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 Genevieve Gillespie (fiddle, vocals, dance).
The band's roots can be traced to the early 90's when Gillespie and Purcell met in Irish dance class at the age of five. The two pursued separate careers in the Irish arts, until finally reuniting in early 2015 with the addition of Betti to form 'Poor Man's Gambit'.
Initially formed as a pickup band, the trio 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 'Kind Providence'. Several original tunes have also been included on the album including a waltz 'The Second Goodnight, and a jig 'The Nickel Plated Shoe'.
Button Accordion, Cittern, Bodhran,
Vocals, and Dance
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. In addition to ‘Poor Man’s Gambit’, Corey also tours with ‘Ireland – The Show’.
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 Genevieve and was delighted to join them in Poor Man's Gambit.
Fiddle, Vocals, and Dance
Genevieve (fiddle, vocals, dance) has been pursuing her passion for Irish music and dance since the age of five when she was first introduced to the fiddle. Growing up in a family of traditional musicians, Gillespie and her sisters traveled internationally for competitive music and dance championships until the age of 15 when she began performing professionally. After touring and recording for seven years, Gillespie switched tracks, and pursued a competitive career as a professional Latin Ballroom dancer while earning her degree. She would go on to win numerous world titles before returning to the Irish arts scene in 2012 when she joined forces with the John Whelan Band. Genevieve co-founded PMG in 2015, and also performs with Corey as a duo from time to time.