Gerry O’Connor comes from Dundalk in Co. Louth, and was taught by his mother, Rose, who was a descendant of three generations of fiddle players. With a focus on his local music of the Oriel region, he is known world-wide as a soloist and as a founder band member of Lá Lugh, Skylark and Oirialla. His playing is noted for its vibrancy and pulsating rhythm which he attributes to his early years of step-dancing and to the influence of John Joe Gardiner with whom he played in the inaugural Comhaltas Seisiún series in the early 1970s. He has recorded 14 albums with his first solo album, Journeyman hailed as a landmark album of Irish fiddle music, and he has performed with all of the leading performers of the Irish music world including members of the Chieftains, Boys of the Lough, Planxty, De Dannan and the Bothy Band. Gerry has published a book of Cathal McConnell’s songs, I have Travelled this Country, and his recent publication, The Rose in the Gap, is a collection of the dance music of Oriel recorded at the turn of the 20th century. A winner of the prestigious Ródaíocht Bardic Award at the the 2018 All Ireland Fleadh for his valuable cultural contribution to Irish music, Gerry is also highly regarded as a violin-maker and music producer, and is in constant demand as a music tutor. His second solo album Last Night’s Joy is now available on Lughnasa Music.
Since she was 18, when she astounded the Celtic music world by winning the Senior All-Ireland Fiddle Championship, Liz Carroll has been amazing audiences around the globe. She has been called a “virtuoso” (The Irish Times), a “celebrated torchbearer” (Lexington Herald-Leader), and a “master of Irish traditional music” (NPR’s The Thistle & Shamrock). She is a NEA National Heritage Fellow, a 2009 Grammy nominee (“Best Traditional World Album,” Double Play with John Doyle), One of our Master Music Makers, and the first American-born recipient of the TG4 Gradam Cheoil for Cumadoir/Composer – Ireland’s most significant music prize. Liz’s recordings are, in the majority, her own compositions, and they have given her a stature equal to that of her playing. She is celebrated for invigorating the traditional styles of Irish music, and her compositions have entered the repertoire of Irish and Celtic performers throughout the world. The first half of 2019 finds Liz celebrating the release of her album with Jake Charron, titled, Half Day Road, with concerts and tours in Chicago, Toronto, France and England. Liz also has appearances in Boston, Dublin, Orlando, Killarney, California, and Wisconsin before she plunks herself down for her favorite week – the Swannanoa Gathering.
Nuala is known for her creative reworking and reimagining of traditional songs and for her unique Irish flute style, formed in Dundalk, County Louth and honed in her long-time adopted home of Edinburgh, Scotland. With four solo albums to her credit, Nuala is a musical adventurer who is known world-wide as a superlative performer of traditional music. She has graced the cover of Irish Music Magazine, Sing Out! and regularly appears on the mainstage at festivals around the world. Her roots are first and foremost in Irish music, but she ‘something of a genre bender’ according to the Living Tradition magazine and this year released a live album with two Norwegian musicians as Snowflake Trio. Nuala performs with Oirialla, playing music from her native area alongside fiddler Gerry O’ Connor, and with The Alt (John Doyle and Eamon O’Leary).
Kieran O’Hare is a highly respected and sought-after performer of Irish music on the uilleann pipes, flute, and tinwhistle. While attending university at Trinity College, Dublin, he was the first American-born player of Irish music invited to perform in the annual ‘Ace and Deuce of Piping’ concert, held in Ireland’s National Concert Hall. Kieran has since performed at countless festivals and concerts across North America, Europe, and Asia, with such artists as Liz Carroll, Mick Moloney, the late Jerry Holland, Bonnie Raitt, the Paul Winter Consort, Josh Groban, and Don Henley. He has appeared in the film Road to Perdition, the Broadway musical The Pirate Queen, the PBS special presentation Celtic Origins with the Irish choral group Anúna, and as a soloist at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops Orchestra. Kieran works internationally with his wife Liz Knowles in the production and design of large-scale theatrical and musical productions, and he is currently artistic director of ‘Fête de la St. Patrick et de la Bretagne’ in France. Kieran and Liz also perform with Pat Broaders in the acclaimed trio, Open the Door for Three, which has just released its third album, The Joyful Hour. Kieran serves on the Board of Directors of Ná Píobairí Uilleann in Dublin, Ireland, an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of uilleann piping worldwide, and of The Northeast Tionól, North America’s premier uilleann piping event.
