John created the Whelan Master Sessions during the pandemic as a series of online sessions to play, listen, and chat LIVE on Zoom with some of the best musicians in the business, bringing joy into living rooms around the world while also supporting artists during a time of hardship. Although the series has come to an end and John is back to touring and performing live concerts, the Whelan Master Sessions hosted hundreds of musicians and music-enthusiasts from around the world, creating a vital sense of shared connection when we needed it most.

Who Played?

The Whelan Master Sessions featured such great musicians including Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely of Lúnasa, Joanie Madden and Mirella Murray of Cherish the Ladies, Liam Kelly and Tom Morrow of Dervish, Haley Richardson and Patrick Mangan of Riverdance, the renowned, New York-born fiddler Brian Conway, and Michael McGoldrick and Angela Usher playing live from Manchester.

We’ve also been blessed by the company of Oisín Mac Diarmada and Samantha Harvey, Catherine and John McEvoy with their respective families, Dermot Byrne and Yvonne Casey, John and James Carty, the mighty box-playing talents of Phil Cunningham, Damien Mullane, David Munnelly and Daithí Gormley, and the one and only Kevin Burke.

How Did it Work?

After a donation of $20, each participant would receive a Zoom link along with a tune list from John. The tunes would be categorized into sets of Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes, Slip Jigs, and more. That way those who wished to play along could come prepared to play the tunes they already knew, or learn a new tune that was new.

During the session, every participant was muted except for the special guest so that musicians could play along or noodle to their heart’s content.

Taking Time Slow Session and Tune Learning

Interested in joining John for tunes online? The Whelan Master Sessions might be over but the Taking Time Slow Session and Tune Learning sessions are going strong! Click the Slow Session tab for more info, or sign up for John’s newsletter.

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