Irish Music Trio to Perform at MCTA Sunday, July 23 Print
Written by Kara Rogers Thomas   
Monday, 17 July 2017 15:56

Lost ContinentFrostburg’s Mountain City Traditional Arts will present an Irish Music Trio, “Music from the Lost Continent and Other Small Land Masses,” featuring Jesse Smith, Sean Gavin and John Blake, on Sunday, July 23 at 3 PM. A donation of $15 is kindly suggested.

Touring to support their recently released CD, this trio of musicians brings a sensibility and sensitivity to their music that is second to none. Steeped in traditional Irish music,  Jesse Smith and Sean Gavin are American born from traditional music royalty, and John Blake is a talented multi-instrumentalist from a London-Irish background. While Jesse and John both make their home in Ireland currently, the group’s powerful performance demonstrates how traditional Irish music connects far-flung Irish people through time and space.

Since his debut recording at the tender age of seventeen, Jesse Smith from Baltimore, Maryland has been making a formidable name for himself as an exceptional young traditional Irish fiddle player. The intervening years have seen Smith move from his birthplace in the USA to the thriving musical city of Galway, spend three years touring with the successful young group Danú and become one of the most noted young fiddle players of recent times. Smith’s musical upbringing could hardly have been more ideal being the son of renowned Cherish The Ladies pianist, Donna Long, and having the legendary American Irish fiddler Brendan Mulvihill as his tutor from the outset. The years under Mulvihill’s wing brought Jesse into contact with some of the finest traditional musicians playing in the US at the time.

Sean Gavin’s playing on the flute, whistle and uilleann pipes reflects his lifelong immersion in, devotion to, and love for traditional Irish music. This was no doubt encouraged by his County Clare-born, fiddle playing father, Mick Gavin. As a boy in Detroit, Sean played a variety of Irish instruments until settling on the flute at age 10, inspired by Scariff flautist Leo MacNamara.  Not long after, he began work on the uilleann pipes with teacher Al Purcell—himself a student of famed piper Leo Rowsome.  Currently residing in Chicago, he deeply values his many opportunities to hear, talk with and learn from Sligo flute legend Kevin Henry. Sean is a member of the acclaimed group NicGaviskey, often performs with his family and remains firmly dedicated to playing and teaching traditional Irish music.

John Blake is a traditional Irish flute player, guitarist, and pianist. An ex-member of traditional group Téada, John has performed and recorded with the cream of Irish musicians including John Carty, Paddy Glackin, Noel Hill, Liam O’Flynn, Jesse Smith, Harry Bradley, Colm Gannon, The Kane Sisters and James Kelly. Brought up in London, John moved to Ireland in 1998 and developed a reputation as an accompanist of note, racking up several album credits. He joined traditional band ‘Téada‘ in 2001 and toured with them for 3 years, at which point he got off the road and settled into a job in Na Píobairí Uilleann (The Pipers Club) in Dublin. In 2003 John was runner-up in the Irish Echo’s ‘Irish Traditional Musician Of The Year’ and in 2013 released his debut solo album ‘The Narrow Edge’. 

Located at 25 E. Main Street, Mountain City Traditional Arts is a program of Frostburg State University – supported in part by the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.


Please register or login to add your comments to this article.