John Whelan

John Whelan Seven-time all-Ireland champion John Whelan is one of the world’s best living Irish button accordion players. John was raised in the vibrant London Irish music scene from the time he started playing in 1970 up to his move to the US in 1980 at the age of 20. Learning his craft from such legends as Lucy Farr, Roger Sherlock, Paddy Taylor, Mick O’Connor and his teacher Brendan Mulkere, he recorded his first album in 1974 at the age of 14 and toured extensively throughout England and Ireland. It did not take long for John to establish himself in the US as he teamed up with Brian Conway and Eileen Ivers. He recorded his first highly regarded US album with Eileen in 1987 called Fresh Take, on Green Linnett Records. John and Eileen toured the US and Canada and were awarded the duo of the decade by Earle Hitchner, writer for the Irish Echo and Wall Street Journal. In 1990 John recorded his first solo CD in the US, From the Heart, which won an honorable mention by NAIRD. In 1995 John signed a 5 CD deal with Narada, a large independent record label based in Milwaukee, WI, becoming one of the highest selling traditional artists in the genre. Through his deal with Narada, John went on to sell close to one million CDs and appeared on the Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Fox After Breakfast with host Tom Bergeron and his music could be heard on such TV shows as Sex in The City, History’s Mysteries and History Detectives. John has also appeared in two motion pictures, Gods and Generals with Robert Duvall and Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil. Today John still performs with the John Whelan Band and has recently teamed up with his old pal Brian Conway forming the group Gailfean, which also features Máirtin De Cógáin and Don Penzien. Gailfean has recently released a new CD entitled Won’t You Come Out Tonight. Along with his recording and performing credentials John has dedicated himself to spreading the tradition through teaching and mentoring promising students. He has mentored four All-Ireland button accordion champions as well as other accomplished musicians such as Karen Tweed, the All-Ireland piano accordion player. John teaches at a number of music camps including the Swannanoa Irish gathering.

Colin Farrell

Collin Farrell

Collin Farrell

Born in Manchester, England into a very musical family to parents from Co. Galway and Co. Cavan, Colin started playing the fiddle and tin whistle at an early age and won numerous titles at the Fleadh Cheoil. He began playing with St. Malachy’s Céilí Band when he was 12 years old, and was a founding member of the band Ceile, with whom he recorded the album ‘Mancunian Way’. Since then, he has made a name for himself performing and recording with an array of great artists in Europe and the US including Flook, Grada, Karan Casey, John Doyle, Tim O’Brien, The Elders, Julie Fowlis and The Michael McGoldrick Band. He is currently a member of the band Lúnasa. A composer whose tunes have been played and recorded by numerous bands and musicians, Colin has also played and recorded with numerous dance shows such as Spirit of Ireland, Dance of Desire and Magical Rhythms of Ireland. He was he was awarded a master’s degree in Music in 2005 from Limerick University. Living in Florida since 2005, when not touring Colin has been teaching at schools and various camps around the US and Europe. Colin’s 2010 solo debut album ‘On the Move’ was named one of the year’s ten best albums by The Irish Echo. His second album ‘Make A Note’ released in 2015 was awarded Instrumental Album of the Year by LiveIreland.

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Pauline Conneely

Pauline Conneely was born in Bedford, England, the daughter of Irish parents from Connemara and Longford. She was raised in a family steeped in Irish music, dance and culture. As a young girl she achieved great success, becoming a champion Irish step dancer before turning her focus to music. Under the tutelage of legendary musician Brendan Mulkere, Pauline honed her love of the banjo, eventually earning her status as renowned banjo player. She founded the band Chicago Reel, who feature regularly at Irish festivals around the Midwest and East Coast. She frequently shares the stage with Grammy-nominated fiddler Liz Carroll, as well as many respected artists performing on the world stage today including John Doyle, The Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies, Sean Keane, and Mick McGoldrick. For her CD “


Kevin Crawford

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Kevin Crawford was born in Birmingham, England to Irish immigrant parents from Miltown Malbay, Co Clare who were great music lovers. It was during the family’s annual summertime pilgrimages home to Clare that he was first exposed to master musicians such as flute player P. J. Crotty, uilleann piper Seán Talty, fiddler Eamonn McGivney, and where he first heard flute player Josie Hayes and fiddler Junior Crehan playing together. More than anything else, it was the sound of these two legends, Hayes and Crehan, that inspired Kevin’s deep, abiding love for traditional music. Back in England, Kevin learned about traditional music from host of influential Irish musicians who had immigrated such as fiddlers Pat Molloy (Connemara) and Tony Neylon (Clare), accordionist Brendan Boyle (Fermanagh) and flute players Patsy Moloney (Limerick).

Inspired, Kevin took a leap of faith in 1989 and moved to Co. Clare which quickly became his adopted home. He found fertile ground in the Banner County’s legendary session scene and eventually became a member of two important groups of the time, Grianán and Raise the Rafters. However, Kevin wasn’t simply a noted performer in the 1990s. He contributed to the life of Irish music in other ways as well. From 1995-1999 he hosted a popular program for the radio station Clare-FM that featured the best in traditional music. Further, he was part of the selection panel that decided Irish language television station TG4’s Gradam awards scheme, an event that culminates in a nationally-televised annual awards ceremony celebrating the best in traditional music. Despite his renown in Ireland, it wasn’t until Kevin was invited to join the seminal group Moving Cloud in 1993 that he received his first real measure of international recognition. The band toured extensively, and with them Kevin recorded two critically acclaimed albums.

In 1997, however, a new opportunity presented itself when Irish supergroup Lúnasa asked Kevin to accompany them on a tour of Australia. His talent and energy as a musician and a “front man” brought so much to the band that he was asked to join as a permanent member, which he eventually did. It paid immediate dividends as albums he released as a solo artist and as a member of Lúnasa have garnered numerous prestigious awards. In 2010 Lúnasa was named “Performers of the Decade” by the Live Ireland Music Awards.

Kevin’s recent activities away from Lúnasa have been equally impressive, producing highly acclaimed solo and collaborative albums. With so many achievements to his name it should come as no surprise that Live Ireland Irish Music Awards named him “Male Musician of the Year” for 2013. In 2017 Crawford partnered with Lúnasa guitarist Patrick Doocey and All-Ireland fiddle champion Dylan Foley on the album The Drunken Gaugers. That same year the group were featured at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis, Co. Clare where their command performance and appearance on Fleadh TV were most warmly received.

Keen to pass on the tradition, Kevin is also a noted and in-demand teacher. He gives music classes and workshops at festivals and teaching weeks throughout the United States and

Ireland, including the famed Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare. In addition, he is an instructor through the OAIM (Online Academy for Irish Music) and provides in-person individualized tutelage for a select group of students in the US and Ireland.

Brandon Dolan

Brandon Dolan

Brendan Dolan

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 frequently scores music for various Cable TV companies including MTV and The Discovery Channel, and in 1995 co-scored the Samuel Golden film "Go Fish." 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. In addition to Irish music, Brendan spent several years playing Klezmer music in the acclaimed Andy Statman Quartet. With this ensemble he performed in concert with Itzhak Perlman at Yale University.