morton, Peadar Mercier, Jim Sutherland, and Johnny McDonagh. And although not a dancer himself, Myron also draws inspiration from Irish step dancers, and he reckons that the ideal percussionist should be able to do with his or her hands what dancers do with their feet. Myron's relaxed and humorous teaching style has made him an in-demand workshop leader and instructor, and he is always willing to encourage novice players.
Laura Byrne, Director / Flute
Founder and Director of the Baltimore Irish Trad Fest, Laura Byrne is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic for her mastery of the Irish traditional flute and whistle. Laura began studying flute at age 9 in her native Vermont, continued her studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore where she earned Bachelor’s degrees in both flute performance and music education in 1995. Though classically trained, she chose to devote her musical career to Irish traditional music, committing herself to the playing of the older generation of musicians through her many trips to Ireland and from close study of the emigrees to the United States. Laura has performed at countless festivals, ceilis and concerts in the U.S., Canada and Ireland including venues such as the Kennedy Center, Birchmere, several National Folk Festivals and the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY. She performs frequently with Baltimore greats Billy McComiskey, Donna Long and Jim Eagan. Laura was featured on the Eva Cassidy remix album Wonderful World (2004). In 2014 Laura was a featured performer with the English choir Libera at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC which was released as a DVD recording and broadcast worldwide.
Laura has recorded two solo albums Tune for the Road (2005) and Lucky Day in (2010) which received great reviews, and were highly praised by Irish Music Magazine. She is a member of The Old Bay Ceili Band which released an album Crabs in the Skillet (2011). She released a duo recording with New York based fiddler Rose Flanagan Forget Me Not (2014). Laura is a two time grant recipient of the Maryland Traditions Master Apprentice award - as a ballad singer apprentice in 2007, and then in 2011 as a Master of flute, and received the Individual Artist award in performance from the Maryland State Arts Council in both 2010 and 2011. Laura still performs occasionally, and works as a full time Realtor and co-owner of the Vesta Group of Long and Foster where she combines her non-musical passions of making things happen, central Maryland real estate, and helping others.
Joanna Clare / Fiddle
Joanna Clare is a well-respected Irish fiddler and violinist who began with the Suzuki method of learning the violin before studying with Sligo fiddle master, Brian Conway. She has won five Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil titles in fiddle tunes, slow airs, and newly composed tunes, and in 2021 she was awarded runner-up for the senior fiddle slow airs competition at the FleadhFest in Sligo. Joanna has performed at numerous festivals, including the Syracuse Irish Festival, the Rochester Irish Festival, the Maryland Irish Festival, the New York Trad Fest, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. She is certified to teach violin with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and teaches Suzuki violin and Irish fiddle lessons both in person and virtually. She also assists in teaching The Great Groove Band, a children’s pick-up band at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. As a teacher, Joanna prioritizes physical technique to direct her students’ playing and emphasizes “what to do,” but more importantly, “how to do it.”
Joanna will be releasing her debut album, To Keep the Candle Burning on February 25th, 2022. The album features Myron Bretholz, Brian
Conway, Josh Dukes, Billy McComiskey, Sean McComiskey, Matt Mulqueen, Catherine O’Kelly, and Liam Presser. To Keep the Candle Burning isdedicated to the many traditional Irish musicians who inspired her during her childhood. While the album includes some original tunes, it is primarily comprised of tunes she learned either directly from these musicians or from their recordings. Joanna currently attends Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she is pursuing a degree in materials science and engineering with a minor in music.
Brian Conway, Fiddle
New York born fiddler Brian Conway is a leading exponent of the highly ornamented Sligo fiddling style made famous by the late Michael Coleman. The winner of two All-Ireland junior titles in 1973 and 1974 and the All-Ireland senior championship of 1986, Brian’s early studies were with his father Jim of Plumbridge, County Tyrone and with Limerick born fiddler/teacher Martin Mulvihill. However, it was the legendary fiddler and composer Martin Wynne who taught him the real secrets of the County Sligo style. Later, Brian met and befriended the great Andy McGann of New York, a direct student of Michael Coleman, who further shaped his precision and skill on the instrument.
