Catskill Irish Arts Week Logo
July 14-20 2024


Iris Nevins: Biography and Class Description


Iris Nevins

Iris Nevins has played extensively in the NY/NJ area since the1970’s. She was the guitar accompanist for Irish fiddle legends Andy McGann and Johnny Cronin, and also Joe Accordion Burke and Joe Banjo Burke in the late 70’s-early 80’s Friday and Saturday nights at Tom O’Reilly’s Pub in NYC and other gigs. She was also at the same time a member of the group “The Crooked Road”, house band at the O’Reilly’s Pub on West 31stST. in NYC.

Iris is a fingerstyle guitarist, and Celtic Harper, and plays melody, accompaniment, and also composes tunes for the guitar and harp, Her accompaniment style on both harp and guitar is a hybrid of harmony and melody, to tie in closely to the dance tunes, jigs, reels, hornpipes etc. Iris’ solo guitar CD of traditional and original fingerstyle tunes is called
 ‘Celtic Guitar Dreams’, and her harp and guitar CD is called “String Theory”. She also has another CD with melodeon player, Alan Morrisroe, from Mayo and Dublin. Iris also builds her own harps, and harps for students.
Iris is also a jeweler and “Paper Marbler”, and her marbling work is part of the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art in NYC.
Iris currently co hosts, with a revolving guest host, the monthly seisun at the Irish American Association Of Northwest Jersey and also hosts other music events there, including “Harp Day” every few months, where harpers meet to learn new tunes and play together.

The only requirement for this class will be that you know what your strings and finger numbers are,  and where the notes are, and  already play at least a few simple tunes. You should also know how to tune your own harp. We will do easy but beautiful tunes,  and learn Irish ornamentation and phrasing and technique as well. An important part of Irish music is to understand the phrasing, and get the feel of the dance into the music.

Reading music is not necessary, though sheet music with the ABCs notated as well for non-readers, will be given out, however, we will learn by Ear in class, the tradtional way. You may have the music on your lap or the floor as a memory jog if you wish, but we do not have room for music stands.
For anyone who signs up early, I will send an MP3 a few weeks ahead, of all the tunes we will be covering so you can listen and get a little familiar with them before coming to CIAW. It is not necessary to have received this to participate in the class though, in case you did not sign up early.
Keep in mind this is not “Beginner Harp”, you need to play at least a bit already. If you are a beginner however, and want to participate, I’d recommend six or more lessons ahead to be prepared. You can find a local teacher, or you can do some in person or Skype or Facetime lessons with me, and we will get you ready for the class. I would recommend a teacher who is well versed in Irish/Celtic technique however, and can try to help you locate one. Contact me if this is something you would like to do. You will need to bring a harp for this class, we do not supply them for the week. We do have small rental harps for students, if you want to try harp over the winter, and see if you like it, before investing in your own.
I can be reached at for any questions about the class. 

Here are a few youtubes if you would like to hear my playing: