Sean-nós Dancing, Irish Flute
Ben Power is a flute and bodhrán player, singer and sean nós dancer from just outside Liverpool, England. Moving to Dublin in the mid-nineties for the tunes, he studied Irish flute with the well-known flute player, Paul McGrattan, and subsequently moved West to complete an M.A. in Traditional Irish Music at Limerick University’s renowned Irish World Music Centre, where he studied with, among others, Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, the famous pianist and composer, Niall Keegan and Desi Wilkinson, the celebrated Irish flute players and Catherine Foley, Professor of Irish Dance. In Limerick he also began to learn sean nós dance, studying with various dancers from Connemara and the traditional Clare step dance master, James Keane.
From 2002 to 2007, Ben lived in New York playing in the vigorous Irish session scene there and teaching, performing and lecturing around the New York area and nationally. He is a founder member of the innovative Irish dance ensemble Unbeaten Path, frequently performing and teaching the traditional sean nós style of Irish dance. Ben has performed with Solas, Alisdair Frasier, Dougie MacLean, Mick Moloney at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He plays with the Cathie Ryan Band, and has recorded for RTÉ’s Christmas broadcasts. He recently spent a year living in Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands, learning new tunes from local musicians such as Carol-Anne Mackay and Rona Sutherland, and has a solo album available, The Mouse in the Mug. He has just moved West to begin a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at UC San Diego, and has produced his first ethnographic film there about the Southern California Piper's Tionól.
Kevin Burke is an Irish fiddler considered one of the top living Irish fiddlers. Born in London to parents from County Sligo in 1950, Burke took up the fiddle at the age of eight, eventually acquiring a virtuosic technique in the Sligo fiddling style. In 1974, he moved to Ireland, where he formed a duo with singer-songwriter Christy Moore, a former member of the Irish band Planxty. In 1976, he became a member of the influential Irish traditional music group The Bothy Band. In 1979, Burke moved to the United States and settled in Portland, Oregon. He formed a duo with guitarist and former Bothy Band member Mícheál Ó Domhnaill. Together, they toured throughout the United States and Europe, and recorded two acclaimed albums, Promenade (1979) and Portland (1982).
In the early 1980s, Burke joined the Legends of Irish Music tour, where he played with influential Irish musicians Andy Irvine (vocals, bouzouki, mandolin and harmonica) and Jackie Daly (accordion). Together they formed the group Patrick Street. In 1992, Burke recorded a solo album with Mark Graham (harmonica, clarinet, vocals), Paul Kotopish (guitar, mandolin, cittern, bass), and Sandy Silva (percussion). These three comprise the core of his current band. Throughout the 1990s, Burke toured and recorded with Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham and Breton fiddler Christian Lemaitre as the Celtic Fiddle Festival. In 2002, Burke won the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowship. Kevin Burke currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children.
Traolach Ó Riordáin is a native of County Cork, and currently works as a lecturer in Modern Irish language and literature and the Director of Irish Studies at the University of Montana. He received his Ph.D. in Modern Irish Literature from the National University of Ireland, and has lived in Missoula since 2001. He was first invited to Missoula to teach Irish by the Montana Gaelic Cultural Society, then taught at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana before returning to Montana to help establish the first program of Irish Studies there. Traolach's Irish Studies program includes an exchange relationship with University College, Cork, and draws students from both within and outside Montana. At the University of Montana he teaches courses in Elementary Irish, Irish Gaelic Literature, and Literature of Pre-Norman Ireland; the university also offers a minor in Irish Studies.
Maldon is a performer, teacher and scholar of Irish Sean-nós and set dance. Maldon holds a BA from The Evergreen State College and a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick, Ireland. She is a 2008 Regional Arts and Cultures grant recipient. As a sean-nós dancer Maldon has appeared on the nationally televised 2005 Oireachtas at the Cork Opera House in Cork City (TG4) as well as on Connemara Community Radio and Raidió na Gaeltachta (RTÉ). In 2005 Maldon and Ronan Regan released an instructional DVD of Sean-nós dance. Maldon has studied sean-nós dance with Róisín Ní Mhainín, Pádraig Ó hOibicín, Mulkerrin, Mairéad Casey, Pádraig and Gearóid Ó Dubhain. Maldon currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she teaches weekly classes, performs and tours nationally.
Sean has been studying the Irish language and sean-nós singing since the 1970s. She worked closely with the great sean-nós singer Joe Heaney in the final years of his life, and has recently co-written with Lillis Ó Laoire a critical biography of Heaney’s life and works (“Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song-Man” -- Oxford University Press). She teaches Irish Studies and ethnomusicology at The Evergreen State College.
