Eileen Sullivan plays Irish traditional music on the fiddle Tuesday at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos at Cottonwood on the Greens. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Eileen Green kicks off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations for members of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos Tuesday during their weekly meeting at Cottonwood on the Greens. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Eileen Sullivan plays Irish traditional music with the gentle lilting style reminiscent of some of the old County Clare fiddlers and the skill of someone who is in tune with the background and techniques of the music.
Sullivan trained as a classical violinist and graduate of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. She has been playing Irish fiddle for more than a decade and has taught Irish traditional music through the Western Institute of Lifelong Learning and Irish fiddle workshops for the New Mexico Heritage Project at the UNM in Albuquerque, Cascadia Irish Music Week in Washington state and Silver City’s Pickamania.
Asked how she got interested in playing traditional Irish music, Sullian said she got involved with some groups in Albuquerque that played dance music and began playing various different types of dance music but became really interested in Irish dance music.
“There was a camp in Santa Fe a number of years ago called ZoukFest which was built around the bouzouki, an insrument which had come into the Irish tradition through bands such as Planxty,” Sullivan said. “So the camp had a very strong Irish component.”
She said there was a wonderful American-born Irish fiddler called Randal Bays who came to teach at ZoukFest and totally changed her life.
“Irish music is so much of my world now – the people that I’m close to, the extended community that I’m part of is the Irish music community,” Sullivan said. She said she is learning more and more daily about the tradition and the style.
“Hopefully, I’m getting closer and closer to a more authentic sound,” she said.
Sullivan relocated to Los Alamos in July 2017 to accept the position of Los Alamos County Library Manager.