New Irish Barn Dance 4:220:00/4:22
Bella Issakova & Randy Clepper
Bulgarian born, classically educated violinist Bella Issakova has spent the past 30 years performing and teaching. In the mid 1990’s in addition to playing in orchestras and chamber groups, Bella began exploring other genres of music, bluegrass and jazz being the first forays outside of the classical structure. Eventually Bella discovered and fell in love with the Traditional music of Ireland, and has had the fortune and privilege to play and tour extensively in that field. Among the various projects she is involved with, Bella was the musical director for Kerry Irish Productions’ “An Irish Christmas” tour from 2005 to 2018, which covered most of the continental US. Bella was a member of the Traditional Irish band The Red Wellies for a number of years between tours with Kerry Irish Productions.
Bella continues to play with classical groups and orchestras, as well as Irish Music Groups, and enjoys this opportunity for crossover and bridge between her two favorite styles of music.
Bella has a busy private teaching studio in the city of Atlanta and in the Midtown High School district in particular. She enjoys passing her love and knowledge of both classical and Traditional Irish genres to the up and coming generation of musicians.
She has been the leader of the Intown Atlanta Youth Irish Music group since 2016. This group has performed at local venues as well as the Atlanta Irish Fest in Roswell.
Ohio-based multi-instrumentalist Randy Clepper is a player of the Irish bouzouki, fingerstyle guitar, tenor banjo and hammer dulcimer. Originally from Tennessee, Randy’s early musical interests covered folk, pop, rock, jazz, funk, bluegrass and various traditional styles, eventually settling into a deep, lifelong love of Irish music. Randy also performs in a duo with Ohio-based fingerstyle guitarist John Sherman. Their recording, “Finally Tuned”, reviewed in Irish Music Magazine and on TradConnect.com (Ireland), was ranked in the top 10 trad albums by Folk Festival, WDCB Public Radio, Chicago. Randy has performed and recorded as part of the eclectic dulcimer ensemble Hammer On!, with members of the Yanni World Tour, aerial dance troupe Project Bandaloop, also the Chattanooga Symphony, and as opener for Grammy-nominated folksinger John McCutcheon. Randy is a frequent performer and teacher at Irish festivals across the US, regional Folk Alliance conferences, and online as a Tune Supply artist. He is also the host and curator of the Trad Nua Celtic Concert Series at Natalie’s Live Music in Columbus, Ohio where he performs regularly with bouzouki player Mick Broderick (Slide).
In 2019, an error in scheduling brought Bella and Randy together to perform at a festival in Kentucky with an hour’s notice and no chance of a prior rehearsal. Expecting a difficult and nerve-racking performance, Bella and Randy did not foresee either the ease of collaboration during the performance, or the acclaim their concert received from fellow festival artists.
Since then, they have collaborated on multiple occasions, and their inaugural album is in the process of post-production processing, due to be released in the late summer of 2024.