John Whelan

John Whelan

  • Celtic

Seven-time All-Ireland accordion champion John was raised on the fiddle and pipe music of Ireland, as his father Denis was from Ireland’s county Wexford. At age 14, already a seasoned winner, John recorded his first album in honor of his father, Pride of Wexford, still in print and selling well!

John was soon performing with Eileen Ivers of Riverdance fame, in one of the most celebrated duos of the decade, and later with the Kips Bay Ceili band. John was also on two of Narada label’s bestselling releases, Celtic Odyssey and Celtic Legacy. His album Celtic Crossroads featured such stars as Kathy Mattea, Tim O’ Brien, and Jerry Douglas, along with Celtic singer Mary Mclaughlin, multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan, and fiddler Johnny Cunningham, and spent more than two months on Billboard’s World Music Top 10. Since then, John has been twice awarded Musician of the Year by the Irish Music Association, performed solo and with his band, and guested on and produced other artist’s albums.

John’s music has been featured in tv shows such as Sex and the City, and films such as Ang Lee’s “Ride With the Devil,” in which he even appeared onscreen. He appeared solo on the critically acclaimed Once Upon an Accordion North American tour, and was named Traditionalist of the Year, by Irish Echo Magazine.

John’s many albums such as his Flirting With The Edge, with such diverse artists as Samite on kalimba and vocals, Latin guitarist Oscar Lopez, Celtic vocalist Connie Dover, and a dramatic vocal by longtime fan and actress/singer Bernadette Peters, push the boundaries of Irish music by infusing the traditional music with other genres. But John’s Celtic Roots still assures fans that his Celtic allegiances remain firm while bringing them new music as well.

John is now a staple at many major US Irish festivals and teaching camps, and performs solo as well as with friends such as Brian Conway, Haley Richardson (also now of Riverdance), Dylan Foley, Flynn Cohen, and with roots band Low Lily, plus his John Whelan band. John is celebrating 50 years of playing, so catch him while you can!

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