How It’s New York: Iris Nevins not only programs concerts at the Irish American Association of New Jersey (IAANJ), she also plays locally (a regular at the happy happy happy Cat and Fiddle Session at St. James’ Gate in Maplewood on Sundays), teaches jewelry-making at Catskills Irish Arts Week, and plays at many festivals. She’s joined by excellent local musicians. We interviewed her about the IAANJ sessions in Rockaway for Irish Examiner USA a few years ago, read it here.
How It’s Irish: This is a CD fo Celtic music on harp and guitar.

Irish Nevins’ String Theory is a sweet addition to your ipod! You can buy it at

String Theory, an album of Celtic tunes on harp and guitar, has a sweet, delicate vibe. Iris Nevins programs concerts at the Irish American Association of New Jersey (IAANJ), and is well known in the area as a guitar player, jewelry maker, and, for the past few years, a harper. Her CD Celtic Dreams is a charmer, and now String Theory captures an ethereal sweetness.

In 14 tracks, including three original tunes, Iris creates a mood of mists and daydreams. She plays the harp, guitar and also wire-strung harp, which you don’t get to hear very often, on the CD.On some tracks she’s joined by Linda Hickman on flute and whistle; Doug Barr on concertina, Richard Sutton on bodhran, and Tom Dunne on accordion. Some of these names are sure to be well known to session goers in the tri-state, particularly those who frequent the Cat n’ Fiddle session at St. James’ Gate in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Iris opens the album with the solo harp tune “Lament for the Lost,” a haunting tune in a minor key that, she writes, was “composed to remember all who were lost in our lives.”

So clear and sweet is “Planxty Anne Dunne” that it sounds like an O’Carolan tune, but it was composed by Iris in honor of Tom’s late wife. This one Iris plays on the wire-strung harp. Iris follows that one with a rendition of “Carolan’s Draught,” played on guitar with Hickman on flute.
“The Mystery,” a tune by Iris that transposes “The Rolling Waves” into the minor key on the harp, has an otherworldly atmosphere to it, as does Iris’ rendition of “Arran Boat Song” with Barr on concertina.

The Breton tune “The Wren” sounds particularly evocative on the wire-strung harp.
Some of the tunes, like “Eddie Moloney’s/My First Night in America,” are session tunes, but they are performed with delicacy that brings out another side of them.
Overall, String Theory is a welcome addition to your iPod.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.


  1. Avatar
    Kate Dunkin / September 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Great post Gwen! I came across your blog while I was looking at different international language service‘s online and I’m happy I did because your whole blog is filled with entertaining posts about Irish arts. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  2. Avatar
    Iris Nevins / September 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Gwen….thanks so much for the glowing review! Much appreciated.
    Interesting point, I recorded the wire harp tracks during the eight day power outage last October, via battery! There was not much else to do!

    See you soon!

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