BANJO (TENOR) AND MANDOLIN
Belfast born, tenor banjo player Paul Conlon has been playing the traditional Irish music scene for over 20 years. He has toured with various traditional music outfits throughout Europe where he has gained great experience and developed his playing style. Paul is currently in his 4th year teaching tenor banjo and mandolin with the Belfast Trad Society along with Aiden Walsh from Tubercurry, Co Sligo. Together they teach four levels of abilities ranging from total beginner to advanced levels, so there will be a class tailored to suit you. If you find that a class doesn’t suit your level of ability then you can simply move up or down even after signup.
Aiden Walsh, originally from Tubercurry in Co. Sligo, is by now a long-time resident of Belfast. He is well known for his distinct, driving style and is much sought after as a teacher and performer.
Gavin has been teaching the bodhrán with BelfastTrad for over 20 years. He is a patient and encouraging teacher.
Emma is a talented musician from a musical family in Antrim. She has competed in many fleadhanna and events. We are delighted to have her on the team.
Tom has been associated with the society since its inception and continues to teach all abilities on the concertina with us.
Lorraine Glenn (ní Bhrian)
Steeped in the concertina tradition of her native Co. Clare, Lorraine began her musical education under the guidance of the legendary teacher, Frank Custy. With further tuition from such greats as Dympna O’Sullivan and Noel Hill, Lorraine has developed into one of the leading concertina players in her own right. She holds a B.A. Music from Trinity College, Dublin and M.A. Music Therapy from the University of Limerick. Lorraine is a regular tutor at the Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co.Clare.
Lower Intermediate and Advanced Levels
Martin Dowling is a fiddle player, historian, sociologist and software engineer. Born in Chicago of Irish immigrants, he studied violin in his childhood, played in the band Samhradh Music founded by the poet-musician Michael Donaghy in Chicago in the early 1980s, and subsequently lived in Wisconsin where he performed regularly with his partner, flute player and singer Christine Dowling. His academic career brought them to Ireland in permanently in 1994. He served a five year stint as Traditional Arts Officer in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and for another seven years lectured on Irish traditional music in Queen’s University of Belfast. His fiddle playing is based on the style and repertoire associated with the Sligo-Mayo-Roscommon border region, where his mother was born and raised. He has taught at Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy since 1998, as well as at other summer schools and festivals in Ireland, Europe and America. He has numerous publications on Irish music, including the book Traditional Music and Irish Society: Historical Perspectives (2014).
Beginner and Upper Intermediate Levels
Kevin is a vastly experienced teacher and has been praised by our auditors for his progressive teaching methods, especially with beginner students. A long term tutor with Belfast Met, Kevin also teaches performance workshop courses at Queen's University and holds a Masters in Music Technology from the same institution. Kevin's creative work combines his experience of fiddle music - especially the styles of Donegal and Sliabh Luachra - with contemporary electronica and dub-step.
Davy is one of the most significant flute players of his generation, known not only in Belfast, but on the European continent for his dynamic and powerful style. He has travelled regularly to Britanny and formed a strong playing partnership with the Breton flute player Jean Michelle Veillon. Davy is equally well-known for his humour and teaching ability and he is respected as one of Belfast's finest musical sons.
An expert across a range of guitar styles, Jim was a relative later comer to traditional music before becoming an integral part of the Belfast session scene in the late 1990s. His high energy style, coupled with a fine singing voice that sees him at home across a range of musical genres, has led to him becoming a firm fixture with the band Craobh Rua in the last decade.
As well being a graduate of Queen's University with a Bachelor Degree of Music in 2012, Ciara holds an Associate Teaching Diploma with the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She has extensive experience as a music tutor and first began teaching in 2007. Since then she has acted as a substitute teacher for the Meath Harp Academy (formally the Meath Harp School), and holds the position of resident harp teacher for both the Andersonstown Traditional and Contemporary Music School and the Ulster College of Music.
