Initially formed by Lindsay Straw (bouzouki, guitar, vocals) as a way to explore her own interest in the interconnected streams of folk music in Ireland, Britain, and America, The Ivy Leaf is a young stalwart of traditional music in New England, featuring Armand Aromin (fiddle, English concertina, vocals, whistle), Dan Accardi (fiddle, concertina, accordion), Benedict Gagliardi (concertina, harmonica, vocals, tenor guitar), and former member Caroline O’Shea (flute, whistle, vocals). Since forming in 2009, the band has explored an ever-evolving repertoire of songs and tunes from the Anglo-Celtic world, from Irish dance tunes to sea shanties, work songs, and dark narrative ballads. The members’ diverse backgrounds combine to produce a sound that is “vibrant and sure-footed, and tailored to fully reveal each tune’s character and personality” (Sean Smith, Boston Irish Reporter).
Their first album, released in March of 2012, “features nimble playing and skilled arrangements that convey a great enthusiasm for traditional Irish music” (Dan Neely, Irish Echo). It is available for purchase from Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes.
Dan hails from Warren, RI, where he began learning fiddle from Jimmy Devine. Instilled early on with a deep appreciation for the regional and personal styles of older Irish musicians, much of his playing and repertoire is built on close study of field recordings and albums from the first half of the 20th century. With an eye toward improving that understanding of the music, he began playing concertina after the style of West Clare greats like Ellen Galvin and John Kelly, and more recently, C#/D accordion after Kerry’s Johnny O'Leary. In addition to playing with the Ivy Leaf, squeezing out a few tunes at sessions, and teaching the concertina and accordion classes at Boston’s CCE Music School, Dan can also be found promoting the music of Julia Clifford and the Sliabh Luachra style as one half of the Rushy Mountaineers.
Lindsay Straw is a singer, guitarist, and Irish bouzouki player with a passion for the traditional music of the British Isles. Originally from Montana, she began to explore Boston’s Irish and folk music scenes while studying film scoring at Berklee College of Music. With an extensive repertoire, sensitive voice and agile accompaniment style, Lindsay frequently performs solo, with The Ivy Leaf, Jordan Santiago, and with The Vox Hunters.
Armand is a violin maker and musician based in Providence, Rhode Island. He has studied at Berklee College of Music and the University of Limerick, and is a graduate of the North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA where he earned his diploma in Violin Making & Repair. He currently works as a repair technician and violin maker at Aromin Violins, and is also one half of the duo The Vox Hunters. Picking up the fiddle and tin whistle in his mid-teens, Armand learned much of his music from renowned Irish musicians and tunesmiths Jimmy Devine and Patrick Hutchinson, both of whom helped to foster an interest in the lyrical and colorful styles of older musicians such as Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford, Bobby Casey, Johnny Doherty, and Tommy Reck. In addition to being the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil Champion for Senior Fiddle, Armand was also a finalist at the Séan Ó Riada Gold Medal Fiddle Competition held in Cork, Ireland in 2011.
Ben hails from Central CT, where he discovered folk music in high school by way of a cassette tape of CT-based band, The Morgans, and immediately bought a concertina (likely aspiring to become a pirate). Although Ben never received formal lessons, his music-making was nurtured and encouraged at sessions by local trad musicians including Joe Gerhard, John Tabb, Jeanne Freeman, Jon Warner and many others from the time he first started going to sessions in CT. Ben has been in a number of folk music bands (including Full Gael with Will O'Hare and Gary Palmer, and Shinbone Alley with Tyler Bussey and Chris Biase) and played throughout the Northeast at festivals, house concerts, coffeehouses, farmers markets and other venues small and large. He is the other half of The Vox Hunters, his duo with Armand.
Founding member Caroline O’Shea left to pursue a masters degree at Trinity College in Dublin. Originally from Milton, MA, she picked up her first tin whistle from her family’s Irish shop at age eleven, and hasn’t let it go since. She started on the Irish flute soon after, and was delighted to compete in the All-Ireland championships for four years in a row in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. She has taught at Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in Boston; at the Killarney School of Music in Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland; at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England; and at the Milton Art Center in Milton, MA. Caroline’s style of traditional flute and whistle playing is rhythmic and lyrical; she has drawn influences from Boston-area flute players such as Jimmy Noonan, Shannon Heaton, and Tim Buckley, in addition to friends in the greater Boston session scene and beyond.