In 1979, Brian recorded a duet album, The Apple In Winter (Green Linnet) with fellow New York fiddler Tony DeMarco. He released his debut solo CD, First through the Gate, on the Smithsonian-Folkways label in July 2002. This CD was voted the prestigious Album of the Year by the Irish Echo. Brian is also featured on the CD, My Love is in America, recorded at the 1990 Boston College Irish Fiddle Festival, and on the documentary “Shore to Shore” which highlights traditional Irish music in New York.
In 2007, Brian released a CD titled A Tribute to Andy McGann on the prestigious Irish Label Cló Iar-Chonnachta. This CD brings together Irish Music legends Joe Burke and Felix Dolan along with Brian in a CD which has received glowing accolades since its release.
Brian followed this CD with a much anticipated new solo CD titled Consider the Source, in deference to the rich environment from which Brian learned his music. This CD was released in 2008, also on the Cló Iar-Chonnachta Label, and features guest appearances by music greats Niamh Parsons, Dan Milner, Billy McComiskey, Joannie Madden, Felix Dolan, and Brendan Dolan. Earle Hitchner of the Irish Echo described this CD as “Easily one of the best releases this year”.
Brian remains faithful to the rich tradition handed down to him. The distinctness of his tone, the lift of his playing, and the deft ornamentation he brings to the tunes have placed him among the finest Irish fiddlers of any style, Sligo or otherwise. He has performed all over North America from San Francisco to New York and places in between such as Chicago, Milwaukee and Colorado. His talents have also been enthusiastically received throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe. His two solo CDs, First through the Gate and Consider the Source, both exemplify the versatility that characterizes his concert performances and festival appearances. He is also a noted instructor who has mentored many fine fiddle players, including several who have gone on to win All-Ireland championships. He is considered one of the musical rocks of the New York area.
Brendan Dolan, Flute and Tin Whistle
Brendan Dolan is a multi-instrumentalist, excelling in the piano, Irish flute and tin whistle. He is the son of renowned Irish-traditional pianist Felix Dolan, a mainstay of traditional Irish music in New York since the 1950s.
Brendan has worked with accordionist John Whelan, singer/songwriter Cathie Ryan, Andy Statman, Itzhak Perlman, and the group Atlantic Bridge which also featured former Solas vocalist Karan Casey.
He maintains a vibrant school of Irish music for children in the New York City area and holds a master’s degree in Irish and Irish-American Studies at NYU, where he currently works as an archivist on the Mick Moloney Irish-American Music and Popular Culture Collection.
He plays at many céilís and concerts with various groups around the New York area and can be heard on the latest recordings of Billy McComiskey, Brian Conway and The Green Fields of America.
Megan Downes, Irish Social Dance
Megan Downes grew up dancing in New York City's traditional Irish music community before moving south to work with one of the best bluegrass bands in the country as a principal dancer with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, directed by Eileen Carson and Mark Schatz, with Jon Glik, Danny Knicely, Matt Olwell and Kristin Andreassen. Megan is now the Artistic Director of New York's City Stompers, calling squares and teaching old-time flatfooting. You may have danced with her over the years at the Augusta Heritage Center, Watermelon Park or Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing.
Josh Dukes, Bodhran
Josh Dukes is an All-Ireland champion accompanist and a highly sought after music teacher in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. A multi-instrumentalist whose talents embrace the guitar, bouzouki, bodhran, flute, and tin whistle, Josh has established a reputation for providing sensitive, tasteful support for traditional Irish music.
As a young high school student, Josh studied the oboe, tenor/alto saxophone, drum set and baritone horn. Outside of the classroom, he learned the art of ancient rudimental drumming under the tutelage of Dominick Cuccia, a widely respected instructor/performer in the fife and drum community. In 1997, Josh enlisted in the Army and has since earned the rank of Master Sergeant , currently serving as one of three Drum Majors for the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, "The Official Escort to the President," the only military unit of its kind.
Josh continues to perform Irish music, having shared the stage with such renowned musicians including John Doyle, Paddy Keenan, Billy and Sean McComiskey, Brendan Mulvihill, Skip Healy, Zan McLeod, and Myron Bretholz, and he can be seen performing regularly with The Old Bay Ceili Band. Josh lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Judy and two daughters, Mya and Olivia.
