August 2019 – Registration is now open for our fall classes – please see our Class Descriptions and Registration pages for more information.
We are pleased to welcome Willie Kelly this fall; Willie will offer fiddle workshops on Clare and Galway styles on November 17. Please scroll to the bottom of this page for more information on Willie.
The joy of music lasts a lifetime!
Welcome to the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music, which offers group instruction in traditional Irish music to children and adults on a variety of instruments (fiddle, tin whistle, flute, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bodhran), as well as singing and mixed instrument classes. Classes are offered by outstanding instructors for players of all levels. We offer classes in the beautifully renovated historic barn in Old Wethersfield at the Wethersfield Academy for the Arts, 431 Hartford Ave., Wethersfield, CT.
Interested in finding out more? Please see our current course offerings.
Ready to sign up? Please click here for registration information and form (pricing listed on form).
Read about our Irish Music Class Instructors.
Questions? Contact Director Jeanne Freeman if you have questions or would like more information.
The Hartford Courant wrote a nice feature article about the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music .
Willie Kelly comes from a musical family from Galway and Roscommon. Both grandfathers played fiddle as well as his father, Joe Kelly, from South Roscommon. He was strongly influenced by the music of his teacher, West Limerick fiddler Martin Mulvihill, as well as East Clare fiddlers Martin Rochford, Paddy Canny and PJ Hayes. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s Willie was part of the well-known “Kelly Brothers” duo with his older brother and fiddler Joe. During that time-frame Willie spent a good deal of time playing with and learning from East Galway flute-players Mike Rafferty and Jack Coen, who both greatly influenced him. In 1989 Willie met his wife, flute- player Siobhan Moloney, and began traveling frequently to Clare, visiting family and playing music with many great Clare and Galway musicians. From friendships with these great musicians on both sides of the Atlantic, Willie developed a strong preference for older styles.
Willie was also influenced by recordings of fiddlers such as Paddy Cronin, Patrick Kelly, Joe Ryan, Junior Crehan and Sean Ryan, as well as contemporary players James Kelly, Tommy Peoples, Kevin Burke, and Conor Tully. In addition to fiddlers and flute-players, Willie was influenced strongly by uilleann piping.
In 2009 Willie recorded “The New Broom” CD with his friend and mentor, the late great flute player from Ballinakill, Mike Rafferty. In addition, Willie’s music is featured on two Mike and Mary Rafferty CDs, “The Road From Ballinakill” and “Speed 78”. In 2010, Irish radio presenter Paula Carroll recorded a program from Willie’s kitchen as part of “The Kitchen Sessions” series which was broadcast on ClareFM radio.
In addition to the fiddle, Willie plays the uilleann pipes and the flute. He has been teaching the fiddle for more than 20 years. He lives in New Jersey where he enjoys playing music with his wife and children, as well as teaching youngsters to play.