Born in Birmingham, England, Kevin Crawford’s early life was one long journey into Irish music and Co. Clare, where he eventually moved while in his 20’s. He was a founding member of Moving Cloud, the Clare-based band who recorded such critically-acclaimed albums as Moving Cloud and Foxglove, and he has also recorded with Grianin, Raise the Rafters, Joe Derrane, Natalie Merchant, Susan McKeown and Sean Tyrrell. Kevin appears on the 1992 recording, The Maiden Voyage, recorded live at Peppers Bar, Feakle, Co. Clare, and appears on the 1994 recording, The Sanctuary Sessions, recorded live in Cruise’s Bar, Ennis, Co. Clare. He now tours the world with Ireland’s cutting-edge traditional band, Lúnasa, called by some the “Bothy Band of the 21st Century,”with nine ground-breaking albums to their credit: Lúnasa, Otherworld, The Merry Sisters of Fate, Redwood, The Kinnity Sessions, Sé, The Story So Far, La Nua and CAS. A recent project is the Teetotallers, a supergroup trio that also features Martin Hayes and John Doyle. A virtuoso flute player, Kevin has also recorded several solo albums including The ‘D’ Flute Album, In Good Company, On Common Ground, Carrying the Tune, a duo recording with Lúnasa’s piper, Cillian Vallely, and a trio project with Dylan Foley & Patrick Doocey, The Drunken Gaugers.
Alasdair White is an exceptional exponent of west coast Scottish music and is widely regarded as one of the foremost Scottish fiddler players of his generation. He was born and brought up on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, a chain of islands of singular importance to Gaelic Scotland’s musical heritage and is perhaps best known as having been a member of Scotland’s seminal Battlefield Band for over 16 years, touring extensively in that time throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Now resident in New York, Alasdair has performed and recorded as a guest with many of the best-known names in Scottish, Irish and Breton traditional music including Kathleen MacInnis, Julie Fowlis, Eddie Reader, Allan MacDonald, Manus Lunny, Nuala Kennedy, and Arnaud Ciapolino. Current ongoing projects include Daimh, the Alan Kelly Gang and of course, Battlefield Band. Alasdair also recently premiered a major commission at the Hebridean Celtic festival in Stornoway, an hour-long original piece entitled An Iuchair.
John Doyle is one of Ireland’s most talented and innovative musicians. Originally from Dublin, and a longtime resident of Asheville, John is an accomplished singer and songwriter, multi-Grammy nominee, and an extraordinary master of the Irish guitar whose hard-driving style has influenced a generation of players. A founding member of the acclaimed group Solas, his powerful guitar playing provided the signature rhythmic backbone for the band, and his delicate and emotional fingerstyle playing and creative vocal harmonies can be heard on four of Solas’ recordings as well as dozens of other recordings. John regularly performs solo, and has also toured the world with such artists as Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Linda Thompson, Jerry Douglas, The Alt, Usher’s Island, Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers, Tim O’Brien, Michael McGoldrick & John McCusker, Alison Brown, Mick Moloney, Kate Rusby and a host of other world-class performers. John has been featured on over 100 recordings of traditional and contemporary Irish, folk and Americana music, including most recently, Usher’s Island, with the legendary Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin. He is a great lover of traditional song, an encouraging and enthusiastic teacher, and his nearly non-stop touring, producing and recording schedule attests to his high standing in the world of traditional Irish music. We’re pleased to welcome one of our Master Music Makers back for his thirteenth Gathering.
