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The incredibly talented Celtic Corridor, featuring Joanna Clare, Laura Byrne, Eileen Estes, Donna Long and Billy McComiskey. Each member of the band is, in their own right, an outstanding member of the Mid-Atlantic Irish Music community and their union serves to elevate their craft to new heights!
Irish Traditional Flute & Whistle
Founder and Director of the Baltimore Irish Trad Fest, Laura Byrne is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic for her mastery of the Irish traditional flute and whistle. Laura began studying flute at age 9 in her native Vermont, continued her studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore where she earned Bachelor’s degrees in both flute performance and music education in 1995.
Though classically trained, she chose to devote her musical career to Irish traditional music, committing herself to the playing of the older generation of musicians through her many trips to Ireland and from close study of the emigrees to the United States. Laura has performed at countless festivals, ceilis and concerts in the U.S., Canada and Ireland including venues such as the Kennedy Center, Birchmere, several National Folk Festivals and the Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY.
She performs frequently with Baltimore greats Billy McComiskey, Donna Long and Jim Eagan. Laura was featured on the Eva Cassidy remix album Wonderful World (2004). In 2014 Laura was a featured performer with the English choir Libera at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC which was released as a DVD recording and broadcast worldwide.
Laura has recorded two solo albums Tune for the Road (2005) and Lucky Day in (2010) which received great reviews, and were highly praised by Irish Music Magazine. She is a member of The Old Bay Ceili Band which released an album Crabs in the Skillet (2011). She released a duo recording with New York based fiddler Rose Flanagan Forget Me Not (2014). Laura is a two time grant recipient of the Maryland Traditions Master Apprentice award – as a ballad singer apprentice in 2007, and then in 2011 as a Master of flute, and received the Individual Artist award in performance from the Maryland State Arts Council in both 2010 and 2011.
Laura still performs occasionally, and works as a full time Realtor and co-owner of the Vesta Group of Long and Foster where she combines her non-musical passions of making things happen, central Maryland real estate, and helping others.
Billy McComiskey, a Brooklyn native, plays in what he loosely describes as the East Galway Style of Irish accordion music. He is a protege of the late Sean McGlynn from Tynagh, Co. Galway. To this day he still plays Sean’s rare 1940’s vintage gray Paolo Soprani box.
Billy McComiskey, a Brooklyn native, plays in what he loosely describes as the East Galway Style of Irish accordion music. He is a protege of the late Sean McGlynn from Tynagh, Co. Galway. To this day he still plays Sean’s rare 1940’s vintage gray Paolo Soprani box. In the mid 1970’s, before moving to Baltimore, Billy helped to establish the still thriving Irish Music Scene in Washington DC. He moved to Baltimore in 1980 with his wife, Annie, and since that time, he’s helped put Irish Traditional Music on the map in Maryland.
Billy holds four All Ireland Championship titles, two (gold and silver medals) with Brendan Mulvihill for their superb duet playing, and two (silver and gold ) for his work as a soloist. Billy won the coveted All Ireland Championship for the Button Accordion in 1986. He is one of only two American box players to be so honored.
His friend and student John Nolan is the first American to win this award. Billy is the second. He is the recipient of the 2011 Irish Echoes Traditional artist of the year award, and has received one of the highest honors a traditional musician can be awarded: the 2016 NEA National Heritage Fellowship.
Billy is a composer of tunes, a good few of which are played in Ireland and America alike. He’s made quite a few recordings with some of the mightiest musicians playing Irish Music today, including the Irish Tradition, Trian, Green Fields of America, and the Pride of New York. He’s played and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, England and Scotland.