Mark Ellison

Dublin, County Dublin

Whether kicking out the jams as an axe-wielding frontman in noisy bars or plucking sweet strings as a sensitive accompanist, I am a widely experienced and nuanced musician-teacher. Having studied classical piano and violin as a child, I turned to the guitar in my teens. A fan of the great 2-Tone dominated pop scene of the late 70s and early 80s, I was also inspired by great blues and rock musicians of the era just before my own. The British Invasion sound of Clapton and Hendrix, coupled with the homegrown genius of Rory Gallagher and Phil Lynott, called out to me, leading me to imagine a musical life.

This life in music began on the streets and in the pubs of Dublin, where I gigged, busked and jammed alongside Glen Hansard, Mic Cristopher, Kila and many unsung heroes as part of what is now recognised as a musical movement (see John Carney's film, 'Once'). Learning together, we all traded licks and performances at the likes of Dublin’s International Singer-Songwriter nights hosted by Dave Murphy. Music was what we all did every day. As time passed, I experienced different sides of this world, learning audio recording and doing some session work. Becoming a guitar teacher in the mid 1990s, I have continued to embody a rich and authentic musicking experience, encouraging students to learn by doing, and to make their own music whenever possible. Community music started for me in 2008 with Dublin's Rialto Youth Project and Common Ground. Now also active with Fatima Groups United and CDETB, I am completing an MA at Trinity Laban (London) called The Teaching Musician.

A creative life in music has led to many surprise encounters. On a music production course at Pulse College, I recorded Hozier - just before he hit his dizzy heights! A short time later, I brought a group of talented songsters from Rialto Youth Project into the same studios at Windmill Lane to record their original album, 'Ground Control'. Previous encounters have included singing class with Sinead O'Connor, a Blues master class with Rory Gallagher, and some live work with Punk queen, Hazel O'Connor. Composition, production and recording credits include TEDx, WFMU, BBC, Preacher's Son, Bowlegged and Jaime Nanci. Film sound work includes 'The End of the Earth is My Home' and 'Pushtar' by Alan Lambert. I currently play guitar with Kevin Nolan (Fredrick and the Golden Dawn) and with Dublin three piece, Sumtones.

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