March 1, 2023

Folk Music Society Presents Duo Rakish

MUSIC FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Maura Shawn Scanlin, left, and Conor Hearn, take a concert approach to performing Irish music. (Photo by L. Bichan)

The Princeton Folk Music Society celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a March 17, 8 p.m. concert by Rakish, a duo comprising violinist Maura Shawn Scanlin and guitarist Conor Hearn, at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane.

In a performance that is something more akin to concert music, Rakish explores tunes and songs from Irish and American folk traditions. The duo stretches boundaries, going beyond basic session playing.

“There has been a shift from playing in the more informal setting of an Irish or Scottish session, where, in terms of arrangement, you’re always winging it to a certain extent,” said Hearn. “Over the years, we’ve moved to more of a concert approach, where there is more of a deliberate choice to put our own slant on things.”

“We have moments in a piece where we’ll be playing one way, with me playing the melody and Conor playing harmony, and suddenly we’ll flip and I’ll play harmony while Conor plays melody,” said Shawn. “Having a duo is a nice way of flip-flopping those roles a lot. It’s fun, and it keeps people guessing.”

The name “Rakish” is derived from the traditional fiddle tune “Rakish Paddy.”

Scanlin is a two-time U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Champion and a winner of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Competition. Hearn, 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.

Tickets at the door range from $5-$25. Visit