2019 Festival instructors

We’re looking forward to welcoming the following guest instructors for the 2019 festival:

Patrick Devane, Dance

Patrick is a fifth-generation sean-nós dancer, Champion of the Oireachtas 2011, and is the former Sean-Nós Dancer in Residence at Áras Inis Gluaire in Belmullet. He is the son of the renowned sean-nós dancer Séamus Devane, who toured internationally in the 1980s and his dancing developed by watching his father and other members of the community. Patrick’s goal is to teach sean-nós dancing in the truest form possible while honoring changes brought by the passage of time and expansion of the tradition. Patrick is a native of An Aird Mhór, Cill Chiaráin, Connemara in County Galway.

Colm MacCárthaigh, Guitar and Irish Language

Colm is a Dublin native who has quickly become a feature of the Seattle Irish music scene. After studying and playing extensively in Ireland, he now frequently plays with musicians such as Randal Bays, Tom Creegan, Dale Russ, Leo MacNamara, Aurora Burd, and Hanz Araki. In 2011, he and Colleen Raney recorded the critically-acclaimed album Cuan. Colm is also a native Irish speaker, having been raised in an Irish speaking family. Colm attended Coláiste Chilliain and Trinity College Dublin.

Brian Ó Domhnaill, Singing

Brian was born and reared in the Donegal Gaeltacht in the village of Anagaire. At a young age he became interested in the music of the area learning flute and song. Throughout his life he has been passionate about the songs of the region and the music played. Brian often attends singing nights and events and was on the committee for Sean Nós Cois Life for many years. Brian has performed at many festivals throughout Ireland, Europe and Canada and has attended the Oireachtas annually winning many prizes and 5 medals in Corn Uí Riada the premier competition for sean-nos singing. He has a very large repertoire of unusual and rare songs gathered from many singers, sources and archives and enjoys teaching these songs to the next generation of young singers.

John Prendergast, Irish Language

John is a Fulbright FLTA Scholar at the University of Notre Dame. John, a former Ireland Canada University Foundation Clár Gaeilge Scholar, lectures with the Department of Irish Language and Literature as part of his award. He has also taught in universities on scholarships in the United States of America (University of Montana), Canada (Saint Mary's University) and Wales (Cardiff University). Furthermore, John has a background of strong legal experience, having worked in law firms such as Boone Karlberg PC and A&L Goodbody. John has applied this experience in practice in European-wide NGOs, US Federal courthouses, national lobbyist organisations, digital terminology corpora, and elsewhere. John received an MA (Welsh and Celtic Studies) from Cardiff University in 2016. John's dissertation examined justifications for language rights for immigrants. John was conferred with a BCL (Law and Irish) degree from University College Cork in 2015. His research interests include: linguistic justice and anglocentricism, minority language rights and theory, and applied sociolinguistics from an Irish language perspective.

Dale Russ, fiddle

Dale started playing the fiddle in 1973 when first moving to Washington State from his native Connecticut. In 1990 he was invited to perform at the first Boston College Irish Music Festival “My Love is in America” featuring 16 of the finest Irish fiddle players living in the States. The concert was recorded and released by Green Linnet Records and won an award from the Smithsonian Institute as “Traditional Recording of the Year.” His playing is known for its balance of power and elegance. He was a founding member in 1977 of the Seattle Irish band No Comhaile and is also a former member of the Seattle Irish band The Suffering Gaels. He is a founder and currently plays with Crumac.

John Whelan, Accordion

Although John grew up near London in Dunstable, England, he was raised on the fiddle and pipe music of Ireland. Dunstable has a large Irish community, and his father, Denis, was from Ireland’s County Wexford. “Ours was a very traditional household,” John says. “My father didn’t have any major vices – his only addiction was to Irish music.” Denis Whelan carried a reel-to-reel tape recorder to many shows, collecting hours of live music. Songs of home elicited sentimental tears, even when the words were not in English. “It was not the words but the emotion of the music that moved me.” He has recorded multiple albums, including Celtic Fire and Come to Dance, and is currently touring with the John Whelan Band.