Leah O’Brien Bernini

Leah Fiddle Playing shot

Leah O’Brien Bernini is pursuing her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology, entitled, “Off the Record: Identity, Capitalism, and the Creative Process of Irish Traditional Musicians within the Music Industry”. Leah’s research focuses on the experiences of over 80 professional Irish traditional and Celtic musicians and music industry personnel as they negotiate the complex dynamics between capitalism and creativity. Her dissertation focuses on autonomy, power and resistance, resilience, and the music industry.

Leah has presented her work in Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, the United States, and Portugal, and will soon add Kazakhstan to the list. Forthcoming publications include “‘I Want the Moon’: Negotiating Capitalism and Creativity in the Commercial Music Industry through Acts of Resistance” in Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology (2015).

An American-born Irish fiddle player, Leah holds an MA in Ethnomusicology (2011, first class honours) and an MA in Irish Traditional Music Performance (2010), both from the Irish World Academy. She holds a BM in Commercial Music Performance and Music Business from Belmont University in Nashville, TN (2009).

Additionally, Leah is Principal Cultural Ethnographer with Distant Melodies Group, developing hands-free cultural audio guides for motorists along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. She is a music educational consultant and product developer with Parakeet Music, a violin/fiddle teacher, and music industry PR/graphic design/tour efforts assistant. Leah is also avid scuba diver, hiker, and Irish dancer.




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