Bob learned Irish as a second language as an adult. He has an interest in the ways in which adults learn a second language and is committed to teaching in a friendly non-threatening atmosphere using the communicative approach to language learning. He has taught at immersion weekends and week-long immersion programs in both the USA and Canada. Bob has attended various Irish language courses in Ireland and has a certificate, earned in Ireland, in teaching adult learners. He has had articles published in ‘Comhar’ and in the online magazine ‘Beo.’ He has previously taught at Clark College, Vancouver, WA and at Portland Community College. Since 2003 he has taught both Beginning and Intermediate Irish at Marylhurst U., just south of Portland, OR.
Kimberly has extensive experience in both public speaking and performance. She founded and taught the Thurston County TeenWorks Shakespeare Program and was a guest instructor for the inaugural session of the Capital Theater’s “Shakespeare Experience.” She was recognized for her public speaking skills at the 1991 National Speech Tournament where she won a Gold Award in Impromptu Speaking.
Kimberly is a frequent lecturer on topics related to public policy, business, and the environment and recently published her first book. Her undergraduate degree is from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma and her graduate degree is from the Evergreen State College in Olympia. In her spare time, Kimberly enjoys sean-nós dancing and traditional Irish music.
Darcy Noonan, Autumn Rhodes, Richard Mandel
Fiddle and Vocals
Darcy began playing violin with Annemarie Sudermann at age 7 about the same time she began lessons at the Healy Irish dance school. With help from her mother and her father’s endless supply of Irish music, she was able to continue studying both classical music and Irish dance throughout her childhood. It wasn’t until she attended Bobbi Nikles’ Fiddlekids that Darcy realized she could be the one playing Irish fiddle.
She is inspired by the playing of Liz Carroll, Tommy Peoples, John Carty and Frankie Gavin. She spent 2 years in Ireland, traveling and studying until she found a second home in Galway city. She has taught classes for the Cooley-Keegan branch of CCE, at Lark in the Morning Camp as well as private students.
Flute, Concertina and Vocals
Autumn Rhodes grew up with Irish traditional music and plays tin whistle, Irish flute, concertina, and uilleann pipes. She has played and taught professionally for over 10 years, touring the Midwest, East Coast, and Ireland. She has performed and recorded with such groups as Soltré, The Colleens, Kennedy's Kitchen, Míra, Meitheal, and Éireforce and with musicians Julie Henigan and Brian O'hEadhra. Autumn also studied under such Irish music legends as Mary Bergin, Laurence Nugent, John Williams, and John Skelton and has been awarded 8 Midwest Fleadh Cheoil titles. She has recently relocated to San Francisco, where she teaches music lessons when she is not on tour with her band, Soltré.
Guitar and Banjo
Richard has become a mainstay in the San Francisco Bay Area Irish music scene, playing guitar with a large number of local musicians at most of the area's traditional music venues.
Richard Mandel's foray into Irish music began in 1995 with a trip to Ireland that included a stop at the South Sligo Summer School. While he'd been playing guitar since the age of 8, it wasn't until then that he'd gotten bitten by the Irish music bug. Sessions at San Francisco's Plough and Stars pub provided the training ground and necessary immersion. Prior to '95, Richard played a variety of styles, including folk, jazz and open-tuning finger-style guitar.
For the past five years, Richard has been teaching the Irish guitar class at the week-long Lark in the Morning Music Camp in Mendocino, California. He now plays exclusively in "DADGAD" tuning, which complements his intricate rhythmic and chordal variations.
Richard has performed with such masters as, Tommy Peoples, Andrew MacNamara, Gerry O'Connor, and Jerry O'Sullivan. Besides the Tipsy House CD, he can be heard on mandolin virtuoso Radim Zenkl's recent CD, "Restless Joy."
Stretching & Flexibility
Meredith began her career as a professional ballet dancer, touring and performing throughout the United States and Canada with Fort Worth/Dallas Ballet (Now Texas Ballet Theatre), Colorado Ballet and David Taylor Dance Theatre. She ‘retired’ at age 28 and went to graduate school for Physical Therapy at Texas Woman’s University. While practicing physical therapy in DC, Meredith became interested in percussive dancing and banjo and danced briefly with Footworks Percussive Dance Group before moving to Portland. She began studying with Maldon Meehan upon arrival in Portland, and continues to dance with her and her group. Meredith has her own practice in PT here in Portland and works with dancers/dance injuries, musicians, private clients and also contracts to work with other PT companies.
Alicia Guinn currently teaches sean-nós, set, and céilí dancing in the Seattle area. She is one of only a handful of dancers teaching sean-nós dancing in America.
Alicia started dancing as an adult while living in Northern Ireland in 1997. Since then, she has studied set and sean-nós dancing in Galway, Ireland, taught Irish dance workshops for festivals across the United States, and had the honor of dancing on stage with traditional musicians like Johnny B. Connolly, and Liz Carroll and John Doyle.
Her sean-nós style incorporates steps learned directly from Galway dancers including Pádraig Ó hOibicín, Róisín Ní Mhainín, Máire Áine Ní Iarnáin, Rónán Regan, and Seosamh Ó Neachtain.