Colin was born in Manchester, England, into a very musical family. His parents are from Co.Galway and Co.Cavan. Colin started playing the fiddle and tin whistle from an early age and has made a name for himself performing and recording with an array of great musicians in Europe and the US, including such groups as Flook, Grada, Karen Casey, John Doyle, The Elders, Julie Fowlis, Tim O’Brien, The Michael McGoldrick Band and has been touring with the Irish traditional supergroup Lúnasa for the last several years. Colin is also a noted composer whose tunes have been played and recorded by numerous bands and musicians. In 2005, he was awarded a Masters Degree in Music from Limerick University. Since then he has been living in Florida, and when not touring, Colin has been teaching at schools and various camps around the US and Europe.
Called “the new face of Scottish fiddling in the USA” by The Living Tradition, Katie McNally has made waves in both the American folk music scene and abroad since the release of her debut album, Flourish, in 2013. A member of the cross-genre fiddle super-group Childsplay, Katie has also toured with Karan Casey, John Whelan, Galician bagpiper Carlos Núñez and has appeared at the Newport Folk Festival, the Barns at Wolf Trap, The Freight & Salvage, and The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, as well as countless folk venues throughout North America and the UK. As a native Bostonian with Canadian roots, she recorded her latest album, The Boston States, in Cape Breton in 2016. Under the guidance of producer Wendy MacIsaac (Beolach, Mary Jane Lamond), McNally has curated a collection of tunes that draw inspiration from raw, mid-century recordings of Cape Breton fiddlers both in Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, sculpted by the creative energy of the Boston acoustic music scene. In addition to her busy touring schedule, she is a devoted educator whose teaching style was molded by years of attendance at fiddle camps where learning music is about joy and community and fun! This is her approach whether working with her private students, in workshops, at fiddle camps, or at Boston’s Symphony Hall. A recent covergirl for Fiddler magazine, Katie has performed and taught fiddle courses in the US, Canada, Spain, Scotland, England, and France. Katie is thrilled to come back to Swannanoa in 2019!
County Antrim’s Len Graham has been a full-time professional traditional singer since 1982. After he won the All-Ireland Traditional Singing competion in 1971, his passion for the songs of his native Ulster began to grow with his reputation. Len sought out and recorded older singers, and published a book, Here I Am Amongst You, on the songs, dance music and traditions of Joe Holmes. He was a founding member of the group Skylark, with whom he toured extensively for ten years and recorded four albums. In 1993, he released his book and field recording collection, It’s Of My Rambles. Over the years, Len has collaborated and worked with numerous musicians, poets and storytellers. His association with the late John Campbell brought storytelling and song to a world audience, and their work together over twenty years made a significant contribution toward creating a deeper cross-community understanding of shared cultural traditions during many years of conflict in the north of Ireland. Len has recorded numerous albums, performed at many Irish and international folk, literary and storytelling festivals, and appeared on many radio and television programs. In 1992, he received the Seán O’Boyle Cultural Traditions Award in recognition of his work in Ireland as a song collector and singer. In 2002, he was honoured as the first recipient of the Irish television TG4 National Music Award for “Traditional Singer Of the Year.” In 2008, he was awarded “Keeper of the Tradition” from the Tommy Makem Festival of Traditional Song, and the US Irish Music Award in the “Sean-Nós Singing” category. In 2011, he was awarded the Gradam na mBard CCÉ (CCÉ Bardic Award) at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
Rose Conway Flanagan originally began Irish music lessons with Martin Mulvihill while growing up in the Bronx and further developed her New York Sligo style of fiddling with the help of family friend and mentor Sligo fiddler Martin Wynne and her brother Brian Conway. Rose was recently inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Region CCE Hall of Fame alongside her father Jim and her brother Brian. She currently teaches in her hometown of Pearl River, NY where she is hard at work preparing the next generation of great traditional musicians, which include several All-Ireland winners and medalists. Among Rose’s past students are the fiddlers in Girsa and All-Ireland senior fiddle champion Dylan Foley. Rose has been an instructor at the Alaska Fiddle Camp, The Augusta Heritage Irish Week, The Catskills Irish Arts week, Colorado Roots Camp, Centrum Fiddle Tunes, Fiddle and Pick Irish Camp, Mad for Trad Week, The O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, and several times at the Gathering. She has also taught at the DeDanaan Dance Camp in Vancouver, BC, the Scoil Eigse in Cavan and Sligo, Ireland, and workshops at the Northeast Tional, Cape Cod Ceili Weekend, Baltimore Trad Festival, and at various CCE conventions. Rose also runs seisúns, and performs throughout the New York area. She recently released Forget Me Not, a duo CD with Baltimore flute player Laura Byrne.
