John Whelan’s Atlantic Crossings
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”.
While assuring fans that his Celtic allegiances remain firm, John continues to bring them new music as well. “If you open your ears and your mind you can appreciate my music for what it is, not what kind of music it is.” All these things – my childhood memories, my father’s love of music, the way I relate to an audience, the different styles I incorporate – are why I love to perform.”