Violinist Maura Shawn Scanlin and guitarist Conor Hearn unite to form “Rakish.” The pair gets their namesake from the traditional Irish tune Rakish Paddy, an origin that aptly suits the duo and their shared background in traditional Irish and Scottish music. Yet “rakish” itself also suggests something strikingly unconventional in its appearance, and Maura and Conor knowingly embrace this wealth of connotation in their music, drawing on the music they grew up with and performing it with their own slant. In a performance that is something more akin to concert music, Rakish explores tunes and songs from Irish and American folk traditions in a way that reflects their shared interest in and love for chamber music and jazz. Maura Shawn, a two-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion and a winner of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Competition, wields the technical range of an accomplished classical violinist and the deep sensitivity of a traditional musician. Conor, a native to the Irish music communities of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD, makes his home in Boston playing guitar for a number of traditional music acts and bands. As a duo they have performed on Front Row Boston, Brian O’Donovan’s Burren Backroom Series, and they can be heard on broadcasts of WGBH’s “A Celtic Sojourn.”
Conor Hearn is a stylistically diverse guitar player and instructor who specializes in accompaniment of traditional Irish and Scottish fiddle playing. Hailing from the Irish music communities of Washington D.C. and Maryland, Conor grew up playing fiddle and guitar in the traditional Irish music sessions. While studying to attain his B.A in English Literature with a minor in Music from Tufts University, Conor started working as a professional guitar player by lending his innovative rhythmic skills to the panoply of groups and projects that are taking shape in the Boston area folk music scene. He has since performed on programs like Brian O'Donovan's Celtic Sojourn and taught guitar at music festivals such as Alasdair Fraser's Sierra Fiddle Camp, while establishing himself as a cutting-edge Scottish and Irish plaver playing with groups like Soulsha, The Galen Fraser Quartet, TriHearn, and Pumpkin Bread. Conor currently makes his home in Medford, MA where he performs and teaches regularly.