brendan power

Dublin Irish Festival Academy

The 13th annual Dublin Irish Festival Academy is returning this summer as a warm-up to the Festival. A variety of classes will be offered that highlight Irish music and culture.

  • Academy classes will be held on Friday, August 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Classes will be held at the Dublin Community Recreation Center
  • All students must be 12 years of age or older to participate in Academy classes or receive prior approval
  • Classes are all $50 per person, and include a one-day Festival admission ticket ($10 value)
  • Class space is limited; students will be notified if class is full
  • We reserve the right to cancel a class if there is not a minimum registration number
  • Please register on or before Friday, July 29

Classes offered this year are:

Fiddle: Winnie Horan, Solas

Harmonica: Brendan Power

Banjo and Mandolin: Seamus Egan, Solas

Bodhran: Michael Vignoles

Guitar: Eamon McElholm, Solas

More information about classes and instructors are below

Advanced Irish Fiddle

Instructor: Winnie Horan, Solashoran

Known for her playing in both the Irish tradition and from her classical violin background, Win will work on fiddle technique and address the issues that are often a concern for all fiddle players. Intonation, tone, bow technique and rhythm. Win will also have a colorful array of tunes that she will be teaching.

Born and raised in New York of Irish parents, Winifred began playing music at an early age. Her first instrument was piano, which she learned from her father who was himself an accomplished pianist and jazz trumpeter. Throughout these years she participated and competed in many fleadhs and competitions in the US and Ireland, winning the US National Dance Championships a record nine years in a row.

In great demand for live shows and as a studio musician, she has worked with many of the finest musicians on the Irish Music and contemporary folk scenes. She has played and recorded with Cherish the Ladies, Sharon Shannon, Declan O’ Rourke, Belinda Carlisle, Mundy, Pierce Turner, Richard Shindell, Liz Carroll and many more.

Her meeting and ultimate collaboration with Seamus Egan saw the start of the Irish-American band SOLAS which has since enjoyed worldwide success. Winifred released two solo albums over the last ten years – “Just one Wish” and “The Pleasures of Home” to great critical acclaim both in the U.S. and Ireland.

brendan powerHarmonica in Irish Music

Instructor: Brendan Power

Brendan Power introduces this workshop by demonstrating the different types of specialist harmonicas he has developed for playing Irish traditional music in an authentic way. You’ll be amazed at how closely they emulate the characteristics of older Irish instruments like the pipes, fiddle, flute and whistle. But he shows how it’s possible to use a common 10 hole diatonic harmonica to play jigs, reels hornpipes and airs with flair, speed and precision. The workshop is open to all: you can just listen if you like, but if you bring along a G harp Brendan will teach a couple of tunes you can take away.

UK-based New Zealander Brendan Power is acknowledged by many as one of the most creative, skilled & versatile harmonica players around today. Equally at ease on both the earthy Blues Harp as well as the sophisticated Chromatic Harmonica, he tunes them to his own scales to create a highly original style.

Brendan’s eclectic skills and sympathetic ear have made him an in-demand session player, leading to live and recording work with artists such as Kate Bush (her latest album ‘Director’s Cut’), Sting, Van Morrison, James Galway, Paul Young, Shirley Bassey, John Williams, Mike Batt and many more. His playing is also heard on many Hollywood movie soundtracks (eg. soundtrack for ‘Atonement’, Jackie Chan’s ‘Shanghai Noon’), and internationally syndicated BBC TV series. He has featured on the world-renowned ‘Jools Holland Show’ and regularly toured worldwide, performing in venues such as China’s Great Hall of the People, the Royal Albert Hall and The Kremlin. Brendan was voted “International Harmonica Player of the Year 2011/12” by the respected SPAH organization of America.

Banjo and Mandolin in Irish Music

solas-seamusInstructor: Seamus Egan, Solas

Seamus will explore the use of both banjo and mandolin in traditional and contemporary Irish music. Students will learn technique for both instruments, and how to employ this technique is the vast repertoire of Irish tunes. Triplets, plectrum use, strumming, melody playing and general technical issues associated with both instruments will be addressed while learning new tunes.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1969, Seamus Egan moved to Ireland with his family when he was three years of age, and a few years later he began taking lessons on the tin whistle. At age 14, Egan returned to the United States, and already displayed a precocious talent on the whistle, flute, banjo, mandolin, and guitar. At 16, Egan cut his first album, Traditional Music of Ireland, and before he turned 20 he was already a seasoned professional musician, having toured with the likes of Peter, Paul & Mary and Ralph Stanley, and doing session work with Vernon Reid.

Seamus, along with Winnie Horan and John Doyle formed Solas in 1995. The band’s hard work was paying off as Solas had become one of the most popular Celtic folk groups in America. When not busy with the group, Egan pursues a solo career and composed the score for the musical Dancing on Dangerous Ground.

Beginning Bodhran

Instructor: Michael Vignoles

Have you ever wondered how to play the bodhran? Michael Vignoles from Galway, Ireland teaches this traditional heartbeat of all Irish music. Michael is also known internationally as an instrument maker. For more than 20 years, he has made bodhrans and uilleann pipes from his Galway City shop. Bodhrans will be provided for this class or you can purchase one from Michael.


Instructor: Eamon McElholm, Solas

Eamon will take a guitar workshop focusing on DADGAD TUNING – a popular tuning used for traditional and folk music. It will focus on basic chords used in DADGAD and ways to accompany jigs and reels.

Eamon McElholm was born in Killyclogher, just oEamonutside Omagh in County Tyrone. He has worked with many acts and musicians including Stockton’s Wing, Solas, Cathal Hayden, Dezi Donnelly Cara Dillon, Finbar Furey, Brian Finnegan amongst others.

He has written music that has been recorded by many acts including Michael McGoldrick, Flook, He was awarded the PRS John Lennon Songwriting Award whilst a student at Salford University. He has performed all over the world including concerts in China, Japan, Brazil, Slovenia, all over Europe and extensively in America. He has written music for TV documentaries and has worked as a session musician on a number of film soundtracks.

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