Belfast TradFest - Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music
27th July - 2nd August 2019


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Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music

The team of international tutors is made up of master performers with proven track records as teachers and educationalists. The primary means of teaching and learning is ‘by ear’ with an emphasis in the less experienced classes of assisting pupils to develop oral/aural skills in addition to instrumental competency and developing core repertoire. There is a maximum of 15 students per class.


Bodhrán - John Joe Kelly & Eamon Murray

Bodhrán - John Joe Kelly & Eamon Murray


Classes take place Monday 29th July - Friday 2nd August 2019 10:00am - 1:00pm at Ulster University Belfast Campus.

This class is designed for Intermediate to Advanced adults and children over 6 years of age.

Fee includes admission to all programme events with exception of evening concerts. 

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John Joe Kelly

John Joe Kelly grew up in a Manchester Irish family. He started the drums by using his sister Grace's whistles as drumsticks. He then progressed on to the bodhrán and was heavily involved in the very vibrant Manchester Irish music scene. The Manchester Irish traditional music scene has been in existence for over sixty years and undergone many changes. Today Manchester has one of the most vibrant Irish traditional music scenes outside of Ireland, possibly the best. The City has an exceptionally high number of very talented musicians most of whom are second and third generation Irish. Many got their music from their parents but also took lessons from older musicians.

In this way there is a continuity consistent with the notion of a living tradition founded on oral transmission. 

John Joe was influenced in his playing by great (still young) musicians such as Michael McGoldrick (Flute) and Dezi Donnelly (Fiddle), and would also be close friends of musicians of high calibre such as: Eamonn Dinan (Button Accordion), Grace Kelly (Whistles), Paul Farrell (Fiddle), Colin Farrell (Fiddle), Kevin Madden (Fiddle), Andrew Dinan (Fiddle), Sean Regan (Fiddle), Keiron Atherton (Flute/Whistles), Ged Stenson (Flute/Whistles), Shane Brown (Banjo), Colin Harries (Guitar), Brendan Dempsey (Banjo), Geraldine Lyons (Banjo), but to name a few. 

John Joe holds various all All-Britain and All Ireland titles such as: 1st place in both the Drums and Lilting competitions (12-15) in 1990, in 1991 John Joe came 1st in the All Ireland Bodhrán competition (15-18), and second in the 1992 (15-18) Lilting competition.

John Joe toured extensively with St Malachy's Ceili Band with his friends in his younger days and was already a natural entertainer from these early years. With his friends from St Malachy's Ceili Band, John Joe then went on to play with a band that they founded called Ceile, for a few years.

John Joe has played with Altan and Paul Brady, and is currently playing bodhrán with FLOOK! and has been described by many as the best bodhran player in the world.

" say John Joe Kelly plays the bodhrán, is like saying Mount Everest is a bit of a climb" - Sidmouth Music Festival, Paul Saunders

Eamon Murray

Eamon Murray from Randalstown, Co. Antrim is one of the most important young bodhrán players in Irish music. Described by Johnny McDonagh (De Dannan/Arcady) as “the future of bodhrán playing”, Eamon has held the All-Ireland Bodhrán title on four occasions. 

Eamon has performed alongside many distinguished artists including Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and Liam O’Maonlai and was highly commended in the 2004 Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year competition.

He is a member of Irish band Beoga.