Seán Cleland is an Irish fiddle player, Irish music teacher, adjudicator, collaborator, producer and executive director of the Irish Music School of Chicago, a non-profit traditional Irish music, language, song and dance school, which he founded in 2003.
Seán grew up on the North side of Chicago in an Irish-American household. His musical education through the 1970s was energized by such local legends as Liz Carroll, Michael Flatley and Jimmy Keane who were bursting out of Chicago onto the world stage. In 1982 he co-founded the traditional Irish music band Baal Tinne, leaving in 1987 to found the Irish-influenced folk-rock band, The Drovers. The Drovers were much beloved in Chicago, played to packed houses all across the US, recorded 4 albums and appeared in two major Hollywood films: Backdraft and Blink, contributing songs and tunes to the soundtracks.
Along with teaching and performing, Seán was the fiddle player and musical director of Adam Whiteman's critically acclaimed play, Music Mad, about the life and impact of Chief Francis O'Neill. Currently, Seán is focused on making sure that the next generation of traditional Irish musicians is educated and nurtured through the Irish Music School of Chicago. He has been an instrumental force in maintaining traditional Irish music in the city of Chicago and works tirelessly to ensure its integrity.