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Article

Vasil S. Tole

(b Përmet, Albania, May 2, 1929; d Përmet, Jan 26, 2014). Albanian folk music performer. A clarinettist and vocalist, nicknamed ‘Përmeti’s nightingale’, founder of the instrumental iso-polyphonic group (saze ensemble) in the Southern town of Përmet (1944–2004). At a young age, he showed a special ability to design and make instruments. He was taught to play the lute and the clarinet by the saze masters in the city of Korçë. Then his family returned to Përmet, where he joined the saze of Vangjel Leskoviku (1944). At Përmet, he organized his own saze and participated in the Folk Music Festival in Tirane (1952), where he was awarded the First Prize for the best folk clarinettist. His saze was composed of a clarinet, two lutes, two accordions, a frame drum, and a violin. The saze played instruments and sang at the same time. He is a composer of songs, clarinet ...

Article

Stephen D. Winick

(b New York, NY, Dec 21, 1951). American traditional Irish accordionist and composer. He began playing the button accordion in his native Brooklyn, at six years old. Two of his uncles were musicians, and his mother encouraged him to take up playing. At age 15 he met the Galway-born accordionist Sean McGlynn, who became his teacher and mentor. In the 1970s he relocated to Maryland, where he began playing with the Washington, DC area band The Irish Tradition, which also featured Brendan Mulvihill and Andy O’Brien. In 1986 he won the all-Ireland championship for button accordion and he and Mulvihill won for accordion/fiddle duet.

Since the 1980s McComiskey has been part of the touring ensemble The Green Fields of America. In the 1980s he formed the Baltimore Ceili Band, a loose group of musicians that congregates for festivals, parties, and community events. The Ceili band has helped revitalize the Irish music scene in the Baltimore area. In the 1990s McComiskey founded the band Trian, with Liz Carroll and Dáithí Sproule, and toured and recorded with them. He has also played and recorded with the Pride of New York....

Article

Paula Conlon

[‘Doc’ Tate ]

(b Fletcher, OK, July 3, 1932; d Lawton, OK, March 5, 1996). Native American (Comanche) maker and player of juniper flutes. He attended the Fort Sill Indian School and Haskell Indian Institute. He learned flute making from the Kiowa maker Belo Cozad (1864–1950) and the Lakota maker Richard Fool Bull (1887–1976). He used the traditional method of splitting the wood, carving the channel, boring the holes, and inserting the plug, then gluing the flute back together with sap, binding it with leather thongs, and attaching the external block. His first album, Indian Flute Songs from Comanche Land (NAM 401C, n.d.), was the first commercial recording consisting entirely of music for solo Indian flute. He introduced new playing techniques, including cross-fingerings to extend the range, and extending the warbling sound on the lowest tone to all the available pitches, thus expanding the flute’s repertoire and contributing to its revival in the latter 20th century. Tate (the English name given to him) was recognized as a National Heritage Fellow in ...

Article

Vasil S. Tole

[Lulushi ]

(b Korçë, Albania, March 23, 1954; d Korçë, April 23, 1990). Albanian folk clarinettist . Master of the iso-polyphonic repertory associated with Korçë during the second half of the 20th century. Lulushi grew up in a family of folk music performers, and he began to play folk instruments such as accordion and clarinet at a very young age. His grandmother, Qerime, was a singer of the Korca saze in the 1930s. As a member of the Ensemble Skënderbeu (1978), Lulushi performed dozens of instrumental iso-polyphony pieces of southeast Albania. His saze was composed of 2 clarinets, 1 violin, 1 quena, 2 lutes, 1 accordion, and 1 frame drum. Lulushi has been appreciated as one of the top folk clarinettists of Korçë folk music. In addition to dozens of great performances already known as ‘…of Lulushi’s clarinet’, he has also contributed to the golden fund of instrumental music, with what is known as ‘Lulushi’s Kaba in Sol’ (...

Article

S. Timothy Maloney

(b Larraga, East Galway, Ireland, Sept 27, 1926; d Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, Sept 13, 2011). Irish flute, tin whistle, and uilleann pipes player. A leading exponent of the East Galway lyrical style, he learned flute and pipes from his father Tom (“Barrel”), local flutists Jack Coughlan and Tom Broderick, and radio broadcasts and recordings of flutists Stephen Moloney and Tommy Whelan of the Ballinakill Céilí Band. He began playing at house parties and dance halls as a youth, and by his late teens was a member of the Ballinakill Traditional Dance Players and the Killimor Céilí Band.

Rafferty immigrated in 1949 to the United States, where he worked in blue-collar jobs and played little music for a decade. In about 1959 he began playing again with other Irish expatriates and was invited to participate in the Smithsonian Institution’s Bicentennial Festival of American Folklife in 1976. Beginning in the late 1970s, he toured with the Green Fields of America, and his playing was included on two albums of field recordings, ...

Article

Timo Leisiö

[Feodor Safronoff ]

(b Soikkola, Russian West Ingria, Nov 7, 1886; d Helsinki, Finland, Jan 5, 1962). Ingrian musician and instrument maker who became a symbol of Finnish folk music. As a boy on the southeastern shore of the Gulf of Finland he worked as a shepherd during several summers and learned to make and play local flutes (soittu), trumpets (wooden torvi, truba), and the Baltic psaltery (kantele). Being an orphan he lacked social status, and therefore emigrated to Finland in 1913. During World War I he played the french horn in a Russian army band. After Finland gained independence, in 1917, he settled there, changed his name Feodor Safronoff to Teppo Repo, and worked as a policeman and later as a mechanic (chiefly employed by the Singer sewing machine company); instrument making was always a part-time occupation. After starting to play Ingrian music in Helsinki he was recruited as an entertainer by patriotic forces in the early 1930s, and soon performed across Finland and abroad; his improvised melodies represented to his public the folk music of all Finnic peoples (Estonians, Karelians, Finns, etc.) even though his style was based on the music of his childhood and not truly representative of other national traditions. His flutes, horns, and trumpets, of which he made and sold an unknown number, can be found in museums from Japan to the USA. Some represent 19th-century Ingrian traditions foreign to Finland; others are of widespread European types. His straight and curved ...

Article

Ian Mikyska

(b Kyjov, 15 June 1981). Czech clarinetist. Studied at the Brno Conservatory with Břetislav Winkler and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with Jiří Hlaváč and Vlastimil Mareš, where he completed his PhD dissertation on the topic of the clarinet concerto repertoire in the 20th century. He also spent an important year with Michel Arrignon at the Paris Conservatoire.

He performs classical repertoire with the pianists Martin Kasík, Ivo Kahánek, and Daniel Wiesner and contemporary music with the Ostravská banda and the Berg Orchestra. Though most active as a performer of classical and contemporary music, he is also involved in several multi-genre projects, such as Irvin_Epoque with the Epoque Quartet, which mixes folk, jazz, and composed music, or JA-RA-LAJ, a solo CD inspired by Romani music from Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

He has performed at festivals including Mitte Europa, the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades, Mozart, der Europäer Mannheim, Prague Spring, Dvořák’s Prague, and others, and with conductors, including Radovan Vlatkovič, Zakhar Bron, Peter Czaba, Igor Ardašev, and ...