Máirtín de Cógáin is a singing, dancing, tale-spinning bodhrán player, playwright and actor descended from a long line of storytellers with two All-Ireland titles for Storytelling under his belt. Máirtín grew up in Carrigaline, Co. Cork, where parties were frequent, and everyone had to have their “party piece” to perform. His father Barry taught him nearly all he knows, along with great yarnspinners like Éamon Kelly, Pat ‘the Hat’ Speith, Bob Jennings, Éamonn de Barra and many more. Máirtín is also a true promoter of the Ballad and learned from many famous Irish singers such as Danni Maichi Ua Súilleabháin, Séamus Mac Mathúna, and Ciarán Dwyer. A fluent speaker of Irish (Gaelic), he grew up in a bilingual home and later earned a degree in the Irish language from University College Cork. Máirtín has taught the art of storytelling at many festivals and camps, including the Catskills Irish Arts Week, Augusta Irish Week, Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival as well as major US festivals including the Kansas City Irish Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest, CelticFest Mississippi, Minnesota Irish Fair, and La Crosse IrishFest. Máirtín is delighted to be back at the Gathering and looking forward to exploring deeper into the tradition.
Called “One of the brightest fiddlers around today” by WGBH radio’s A Celtic Sojourn host Brian O’Donovan, multistyle violinist Mari Black has delighted audiences around the world with her energetic playing, sparkling stage presence, and dazzlingly virtuosic fiddling. Raised on a rich blend of traditional musical styles, Mari made her entrance onto the international stage when she became the Glenfiddich Fiddle Champion of Scotland, a two-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion, and a two-time Canadian Maritime Fiddle champion, all within a three-year period. She has spread her love for dance-based music at Celtic festivals, Scottish Highland Games, celebrated folk venues, world music concert series, and acclaimed classical concert venues including Carnegie Hall. Mari’s passion for traditional music extends far beyond the concert stage to her work as a teacher, performance coach, dancer, competition judge and musical ambassador dedicated to connecting people through music. A master teacher with a playful and unconventional approach to helping students expand their horizons, Mari has taught workshops at the Acadia Trad School, the Jink & Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling, the Mark O’Connor fiddle camp, the Tanglewood Festival, the Yale School of Music, and more.
Gráinne Hambly comes from Co. Mayo in the west of Ireland. She started to play Irish music on the tinwhistle at an early age, before moving on to the concertina and later the harp. She lived in Belfast for six years, where she completed a Master’s Degree in Musicology at Queen’s University. Her main research topic concerned folk music collections and the harp in 18th-century Ireland. In 1994, she was awarded first prize in the senior All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil competitions for harp and concertina. As well as being an established performer touring extensively throughout Europe and North America, she is also a qualified teacher of traditional Irish music and is in great demand at summer schools and festivals both in Ireland and abroad. Gráinne was awarded the T.T.C.T. (a certificate for teaching traditional Irish music at advanced level, credited by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the Irish Department of Education), and has also received her Graduate Diploma in Education (Music) from the University of Limerick. She has released three widely-acclaimed solo harp CDs and a collaborative CD with Billy Jackson, as well as appearing on a number of other recordings.
