Above photo by Edward Éamonn Knuff
Regarding Liz's recent concert appearance at the 2016 Orkney Folk Festival:
"Next up was that most unassuming of legends, Irish-American fiddler Liz Carroll... Nimbly accompanied by guitarist Sean Óg Graham, she enriched her material with such a wealth of ornamentation, harmonic colour, expressive nuance and rhythmic sensitivity as to sound like two or three fiddlers at work."
Sue Wilson, The Scotsman, May 30, 2016

from left:Jackie Moran, Marty Fahey, Kieran O'Hare, Liz Knowles, Liz Carroll, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Catríona McKay

IRELAND: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690-1840 – The Music
Buy the music now!



Listen to a track composed and co-produced by Liz. It's from the album of music that's a companion to the exhibit that opened on St. Patrick's Day, 2015, at the Art Institute of Chicago. There's a host of excellent musicians, playing music of the time and music composed by Liz that's inspired by the exhibit.

Produced by Liz Carroll, Liz Knowles and Marty Fahey.

Musicians Liz Carroll, Liz Knowles, Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, Catríona McKay, Kieran O’Hare, Marty Fahey, Trevor Hutchinson, Jackie Moran, Emer Mayock, Aoife Ní Bhriain, and Mick O’Brien.

"Stunning"   TradConnect

"It is fantastic... , a gorgeously produced and sumptuously presented album of music."   Bill Margeson, LiveIreland and Irish American News

"Slip jigs and hornpipes, marches and airs trail each other in a musical banquet..." Alex Monaghan, FolkWorld

Visit the "IRELAND: Crossroads" web site.

photo by Suzanne Plunkett

Who's Liz?
Liz Carroll was born in Chicago of Irish parents. She's a junior and senior All-Ireland Fiddle Champion, and has toured as a solo artist and with the Greenfields of America, Trian, String Sisters, and as part of the duo Liz Carroll & John Doyle. She's featured on eleven albums and has appeared on many more. Liz is a recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship Award (1994). In 2010 she became the first Irish-American musician nominated for a Grammy. In 2011 she became the first American-born composer honored with the Cumadóir TG4, Ireland's most significant traditional music prize.

A March 9, 2015, Chicago Tribune interview is here - Liz talks about her life in Irish music.

Liz uses Obligato Violin Strings!

Made by


Buy "On the Offbeat"

Buy Liz's acclaimed album, in both CD and digital formats, here!


The "Offbeat" reviews

★★★★★ "... [a] magnificent collection of original, self-composed tunes. ... a wide arc of a celebration of quirky, non-conformist rhythms, which revel as much in the powder-keg unpredictability of the Balkans as they do in the buoyant agility of the Sligo style."
- read the full review here
Siobhan Long, The Irish Times

"Great compositions, top grade musicianship, and a nicely designed sleeve to boot: why wouldn't you want one? "
- read the full review here
Alex Monaghan, FolkWorld

"... this is an archetypal Irish musician visiting other musical realms without losing one iota of her rootedness and unique musical voice. It is a joy and gift."
- read the full review here
Kevin Carr, FolkWorks

this is timeless Carroll. Magical, multi-dimensional, inventive and at the peak of her creativity."
- read the full review here
Tony Lawless, TradConnect

And Liz's long-time musical pal, Jimmy Keane, chimes in, too! "I am still amazed and in awe of her musicality, technical ability, and her innate 'turn of a note' in tune composition. 'On the Offbeat' further enhances all three of the above 'inspirations' to me."
- read Jimmy's full blog post here
posted at TradConnect
From Custys Traditional Music Shop, in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland, come this:

This is Liz Carroll's first collection of tunes bursting with personality and full of character.

She arrived unannounced into the shop in early April, 2011 accompanied by her two adoring aunts and asked with humility if we'd be interested in stocking her book in our shop.

Lady! we adore you and your music and it was our pleasure to have them on the shelves. She had just travelled from Wexford after having received a Gradam Ceoil as the 2011 traditional composer of the year - classy woman!

