Maryland Traditions - Irish fiddle,  Brendan Mulvihill and Emily Martin

Brendan Mulvihill & Emily Martin

Irish fiddle and mandolin Virginia (formerly of Silver Spring) and Boyds, Maryland
Photo Credit: Edwin Remsberg Photographs
Maryland Traditions - Irish fiddle,  Brendan Mulvihill and Emily Martin

2018 – 19 Folklife Apprenticeship Award recipient

Fiddler Brendan Mulvihill is one of the finest Irish fiddlers in the U.S. and Ireland, and a keeper of a long Irish musical legacy. He was born in England in 1954 into a family of musicians, including his father, Martin, a master fiddler from County Limerick, Ireland, and a National Heritage Fellow, the highest honor in the U.S. for traditional artists. The family immigrated to New York when Brendan was 11.

After learning fiddle from his father and others in New York, Brendan returned to England at 17. While there, he won both the junior and senior All-Ireland Fiddle championships as well as the Senior All-Ireland duet with accordionist Billy McComiskey. Returning to the United States, Mulvihill settled in the Washington, D.C., region and, along with McComiskey and singer/guitarist Andy O’Brien, formed the Irish Tradition, a trio credited with establishing the area’s rich Irish traditional music community. When the trio disbanded, Mulvihill went on to perform alongside such notables as Paddy Keenan, Martin Hayes, and John Williams, as well as on the Masters of the Folk Violin Tour alongside fellow Marylander, pianist Donna Long.

Apprentice Emily Martin also hails from a musical family, albeit one that draws from old-time string band traditions. An accomplished mandolin, mountain dulcimer, and tenor banjo player and singer, Emily has been working with Brendan this past year to learn the rich history of Irish traditional music as well as the appropriate ornamentation and variations of tunes.

More info at

For their performance at the National Folk Festival, they will be joined by Irish step dancer Shannon Dunne.

The National Folk Festival | Salisbury, MD is produced by

In Partnership with