Four Shillings Short is part of the creative fusion that is happening in World Music today. Blending Celtic, East Indian and American Folk music with Medieval, Renaissance and Original compositions, “the international duo have carved out a musical identity all their own.” (River Stages, Dubuque IA)
Since its inception in the San Francisco Bay Area, Four Shillings Short has always had an experimental streak. Co-founded in 1985 by Aodh Og O’Tuama and Ernest Kinsolving, the band has included a changing cast of Northern California’s Irish, Folk, Jazz and Classical musicians. Since 1995, the current partnership of Aodh Og O’Tuama and Christy Martin have formed the core of Four Shillings Short.
In 1997, the duo began their first tour of the US and have since toured continuously, staying with friends along the way, camping and traveling as the bards of old once did.
Born in Cork, Ireland, Aodh Og O’Tuama comes from a family of poets, writers, musicians & teachers. He studied music at University College Cork in Ireland and Stanford University in California. Aodh Og plays Medieval and Renaissance woodwinds, tinwhistles, recorders, bowed psaltery, dumbek, spoons and sings in English and Gaelic.
Californian Christy Martin grew up in a family of musicians and dancers and began studying the Sitar at age 16 with a protégé of famed sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. She later picked up the hammered dulcimer and mandolin performing in the folk band Your Mother Should Know and joined Four Shillings Short in 1995. She plays hammered dulcimer, Sitar, mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, banjo, guitar, charango, bowed psaltery, bodhran and bones.
In a single night, Four Shillings Short perform Traditional Irish tunes and airs, Indian Ragas, Folk Ballads, Old-Time songs, Medieval & Renaissance instrumentals and acappella numbers as well as contemporary folk and original compositions. Their sound has been described as “wondrously diverse”, “truly refreshing” and “alternative neo-Celtic folk of the first order”.