Your Communities. Your Traditions. Your Folklife.
Northwest Folklife aims to strengthen our communities through arts and culture. This calendar brings together our greater community’s events and gatherings. Here, you will find events ranging from cultural celebrations to music and dance performances and traditional gatherings.
Together, we can continue to celebrate the rich arts, cultures, and traditions that thrive in the greater Pacific Northwest.
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John Whelan In Concert
September 21 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm$2 – $20
This season SFS will open its concert series with the master Irish button accordion player, and recent Northwest transplant, John Whelan. A seven-time all-Ireland champion, John brings skill and force to his music that is steeped in traditional Irish music. John is celebrating 50 years in Irish music and his performance is one that should not be missed. The concert will be held on Saturday, September 21st at 7:30 pm at Phinney Ridge Community Center. Tickets are available on Brown Paper tickets.
John was raised in the vibrant London Irish music scene of the 1970s, and learned his craft from such legends as Lucy Farr, Roger Sherlock, Paddy Taylor, Mick O Connor and his teacher Brendan Mulkaire. John’s father, Denis Whelan, supported his son by carrying a reel to reel recorder to many shows, collecting hours of live music. Songs of home elicited sentimental tears, even when the words were not in English. Per John; “It was the words and the emotion of the music that moved me.”
John moved to the USA in 1980 and has been inspiring Celtic musicians and fans ever since. Along with his All-Ireland Championships, he was twice awarded musician of the year from the Irish Music Association. He has over 15 CDs, many of which push the boundaries of Irish music by infusing the traditional music with African rhythms, flamenco guitar and other genres. He has performed on Late Night with Conan O’ Brien. John has also acted and performed his music in movies such as Gods and Generals and Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil.
John Is also a sought-after composer and producer. His music has been featured on such TV shows as Sex in the City, History’s Mysteries, and History Detective. He has produced CDs for such notables as Gaelic Storm and Blackthorn.
While assuring fans that his Celtic allegiance remains firm, John continues to bring them to new music as well. “If you open your ears and your mind, you can appreciate my music for what it is, not what kind of music it is. All these things – my childhood memories, my father’s love of music, the way I related to an audience, the different styles I incorporate – are why I love to perform.”