The Newton, Mass.- raised Daniel Neely will from next week have a new addition to his already packed resume: Irish Echo traditional music columnist.
“For 20 years, Earle Hitchner was the Echo’s portal to traditional music,” Neely said. “He set a high standard well known to musicians and fans alike, and I’m very excited to be on board to continue giving this music the serious coverage it deserves.”
Neely, who holds a PhD in ethnomusicology, plays tenor banjo and mandolin and is the leader of the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra, a group that plays traditional Irish music and recalls the Irish-American dance bands of the early 20th century.
He lives in Queens, New York City, with his wife Gail and their son Henry.
Neely learned banjo primarily, he said, from Mick Moloney. He runs a popular Saturday afternoon session at Lillie’s Bar and Restaurant in New York City and has worked extensively on several of the Irish Arts Center’s music projects.
He is currently the public relations officer of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann’s Mid-Atlantic Region and is also the new artistic director of the Augusta Irish/Celtic Week in Elkins, W.Va.
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Neely is a prolific writer, notably on the subject of Jamaica’s mento music, which he is said to have helped revive. He’s also long been fascinated with ice-cream truck music and will have a chapter on the subject in a forthcoming book from Oxford University Press.