Art Works Blog

Sharing the Old Tunes

Washington, DC

Like many an immigrant, 2010 NEA National Heritage Fellow Mike Rafferty came to the United States for a better life. But when he came from East Galway, Ireland, he brought something important with him: his flute. Although he didn't play for many years after arriving in this country---holding down two jobs to take care of his family---the music never left him. And in his 50s, he returned to playing.

Rafferty credits 1999 NEA National Heritage Fellow Mick Moloney with bringing him back to music and helping Rafferty to record his first album. Rafferty's daughter Mary often plays with him as well, and in an excerpt from this week's Art Works podcast, Rafferty tells how he shares the songs his father taught him with his daughter, keeping traditional Irish music alive over three generations.

Hear the entire Mike Rafferty podcast, and don't forget to check back at arts.gov on September 24 to see Rafferty perform at the NEA National Heritage Fellowships awards concert---being webcast live for the first time!

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