Jim Eagan, Fiddle
Jim was born in Baltimore in 1979. He grew up in Baltimore’s renowned Irish traditional music scene. He fondly recalls being enchanted by the violin even at a very young age. Until the age of fifteen, Jim exclusively studied classical violin, both through Suzuki classes and at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Jim's roots in Irish tradition truly sprouted from Irish step dancing, which he began studying from that same early age. Jim qualified for the World Championships in Dublin in 1991. This exposure to the jigs, reels, and hornpipes while learning his steps was instrumental in developing his desire and ability to play Irish traditional fiddle. Even now, Jim will occasionally get up and perform a step at a concert or session. While in high school, Jim's interest in the dance music of his own Irish heritage became more pronounced. Jim was first exposed to the fiddling of Brendan Mulvihill while competing at a Feis at Glen Echo Park. They later met and his first lesson was arranged. From ages 15 to 18, Jim studied with Brendan Mulvihill. Brendan is a primary influence on Jim's playing, which is reflected in his musical style.
For the past twenty years, Jim has immersed himself in Irish traditional music. Jim's first trip to Ireland (1996), was to compete in the Fleadh
Cheoil, the all Ireland music competition. Jim was awarded third place in the 15-18 age group category for fiddle. Soon thereafter, he began teaching privately. In 1997, Jim was invited to the Augusta Heritage workshops as an instructor where he continued to teach through 2005. In the late 1990s, Jim spent several years as a member of the John Whelan Band and toured Ireland, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. For the past fifteen years, Jim has been a member of O'Malley's March, led by former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. In 2012 Jim was invited to play at the White House with the band. Jim is also a member of the Old Bay Ceili Band. Jim plays regularly in and around Baltimore with many of the other distinguished musicians that are in the area. He leads a weekly Irish Jam session at Cafe Hon and at Racer's Cafe.
Sean Earnest, Guitar
Seán Earnest is a musical performer and educator specialising in the traditional folk music of Ireland and Britain, played primarily on guitar and bouzouki. Seán grew up in central Pennsylvania and learned his craft in the vibrant Irish music scenes of Baltimore and New York. His empathic and eclectic style has taken him around the world, from pub session to recording studio, festival stage, and classroom. Seán has recorded with numerous artists including flautist Laura Byrne, fiddler and accordionist Damien Connolly, fiddler Andrew Finn Magill, singer Peter Casey, and with his own critically-acclaimed quartet The Yanks. He has toured throughout North America and internationally with artists like the McPeake Family of Belfast, Irish supergroup Teáda, progressive Scottish folk ensemble The Paul McKenna Band, Nova Scotian fiddler and singer Shannon Quinn, American singer-songwriters Kyle Carey and Colleen Raney, and the iconic Irish-American vocalist Cathie Ryan. Seán has performed onstage with many luminaries of Irish music including Billy McComiskey, Dr. Mick Moloney, members of The Chieftains, Kevin Burke, Joanie Madden, John Carty, Kevin Crawford, Mary Bergin, The Murphy Beds, and John Doyle. Prestigious venues at which Seán has performed include the Milwaukee Irish Fest, Lincoln Center in NYC, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and on Irish television during the 2017 Fleadh Cheoil music festival in Ennis. Seán has taught countless students, both in private tuition as well as on faculty for music camps such as the Catskills Irish Arts Week, Augusta Irish Week in West Virginia, O'Flaherty Retreat in Texas, and the Goderich Celtic College in Ontario. He holds a first class honours Master's degree in Irish Traditional Music Performance from the University of Limerick's Irish World Academy. Currently Seán is based in a thriving hub of traditional music, Ennis in County Clare, where he is an active member of the community playing regular gigs and teaching for the local music school.
Rose Flanagan, Fiddle
Rose Conway Flanagan originally began Irish music lessons with Martin Mulvihill while growing up in the Bronx. She then further developed her New York Sligo style of fiddling with the help of family friend and mentor Martin Wynne and her older brother Brian Conway. Rose was recently inducted into the Mid Atlantic Region CCE hall of fame alongside her father Jim and her brother Brian.
