John Whelan & Dale Russ – Irish Accordion & Fiddle

Nov 25, 2023 (Sat) / 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
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Venue: Phinney Center Concert Hall, Brick Building, 6532 Phinney Ave N, Seattle

Seven-time All-Ireland accordion champion John was raised on the fiddle and pipe music of Ireland, as his father Denis was from Ireland’s county Wexford. At age 14, already a seasoned winner, John recorded his first album in honor of his father, Pride of Wexford, still in print and selling well! 

John was soon performing with Eileen Ivers of Riverdance fame, in one of the most celebrated duos of the decade, and later with the Kips Bay Ceili band. John was also on two of Narada label’s bestselling releases, Celtic Odyssey and Celtic Legacy. His album Celtic Crossroads featured such stars as Kathy Mattea, Tim O’ Brien, and Jerry Douglas, along with Celtic singer Mary Mclaughlin, multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan, and fiddler Johnny Cunningham, and spent more than two months on Billboard’s World Music Top 10. Since then, John has been twice awarded Musician of the Year by the Irish Music Association, performed solo and with his band, and guested on and produced other artist’s albums. 

John’s music has been featured in tv shows such as Sex and the City, and films such as Ang Lee’s “Ride With the Devil,” in which he even appeared onscreen. He appeared solo on the critically acclaimed Once Upon an Accordion North American tour, and was named Traditionalist of the Year, by Irish Echo Magazine. 

John’s many albums such as his Flirting With The Edge, with such diverse artists as Samite on kalimba and vocals, Latin guitarist Oscar Lopez, Celtic vocalist Connie Dover, and a dramatic vocal by longtime fan and actress/singer Bernadette Peters, push the boundaries of Irish music by infusing the traditional music with other genres. But John’s Celtic Roots still assures fans that his Celtic allegiances remain firm while bringing them new music as well. 

John will be joined at this concert by traditional Irish fiddler and NW musician, Dale Russ. Dale taught for fifteen years at the Lark in the Morning Summer Camp in Mendocino. He has also taught and performed at many workshops and music camps, including the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington, The Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, North Carolina,, and the Shasta Music Summit.  He has played for ceilis, set dances and dance competitions for many years, and performed for 15 years with the traditional Irish band “The Suffering Gaels”, appearing at the Milwaukee Irish Festival in 1993 and ’94.

John is now a staple at many major US Irish festivals and teaching camps, and performs solo as well as with friends such as Brian Conway, Haley Richardson (also now of Riverdance), Dylan Foley, Flynn Cohen, and with roots band Low Lily, plus his John Whelan band. John is celebrating 50 years of playing, so catch him while you can! 

“Whelan has a special way with accordion. He doesn’t just play tunes, he manages to get inside a melody and wring every ounce of feeling from within, a tough thing to do on an accordion … this is music at its best.” – FLIRTING WITH THE EDGE review, Irish Edition 

“His soulful playing revives an instrument unnecessarily reviled for too long.” – CELTIC CROSSROADS review, LA Times   

Ticket Type


At Door

In Person-General



In Person-SFS/PNA member,
fulltime Student, or Senior 65+



In Person-Youth (6-17)            $10