Uilleann pipes, whistle, flute
Ryan has a deep love for the pipers of the past. His style reflects that love and he draws inspiration from old recordings, most notably Tommy Reck, Seamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, and Patsy Touhey. With these influences, Ryan tries to blend the techniques and ornamentation of the players of the past and blend them to create his own unique style of piping. https://www.
Danny Diamond is a musician from Ireland, who plays fiddle, sings, composes music, and works as a recording engineer/producer. He comes from a renowned family of traditional musicians with a deep cultural heritage in the North of Ireland. Previously fiddle player with the bands Slow Moving Clouds and Mórga, Danny has toured worldwide, playing venues such as the Sydney Opera House, The Southbank Centre (London) and National Concert Hall (Ireland); and has shared the stage with artists such as The National and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). Danny is currently based between Minneapolis, USA and Ireland. He currently tours internationally as fiddle player and Music Co-Ordinator with Teac Damsa’s multi award-winning dance theatre show Swan Lake /Loch na hEala, for which he also co-wrote and arranged the score. Other collaborations include the traditional fiddle duo NORTH (with Conor Caldwell) and What To Bring When We Leave, a two-man show with Irish poet Tom French. https://dannydiamond.ie/
Jode has been playing Irish traditional music on the fiddle for over 30 years, learning from his musical family and at workshops in the US and Ireland. Jode has been teaching fiddle for over 9 years andin 2004, co-founded the Center for Irish Music with his wife, Kate Dowling. Jode teaches his lessons by ear, leveraging a large repertoire of tunes and experiences. A skilled and natural musician, Jode particularly enjoys teaching young students and teenagers. hibs.com
Sean has been playing Irish traditional music for over 35 years, and has been a member of a number of Celtic music groups, most notably The Blackbirds, The Doon Ceili Band, Field Day, and Baal Tinne. He also works in several other genres, and has a degree in composition from DePaul University. He is currently working with CIM student Leah Evison to create an online music theory course for Irish traditional musicians, which can be accessed at https://seaneganmusic.com/
Danielle is a fiddle player and dancer offering instruction to both children and adults. Danielle has studied under fiddlers such as Matt Cranitch, Connie O’Connell and Bobby Gardiner and holds a Diploma in Traditional Irish Music from University College Cork. Danielle teaches by ear and/or note reading and is flexible to meeting each individual's needs, from a basic education on the fiddle to advanced technique, ornamentation, variation and repertoire development. http://www.danielleenblom.com/
Fiddle, Harp, Anglo Concertina
Mattie fell in love with Irish music when she started playing harp at the age of 12 after having started as a violinist as a young child. Originally a student at the CIM, she is now a regular musician at local sessions on the concertina and fiddle. On fiddle, Mattie has studied under great players such as Jode Dowling, Bill Hinckley, and Connie O’Connell. Familiar with both classical and Irish fiddle/violin technique, Mattie enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities. She is an avid composer of both Irish and classical chamber music, holds a BA in Music Composition and is a very talented seamstress and costume artist!
Harp, Singing Technique
Hannah fell in love with the harp as a small child and was classically trained before discovering Irish music in her teens. Since then she has had the opportunity to travel to Ireland multiple times to study harp with masters such as Michelle Mulcahy, Gráinne Hambly, and Elaine Hogan. In 2016 Hannah was awarded a “Next Step Fund” Grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to study ancient Gaelic harp in Kilkenny, Ireland. A trained vocalist and traditional singer, her passion is using her harp playing to accompany herself while singing songs in English and Irish. Hannah holds a BA in music.
Irish Flute, Tin Whistle, Song, Piano
Cory was introduced to the silver (orchestral) flute as a child, and continued study through university. Love of the instrument enticed him to explore its use in traditional music. A very capable wooden flute player in the Irish tradition, Cory’s study of both flutes allows him to explore a wide range of genres. He specializes in the adaptation of wooden flute techniques to the Boehm instrument. Cory also has a BA in Classical Vocal Performance.
Irish Flute, Uilleann Pipes, Tin Whistle
Growing up in Detroit, Seán was first encouraged to play by his father, Mick Gavin, a fiddle player born in County Clare. In 2016, Seán was awarded the prestigious Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal in County Cork, a recognition given only to musicians of the highest standard and commitment to the tradition. His playing on both flute and pipes is remarkable for its deep roots in the past of the music combined with a vigor and creativity very much of the moment. Seán tours with critically acclaimed Irish-American band, Bua, NicGaviskey and fiddler, Jesse Smith. Seán is also a dedicated teacher and has taught at Irish music camps across the states including Cascadia Irish Week and Catskills.
