Inspired by the music of the old masters of Irish fiddling, Laurel Martin's fiddle playing moves with the joyful, lilting rhythm and the soulful nuance that she hears in the music of Clare and East Galway. She is a frequent performer at festivals and concert venues in the Boston area, and is a committed teacher of Irish traditional music.
A native New Englander and resident of the Boston area, she began playing the fiddle in 1980, and between 1990 and 1993 was the recipient of a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant gave Laurel the opportunity to study with master fiddler Seamus Connolly of County Clare, who helped her to explore Ireland's regional fiddle styles. She became deeply enchanted with the lonesome, enigmatic quality of Clare and East Galway music. Inspired by many great musicians she has met and played with through the years, she has acquired a unique and soulful style of her own.
Laurel finds great joy in collaborating with her fellow musicians, and in recent years has often played with flute and banjo player Mark Roberts, guitarist Matt Heaton, harpist Kathleen Guilday, and dancer Kieran Jordan. Since 1999 she has toured and recorded with the fiddle ensemble "Childsplay". In 2002 she published and recorded a book / CD of Irish traditional tunes with her mentor Seamus Connolly, "Forget Me Not: Fifty Memorable Traditional Irish Tunes" (Mel Bay, publisher) and her first solo recording, "The Groves" was released in 2006.
Since 1993 Laurel has been an active teacher of Irish traditional fiddle music. She taught at the legendary "Gaelic Roots" festivals at Boston College, and has taught workshops across the US and abroad. Through the years she has taught Irish fiddle at Boston College for their Irish Studies program, at Phillips Academy, Andover, and at Wellesley College as director of the "Fiddleheads" ensemble. She currently teaches Irish fiddle at the Indian Hill Music School in Littleton MA, where she is chair of the Irish music department.
Whether performing or teaching, Laurel is devoted to passing along her love of the old traditional music and to sustaining the spirit of generosity that has kept it alive for so many generations.