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Someone You Should Know: Irish Fiddler Sean Cleland

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Sean Cleland (CBS)

Sean Cleland (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – If you love Irish music, you may have heard of a Chicagoan who made his name on a fiddle: Sean Cleland.

He’s someone you should know, CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield reports.

The award-winning Irish fiddler and founder and director of the Irish Music School of Chicago grew up on the city’s North Side. He was seven when he decided what instrument he wanted to learn.

In the 1970s, he attended a concert at Lane Tech High School, where a touring group of Irish musicians, dancers and singers were performing.

“There was an excitement about it,” he says. “People were dancing, people were playing together, different instruments, different tonalities — it really spoke to me.”

Hearing the music, he decided that would be his life’s work.

In 1987, he organized the Drovers, a folk-rock band that recorded four albums and appeared in two major Hollywood films, “Backdraft” and “Blink.”

While teaching at the Old Town School of Folk Music, he got the idea for an Irish music school.

“I thought I would like to do something specifically with Irish music and deal with Irish music and Irish culture in Chicago and and tie these things together somehow and pass along this music to everybody,” Cleland says.