"I've been involved with Irish music for most of my life. I was born in the US but as a player, teacher and learner I've tried to get inside the music and understand what makes it sound the way it does. That quest took me into the history and culture of Ireland, and most importantly it introduced me to the people who play the music and carry on the tradition. When I assemble our teaching staff I look for musicians who are not only great players, but who also know how to communicate what they do. We've had some wonderful people share their music with us at Cascadia, and I'm very happy and proud to be bringing this year's teachers to the Pacific Northwest."
Read more about Randal's music on his website at www.randalbays.com
Cavan native Antóin MacGabhann is one of Ireland's most revered fiddlers and a highly regarded teacher who has influenced a generation of musicians in Ireland. He was winner of all the major fiddle competitions including All-Ireland Senior Fiddle, Fiddler of Dooney, Fiddler of Oriel and Oireachtas. Antóin has toured on many occasions with Comhaltas and given workshops at various events including Elkins, West Virginia, Boston College, Irish Week in the Catskills, and Cascadia Irish Music Week.
Antoin has recorded a number of CDs including his newest release, ‘Tunesmith’ with Charlie Lennon. He performs regularly at festivals in Ireland, often along with members of his very musical family. This is a rare opportunity to study with Antóin outside of Ireland.
James Kelly, a native of Ireland, is one of the greatest Irish traditional fiddlers alive today. He learned his music from his father John Kelly, the renowned fiddle and concertina player from County Clare. James began his recording and touring career at age sixteen when he won first place in the prestigious "Fiddler of the Year" competition and recorded his first album, a duet with his brother John. James has toured Europe, the US, Canada and South America, and was a member of several influential Irish groups, including "Patrick Street" and "Planxty." He was a presenter of the "Pure Drop" series for Irish TV and has appeared with "The Chieftains." In recent years he received the prestigious "Florida Folk Heritage Award" as well as the "Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Folk Arts Award." James was the TG4 Irish traditional musician of the year, having been awarded the "Gradam Ceoil TG4 2006 Irish Musician of the Year" award.
A former member of Chulrua, the Doon Ceili Band, the Two Tap Trio, and the Máirtín de Cógáin Project, Nathan Gourley started playing music at age five. While living in Minnesota he had the opportunity to collaborate with such renowned players as Paddy O’Brien of Chulrua, Daithi Sproule of Altan, Brian Miller of Bua, and Norah Rendell of The Outside Track. Now a resident of Boston, Nathan has recently released 'Life Is All Checkered' with Laura Feddersen, 'Copley Street' with Joey Abarta and 'The Truckley Howl' with Mairead Hurley and John Blake. He has taught and performed at festivals in Ireland, New Zealand, and throughout the United States.
Catherine McEvoy is one of the leading flute players in Irish music today, and one of the most popular teachers of that instrument. From 1984-1988 Catherine was a member of "Macalla," the first all female traditional group. In more recent years she has been one of the senior flute tutors at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare and has taught Irish flute throughout Ireland, Europe and North America. She was the primary flute teacher for several years at Friday Harbor Irish Music Week, the predecessor to Cascadia Irish Music Week.
Catherine has numerous, highly acclaimed recordings to her credit and was recently awarded the most prestigious prize in Irish music, the TG4 Gradam Cheoil Traditional Musician of the Year for 2019.
Eamonn Cotter, originally from Ennis but living in Kilmaley in Co. Clare for over 30 years, is a well known and respected flute player and flute manufacturer. As a teacher he has taught at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Blas Summer School, Scoil Éigse, Rencontre Musicale Irlandais in Tocane St Apre in France and in Tonder, Denmark. He has toured widely both in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the United States. Eamonn has been a member of St. Flannan's Ceili Band, the Tulla Ceili Band, and Shaskeen. He has recorded on many albums including his solo CDs The Knotted Chord and Traditional Music from Co. Clare. He has been featured on many radio and television programmes including ‘Geantrai’ and ‘Gradam Cheoil TG4 2009’. As well as traditional music he also has a keen interest in Western Art music (he was awarded an ALCM diploma in 1985). He also regularly plays flute in a jazz ensemble in Limerick.
