"Nights of sleeping in cars, busking in streets, playing in smokey bars across the world has tempered his talent. Like good liquor aging in a port barrel he continues to improve, soaking in vintage flavours, colouring his music with only the best of influences. Close your eyes you will swear you are listening to someone three times his age."
- Steve Twigger, Gaelic Storm
The Handful of Earth Band
The Handful of Earth Band is a music ensemble project performing mostly traditional and folk music from Ireland, Scotland, England, Scandinavia, and the United States, but open to sharing in all sorts of music and culture. It began after a conversation Andreas had with the Scottish musician Dick Gaughan in Galway, Ireland in around 2005. Gaughan's album "Handful of Earth" is an album that had an intense impact on Andreas and his music, as well as his philosophy on life and musical collaboration and performance.
The project features musicians from a variety of locales around the United States that are generally "session players" who don't perform onstage, meaning that they usually only take part in informal gatherings sharing in music with other "non-professional" musicians in pubs or other open-to-the-community venues. "Jam musicians," if you will. Generally these musicians are not paid for their work. By hiring these musicians and offering them fair pay for their performances onstage, Andreas finds that he can not only bolster financially the traditional music scenes of different communities, but by bringing together musicians that generally do not work together bridges can be built between these different communities.
Most recently Andreas has worked with musicians from Dubuque, Iowa to Green Bay, Wisconsin and from Milwaukee to Lacrosse and the Twin Cities and everywhere in-between. For example, a gig in Madison might involve a fiddler from Milwaukee, an accordion player from Soldiers Grove, and a banjo player from Rockford. This cross-regional collaboration leads to greater development of the music and cooperation between the various music communities, inspiring more musical projects and creating a unique performance every time. A "living tradition" based on respect and inclusion.
From a young age Andreas has been making music. And with a family like his, it is no surprise that he has continued as a musician into adulthood and now hopes to pass his talents onto the next generation (Andreas is a father, as well).
Andreas's father is a native of the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea who credits The Beatles with helping him to learn the English language. Many an afternoon was spent on the cobblestone streets of Rønne singing the latest Beatles song to passers by (especially girls) by Poul-Erik and his friends.
His mother is also an artist and musician from a large family where music and storytelling was celebrated. Robin tells stories of 20 or so fiddle players at the family gatherings of her youth. The Walsh and Flannagan and Riley families had moved to the Rolling Ground area and St. Philip's Parrish throughout the 19th century, but the energy of Irish music never died out, and numerous family members to this day are musicians.
Andreas studied and performed with choirs, symphonies, musical theater productions, jazz ensembles and pick-up bands during his time in high school and throughout his time at university. His academic life saw him receive degrees and accreditation from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, the Oideas Gael Irish Language Center in Glencolumcille, Donegal, Ireland, the University of Limerick's Irish World Music Academy in Limerick, Ireland, and St. Mary's College in London, England. He has also represented the United States as a Peace Ambassador with the Call For Peace Drum and Dance Company in Puerto Rico, and has spent time living and working in Davis, California, Liverpool, England, Cambridge, England, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Cork, Ireland. He currently resides in the Madison, Wisconsin area.
While in Belfast, Andreas worked with BingBangBong and Paul Marshall developing and building instruments for the international touring ensemble STOMP! He also works with The Great Midwestern Educational Theatre Company as a storyteller and "Professor of Harmonic Motion" for the children's summer camp Frogwarts School of Wizardry.
Andreas has performed at festivals and venues across the United States and Europe, including the Milwaukee Irish Fest, the Lacrosse Irish Fest, the Rochester (MN) Irish Fest, the Dublin (Ohio) Irish Fest, the Dubuque Irish Hooley, the GottaGetGone Folk Fest, the Gays Mills Folk Fest, the Kansas City Irish Fest, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
He is also a two-time award winning journalist as honored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and was recognized as one of America's "Top Talents in their 20s" by Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion Radio Show.