She currently has a large music school in her hometown of Pearl River where she is hard at work preparing the next generation of great traditional musicians, which include several All-Ireland winners and medalists. Among Rose’s past students are all the fiddlers in Girsa and senior fiddle champion Dylan Foley.
Rose has been an instructor at the Alaska fiddle camp, The Catskills Irish Arts week, The Swannanoa Celtic Gathering, The O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, Fiddle and Pick Irish Camp, The Baltimore Trad Weekend and MAD Week in the U.S. She has also taught at the DeDanaan Dance Camp in Vancouver, British Columbia and Scoile Eigse in Cavan, and Sligo Ireland. She has also taught workshops at the Northeast Tional, Cape Cod Ceili Weekend and at various CCE conventions. Rose also runs seisuns, plays with her group the Green Gates Ceili Band and performs in various concerts throughout the area.
Rose recently released a duo cd with flute player Laura Byrne from Baltimore, “Forget Me Not”, which was met with great reviews.
Liz Hanley, Songs
Liz was raised in an Irish family in Boston and learned her traditional Irish and American folk repertoire from her father and grandfather. She studied classical violin at NYU and currently lives in Brooklyn. Continuous activities in the traditional music scenes of the US, Ireland and the UK, her distinctive voice and her affinity for various other music genres are resonating attributes of Hanley's interpretations. She tours and performs often with Mick Moloney's Green Fields of America as well as at folk festivals and concert venues across the U.S and in Europe.
Dan Isaacson, Uilleann Pipes
Baltimore based Dan Isaacson is self-taught on uilleann pipes, concert flute, and the bouzouki. He began studying traditional Irish music in Boston, where he learned from some of the most esteemed musicians in the tradition. Incorporating their many dialects into his own playing, he developed a style that is tradition-steeped but thoroughly individual. Music has been composed for him by Tommy Peoples and Billy McComiskey, two of his most influential mentors. He has produced and played on three recordings, appeared on NPR and Irish television, and has been performing in venues from small pubs to the Kennedy Center for over 20 years.
Donna Long, Piano
Donna Long was born in Los Angeles, California. When she was five years old, she began taking piano lessons with her father, Byron Long, a jazz/classical pianist who instilled in Donna a love for music. As a child, Donna was exposed to many different genres of music, including players from the old and new Jazz eras, Classical, Scottish, Indian, and African.
In 1978, she moved to the Baltimore/Washington, DC area and heard fiddler, Brendan Mulvihill playing Irish music. He inspired her to pick up the fiddle and gave her a solid foundation in style and playing. She then began to accompany him on the piano and now Donna is considered one of the finest pianists playing Irish music. Along with Brendan Mulvihill, she has recorded two duet albums, The Steeplechase and The Morning Dew.
Donna passed her music on to her son Jesse Smith and helped produce his first solo recording entitled The Hurricane. In addition to these recordings Donna can be heard as a guest artist on many recordings backing up other musicians and also on the motion picture soundtrack Out of Ireland. A former member of the internationally acclaimed Irish group Cherish the Ladies, she has recorded five CDs with them. In the year 2000, the Smithsonian Institution asked Donna to represent Irish Music in the series Piano Traditions celebrating 300 years of the piano. Donna was also commissioned by the Library of Congress in 2001 to write a composition for fiddle and piano. She wrote a slow air called “Before the Snow Falls,” and a reel to accompany the air called “Pandora’s Box.” These tunes were performed by Cherish the Ladies and can be found in the Library of Congress. Donna currently teaches Suzuki piano, Irish piano, and Irish fiddle in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area. Her first solo CD, Handprints, was released in June 2003.
Joanie Madden, Flute/Tin Whistle
JOANIE MADDEN was born in the Bronx, New York to Irish parents, her mother Helen hails from County Clare and her father, Joe Madden was a well-known accordion player from County Galway. Joanie is an All-Ireland Champion flute player in addition to becoming the first American to win the Senior All Ireland Championship title on the whistle. She recently was named the recipient of the 2021 National Heritage Award from the United States Government, the highest award bestowed on a traditional artist and is considered a national living treasure to the country for her musical contributions to the cultural fabric of America.
She is the top selling whistle player in history with over 500,000 solo album sales through the success of her "Song of the Irish Whistle" series. Joanie has recorded 24 albums and performed on over 200 CD’S including three Grammy Award winning albums. She has recorded with such luminaries as Pete Seeger, Sinead O’Connor, Vince Gill, The Clancy Brothers Nanci Griffith and the Boston Pops.
Joanie has amassed a plethora of awards and citations to her credit including Irish America Magazine's Top 100 Irish Americans, chosen Traditional Musician of the Year by the Irish Voice newspaper and immortalized on the streets of her native Bronx with a street named after her, “Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies”. She was bestowed one of the nation’s highest awards as she was chosen for the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and also a recipient of the esteemed USA Artist Fellowship grant, singled out as one of the most innovative and influential artists in America, becoming the first Irish musician to win this prestigious grant. The Irish Music Awards presented her with a Lifetime Achievement and Irish America Magazine named her one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Irish Women in the world. The Irish Voice Newspaper named her one of the topmost influential Irish Americans of the past quarter century and the Irish American Writers and Artists chose Joanie for the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award.
For the past 37 years Joanie has been the leader and driving force behind the internationally renown Irish traditional music and dance ensemble, Cherish the Ladies. During that time, she has become one of the most visible and respected Irish musicians as a composer and arranger and invariably entertaining stage performer. She organizes annual sold-out Irish Musical bus tours to Ireland and legendary Irish music and dance cruises, “Joanie Madden’s Folk ‘N Irish Cruise” where to date10,000 people have joined her on these cultural floating musical extravaganzas. She is a consummate musician and one of the most mercurial and revered figures in Irish music today.
Billy McComiskey, Button Accordion
Billy McComiskey, the 2011 recipient of The Irish Echo's Traditional Artist of the Year Award, has lived in Baltimore since 1980. In that time, he's helped put Irish Traditional Music on the map here in Maryland. In the mid 1970's, Billy, along with Brendan Mulvihill, Lou and Peggy Thompson, and Jesse and Terry Winch, helped to establish the still thriving Irish Music Scene in Washington DC. He then moved to Baltimore to marry his beautiful wife Annie and have a family. And The Music followed him. Baltimore is now considered one of the Great Cities in America for Irish Traditional Music, along with New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. And this is largely due to Billy and the people with whom he chooses to perform here in Baltimore. Billy holds four All Ireland Championship titles, two (gold and silver medals) with Brendan Mulvihill for their superb duet playing, and two (silver and gold ) for his work as a soloist. Billy won the coveted All Ireland Championship for the Button Accordion in 1986. He is one of only two American box players to be so honored. His friend and student John Nolan is the first American to win this award. Billy is the second.
Billy plays in what he loosely describes as the East Galway Style of Irish accordion music. He is a protege of the late Sean McGlynn from Tynagh, Co. Galway. To this day he still plays Sean's rare 1940's vintage gray Paolo Soprani box.
Billy is a composer of tunes, a good few of which are played in Ireland and America alike. He's made quite a few recordings with some of the mightiest musicians playing Irish Music today. He's played and performed all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, England and Scotland.
And he's taught, encouraged and influenced the young and promising players everywhere he's been.
Billy and Annie have three sons, Patrick, their eldest, who studied the whistle with the great Mary Bergin, and Sean and Michael, who are two of the finest young box players here in America today. Irish Echo article on Billy
David McKindley-Ward, Guitar and Vocals
David McKindley-Ward is a multi-instrumentalist from outside Washington DC who now lives in Baltimore. He has made a name for himself as one of the area's top traditional singers, and a much sought after accompanist. He regularly performs with the area's finest traditional musicians, plays with his longtime friend and Baltimore songwriter Letitia VanSant, and records as session musician for various local bands.
In 2018 he competed in the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh, taking first place in the over 18 tenor banjo contest, 2nd place in accompaniment, and 3rd place in english singing.