Mick O'Brien is a highly regarded performer and teacher of the Uilleann pipes. Mick was born in Dublin into a very musical family, with all five boys playing Irish music. At the age of nine, Mick started learning the pipes in the famous Thomas Street Pipers club in Dublin, which was also a meeting house for musicians from all over the country. Now much in demand as a tutor, Mick has travelled to Europe, Canada and the USA conducting master classes. Mick has performed and travelled with the Norwegian group Secret Garden, Charlotte Church, The Dubliners, The Boys of the Lough, Altan and Charlie Lennon, to name a few and also performed on Broadway with the internationally renowned show Riverdance. His music has crossed many boundaries and styles through the years, but it is as a traditional uilleann piper that he is best known.
Florence Fahy is a native of north Co. Clare’s New Quay, just a short trip up the road from Belharbour, home to famed concertina player Chris Droney and the center of an unusually rich tradition of concertina playing in Ireland. She was inspired to play the concertina by her father, a great concertina player himself, Martin Fahy. Florence has studied with Tim Collins and Dympna O’Sullivan, has toured Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East with various musical groups, and in 2017 she released her debut CD, “Tunes From The Flaggy Shore”. She’s a highly regarded teacher of the anglo concertina and has taught classes at Friday Harbor, Cascadia, and O’Flaherty. As musician and author Gearoid O hAllmhurain says, “This is music from a true master of her art, who knows and loves her own musical place, and shares it wholeheartedly with the world. Her music, in the prophetic words of Séamus Heaney, knows how to ‘catch the heart off guard and blow it open’ for all to enjoy.”
Tim Collins is widely acclaimed as one of the great anglo concertina players and tutors of modern times. Based in Crusheen, Co. Clare where he runs his own concertina school, he is a member of the famed Kilfenora Céilí Band since 1994, and he has toured and recorded extensively with the band over the last twenty-two years. Tim is founding co-director of Consairtín:The National Concertina Convention and is also founding director of the ground breaking Irish Concertina Ensemble (ICE), the first of its kind in Ireland. He’s performed and taught throughout Ireland, Europe and North America and has appeared on numerous recordings.
Johnny Og Connolly
From one of Connemara's great musical families, Johnny is a master of the traditional style of playing on the two-row accordion, and won the All-Ireland accordion prize at the age of 12. In recent years Johnny has performed and recorded with many great musicians including Charlie Lennon, Brian McGrath, etc. His 2011 CD "Aisling Yoshua" won "Best Traditional Album of the Year" in the Irish Times poll. Johnny's playing is lively and expressive and represents the best of the Irish accordion tradition. In Irish, "Og" means "young", and in this case it distinguishes Johnny from his father, Johnny Connolly, quite a famous accordion player in his own right.
Frank grew up in Castlebar Co.Mayo, and learnt his craft playing guitar in countless local sessions in the mid–seventies, as traditional music was enjoying a revival. In 1986 he moved to London, and while there toured and recorded with many musicians prominent on the English folk circuit, working regularly in Europe and the USA. In 1998, he moved back to Ireland. He’s worked with too many great musicians to list them all… they include Luke Daniels, Brendan Power, Maggie Boyle, the Boys of The Lough, Christy O’Leary, singer Sean Keane, Alan Kelly, Mairtín O’Connor, Cathal Hayden, Sharon Shannon, Finbar Furey, Charlie Lennon, Frankie Gavin’s De Danann, John McSherry, Dermot Byrne and Floriane Blancke, among others. This is a rare opportunity to learn from Frank outside of Ireland.
Pauline Conneely was born in Bedford, England, the daughter of Irish parents from Connemara and Longford, 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.
Miray grew up surrounded by Irish music and became a fixture in the great Vancouver Irish scene in the 1990s. She was a protege of famed whistle player and teacher Loretto Reid and also studied with Catherine McEvoy, Patsy Hanly and other great Irish fluters. She was a regular attendee at the (now defunct) Friday Harbor Irish Music Week, and for the past few years has been a very popular whistle teacher and performer at Cascadia Irish Music Week.