Born in London, in his youth John was blessed to play with some great names of an older generation of players, such as Lucy Farr, Brian Rooney and Bobby Casey, to name but a few. After winning his first three All-Ireland button accordion competitions, he recorded his first LP, The Pride of Wexford, at the age of fourteen and an EP with Christine Considine, produced by the legendary Finbarr Dwyer. He made several appearances on RTE and British television before moving to the US in 1980 where he teamed up with Eileen Ivers, culminating in the recording, Fresh Takes with Mark Simos on guitar. In 1990, he released a solo CD, From The Heart, and in 1996, he signed with Narada Records and wrote, recorded and produced seven CDs, bringing him into the Top Ten on the Billboard World Music charts with sales in excess of one million. Since coming to the US, John has helped no less than four students claim the All-Ireland button accordion Championship. Two of those students became professional players, Buddy Connolly (Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul) and John McGroary (Blackthorn). Teaching has always been a passion for John and not just limited to button accordion: he also taught the great Karen Tweed, five-time All-Ireland piano accordion player from England. John has also appeared on the Conan O’Brien Show and in two films, Ride with the Devil, directed by Ang Lee and Gods & Generals, directed by Ron Maxwell. He recently formed a new band called Gailfean, featuring lifelong friend Brian Conway, with Máirtín de Cógáin and Don Penzien.
Boston-based flute and whistle player Shannon Heaton brings passion and presence to her onstage projects and to her teaching pursuits. She performs with her husband in the acclaimed duo Matt & Shannon Heaton. As a teacher and ambassador of the tradition, she hosts the cultural podcast, Irish Music Stories and her compositions have been recorded by the Battlefield Band, Ailie Roberts, Childsplay, Tricolor, and many others. In recognition of her work as a poised performer and empowering teacher, Heaton received a 2016 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council; Live Ireland named her “Female Artist of the Year” in 2011 and 2010; and Irish American News named her 2009 “Female Musician of the Year.” FolkWorld called her “a confident and accomplished player,” and the Boston Irish Reporter wrote, “A superlative Irish flute and tin whistle player … who can sing the birds out of the trees, Heaton has boundless creativity and virtuosity.”
At age seven, Cillian Vallely began learning the whistle and pipes from his parents, Brian and Eithne at the Armagh Pipers Club, a group that has fostered the revival of traditional music in the north of Ireland for over four decades. Since leaving college, he has played professionally and toured all over North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. He appears on over sixty albums including guest spots with Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant and Alan Simon’s Excalibur project with Fairport Convention and the Moody Blues. He has also performed and toured with Riverdance, Tim O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Whirligig, and the Celtic Jazz Collective. Since 1999, he has been a member of Lúnasa, one of the world’s premier Irish bands, with whom he has recorded nine albums and played at many major festivals and venues including WOMAD, Glastonbury, Edmonton Folk Festival, Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl.
Vogue magazine calls musician Owen Marshall “A guitar/mandolin/banjo player rivaled in character only by the occasional three-pronged carrot.” With the music traditions of Quebec and Nova Scotia just over the border from his home in Vermont, and the strong Irish musical scene of Boston to the south, Owen was immersed in the various textures and sounds of Celtic music from an early age. In addition to touring with acts such as The Press Gang, Copley Street, and The Seamus Egan Project, Owen is in demand at music camps throughout New England and the U.S., where he shares his approach to accompanying traditional music.
Dave Cory has been playing Irish and American folk music on tenor banjo, mandolin, bouzouki and other fretted instruments for over twenty years. Throughout years of gigging and recording, Dave has contributed to numerous independent projects and releases, from pub sessions to theatre soundscapes, and instructional camps to touring groups. After early classical guitar lessons, and chance hearings of the Chieftains and the Bothy Band, Dave started spending as much of summer as possible traveling to trad music festivals and summer schools in Ireland each year, before moving to Boston and working with the wildly active music community there. Since then, Dave has recorded and gigged with The Magic Square, Eliot Grasso, Bridgetown, Lissa Schneckenburger and the McKassons, to name a few of many, and teaches regularly at his home in Oakland, CA.
Billy Jackson was a founding member of the influential folk group Ossian in 1976, a band whose outstanding recordings remain a benchmark for Scottish music. Ossian was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in September 2015. Acclaimed for his musicality on the Celtic harp, he is also a renowned composer whose work is inspired by the history and landscape of Scotland. In 1999, his song, “Land of Light” was selected as the winner of The Glasgow Herald’s year-long Song For Scotland competition, coinciding with the restoration of the Scottish Parliament, to select a “new anthem for a new era in Scotland.” As a solo performer, he has toured extensively throughout Europe and North America, and has taught harp at many international festivals. Billy is also a trained music therapist, and in 2004, he received our Master Music Maker Award for lifetime achievement. As part of his work combining traditional and classical music, Billy has performed with, and composed for, a variety of orchestras including The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Asheville Symphony and Cape Cod Symphony. Billy headed the music therapy program at Mission Hospital in Asheville for 10 years, and he now works part-time in music therapy in Sligo, Ireland.
Dave Curley is one of Ireland’s leading multi-instrumentalists, vocalists and a champion step dancer. Hailing from Co. Galway on the west coast of Ireland, Curley has worked with the award winning traditional group, Slide, for the past 10 years and also spent 5 successful years with award-winning American Roots band, Runa. More recently, Curley has joined forces with musically diverse multi-instrumentalist Andrew Finn Magill, and is also a creative member of Crannua, featuring Moya Brennan, John Doyle, Ashley Davis, Mick McCauley and Eamonn & Cormac DeBarra. Curley has a BA in Irish Music and Dance from the University of Limerick, four years teaching experience at The Music Academy, State College PA, and has taught at O’Flaherty’s Retreat in Texas, the Milwaukee Irish Fest School of Music, and has presented many music workshops at colleges, festivals and music schools around the US with Slide, Runa and Sligo fiddler, Manus McGuire.
From the folk clubs of Scotland in the 1960s and 70s to the festivals, coffeehouses and music camps of America, Ed Miller has steadily established himself as one of the finest Scottish singers of both contemporary and traditional songs. He has been a regular staff member of Swannanoa’s Celtic Week for more than two decades, where his love and knowledge of Scots song, paired with a droll sense of humor, made him an excellent and popular teacher. Originally from Edinburgh, Ed has been based in Austin, TX for many years, where he received a PhD in Folklore from the University of Texas, but over the past 30 years he has gradually moved from academia to full-time performing. He hosts a folk music show on SunRadio.com in Austin, leads folk music tours to Scotland each summer, and has released ten CDs of traditional and contemporary Scottish song, including his most recent, Follow the Music.
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 countless venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Broadway, the Kennedy Center, l’Olympia in Paris, and theatres and festivals from Shanghai to São Paulo to Sarawak. A virtuosic and versatile performer, Liz was the fiddler for Riverdance and soloist on the soundtrack for the film, Michael Collins. She has performed with such diverse artists as The New York Pops, Don Henley, Rachel Barton, Marcus Roberts, Steve Reich, Liz Carroll, Cherish the Ladies, and most recently, with actress Fiona Shaw in collaboration for a special performance for the Kennedy Center’s Ireland 100 Festival. Her career today combines the roles of performer, composer, arranger, and producer in theatrical and recording projects and she is highly regarded as a teacher for music camps and workshops. Today, she most regularly performs with her trio, Open the Door for Three, the all-star fiddle ensemble String Sisters, and as a member of a new and exciting project, the Martin Hayes Quartet.