Tenor Banjo, Guitar - Standard Tuning, Mandolin, Bouzouki
Randy Gosa is based in Milwaukee and teaching remotely for the CIM in 2020-21. Music critic Alex Monahan (Folk World), describes Randy’s versatile musicianship as “driving, percussive, lyrical, gentle, dominant by turns.” A founding member of the Milwaukee based celtic trio Cé, he performs nationally with Myserk and The Lost Forty (with Brian Miller) and collaborates with several accomplished midwest-based musicians including flute player Brett Lipshutz, and celtic harpist Kim Robertson. During his undergraduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Randy studied with Liz Carroll and Sheila Shigley and completed the UW-Milwaukee Celtic Studies program (including studies at University of Limerick with Niall Keegan and Sandra Joyce). Randy is an experienced instructor who teaches at the Irish Fest School of Music, and is a regular teaching artist at festivals like the Minnesota Irish Music Weekend and Milwaukee Irish Festival summer school.
B/C Button Accordion, English Concertina
Originally from Chicago, Charlie has been immersed in Irish music for over forty years. With his wife Ann on Gaelic harp, he has recorded three albums and performed throughout much of Australia, Europe and the U.S. Button accordion is Charlie’s main instrument, but he also plays cittern, concertina and guitar. Charlie has a large repertoire of ballads and comic songs in both English and Irish and a special interest in medieval Irish lays (laoi). www.clairsach.com
Tom spent his childhood studying western classical music, but after hearing the first few notes from Finbar Furey’s Irish Pipe Music, he gave himself over to Irish music. In addition to studying the uilleann piping of long-passed masters, he has been instructed by many of today’s greatest pipers. Once referred to as “The Tim Burton of the pipes” for his unusual and quirky settings of traditional tunes, Tom revels in expanding upon the already highly-idiosyncratic sound of the instrument. He currently performs solo, as well as with Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton in the pipes-and-accordion duo The Bellows Brothers. www.irishpipertom.com.
Iain Dove McAfee
Iain Dove Lempke has been playing whistle since the age of 8. He started attending sessions while studying abroad in Scotland and regularly attends the Merlins Rest and Keegans sessions. When not playing traditional music, Iain is also a K-12 educator, with a passion for teaching. In addition to whistle, he also plays the guitar, Irish flute, occasionally the highland bagpipes, and is a classically trained singer. He is a member of the local band Dorain. Be sure to check out their new EP Cup of Gold on bandcamp!
Harp, Hammer Dulcimer, Tin Whistle, Flute
Chad has been passionately involved in traditional music since he was a child. He holds a BA in Music, did graduate work in ethno-musicology, studied with master harper Ann Heymann and won the SHSA National Scottish Harp championship in 2009. In 2011, the American Composers Forum invited Chad to take part in the launch of their new Composer Teaching Artist training program. In 2010, he received an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to record. Chad brings his joy of teaching and experience as performer, parent, and composer to his work at the CIM. Chad's harp website
C#/D Button Accordion
Accordion player John McCormick is a member of the local Irish band, Barra, and frequently plays in sessions around the Twin Cities. Besides the C#/D button accordion, John plays the bagpipes in the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band. He has served as the band’s Pipe Major for many years and has taught countless piping students. He can also be heard playing in the Twin Cities in his band, Barra.
Alisa is a fiddler and early childhood music teacher who embarked on the Irish music journey while living in Galway with her husband, a native of Dublin. She particularly values the community-building aspect of the Irish music tradition, and strives to encourage family and community music-making. Alisa, who teaches our Celtic Cuties and Singing Sweeties classes, also works at the St. Paul Public Library - specializing in storytime and children's services.
Bodhran, Mandolin, Pub Songs
Todd is a multi-instrumentalist and the lead singer in Boiled in Lead, a Twin Cities-based punk/folk/world-music band. He has toured extensively with the band, and is also a solo recording artist for New Folk Records. His music is a combination of original and traditional Irish tunes and songs, rendered in a unique, edgy style. The bodhrán and mandolin are featured prominently on his recordings, and are his two favorite instruments. www.toddmenton.com
Guitar, Bouzouki, Irish Flute, Tin Whistle, Tenor Banjo, Advanced Youth Ensemble Director
Brian Miller’s intricate yet driving guitar style has made him a sought-after guitar accompanist in the North American Irish music scene. Also a flute, whistle, bouzouki player, singer and researcher, he co-founded the Traditional Singers Club of the Twin Cities. Brian has performed across North America and in Ireland with various groups including Irish Music Awards’ 2009 “Top Traditional Group” Bua, Chulrua with Paddy O'Brien, the Two Tap Trio and Laura MacKenzie. His recordings have been featured on MPR, CBC Radio’s "Canada Live", and in Ireland on RTE and TG4 (television) and RTE (radio). Brian is a two-time recipient of the Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board for his work with the Irish-influenced music of Midwestern lumberjacks. Brian has taught at the CIM since 2006. www.evergreentrad.com
Cormac was born and raised in Dublin. He began playing traditional Irish music on piano accordion at the age of 6 while also studying classical music until he was 16. Traditional music was always his passion, in particular playing for Irish dance, which was a major part of Cormac’s upbringing and early professional life as one of the original dancers in Riverdance. Cormac plays music for dancers all over the United States, UK and Ireland at feiseanna and is the director of O’Shea Irish Dance. In 2014, he released an album of feis music called Feistunes with Brian O'Sullivan. Due to his commitment to teaching Irish dance with O'Shea Irish Dance, Cormac is only available to teach lessons on an ad-hoc basis. Please contact us if you'd like to set up a lesson or two with Cormac.
