Brian Ó hAirt's style of concertina playing reflects his love of West Galway, where he spent a good deal of his formative years involved with the Irish language and music community of southern Conamara--a district with its fair share of melodeon players, singers, and dancers. Understandably, his style mimics much of the phrasing, lift, and drive of melodeon music while clearly influenced by the concertina playing so prevalent in neighboring Co. Clare. His style can be understated and yet at times ornate--reflective of his experience as a sean-nós dancer and singer. Also a gifted button accordionist and whistle player, Brian creates a unique "blended" style that engages both listens and dancers alike.
Beginning Concertina Workshop: This class will focus on building fundamental skills for concertina playing. These basic skills include standard and alternate fingering systems for our most common scales, how to effectively use the bellows to create lift in the music, and basic ornaments like cuts, double stops, and octaves to lend sophistication to one's playing. For absolute beginners, we will also focus on how to hold a concertina and adjust its hand straps. We'll internalize these skills by way of learning common dance tunes such as jigs, reels, hornpipes, and marches. A portion of this class will be set aside for listening to examples of concertina music from around Ireland. It is highly recommended that students bring a recording device, as music will be learned "by ear."