London-born flute and whistle player John Skelton is probably best known to American audiences from his work with The House Band, with whom he recorded eight albums on the Green Linnet label. He has also released a solo album, One At a Time, and Double Barrelled, a highly regarded album of flute duets with Kieran O’Hare, as well as a series of tune collection books, A Few Tunes, A Few More Tunes, Yet More Tunes and Some Breton Tunes. John has performed at most of the major folk festivals in North America, Europe and Australia. He is an experienced teacher, and has taught at summer schools in the United States, Europe and Africa, and nineteen previous years at the Gathering. In addition to his background in Irish music, John is also well-schooled in the music of Brittany. He visits there regularly, and is a highly-regarded player of the Breton bombarde, a double-reed folk shawm. NPR’s Thistle & Shamrock described him as “the finest bombarde player outside of Brittany.” He also plays the ‘Piston’ (Low Bombarde), the ‘Veuze’ (the bagpipe of eastern Brittany) and the ‘Gaita Gallega’ (Galician pipes). In 2014, John and Kieran O’Hare recorded the CD, Two Tone, a follow-up to their highly regarded album of flute duets, Double-Barrelled. John serves as the Celtic Week Host.
Originally from Dublin, Eamon has lived in New York City for the last twenty years. He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, performing and recording with many of Irish music’s great players. In addition to his performance schedule, Eamon has taught at numerous music programs including the Augusta Heritage Center, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, the Alaska Irish Music Camp and many years at the Gathering. In 2004, he and Patrick Ourceau released a live recording, Live at Mona’s, documenting their many years hosting a session on New York’s Lower East Side, and in 2012, Eamon released a recording of traditional songs, The Murphy Beds, with Jefferson Hamer, described by the Huffington Post as “ten beautiful, crystalline songs.” He has recently teamed up with old friends John Doyle and Nuala Kennedy to form The Alt. Their self-titled debut album was released in November 2014.
Anna Colliton is one of America’s leading exponents of the bodhrán, the traditional Irish frame drum. A native of Chicago, a city of Irish musical excellence, Anna plays a highly intricate style of drumming with masterful tonal and rhythmic variation. She has taught and performed at festivals across the country, including Catskills Irish Arts Week, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, The O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat, The St. Louis Tionol, and Augusta Celtic week, as well as with the Academy of Irish Music in Chicago and the Irish Arts Center in New York. Anna toured with the band Comas for several years and has recently returned from a three-month stay at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where she performed at the International Showcase at Epcot Theme Park. She has also played and performed with Cherish the Ladies, the Paul McKenna Band, Girsa, and others.
Siobhan Butler is an acclaimed performer and teacher of sean-nós and set dancing. She has been featured in many settings including RTE and TG4 in Ireland and the prestigious Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Siobhan has performed and collaborated with many leading traditional artists including The Yanks, Kevin Burke, Cherish the Ladies, Nic Gareiss, Tony DeMarco, Kieran Jordan, Patrick Ourceau & Tony McManus, Atlantic Steps, as well as a European tour with the renowned Irish dance show, Rhythm of the Dance. With over 20 years of experience, Siobhan’s dancing has been described as musical, joyful, and exciting. Her expertise in Irish dance traditions is showcased through in-demand workshops, demonstrations, and lectures. She has taught master classes at The University of Limerick, and all over the U.S. at such venues as Boston College, Villanova University, Gran Bal Trad Vialfre, Milwaukee Irish Fest, and Sean-Nós Northwest to name a few. Siobhan is a graduate of Goddard College, and the University of Limerick, where she received a BA in Anthropology and a MA in Ethnochoreology, respectively.
