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Jefferson Hamer is a guitarist, songwriter, and producer based in Brooklyn, NY. He has recorded albums with Sarah Jarosz, Anais Mitchell, Session Americana, Kristin Andreassen, JKLOL, Laura Cortese, and many others. His self-produced solo release from 2018, Alameda, features eight original tracks with contributions by John Fatum, Jeff Picker, Sarah Jarosz, Hannah Read, Dylan Foley, and Tim Britton. In 2013, he and Anais Mitchell won a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Child Ballads, a collection of new adaptations of English and Scottish folk songs. Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote, “A gifted guitarist and singer, Hamer is able to hit close harmonies and weave gorgeous instrumental lines.”
Liz Knowles has brought her distinctive sound; the fire and finesse of Irish fiddle music combined with the tonal richness of the classical violin, to concert stages and festivals across the world. Her auspicious beginnings as the fiddler for Riverdance and as soloist on the soundtrack for the film Michael Collins established her as a virtuosic and versatile performer, and she has since performed as soloist with such orchestras as the New York Pops and the National Symphony Orchestra, played on Broadway with The Pirate Queen and The Green Bird, and traveled the world for over four years as music director, composer and performer with Celtic Legends and Celtic Dances. She has played in some remarkable and magical locations around the world including an island festival off the coast of France where the concert had to be timed with the tides and a Malaysian festival at the foot of a rainforest, both with the String Sisters. Her trio, Open the Door for Three has played in a bullring and at the Kennedy Center and the newly formed Martin Hayes Quartet recorded their first album, Blue, at the stately Bantry House on the west coast of Ireland.
Eamon O'Leary started playing Irish music while growing up in Dublin. When he moved to New York City in the early 90’s, he immersed himself in the city’s traditional music scene and travelled widely, performing with many of the great players in Irish music. In 2004 he and fiddler Patrick Ourceau released the album Live at Mona’s. Eamon has taught at many traditional music programs around the world and also records and performs original music. His last solo album, All Souls, was released on Reveal Records in 2018. Other recent recordings of note include The Alt with John Doyle and Nuala Kennedy, and The Immigrant Band, a joint old-time and Irish endeavor with John Doyle, John Herrmann, and Rafe and Clelia Stefanini.
Boston-based Uilleann piper Joey Abarta, fiddler Nathan Gourley, sean-nós dancer Jackie O'Riley, and Portland resident Owen Marshall on bouzouki, combine forces to form the traditional Irish music quartet Copley Street. Joey and Nathan’s debut album, Copley Street, featuring Owen Marshall on bouzouki, has an undeniable chemistry and demonstrates a nuanced understanding of each other’s playing. Their music includes offbeat settings of well-known tunes and beautiful pieces, paired perfectly with Jackie’s intuitive and fluid dancing.
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The name Cantrip is an Old Scots word meaning a charm, magic spell or piece of mischief and it aptly describes the unexpected twists and turns in their musical arrangements, likewise the compelling potency of their musicianship. Swirling border pipes, raging fiddle, thunderous guitar and three rich voices blend to create a sound energetic enough to tear the roof off. After 20 years of touring, Cantrip has found a character like no other. Echoes can be heard of trad music from the 1960s and 70s, but the years have slowly infested their music with the sounds of funk, metal, bluegrass, swing, and even klezmer. Dan Houghton, Jon Bews, Alasdair White, and Eric McDonald stir the elements in a witches’ cauldron, slowly coalescing into chaotic order.
Seven-time All-Ireland accordion champion John Whelan was raised on the fiddle and pipe music of Ireland, as his father Denis was from Ireland's county Wexford. At age 14, already a seasoned winner, John recorded his first album in honor of his father, Pride of Wexford, still in print and selling well.
John has received the “Musician of the Year” award from the Irish Music Association — twice. He has recorded more than 15 CDs and spent several weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard World Music Charts. He has also appeared on more than 30 albums with other artists, including the National Geographic: Ireland CD. John is known for being extraordinarily generous with his music and possesses a rare knack for mentoring and teaching, spotting talent in fledgling musicians — no matter the instrument — and helping them grow to their fullest potential.
Forged at the Monday Night Irish session at O'Reilly's Cure in Scarborough, four of Portland's finest traditional Irish musicians have come together to form The Vacationland Ceili Band. The quartet of pipes, flute, fiddle and banjo (with some guitar & piccolo for good measure) brings tunes from across the full spectrum of Irish music to the stage and performs them with the fun, energy and humor of a lively session at your local pub.
Mile Isacke - guitar & tenor banjo
Alden Robinson - fiddle
Tom Rota - uilleann pipes
Will Woodson - flute, piccolo
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Will Woodson (flute, uilleann pipes) and Caitlin Finley (fiddle) play sparky and driving traditional Irish music that’s grounded in the textures and rhythms of the rich Irish-American soundscape of the 1920s and 30s. With roots in the living Irish musical cultures of Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia, and a tremendous admiration for the first generation of recorded Irish musicians, the duo conjures up the sounds of the dance halls, vaudeville theaters, and house sessions central to Irish-American music from the first half of the twentieth century. Their 2019 debut album, The Glory Reel, recorded with Chris ‘Junior’ Stevens on piano, is full of swing, lift, and exuberance, drawing largely upon the repertoires of North Connacht and Ulster – a diverse set of influences that are channeled into punchy, powerful, and joyous music.
Everyone has a mentor, influences, and heroes. Join Christian “Junior” Stevens and Chris Brinn as they collaborate on a celebration of the music of some of theirs. Learn about the free reed family in traditional music, what makes these two fellas tick (might want to rethink that), and why they foolishly chose “the box” over really cool instruments such as the electric guitar or the theremin.
