& Low Lily:
Crossing the Atlantic
Legendary Irish accordion champion John Whelan teams up with the acoustic roots and branches band Low Lily for a Transatlantic roots collaboration.
Exploring the musical traditions of Ireland and America, this diverse and energetic show showcases the talents of these seasoned performers. Alongside fiery uptempo Irish jigs and reels will be traditional Irish and American folk songs, original songs and instrumentals on button accordion, fiddle, guitars, mandolin and lush, layered vocals. This show brings generations together for a fresh take on roots music from both sides of the pond.
“Whelan has a special way with accordion. He doesn’t just play tunes, he manages to get inside a melody and wring every ounce of feeling from within, a tough thing to do on an accordion. I think. The life and tunefulness he brings lifts the instrument to a higher level. This is music at its best.” – Irish Edition
Legendary Irish accordion champion John Whelan teams up with the acoustic roots and branches band Low Lily for a transatlantic roots collaboration! Exploring the musical traditions of Ireland and America, this diverse and energetic show will showcase the fine talents of these seasoned performers. Alongside fiery uptempo Irish jigs and reels will be traditional Irish and American folk songs, original songs and instrumentals on button accordion, fiddle, guitars, mandolin and lush, layered vocals. This show brings the generations together for a fresh new take on roots music from both sides of the pond.
Although John Whelan 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”.
At the age of 14, already a seasoned winner of numerous accordion championships, John recorded his first album, Pride of Wexford. Named in honor of his father, Pride of Wexford was no passing fancy – the album is still in print and selling steadily. Since his debut album, John has recorded six more albums, and has been featured on numerous compilations. He recorded several albums with Narada Records, has collaborated with such luminaries as Bernadette Peters, Johnny Cunningham, Eileen Ivers, Tim O’Brien, and Kathy Mattea, and his music has been featured in numerous television shows and commercials. He appeared in the major motion pictures Ride with the Devil, The Drowning Plains, and Gods and Generals, and performed live on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Fox After Breakfast.
“(Low Lily) takes roots music into areas that have not been explored fully and it sounds exceptional and refreshing… (respectful) of another time with modern clarity and restrained power.” –No Depression
The Vermont-based band Low Lily explores the roots and branches of American folk music, creating a unique brand of acoustic music that is rooted yet contemporary. Low Lily– Liz Simmons (vocals, guitar) Flynn Cohen (vocals, guitar, mandolin) and Lissa Schneckenburger (vocals, fiddle)– are all masterful players, composers and arrangers with deep relationships to traditional music styles ranging from bluegrass to Irish, Scottish, New England and Old Time Appalachian sounds.
Born in San Francisco, Liz developed a unique vocal, guitar and songwriting style that draws from her childhood raised by itinerant folk musicians, and her studies in the folk and ballad traditions of Ireland, Scotland, England and America as well as contemporary folk music. She has toured with Livingston Taylor, 3X Grammy winner Tom Chapin, and Lucy Wainwright Roche, to name a few.
Flynn Cohen, an Ohio native, holds a degree in Composition from Dartington College in England, and an MA from Mills College, and has toured worldwide with numerous notable acts in traditional and contemporary acoustic music, including Aoife Clancy, Cathie Ryan and Ruth Moody.
Lissa Schneckenburger grew up in Maine as an active member of the folk community, graduated from The New England Conservatory of Music and has performed internationally as a solo artist and with Solas and Childsplay, among others.
Together as Low Lily, these relatively young but well-seasoned musicians bring their considerable strengths, experience and history together to create an undeniably rich and versatile musical palette. Low Lily was recently voted #1 Most Wanted at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (NY), they have had two #1 songs on international folk radio, and have been nominated for two New England Music Awards.