Chris Norman, Flute
CHRIS NORMAN (flutes) Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia into a music loving family, Chris’ influential work as performer, composer, recording artist, teacher and flutemaker has earned him worldwide recognition. His flute playing has appeared on more than 40 recordings and can be heard featured on numerous Hollywood soundtracks. Chris is founder and director of the Boxwood Festivals and Workshops taking place for the past 26 years in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the US, inspiring thousands of musicians of all ages. As a flute maker, he brings to bear a discernment forged over a 30-year career to make world-class flutes for traditional, baroque and renaissance music. Chris' awards and honors include a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal from the Senate of Canada, and a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa from Dalhousie University.
Eamon O'Leary, Tenor Banjo/Mandolin
Originally from Dublin, singer, bouzouki, guitar and banjo player Eamon O’Leary has lived in New York City for the last twenty years. He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, performing and recording with many of Irish music’s great players.
In addition to his performance schedule, Eamon has taught at numerous music programs including the Augusta Heritage Center, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, the Alaska Irish Music Camp, the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and the Swannanoa Gathering.
In 2004, he and Patrick Ourceau released a live recording, Live at Mona’s, documenting their many years hosting a session on New York’s Lower East Side, and in 2012, Eamon released a recording of traditional songs, The Murphy Beds, with Jefferson Hamer, described by the Huffington Post as “ten beautiful, crystalline songs.” He has recently teamed up with old friends John Doyle and Nuala Kennedy to form The Alt. Their self-titled debut album was released in November 2014.
Patrick Ourceau, Fiddle
Fiddle player Patrick Ourceau has been playing Irish Music since his early teens. Born and raised in France, Patrick moved to the U.S. in 1989, settled in New York City where he lived for seventeen years, and is now based in Toronto, Canada.
Mostly self taught, Patrick’s taste for Clare and East Galway music developed early in his playing after being introduced to recordings of the legendary fiddle players Paddy Canny, Paddy Fahey and Bobby Casey. Patrick regularly visits Ireland and especially county Clare. Over the years, he has during those trips, been able to play with and learn from Paddy Canny, as well as from many other local musicians including flute and fiddle player Peadar O’Loughlin. During the many years he lived in New York, Patrick often played with such great musicians as fiddle players Andy McGann and Paddy Reynolds among many others, but was particularly influenced by the style and repertoire of Woodford, Co. Galway flute player Jack Coen.
He is a member since 2003 of the band Chulrua, along with accordion player Paddy O’Brien and guitarist and singer Pat Egan. The trio released last year, on Shanachie Records, The Singing Kettle, their first recording together. When not touring with the band, Patrick performs with guitarist Eamon O’Leary. In 2004, Patrick and Eamon Released Live at Mona’s, a live recording project praised by critics and fans alike as one of the best recent releases of Irish traditional music.
Since the mid nineties, Patrick has performed with many Irish and Irish American musicians and bands. Most notably in duets with Ennis, Co. Clare concertina player Gearoid O’hAllmhurain with whom he recorded Tracin‘ in 1999; with Tulla, Co. Clare accordion player Andrew McNamara, and with the legendary Tulla Ceili band, on the band’s last American tour.
Patrick is featured on flute player Cathal McConnell’s last solo release Long Expectant Comes at Last, on Compass Records; on accordion player John Whelan’s Celtic Roots, on Narada Records and more recently on the TG4’CD and DVD release Geantrai, a compilation celebrating the first ten years of the popular traditional Irish music television program.
In the last fifteen years, Patrick has been in great demand as a teacher and regularly teaches both privately and at various festivals and summer schools across North America and Ireland. He has been part, since 1999, of the teaching staff at Irish Arts Week in East Durham, New York and at Celtic College in Goderich, Canada. He has been teaching for the past several years at Friday Harbor Irish Music Camp in San Juan Island, Washington and at the Chris Langan Weekend in Toronto. Patrick taught several years at Augusta’s Irish Week in Elkins, West Virginia. He has also taught at the Alaska Fiddle Camp in Chugiak, Alaska; at the St. Louis Tionol in St. Louis, Missouri; at the East Coast Tionol in East Durham, New York; at the O’Flaherty’s Retreat in Dallas, Texas; at the Armagh Piper’s Club in County Armagh, Northern Ireland; and at the Fleadh Nua in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland.
“…Soulful, stylish fiddling.” - Sally K. Sommers Smith - Irish Music Magazine