Liz Carroll




How does your community shape you?


“My dad is from County Offaly and my mom is from County Limerick. They met in Chicago. I was born on the South Side. I started the fiddle when I was 9. As soon as I got that violin I loved it. We went to the meetings of the Irish Musicians of the South Side. They played different instruments and different styles. You sat in the back and tried to find the tune. They never slowed anything down. It was an unwritten rule. The onus was on you. I just did it, figured it out. The better musicians playing their best stuff–there’s the prize. I had a passion for it. I loved the whole scene, playing with the old guys, the stories, being in the circle, learning tunes.”


“If music was their thing when they left Ireland, it becomes their way to meet people, to make friends here. I’m glad that Chicago remained in the mix and I’m proud to be part of it all.”



Additional Resources


The artist’s website can be found here:





Read about Liz Carroll’s accomplishments at the National Endowment for the Arts page honoring her as a National Heritage Award winner—the nation’s highest honor for traditional artists.


A Celebration of American Family Folklore (1982), is a text that includes family stories collected at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, as well as really useful and important “how to” sections on collecting family folklore.  Although this book was first published in the early eighties, its usefulness is still very relevant in the classroom.  Authors include Holly Baker, Amy Kotkin, and Steven Zeitlin.