IrishFest Atlanta


Workshop Artist & Lecturer Bios

This is our list of 2017  artists and lecturers. Please stay tuned for our 2018 schedule.

Isaac Alderson

Isaac Alderson grew up in Chicago listening to his father play blues and jazz.  In 2002, Isaac won the All-Ireland Senior Championships on all three of his main instruments. He is the only American to achieve such a goal in the history of the competition. After finishing college, Isaac toured for two years with Eileen Ivers as part of her band, Immigrant Soul, and afterwards with such diverse groups as Jameson’s Revenge, Runa, Millish, and many others, and also played extensively around New York with fiddler Gráinne Murphy and guitarist Alan Murray.  In addition to The Yanks, he currently performs with international quartet Comas, the show Celtic Crossroads, Irish bar band The Bronx Boys, and the chamber folk group Ensemble Galilei. He also performs periodically in the new Broadway musical, Come From Away, as the designated substitute for winds player Ben Power.

Mickey Coleman

A former GAA All-Ireland medalist in Irish football, Mickey hails from Ardboe, Co. Tyrone, and comes from a background of artists and musicians.  His talent for songwriting is well documented in songs such as “The Bantry Boy”, “My Coal Island Girl”, “The Holylands Belfast”, and the “Kilkeel Fishermen” to name a few.   His fine voice reaches everyone who listens.  Mickey has shared the stage with some of the world and Ireland’s top folk artists such as The Chieftains, Cara Dillon, Francis Black, Liam Reilly and Bagatelle, Steve Cooney and many more.  He has released his much awaited third album “Last Glance” to high acclaim.

Brian Conway

The 1986 All-Ireland senior fiddle champion, has several recordings to his credit. They include two solo releases, First Through the Gate in 2002 and Consider the Source in 2008, and two trio albums, The Apple in Winter (with Tony DeMarco and Caesar Pacifici) in 1981 and A Tribute to Andy McGann (with Joe Burke and Felix Dolan) in 2000.

Brendan Dolan
Son of pianist Felix Dolan, is one of the most respected and inventive keyboardists in Irish music today. He appears on Brian Conway’s Consider the Source and Billy McComiskey’s Outside the Box, as well as Live at Mona’s with Patrick Ourceau and Eamon O’Leary and the Irish American music projects of Mick Moloney.

Josh Dukes

Josh Dukes is an All Ireland champion accompanist and a highly sought after music teacher in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. A multi-instrumentalist whose talents embrace the ceili drums, guitar, bouzouki, bodhran, flute, and tin whistle, Josh has established a reputation for providing sensitive, tasteful support for traditional Irish music.

In 1997, Josh enlisted in the Army and has since earned the rank of Master Sergeant , currently serving as one of three Drum Majors for the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, “The Official Escort to the President,” the only military unit of its kind.

Josh continues to perform Irish music, having shared the stage with such renowned musicians including John Doyle, Paddy Keenan, Billy and Sean McComiskey, Brendan Mulvihill, Kevin Crawford, Zan McLeod, and Myron Bretholz, and he can be seen playing ceili drums regularly with The Old Bay Ceili Band.

Shannon Dunne

Shannon Dunne was captivated by the Broadway style of tap as a young child growing up in New Jersey. Her early education in this form focused on the overall musicality of dance, which has served Shannon well over the years as her love of tap spread to encompass a host of percussive dance forms including hoofing, flatfoot and clogging, Irish and Cape Breton step dance, and sean-nós.

Dylan Foley

A 3-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, Dylan Foley was a student of the great Rose Flanagan (the original fiddler in Cherish the Ladies) and counts Joanie Madden, Brian Conway, Mike McHale, and Monsignor Charlie Coen among his primary influences. He is a vibrant stylist whose playing has been called “impeccable and spirited.” Dylan has played on Jay Unger’s Dancing On the Air show on WAMC four times. Dylan has also performed with the John Whelan Band, Joanie Madden, Brian Conway, Mike McHale, and Monsignor Charlie Coen. He has performed and taught at the Catskills Irish Arts Week, Elkins Irish Week, and runs a monthly session at the Dubliner Irish Pub. These days, Dylan is very busy, attending SUNY New Paltz and performing and playing ceilis and sessions in the NY area.

Dan Gurney

Dan Gurney, born in upstate New York to artist parents, first picked up an accordion by chance in a toy store. He learned Irish music from Galway-born concertina player Father Charlie Coen. Over the years he has also been heavily influenced by Billy McComiskey, Jimmy Noonan, John Whelan, Joe Derrane, and John Nolan, among many others. After graduating from Harvard University in 2009, he lived in Galway for a year playing with the likes of Dolores Keane, Johnny Ringo McDonagh, Mick Conneely, Ronan O’Flaherty, and Brian Mc Grath. He has appeared on Public Radio International, at the International Accordion Festival, and has won nine medals at various Fleadh Cheoil music competitions.

Erin Loughran

Multiple All Ireland Medalist on Fiddle, Erin graduated from the University of Limerick in 2010 with an Honors Music Degree.  While in Ireland, Erin taught music in National Schools as part of the Comhaltas Schools Outreach.  Since returning from Ireland, Erin has opened up her own school of Irish Music with two locations in the Bronx and Rockland County.  Erin was the 2011 New York Rose of Tralee and Aisling Irish Center Award Recipient in 2011 for her contribution to the preservation of Irish Culture in her Community.  Erin and her students travel to the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil every August to represent New York in both underage and senior categories.  Erin is married to singer/songwriter Mickey Coleman from Ardboe, Co. Tyrone and they are proud parents to son Micheal, aged 2.

Joanie Madden 

Daughter of button accordionist Joe Madden, was the first U.S.-born competitor to win the All-Ireland senior tin whistle title (1984) and is also an All-Ireland champion on flute. She has recorded a dozen albums with Cherish the Ladies, a group she co-founded in 1985 and still leads.

Billy McComiskey 

A highly regarded player & composer of Irish traditional music, Billy McComiskey’s 1986 All-Ireland championship title attests to his mastery of the button accordion. Billy is a major figure in the widely celebrated Irish traditional music scene in the Baltimore / Washington area and many of his tunes are part of the traditional repertoire. He has been a member of several important groups including; The Pride of New York (with Joanie Madden, Brian Conway and Brendan Dolan), Trian (with Liz Carroll and Dáithí Sproule) and Mick Moloney’s Green Fields of America, a group that counts many legendary musicians among its ranks, including John Doyle, Athena Tergis and Robbie O’Connell.

Margie Mulvihill

Margie has been part of the tradition since early childhood, taking music lessons from her cousin, fiddle legend Martin Mulvihill from Glin, West Limerick.  She was also influenced by her North Kerry parents Peg Holly from Asdee and Mike Mulvihill from Moyvane.  She moved back to her beloved Moyvane, Co. Kerry as a teenager for a while and frequented the fantastic West Limerick and North Kerry music sessions.  Margie teaches with the Pearl River School of Irish music along with former Martin Mulvihill student Patty Furlong and Rose Flanagan.  Together they have taken hundreds of students to Ireland to compete at All Irelands with much success in both ceili bands and solos.  Margie and her husband John were both inducted into Comhaltas Hall of Fame in 2011.