SINGING & TIN WHISTLE
Introduction to Traditional Singing, Upper Intermediate and Advanced Tin Whistle
Born in Chicago, Christine has been living in Belfast since 1994. She learned her music from like-minded musicians living in the midwest in the 1980s, travelling to Ireland as often as possible. She has been performing and teaching in the USA, Ireland, and Europe ever since. Her influences are primarily the flute and fiddle players of South Sligo and the the singers from the Ulster tradition.
Christine has been teaching with BelfastTrad since 2003 and is currently the Society's administrator and is on the board of the Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music
Traditional Singing Circle
Maurice Leyden is a folk-song collector, singer, broadcaster and writer with a passion for Ulster folk-song. Originally from Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, his first book ‘Belfast, City of Song’ (Brandon) explores the traditional songs of the city which has been his home for many years. His research for the Belfast book revealed a wealth of children’s songs and street lore and Maurice’s second book ‘Boys and Girls Come out to Play’ (Appletree) presents a rich collection children’s singing games. Both books are complemented by recordings of selected songs. Maurice has recently released his latest CD, The Tern and the Swallow. He is in high demand across the lecture, festival and performance circuit in Ireland, the UK, Europe and America.
TIN WHISTLE & SET DANCING
Beginner Level (no experience)
Set Dancing (all levels)
Tim is a dancer, accordion player and Tin whistler. From Belfast, he is known throughout the continent for his gentle good humour. Tim regularly teaches set dancing around Ireland and Europe and plays a key role in the delivery of dance tuition for Belfast Trad. He doubles as our beginners and improvers tin whistle tutor.
Beginner and Intermediate Level
Tom Clarke is well-known in piping circles. He has been teaching the pipes for many years now and is very skilled in explaining the intricacies of this ancient and beautiful instrument. While the pipes are not the easiest instrument to learn, their music has been an essential component of Irish music for over 300 years. unparalleled. Tom also organises the annual Belfast Piping Tíonol, held every March. In 2005 Tom was honoured to receive an award from Na Píobairí Uilleann in recognition and appreciation of over 30 years of dedicated teaching on the uilleann pipes.
SEAN NÓS/OLD STYLE STEP DANCE
All Dance Classes Are Held In Rosemary Hall on Monday Evenings
Beginners Sean nós/Traditional Step Dancing
Jonathan McCloy has been dancing for six years and in that time has won most of the sean nós dancing competitions in Ireland, the most recent of which was the sean nós dancing competition at the Oireachtas na Samhna. Recently he has joined other dancers in the collection and revival of older sean nós dancing steps from the north of Ireland. Jonathan was a student of Robert Hunter at BelfastTrad.
Advanced sean nós/traditional step dancing classes at Rosemary Hall
Intermediate Level sean nós / traditional step dancing classes, both at Rosemary Hall and at our Bangor outreach classes
Bernie was born in Bangor, Co Down, and has been dancing with BelfastTrad for over 25 years. Starting with step dancing, she progressed to learn sean nós and old style steps from such great masters as Joe O'Donovan, James Keane, Dan Furey, Frank McConnell and many more. She has travelled extensively through Europe, Ireland, America and more performing and providing workshops in the old style of traditional Irish Dance.
Lurgan Outreach Dance Classes
Annette is an experienced and active Step Dance performer and teacher based in Co Armagh; working primarily in Ireland and mainland Europe and cites her influences as: Patrick O'Dea, Michael Tubridy, Joe McGuiggan, Brenda O'Callaghan among others. Annette's enthusiasm for dance was truly triggered as an adult and began her solo dance career with BelfastTrad.
Annette works as a dance/music teacher and musician; as well are her weekly dance and music classes she offers dance workshops in Ireland and across Europe. Her workshops are offered at all levels, offering tuition in step dance, sean nos, 2-hand, ceili and set dancing; Annette teaches to live music from her partner Mark Prescott.