Celtic duo Stanley & Grimm entertain with a celebration of traditional music through old and new interpretations of jigs, reels, and songs played with lively fiddle, guitar, and voice. Fiddler Nikki Engstrom and singer/guitarist Sean Brennan create a musical journey through a bounty of fiddle tunes and ballads of all origins, alongside modern tunes and songs they have composed. Their second CD, Another Round, was awarded the Celtic Radio Music Award for the 2008 Album of the Year, and also took top honors in the “Jigs & Reels” category. Celtic Radio Network describes their music as “emotionally stirring, exhilarating, perfectly splendid!” The infectious fun they have on stage and their intense playing have helped them to become fan favorites on the New England traditional music scene.
It'll be great to see Nikki and Sean back at the Maine Celtic Celebration. Click on the image for their website and full bios.
Click on the link below for details of a special workshop!
Described as a “passionate and masterful player who values tradition” Gus La Casse is exploring the future of fiddle music. His repertoire reflects his innovative spirit and dedication to the Cape Breton and Acadian fiddle traditions, playing both standards of the genre and original material.
Based in Downeast Maine, Gus maintains an active performance schedule as a solo artist with journeyman gigs along the way.
Gus’ music has also taken him beyond Maine. He was the 2014 student in residence at The Acadia School of Traditional Music, appearing on the Canadian international television broadcast from the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2014. He traveled to Ireland as part of the Young Tradition Vermont touring group in 2016, and has enjoyed playing the legendary Club Passim in Cambridge, MA. In 2018 Gus was a featured performer at the American Folk Festival in Bangor, Maine.
Skylark is a trio of folk musicians with a broad range of instruments and a repertoire that spans maritime, Celtic, and American music traditions. The band shines in tight harmonies, engaging arrangements, and a depth of knowledge about the songs, tunes, and instruments they play, making their shows both entertaining and informative.
A.J. Wright lends rich vocals, English style concertina playing, and the soothing sounds of the cello, Kate McCann is a clawhammer banjo player with a sweet mezzo-soprano tone, and Yves Corbiere sews the trio together with charming balladry and vibrant bow strokes on the fiddle. Whether on land or at sea, their diverse sounds and joyful stage presence are a delight to audiences.
Laouen (pronounced leh-wenn, which means “joy” in the Breton language) consists of four longtime musicians and friends who are passionate interpreters of traditional Celtic music.
Claire Boucher – singer extraordinaire, hails from Sarzeau, Brittany and currently lives in Montréal. She sings traditional songs from Brittany and is an experienced Breton dance teacher.
Brad Hurley – Also from Montréal, Brad plays the wooden flute and 12-string guitar.
Samantha Moffatt – A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Vermont, Sam plays hammered dulcimer, chromatic accordion, and percussion.
Clément Demers – Based in Stanstead, Québec, Clément specializes in playing the diatonic 3-row accordion, the instrument of choice for Bal folk (French country dances) in Europe.
DunCreagan plays Irish and Scottish traditional music, with creative arrangements of old and new songs and tunes in the tradition, many composed by founding member Rick Gagné.
Prize-winning singer, Tom McKean, brings ballads and songs from Scotland in Scots and Gaelic, told with the plain-speaking drama and exquisite language of true traditional song.
Tunes are driven by the accordion of Carrick Eggleston, serving as a bedrock for bouzouki, guitar, and mandolin countermelodies and rhythms.
All this is underpinned by the swaggering melodic guitar of Kelley Bishop, lifting the rhythms and augmenting the melodies to their best advantage.
DunCreagan are Kelley Bishop guitar, mandolin, and vocals, Carrick Eggleston accordion, and Tom McKean vocals, bouzouki, and bodhrán, playing in memory of dear friend, Rick Gagné.
Catherine is a professional piper in Machias, Maine and serving the surrounding communities extending from Bar Harbor to Lubec with over 30 years professional experience playing the bagpipes. Her broad experience includes weddings, parties, funerals and military, firefighter and police ceremonies and memorials at sea. Catherine's experience as lead instructor for the Central Coast Pipes and Drums and Pipe Sergeant for the Monterey Bay Pipe Band, an award winning competition band, makes her a top choice when hiring a Bagpiper.
Catherine has performed with the world famous Chieftans, as an opening act for Rod Stewart, the Vocal Arts Ensemble of San Luis Obispo, and at graveside services at the Arlington National Cemetery. She donates much of her time piping for community related and non-profit organizations including Relay for Life events which support cancer research, the Peace Officer's Memorial, and Veteran and Memorial Day ceremonies.
Like many other traditional groups, the Irish band Home Port sprang from the local session scenes. Jim Hyland and Jody Johnstone have organized and led the Belfast area weekly Irish music sessions for over ten years. They have appeared numerous time at the Maine Celtic Celebration sometimes appearing as members of The Strayaways with their infamous colleague Chris Brinn. As they will this year, they hold down the opening festivities at the Beer Tent. They have literally helped to hold down other tents during certain climate related events in past Celebrations.
Tamora Goltz, David Stimson and Darryn Petersen are all Maine Fiddle Camp teachers. They have been playing Irish music together in various settings for over fifteen years, most recently at Portland's Blue as Jackson's Hi Ho.
After the pandemic, the weekly Belfast area Irish session was lucky enough to land at the Homeport Tavern in Searsport. Tamora, David and Darryn stopped by and everything seemed to click; the rest, as they say, is history. Home Port play an assortment of jigs, reels, polkas, slides, hornpipes, marches and airs in a traditional style on a variety of instruments, including fiddle, uillean pipes, whistle, guitar, flute, concertina, and octave mandolin.