Irish Music

An Irish “session” is an informal gathering, often at a pub, for the purpose of playing music. Musicians interested in joining a session should contact the person organizing that event. There are several in our area! The local CCE chapter’s website has a listing of sessions (mostly closer to DC), and there are several others in the Baltimore area (ask Maureen, or visit the Baltimore Irish Arts Center website to see if new listings are offered…).

Friday Music Sessions at Teelin
Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, Maureen has established “Irish Music Practice Sessions” on Fridays. The purpose of these Friday sessions is

  1. to foster music opportunities among Teelin students, and
  2. for Maureen to have practice partners who encourage her to practice playing the accordion.

These traditional Irish music sessions are for intermediate or advanced level musicians (any instrument welcome), and generally meet on Fridays 4:00-5:00pm at the Teelin studio in Columbia. Read more here…

Irish Music Organizations
The Comhaltas Coéltoiri Eireann is an international organization of traditional Irish music enthusiasts. The local branch of this organization is the O’Neill-Malcom Branch of the Comhaltas Coéltoiri Eireann, which was established to promote Irish culture in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, including Irish music, Irish step dancing, Irish social set and ceili dancing, Irish language, and Irish literature.

Please consider joining the O’Neill-Malcom Branch of CCE! It is a great way to become more involved in both the Irish music and Irish dance communities locally. This is the organization that runs the Comhaltas Irish Dance Festival (aka “CCE Feis”) in late May annually. Learn more…

(By the way, you earn brownie points if you learn how to pronounce “Comhaltas Coéltoiri Eireann”. Most of us just call it “CCE”.)

Irish Music Competitions
“Fleadh” (pronounced “flah”) is the Gaelic word for “feast”, but more commonly refers to an organized competition or festival of traditional Irish music. “Fleadh Cheoil” is the official title for a musical festival sponsored by Comhaltas Coeltoiri Eireann (CCE). There are several fleadhanna throughout North America, and the Comhaltas Conventions are also a very fun event for Irish musicians! Check the CCE North America site for more information, or the parent site of the CCE for fleadhanna in Ireland.

Many feiseanna also offer music competitions. These competitions emphasize Irish music appreciation and offer useful feedback from the judges, who are each very talented musicians. Some feiseanna even offer combined music and dance competitions! Check the feis syllabus for options.

Local Irish Music Lessons
Below are the names of a few individuals or organizations that offer Irish music lessons locally. Know of some others? Please contact the webmaster – new listings welcome!

Accordion:

  • Billy McComiskey – email for lessons ($40/hr, or $30/half-hour – lessons possible by Skype, too!)
  • Sean McComiskey

Bodhran:

  • Myron Bretholz – email for information about lessons
  • Scott Morrison – email or call 410-799-0910 for more information about lessonsScott Morrison is a Elkridge resident who plays and teaches the bodhran, bones, spoons, and penny whistle. His drum school, Rimshots, Inc., is located just off of Rt. 108 on Old Waterloo Rd. Mr. Morrison is the bodhranist/percussionist for the world beat band Big Blow and the Bushwakers and he has appeared as a workshop facilitator, performer, and presenter at the local area Scottish and Irish festivals. He also has taught at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton and frequently teaches at the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park.
  • Robert Pinkerton – email for information about lessonsRobert Pinkerton was one of the original members of Roger Drawdy and The Firestarters and became an integral part of their driving blend of traditional and original Irish music. He has performed at numerous festivals around the Midwest, taught bodhran workshops at the Cincinnati Celtic Festival, and was an instructor at the Riley School of Irish Music. After his move to Baltimore in 2005, he has been playing regularly at the various sessions around town, often with the likes of Jimmy Eagan, Dan Isaacson, Sean McComiskey and Mark Grasso.

Fiddle:

  • Ellen Jacobs (email) is a fiddle teacher in Ellicott City with students of many different ages, several of whom are also Teelin Irish Dancers!
  • Donna Long (www.donnalongpiano.com) is well-known in the Baltimore Irish Music community. She performs and teaches both keyboard and fiddle.
  • Mitch Fanning – email
  • Brendan Mulvihill
  • Jim Eagan – www.jimeagan.com

Flute / Pennywhistle:

  • Laura Byrne – www.laurabyrne.com
  • Josh Dukes (www.joshuadukes.com) is a highly sought after accompanist, teacher and flute player in the D.C./Baltimore Traditional Irish music scene. He is an extremely versatile multi-instrumentalist whose talents embrace the guitar, bouzouki, bodhran, flute and tin whistle. (His new CD is one of Maureen’s favorite CD’s for drills classes – just released July 2008, check it out!)
  • Jason Gaynor – email for information about lessonsA Baltimore area Irish musician and instructor, Jason is interested in accepting new students for Beginner or Intermediate level Irish flute or tin whistle lessons. (He also teaches classical flute, however he prefers Irish!) Jason lives and teaches in Essex. Please email for lesson rates.
  • Karen Ashbrook – www.karenashbrook.com
  • Elise Kress (www.celticweddingmusic.com) – email for information about lessons

Guitar:

Hammered Dulcimer:

Piano:

  • Donna Long (www.donnalongpiano.com) is well-known in the Baltimore Irish Music community. She performs and teaches both keyboard and fiddle.

Uilleann Pipes:

Other Interesting Opportunities: