Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly

In honor of the show I missed out buying tickets for this evening, here are a couple videos of Irish music greats Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly:

Two great slides:

Ag labhairt na Gaeilge!

A New(ish) Thing I’m Doing on YouTube

Port na Seachtaine means “Tune of the Week” in Irish Gaelic. It’s also the title of an experiment I’m doing on YouTube lately, for the last 4 weeks so far, in which I pick a tune, record and post a video of me playing it on the fiddle on Monday, then practice it during the week. The following Sunday I’ll post a new video of myself playing it to see what a week’s worth of practice has given me. I’m also experimenting with video overlays–an editing technique that makes it appear that I’m playing along with another version of myself. I’ll do concertina first, then record myself playing along on fiddle. Paste the two videos together and VOILA! I always say I wish I could clone myself.

Let me know what you think, either here, or in the comments sections under my videos on YouTube!

For example—




Anchor Spotlight: Ben Gagliardi

anchor spotlightToday I’m going to start a series called “The Anchor Spotlight.” Today’s Anchor in the Spotlight is Benedict Gagliardi. We know Ben as an upbeat concertina virtuoso with a penchant for interesting tune types such as mazurkas, barn dances and hop jigs. We certainly appreciate what he brings to the session, and we are grateful that he’s willing to drive all the way from Connecticut to join us when he can.

It was brought to my attention that Ben and a friend, Jon Warner, competed in the Comhaltas North American Convention and Regional Fleadh Cheoil in New Jersey back in June of 2014 and that they won first place in the duets category. Go Ben and Jon! I can’t embed a video from the Comhaltas website, but if you click on the picture below you will be taken to the video directly.

Ben and Jon

Jon Warner, left, and Ben Gagliardi.

Ben has also been in various bands–Full Gael and more recently, The Vox Hunters, with Armond Aromin. In addition, he is an instructor at the Connecticut Acadamy of Irish Music, where he teaches concertina and leads the Academy’s slow session. For Ben’s official Bio, go to the “Our Anchors” page.

An Fonn is Déanaí–The Maid in the Meadow

While I was at the session at Dempsey’s in the Big Apple, (that’s a nickname for New York City, not the latest tech gadget!) I of course heard a few tunes I hadn’t heard before, one of which is a tune called “The Maid in the Meadow.” It’s one of those tunes I’d heard a million times recorded and at sessions. If I remember correctly, my NY friends played it in a set with Jerry’s Beaver Hat, just like in this video featuring Paddy Hayes and Brian Rooney.

An Fonn is Déanaí–An Phis Fhliuch

I love this tune. It’s a popular slip jig with 5 parts. Not at all a difficult tune on the concertina, though it sounds like a piping tune to me.

“Now, what,” you may ask, “is the meaning of the title?”

Oh ho. There you’ve opened a can of worms! Well, “pis” literally means “pea,” as in the vegetable, but adding fliuch (meaning “wet”) adds a layer of, shall we say, innuendo. click HERE to read the discussion of the tune’s title over at

Played by a Japanese piper (Irish music is pretty well loved over there–I should do a blog on that!)

Here played by yours truly:

And here played by Zoe Conway and Meabh O’Hare (& friend). (I got a chuckle out of the tune choices in this set, knowing the meaning of An Phis Fhliuch. That plus the fact that the lass has this look on her face as she says it.

Na Foinn is Déanaí — Humours of Carrigaholt and Connie O’ Connell’s

Once in a while I become obsessed with a tune. Ok, maybe more than once in a while. More like  every week. But it’s a good thing, because I play it and listen to it over and over again until I really really know it. here’s the latest tune. Actually I have two this time, but…it’s been awhile.

First up–enjoy the Great Randall Bays playing a reel called The Humours of Carrigaholt (first tune).

And here’s a slow and easy version of Connie O’Connell’s jig (also known as Michael Dwyer’s) Follow this link to the Comhaltas website to hear Eimear Donnellan’s lovely concertina.

Two Exciting Trad Irish Music Concerts in May











Presented by the Shamrock Irish Music Society–two outstanding house concerts coming up–not to be missed!

Friday, May 9th–Kathleen Conneely (whistle) and Dylan Foley (fiddle)–$20

Monday, May 19th–Noel Hill (concertina)–$20

All of theses musicians are amazing–Noel Hill is legendary. If you can’t make both it’ll be a hard choice for you to make!

For more info, directions and to reserve a seat go to

An Port is Déanaí–Bunker Hill

Bunker hill is a rousing reel which I first heard played by a couple of young folks on the Comhaltas website. I can’t embed the video, but you can watch it here:

Here’s Portland, Maine band The Press Gang playing it along with Gathering Sheep.

Yes, I Am Slightly Concertina-centric….

But I love the pipes too! The sound of the two together makes my hair stand on end.

Here are Caitlín Nic Ghabhann and Caoimhín Ó Fearghail playing Down The Back Lane, followed by Pipe on the Hob (the three part one) and another jig the name of which I do not know. There is a fiddler off to the side that isn’t named who plays on the first tune but seems to sit out the others.

I love Caitlín’s playing. Her album, simply titled “Caitlín” is absolutely brilliant. You can pick it up at CDBaby. From what I gather, Caoimhín released an album called “Lá ag Ól Uisce” (meaning “a day drinking water”) along with Seán Ó Fearghaíl and Tomás Ó Gealbháin, which is available on iTunes.