Irish Flute, Tin Whistle, Song, Ensembles
Named “Best Female Vocalist" two years in a row in the Live Ireland Awards, Norah is equally dedicated to performing and teaching. She has a master's in Irish traditional music performance from the University of Limerick in Ireland and a bachelor of music degree with a major in Music Education and Early Music Performance from McGill University. Norah is also an award-winning singer and Irish flute-player with an active performing career as a soloist and with the Two Tap Trio. From 2006-2013, she toured internationally as lead vocalist of UK/Ireland-based band, The Outside Track.
Norah has given guest lectures and workshops at University College Cork, the University of Limerick, the Folk Steps Conference in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia. Her performances have been featured live on MPR's Heartland Radio, CBC's Canada Live, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland and Radio nan Gaidheal. Norah's recordings have been broadcast on the CBC, BBC, RTÉ Radio na Gaeltachta (Ireland) and on folk shows across Canada and the United States. Norah is also the Executive Director of the Center for Irish Music. norahrendell.com
Abbey began playing the violin at a young age. As a child, she loved exploring the instrument, and by the age of 14 had decided she wanted to be a teacher to help others understand and master the instrument.
She has a Masters in Violin Performance at Carnegie Mellon University, has studied Irish music at the Blas Festival at the University of Limerick, and with Mary Vanorny at the Center for Irish Music. Abbey has a freelance career as a classical violinist who performs regularly with Mankato and South Dakota Symphony Orchestras.
Abbey enjoys working with beginners (setting up new fiddlers with bow holds and playing posture and other fiddle-specific techniques), and helping students to learn by ear, whether they already read music or not. She is also a great match for advanced classical violinists who are new to Irish music, since she has invested in that music journey herself!
Guitar, Song, Fiddle
Dáithí, originally from Derry in the North of Ireland, is one of the pioneers of guitar in Irish music, with a wide repertoire of traditional songs in both English and Irish (Gaelic). He has toured the world with the band Altan, and has performed and recorded with many other great Irish musicians including Trian, Fingal, Skara Brae, Liz Carroll, Paddy O'Brien, James Kelly, and Tommy Peoples. As well as traditional music, Dáithí teaches Irish language, mythology, and Celtic culture. www.daithisproule.com
Mary Vanorny is a native Minnesotan with degrees in Environmental Education and extensive research and experience in Early Childhood Education. Before turning to a music career, she was the Museum Naturalist at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, and worked on an exhibit and programming team, as well as doing daily live animal programs with turtles, frogs, and snakes! Mary grew up playing both classical and fiddle music, joining and touring with many orchestras as a violinist/concertmaster and also teaching the Suzuki method before turning her attention to Irish fiddling full time. She studied Irish music with esteemed New York fiddler Brian Conway, learned to Irish dance with Rince na Chroi, and joined the Center for Irish Music staff in 2015, teaching fiddle and ensemble, as well as Minnesota Irish Music Weekend Teen and Trad Immersion camps for the past several years. Mary also recently completed her Suzuki Teacher Training and re-opened her violin studio. One of her favorite things to do is help others learn to play music by ear--something that the Suzuki method and Irish music have in common. She’s recorded with many wonderful musicians and continues to play in Irish bands around the Twin Cities, including Brass Lassie, the Kickin’ It Irish band, and Two Tap Trio, and also loves to travel to Ireland as often as possible! www.fiddlermary.com
Kate (Wade) Dowling grew up Irish step-dancing and playing music in an Irish-Italian immigrant neighborhood in Chicago, where maintaining one's heritage was a natural way of life. She learned music with Noel Rice (Co. Offaly) and dancing with Jim McGing and Mark Howard (later Trinity).
A world-championship level dancer, and multiple Midwest Fleadh winner, Kate later focused solely on music and performed and recorded with groups including Baltiorum, the Doon Céilí Band and the HiBs. Through teaching, sessions, and performances, Kate loves sharing the joy the music has been bringing her for over 35 years.
Rosa Wells has been playing violin since she was very small and developed a love of Irish music early in her learning. She has extensive classical training but has been focusing on fiddle music since college. As the fiddler for local Irish band Dunquin she can be found playing at cafes and pubs, historic sites, and private events. She spent over a year playing with Paddy O'Brien's band O'Rourke's Feast and performed with them onstage at the MN Irish Fair 2013. More recently she has played with the local trio Unwelcome Visitors, who released their first album in 2018.