Hailed as a “Celtic guitar god” by the Baltimore City Paper and a recipient of the Swannanoa Gathering’s Master Master Music Maker award, Robin Bullock’s virtuosity on guitar, cittern and mandolin blends the ancient melodies of the Celtic lands, their vigorous Appalachian descendants, and the timeless masterworks of the Baroque and Renaissance eras into one powerful musical vision. Robin’s honors also include “Editor’s Pick” and “Player’s Choice” Awards from Acoustic Guitar magazine, the Association for Independent Music’s prestigious INDIE Award (with the world-music trio Helicon), multiple Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Awards, a Governor’s Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, a bronze medal at the National Mandolin Championships in Winfield, KS and the Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award. Robin maintains a busy international touring schedule, performing solo, with Guitar Week colleague Steve Baughman, and with four-time National Scottish Harp Champion Sue Richards; he’s also played several hundred concerts as sideman with Grammy Award-winning folk legend Tom Paxton, including four “Together at Last” tours with Tom’s fellow Grammy winner Janis Ian. Robin has nearly two dozen solo, collaborative and group CDs to his credit, the most recent being Highland Ramble, his debut duo CD with harp champion Sue Richards, and he’s halfway through the first-ever complete recording of the Bach Cello Suites on solo mandolin, Volume I of which was released in 2016. 2019 marks the twenty-fourth consecutive Swannanoa Gathering for Robin, now a proud resident of nearby Black Mountain.
Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, Caitlin Warbelow is a violinist and fiddler based in Manhattan. Currently the violinist/fiddler for the Tony-award winning Broadway musical Come From Away, Caitlin previously performed with Riverdance’s Heartbeat of Home as well as Sting’s Broadway musical, The Last Ship. She has toured with Cherish the Ladies, The Alt, Mick Moloney and the Green Fields of America, Michael Londra & Celtic Fire, Trinity Dance Company, and the Cathie Ryan Band, among many others. Caitlin performs, records, and teaches extensively in a variety of traditional and popular Irish and American genres, and occasionally returns to her roots as a classical violinist. Caitlin holds honors from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, the National Suzuki Conference, the New England Fiddle Championship, and the Fleadh Cheoil, and she is on the faculty at Manhattan’s Irish Arts Center as well as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival and the Far North Fiddle Festival. Caitlin holds a masters degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and bachelors degrees from Boston University in Violin Performance and Anthropology.
The Coordinator of Celtic Week is an award-winning songwriter and instrumentalist and the founding Director of the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops of Warren Wilson College. He also acts as Coordinator for its Contemporary Folk and Mando & Banjo Weeks, directs the Celtic Series of Mainstage Concerts at Asheville’s Diana Wortham Theatre, and was awarded the first Fellowship in Songwriting and Composition from the North Carolina Arts Council. He performs solo on guitar, mandolin and vocals, and with his wife Beth (flute) and son Andrew Finn (fiddle) as the Celtic trio, The Magills. With numerous album and performance credits, including appearances with Emmy Lou Harris and Tom Paxton, Jim’s original songs have been covered by such artists as Mike Cross, The Smith Sisters, Cucanandy and the Shaw Brothers, and have been featured numerous times on NPR’s Thistle & Shamrock. In the world of graphic arts, his cover designs for the Gathering’s catalogs have won thirteen design awards, he’s twice been a finalist for Photoshop World’s Guru Awards, and he has served as a consultant on website design for several luthiers.
Children’s Program coordinator Melissa Hyman is involved with kids and music in all the many facets of her working life. She has taught music to elementary students at Asheville charter schools and coordinated children’s programming at regional music conferences. Her main gig is as a musician on the folk/indie circuit with The Moon and You, working full-time as a touring and recording artist, cellist, singer and songwriter. She is also the Music Teacher for the Asheville chapter of Arts for Life (artsforlifenc.org), a non-profit providing art and music programming for patients in NC’s major children’s hospitals and outpatient clinics. In 2016 Melissa founded Arts For Life’s Heartbeat Sessions program (heartbeatsessions.org), in joyful collaboration with Echo Mountain Recording Studios and many talented members of the Asheville music community. Melissa looks forward to many more unforgettable summers in Swannanoa, leading a ragtag crew of amazing kids and counselors on adventures through space and time. She feels right at home in this world of messy games, silly songs, amazing crafts and fast friendships.