"She may write and play beautifully about such eclectic topics as fishing, bar hopping, and yellow pantsuits. She may dream of fiddle heaven, fighting with grapefruits, and putting tinsel on the tree. Carroll’s fiddle transcends our verbal descriptions of ordinary visions and daily delusions into something more magical by asking us to notice the beauty of it all through her music."
- read the full review here
Steve Horowitz, PopMatters

"... here she is truly front and center, and her power, control, plus her sheer ability to wring seemingly every possible tone and emotion from her instrument, are at full deployment... for Carroll, there are no boundaries..."
- read the full review here (on page 12)
Sean Smith, Boston Irish Reporter

"... a disc of superlative music that features some wonderful original tunes, a bunch of incredible co-conspirators and some top class fiddle playing from one of the best."
- read the full review here
Daniel Neely, Irish Echo

Female Musician of the Year, Irish American News: Liz Carroll
The Livies, Female Instrumental Album of the Year, liveIreland.com: On the Offbeat
"You know Liz Carroll has to win this. Our Chicago musical heroine has produced another stunner, this time entitled On the Offbeat. When any musician has been as excellent as long as Liz Carroll has, you can only wonder how much longer she can continue at this level. Apparently, the answer for this fiddle genius is forever."
Bill Margeson, Irish American News and liveIreland.com 

"... it is certainly one of the best albums of the decade so far."
- read the full review here
Eileen McCabe, Irish Music Magazine

"Talented and dedicated musicians find their own ways of putting their stamp on the musical traditions they inherit, and Carroll does so in both her playing and her composing... I hear the melodies loud and clear and love what they say..."
- read the full review here
Paul O'Connor, Trad Review

"... the tunes sparkle with life, winding and wending around the most unexpected and surprising corners. This is the kind of album only a true master can make..."
- read the full review here
Devon Leger, The Bluegrass Situation

Buy "Collected"

Buy Liz's book of tunes, in both paper and digital formats, here!


Fiddler Magazine review of "Collected"

This is Liz Carroll's first collection of tunes. She has been composing since she was a little girl and this collection represents a lifetime of musical ideas in the form of tunes. The collection ranges from jigs, reels, and hornpipes to polkas,airs and strathspeys. Included are well known tunes from Liz's recordings, such as Lost in the Loop, Wissahickon Drive, The Diplodocus, and The Lament of the First Generation, as well as fifty tunes which have never been recorded.
by Brendan Taafe

Liz Carroll is, without quibble, one of the finest living fiddlers and most highly regarded composers of original tunes in the Irish tradition. In recent years, she has performed for President Obama and been nominated for a Grammy, among other honors. Here, at last, is a collection of her original compositions, 185 in all—some 50 of which haven’t been recorded. ‘Treasure trove’ is a phrase that comes to mind, as is ‘overdue’. For remedying that last, kudos go to Gregg Burnett and the Shamrock Traditional Irish Music Society. They offered Liz the support and encouragement she needed to complete the project.

The production of the book is lovely—it feels good in your hand, and the tunes are clearly laid out and easy to read. As a nice touch, there are a few examples of Liz’s handwritten original manuscripts so you can get some sense of her composing process. Throughout, in the introductory notes and the ‘tune tales’ at the end, Liz’s genial spirit shines through. A gem of a book.

This excerpt from the introduction gives you a good sense of what to expect:

"For those who already play Irish music, you know why there are no ornaments, bowings, tempo indicators and chords in this book. For those who haven’t played Irish music before—there are no ornaments, bowings, tempo indicators or chords for the tunes in this book.

The reason is that while these tunes are written down here, Irish music is largely an aural tradition. Players will ornament a tune different from one pass to the next (or not). Bowing can vary so much from player to player, and all of it can sound good, that you won’t want to be tied down to an instructed bowing—just as flute players won’t want to be told where to take a breath. You’ll want to imitate good playing and eventually find your own comfortable chug."

Recommended for any fan of Liz’s - for anybody - who wants some new, meaty tunes to sink their teeth into. Which should cover most of us.

Liz Mailing List

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Here are a couple of recent stories and interviews regarding Liz - enjoy!
  • Liz is a National Heritage Fellow, don't you know, and she's featured in a podcast (Type "Liz Carroll" into the Search Podcasts text box) that's available on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) web site.  It's about a 40-minute discussion with host Josephine Reed in which Liz talk about what makes Irish music Irish - and she plays, too.
  • Lilli Kuzma, of WDCB radio in the Chicago area, wrote this article for the Chicago Sun-Times, "Mundelein fiddler Liz Carroll headlines all-Irish show.
  • And here's an article by Walter Tunis of the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Fiddler Liz Carroll doesn't hide her exhuberance for Irish music."

Liz in art + words

Sometimes we receive poems, drawings and other art work that fans send Liz.  Liz is, of course, very humbled by these and we thought it'd be good to share some of what we receive.

And so, click here to read three poems written by fans of Liz.

Mimi Devens lives in California and hearing Liz's music reminds her of her Irish roots.

RoseAnn Pollum is a cousin on Liz's father's side, and she writes poetry constantly. Here are two examples that celebrate Liz playing the fiddle.  The first is at a family gathering many years ago, and the second is at a concert at Chicago's Cultural Center.

Thank you, RoseAnn and Mimi!

Where's Liz?

QR for Liz's Web Site

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