Seamus Connolly is a teacher, scholar, and, as you heard, a remarkable irish fiddler. By his mid-twenties, Connolly had won the Irish National Fiddle Championship ten times, a feat that is still unequalled. Since emigrating to the United States in the 1970s, Seamus has performed at numerous festivals throughout the country, including the National Folk Festival, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and with three of phenomenonally successful Masters of the Folk Violin tours organized by the National Council for the Traditional Arts.
Connolly’s recordings including his two solo CDs, Notes from my Mind and Here and There, as well as The Boston Edge with 2004 NEA National Heritage Fellow Joe Derrane and John McGann. Since 2004, Connolly has been the Sullivan Artist in Residence at Boston College’s Center for Irish Programs where he had previously directed the highly acclaimed Gaelic Roots Summer School and Festival. Not surprisingly he is the recipient of many awards—and , he’s added a national heritage fellowship—which is a lifetime honor presented to master folk and traditional artists by the national endowment for the arts.
I traveled to Maine to visit with Seamus when he was awarded the heritage fellowship. I began by asking Seamus to explain what makes Irish fiddling, Irish Fiddling?