Matthew Christian has established himself as one of New York City’s most dynamic young trad musicians.

Originally from North Bennington, Vermont, Matthew studied Baroque violin with Kevin Bushee and highland bagpipes with Donald Lindsay, while sitting in on fiddle masterclasses with Natalie MacMaster, Patrick Ourceau, Alasdair Fraser, Pete Sutherland, and many more.

Matthew first found musical work by bringing the rhythmic drive of contra-dance fiddle to North Bennington’s Main Street, then the New York City subway.

Having set sail on the seas of full-time musicianship in 2017, Matthew has become a force in regional Irish, Scottish, and contra music. Classically, he plays regularly for English Country Dancing, and teaches the next generation of self-directed learners the deep connections between formal technique, classical repertoire, biomechanics, and traditional music.

Matthew Christian and Max Carmichael:

Blending lyric and driving interpretations of classic tunes, Max Carmichael and Matthew Christian are one of the most exciting traditional duos emerging from the New York City Irish scene.

Originally from Vermont, Matthew Christian is a fourth-generation contra-dancer who got his musical start bringing the infectious dance rhythms of New England music to the New York City subway. In the last year, Matthew has emerged as a dynamic force in contra as well as in the Irish scene, hosting weekly open sessions at Sutton Bar Room and as a guest around the city.

Max Carmichael has been playing music in some form for the last 18 years. He spent much of his early years absorbed in blues and the folk music of America. Curiosity and a love of folk music from around the world later took him to India, where he studied Hindustani classical music under Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya for three years. Most recently, Max has immersed himself in the New York Irish scene as a player of guitar, banjo, bouzouki, and tin whistle, and has quickly become one of the area’s most sought-after accompanists for his clean, thoughtful approach.

Irish sessions:

  • Sutton Bar Room, with rotating guest: Sundays 7:30-10:30
  • Guest appearances around town (see Facebook and calendar)

A highlight of the evening…”

– The Irish Echo

Contra projects:

Small Potatoes

Overview: Blending percussion and brass for a progressive and high-energy mix, this band will take you on a journey through spooky, driving, and exuberant melodies and improvisations. This is Stevie Wonder’s long-lost contra band.

Members/subs: Matthew (fiddle, feet); Erin Michet (dobro, mando, trombo); Max Carmichael (bouzouki); Greg Loewer (hand drums)

Links: Video: CDNY 9/29/18 


Overview: The trio that took the world by storm! Matthew and Matt Diaz met through Brooklyn’s Iona Scottish Session, and together with drummer man Joe de Paolo, the band brings dancers into a world of tight rhythm and Caledonian flair. Booking weekends now!

Members/subs: Matthew (fiddle, feet); Matt Diaz (guitar/bouzouki); Joe de Paolo (drums)

Links:   Follow us!  |  Video: Dance Flurry main stage

Cake Jam!

Overview: Classical violin meets fiddle style; piano riffs predominate. If you’re all about tight fiddle harmony over driving piano support, with an occasional light-hearted number, this is the band for you!

Members: Matthew (fiddle, feet); Minda Cowen (fiddle); Anne-Marie Edden (piano)

Links: Follow usVideo: Princeton, NJ 2/18, Bob Isaacs calling


Overview: If you’ve been to Cape Breton or grooved to its massive musical exports, you know the driving power of its Scottish fiddle tradition. Fiddle rhythms and an occasional Hindustani melody pulse over entrancing guitar rhythms.

Members: Matthew (fiddle, feet, guitar); Amy Beshara (fiddle, vocals); Colin Forhan (guitar)

Links: Follow us!  |    Video: coming soon

Gig Economy

Overview: This cast needs no introduction! Broadway, jazz, and classical backgrounds bring effortless lightness to classic contra tunes, Brazilian choros, and the latest pop covers.

Members: Matthew (fiddle, feet); Chip Prince (keyboard, melodica, euphonium); Dominique Gagné (flute, piccolo).

Links:  Video: CDNY, 4/18