Whelan Master Session #20: Nuala Kennedy and Gerry O'Connor | WisCommunity


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This is a series of online master sessions -- an opportunity to listen, play, and chat live on Zoom with some of the best musicians in the business. This week's guests will be Nuala Kennedy and Gerry O'Connor.


Gerry O’Connor comes from Dundalk, in County Louth, and is the product of four generations of fiddle players. His recordings have focused strongly on local music, and his work as a soloist and as a band member of Lá Lugh and Skylark is well known across the world. Over the past two decades he has recorded 14 albums and performed with all the leading performers in the Irish music world including members of the Chieftains, Boys of the Lough, Planxty, De Dannan and Bothy Band.

Gerry's solo album Journeyman has been hailed as one of the significant albums of Irish fiddle music. Gerry is also a violin-maker, music teacher and music producer and currently tours as fiddle player with the Canadian Irish legends The Irish Rovers. He is a four times winner of the Fiddler of Oriel and regularly adjudicates that competition.

World renowned traditional singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy grew up playing Irish music in Dundalk, County Louth. She is known for her creative reworking and reimagining of traditional songs, for her unique Irish flute style, and as a founding member of several notable groups including The Alt and Oirialla.

A musical adventurer who is recognized world-wide as a superlative performer of traditional music, Nuala has graced the cover of Irish Music Magazine, Sing Out! and regularly appears on the mainstage at festivals and venues around the world including Celtic Connections in the UK, the Milwaukee Irish festival in the USA, Celtic Colours in Canada, and Australia's National Folk Festival.

Nuala has released many albums, primarily on Nashville's Compass Records in the U.S.A. but also on Canada's Borealis Records and Norway's Ta:Lik Records. Her latest recording, 'Sun Dogs' is a live album made by a group she co-founded with Norwegian musicians Vegar Vårdal and Frode Haltli.


Please keep reading for details of how the master sessions work:

We all know that because of the pandemic, there are very few opportunities to play and interact with touring professional musicians. We look forward to playing live again soon but for now, we're bringing the magic straight to your living room via Zoom.

Listeners and players of all levels, from anywhere in the world, are welcome to join in. There is a $20 requested donation for attending the session.

Each session does need a minimum of 30 participants to ensure that the musicians are adequately compensated, so please don't wait until the last minute to book a seat and support your favorite artists. If an event is canceled due to inadequate bookings, all donations will be refunded.

To save your seat in the session, please proceed to either paypal.me/buttonboxman or Venmo @john-whelan-37 and make your donation. Be sure to include a note about which master session(s) you want to attend, and the email address you want to be contacted at.

The Zoom link and a list of tunes the artists are planning to draw from will be sent out Friday evening (depending on your time zone, this might mean very early Saturday morning.) Any last-minute sign-ups will receive the link and tune list about an hour before the session. Please be aware that unless you have made alternate arrangements with John, sign-ups are generally not accepted after 1pm Pacific on the day of the session.

To learn more about upcoming master sessions, John's free "Taking Time" slow sessions and other events, please sign up for his email newsletter at johnwhelanmusic.com.

Questions? Suggestions? Feedback? Please email John at whelanbx1@me.com, or comment here and we will respond ASAP.

Thank you for supporting these great artists!


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Mar 27 2021 - 4:00pm to 7:00pm
Vashon Island