HOUSE CONCERT near downtown Champaign, IL. The address will be sent to reservation holders a few days before the show.
Sean and Joseph will dazzle you with their virtuosity on guitar, cittern, and fiddle! Expect songs from Yeats and other poets. In performance they’ll also draw heavily from the nine collections of Irish music self-published by Chicago police chief Francis O’Neill between 1903 and 1924, and delve deeply into tunes and stories from their legendary friends and mentors Liz Carroll, Johnny McGreevy, Martin Hayes, Kevin Henry, Noel Rice, and Jimmy Keane.
Seán Cleland has been instrumental in fostering traditional Irish music in the city of Chicago. Growing up on Chicago’s North Side in an Irish-American household, he began classical violin lessons at 7, and at age 9 decided that he would dedicate himself to the Irish fiddle. There were many Irish musicians who had emigrated to Chicago in the 1950s, old masters such as Kevin Henry and Johnny McGreevy, Noel Rice and Cuz Teahan, who took Seán under their wings and mentored him. His Irish musical education throughout the 1970s was inspired and influenced by next-generation masters such as Jimmy Keane and the legendary Liz Carroll. In 1987 Seán founded the influential Irish rock band, The Drovers, who toured nationwide and appeared in the popular Hollywood films Backdraft and Blink, for which Sean tutored star Madeleine Stowe to play the role of... the fiddle-player for the Drovers. In 2000 he co-founded the great Irish trad band Bohola with Jimmy Keane and Pat Broaders. Sean has also played fiddle in Joseph Sobol’s musical theater piece, In the Deep Heart’s Core, based on the poetry of W. B. Yeats.
Seán has taught Irish music since 1980; in 1998 he began teaching at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. In 2003, he founded the Irish Music School of Chicago [which has passed on the beauties of this national tradition to over many generations of students young and old]. Seán has taught at such festivals as the Catskills Irish Arts Week, (MAD) Week, the St. Louis Tionol, Milwaukee Irish Fest, California Traditional Arts Society, Goderich, Ontario Celtic Roots Festival, and Celtic Colours International Festival in Cape Breton. Seán also teaches regularly in Ireland at Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, Co. Kerry and at Scoil Éigse, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann's annual international Summer School for students of all ages.
Joseph Daniel Sobol has released five CDs of traditional and original music, poetry, and stories, solo and with his group Kiltartan Road. During his years in Chicago, where he performed regularly with some of America’s top Irish traditional musicians, Joseph developed a ground-breaking finger-style technique for playing the driving rhythms and intricate ornamentation of traditional Irish and Celtic music on cittern, guitar, mandolin, and banjo. He has been a featured performer and teacher at Zoukfest, the Swannanoa Gathering, and the Seattle Cittern Symposium, and was a featured soloist in the world premiere performance of William Jackson’s “Dunn Albanach” suite at the 2002 Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. His CD, Citternalia: Celtic Music for Cittern received a Homegrown CD Award from Acoustic Guitar Magazine, which called the recording “a watershed project” for finger-picking Irish music on fretted instruments. Joseph toured the country from 1994 through 1999 with his award-winning musical theatre piece In the Deep Heart’s Core based on the works of Irish poet W. B. Yeats. From 2000-2017 he directed the Graduate Program in Storytelling at East Tennessee State University, and from 2017-2022 he served as Director of the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales.