Poor Man's Gambit is a trio of traditional artists comprised of Corey Purcell (button accordion, cittern, vocals, bodhran, dance), Federico Betti (guitar, fiddle), and Deirdre Lockman (fiddle, vocals, dance).
Initially formed as a pickup band in 2015, PMG quickly realized that their combination of musical styles was worth pursuing as a more permanent venture, as they are set apart by not only offering a varied array of instrumental combinations, but also by including the visual (and audial) element of dance.
Building on their roots as traditional Irish musicians, the trio's repertoire is also influenced by traditional music of other cultures including France, Scotland, England, and America, some of which can be heard on their latest release 'Land of Sunshine'. Several original tunes have also been included on the album including an air 'Bear Mountain', and a reel 'House on the Ridge'.
Button Accordion, Cittern, Bodhran,
Vocals, and Dance
Having been introduced to Irish culture at a very young age, Corey quickly grew to love the Irish music and dance which surrounded him. Advancing rapidly through the ranks of the competitive Irish dancing scene, Corey soon found himself on the National, then World stage of competition. After competing for 14 years, and discovering that he preferred his own artistic and rhythmic approach to the strict form required by the judges, Corey transitioned from competitions to stage productions and performance. He now dances with several notable bands including the esteemed Irish group Danú.
Corey’s musical talents began developing when he was 16, and started teaching himself tunes on the Irish style button accordion which he bought himself for his birthday. Progressing quickly, he was soon studying under 7-time All Ireland Champion John Whelan, and began honing his technique under John's tutelage. Corey found his true calling in traditional Irish music, and rapidly branched into other instruments including cittern, guitar, bodhran, and voice.
You can learn more about Corey at his personal site - coreypurcellmusic.com
Guitar, and Fiddle
Federico grew up in Milan, Italy, and it is there where he first learned to play the fiddle and fell in love with traditional Irish music. In 1996 he co-founded the trad band Inis Fail, a group that would become a leader of the Italian Irish music scene. After sharing the stage at music festivals in Italy with various Irish musicians and bands such as Altan, Dervish, and Lunasa, he decided to move to Ireland in 1999 to further pursue his passion and ended up living there for 20 years. In Ireland, Federico immersed himself in the Galway trad music scene, learning from a range of fiddle players and traveling to trad festivals all over the country. His most influential teachers were Australian fiddle player Rob Zielinski and Breda Keville from Galway.
He also began listening to guitar played in DADGAD tuning and was captivated by the sound. He started teaching himself in earnest. In 2009 he co-founded the Galway band Sumbrellas which played in and around Ireland, also touring in Italy, Germany, and the U.S.A. The band was featured playing one of their original songs in the first episode of Jack Taylor, an Irish television series now on Netflix. In 2010 Federico began teaching fiddle at the Galway City branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
In 2017 Federico moved with his wife and four children to Chalfont, Pennsylvania where he firmly planted himself in the Philadelphia Irish music community. Soon after, he co-founded Maggie's Boots with Hollis Payer and Rob Curto. He then met Corey and Deirdre, and was delighted to join them in Poor Man's Gambit.
Fiddle, Vocals, and Dance
Deirdre (fiddle, vocals, dance) has been pursuing her passion for Irish music and dance since the age of four when she was first introduced to the fiddle. Born into a musical family, she was soon performing with her family band, in addition to numerous orchestras and ensembles including the Junior String Philharmonic, and the Lehigh University Philharmonic Orchestra. A quick study, Deirdre began competing in fiddle competitions at an early age, and holds several regional fiddle titles.
Deirdre began Irish step-dancing at the age of 5, and competed at the regional and national level with the DeNogla School of Irish Dance out of New Jersey for eleven years, before focusing her full attention on traditional music.
In addition to her work with PMG, Deirdre offers private fiddle lessons to students in the greater Philadelphia area. You can learn more through her personal site here: www.deirdreviolin.weebly.com