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Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy

My earliest memories from my childhood in Upperchurch, Co. Tipperary, are that the Ballycommon Set (called the Plain Set at home) and the Cashel Set were the only ones we knew about.

My father, Jack, played the accordion and he played for house dances in earlier years. I learned to play music from him, so my first connection with Irish set dancing was as a musician. As children, we learned to dance at home with our parents and neighbours. In the early 1980’s, when I was playing music for a dancing competition, I was asked to dance in one of the competition teams as one of their male dancers was injured. I danced, we won and this began my modern dancing story.

As an experienced, practicing schoolteacher and musician, I think I had a good preparation for the set dancing world. Also, I have always enjoyed meeting and spending time with people. I was invited to teach the sets at a local club, and I taught weekly classes for many years in Dublin and nearby counties. This was at the beginning of the set dance revival. As there were not many people available with enough knowledge to teach, I was asked to travel to other parts of Ireland at the invitation of various people who had attended or heard about my classes. This was the start of my life as a travelling Dance Master. My travels over more than 30 years have now taken me to every county in Ireland and to most countries in mainland Europe. I have visited many parts of the United States and Canada. My travels have also enabled me to teach in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

When I began teaching, I made notes on the dances and shared them with my dancing friends. In 1994, I was invited by Irish Publisher Mercier Press to write a book on Irish Set Dancing. My first book, Toss the Feathers, Irish Set Dancing, was published in 1995. It contained 64 dances and became the first standard reference book for set dancers worldwide. I continued writing and my second book, The Flowing Tide, More Irish Set Dancing, was published in 2000. Since then I have continued collecting dances and three more books have been published, the latest officially launched in 2018. Together, the five books form a complete anthology of Irish Set Dancing from the revival in the 1970s to the year 2018:

•                    • Toss the Feathers, Irish Set Dancing (1995)

•                    • The Flowing Tide, More Irish Set Dancing (2000)

•                    • Apples in Winter, Irish Set and Social Dancing (2009)

•                    • Tabhair Dom Do Lámh, Irish Set and Social Dancing (2014)

•                    • Come West Along the Road, Irish Set and Social Dancing (2017)

 

I have also produced many instructional DVDs on set dancing.

Golden Gate Ceili Band


Golden Gate Céilí Band

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Golden Gate Céilí Band

The Golden Gate Céilí Band is a brand new, semi-rotating ensemble featuring the very best names in Irish traditional music from San Francisco and the surrounding areas. Formed in 2018 by Autumn Rhodes and Tim Hill, the band has performed for wildly successful céilís and fundraiser events in San Francisco, keeping the dance floor full for hours! Comprised of the classic, timeless sound of  fiddles, flutes, concertina, button accordions and banjos for the melody instruments with the crucial rhythmic ingredients of céilí drums and piano, the Golden Gate Céilí Band is committed to preserving the musical legacies of Galway natives Joe Cooley and Kevin Keegan who, in the 1960s and 70s, cemented Irish traditional music in San Francisco. Additionally, the style and repertoire of many of the great bands of the past such as the Tulla, Castle, Aughrim Slopes, Kilfenora, Leitrim, and Innisfree Céilí Bands are evident in the group's repertoire and musical influences.

 

The band members are Autumn Rhodes on concertina; Tim Hill, Vinnie Cronin and Ben Saylor on flute; Richard Mandel and Hector Bragado on banjo; Darcy Noonan, Doug Lowder and Erin Shrader on fiddle; Sinead Lafferty and Barry O’Connell on button accordion; Peter Persoff on piano; Del Eckels on drums.

 

The Golden Gate Céilí Band can be found performing for monthly set dances at The Plough and Stars and for céilís at San Francisco's United Irish Cultural Center.


<Pearl River Ceili Band

Pearl River All-Star Céilí Band

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Pearl River All-Star Céilí Band

Pearl River is a small town about 30 miles north of New York City.  It is a very Irish town, with lots of talented traditional Irish musicians living in the town and nearby.  It is home to the Martin Mulvihill Branch of Comhaltas, the Pearl River School of Irish Music, the Rockland GAA club as well as a number of Irish Dance schools which teach there.  The band members have all known each other since childhood; all are Pearl River residents, members of the Martin Mulvihill Branch of CCE and were also in the Pearl River Céilí Band that competed at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Drogheda in 2019.  The band consists of Margie Mulvihill (flute) and John Reynolds (fiddle), their son John Paul Reynolds (banjo and fiddle), Rose Flanagan (fiddle), her son Kieran Flanagan (piano), and Patty Furlong (button accordion).  All are All-Ireland medal winners, from recent years and from as far back as 1972 and are members of various popular New York area Céilí bands.  With the number of wonderful musicians that usually attend the convention, we expect that we’ll also have some guests joining us for a few tunes during the evening.  We look forward to seeing you all in San Francisco!

 

 

Maldon Meehan


 

Maldon Meehan

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Maldon Meehan grew up in duality of two worlds, the city of Portland, Oregon and the Artist Commune of Spring Grove on the Northern California coastline. She began performing and dancing at the age of five. By the age of 15 Maldon had moved to Portland fulltime where she became entrenched in the Irish music and dance community and began teaching at the age of 18.  

Upon graduating from the University of Limerick having been awarded a master’s degree in Ethnochoreology, she returned to the states where she continued to bring her love and knowledge of Irish dance, music and culture to both the stage and classroom. In 2001 Maldon founded Meehan Productions, based in Portland, Oregon, and dedicated to the promotion and preservation of traditional music and dance. The organization has brought to Portland artists such as Patrick Street, Danu, Tannahill Weavers, Tommy Peoples, Phil Cunningham, Aly Bain, Kevin Burke, Johnny B. Connolly, The Foghorn Stringband and The Celtic Fiddle Festival.

Maldon is a member of several traditional music groups including the Footnotes Band, the Nua-Nós Dance Troupe and Kick the Fiddle.

In 2004 Maldon began co-teaching with Galway dancer/fiddle player Ronan Regan. The two have toured internationally teaching at festivals, music camps, dance communities and performing in theaters. In 2005 Maldon and Ronan released an internationally acclaimed instructional DVD of Sean-nós dance  (Irish old-style dance). The DVD has sold in 17 countries and has helped to bring Sean-nós dance to a wider audience. Maldon currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

An instructor for Irish dance including Set, Sean-nós and Céilí dance, Maldon has offered workshops throughout the U.S, Canada and Ireland. Known for her clear, concise and innovative teaching techniques, she is one of a handful of dancers teaching the Sean-nós form of dance outside of Ireland.