Daniel T. Neely is a musician and ethnomusicologist. He writes the weekly column about traditional music for the Irish Echo newspaper, is the Public Relations Officer of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann’s Mid-Atlantic Region, and has taught master’s level classes on Irish music in America at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House. He was the artistic director of the Augusta Irish Week in Elkins, West Virginia, 2012-2016. Daniel learned to play the tenor banjo with Mick Moloney. From 2009-2017, he led the popular traditional music session at Lillie’s Bar and Restaurant in Manhattan, he was a member of the champion New York Céilí Band in 2015-2016, and from 2005–2013 he led the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra, a New York-based group modeled on the Irish-American dance bands of the 1920s and 1930s.
Daniel received the Ph.D in Musicology from New York University in 2008. In 2000, he began a research project in Jamaica about mento music. This fieldwork was supported by several grants, including a Fulbright and NYU’s Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, which resulted in his dissertation, “Mento, Jamaica’s Original Music”: Development, Tourism and the Nationalist Frame. His research led to essays in Sun, Sea and Sound: Music and Tourism in the Circum–Caribbean (Oxford University Press, 2014; also, co-edited with Tim Rommen), Creolizing Contradance in the Caribbean (Temple University Press, 2009; with Ken Bilby), Victorian Jamaica (Duke University Press, 2018), Jamaica Jamaica! (Philharmonie de Paris, 2017), the Concise Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (2008), and elsewhere. He also performed on and was music director of the Jolly Boys mento band’s 2010 album Great Expectation, was the special consultant and advisor for the documentary Pimento and Hot Pepper: The Story of Mento Music (Best Documentary, 2017 Palm Bay Caribe Film Festival; Official Selection, 2017 Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival), and was an organizer and invited lecturer for the Institute of Jamaica's 2017 Grounation conference on mento. In 2000 he began researching the history and aesthetics of ice cream truck music, which led to an essay in the Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies (Oxford University Press, 2014). His more recent research interests have concentrated on Irish music in America, particularly as it was played in Boston, Massachusetts in the period 1890-1930 by musicians including Daniel Sullivan, Dan J. Sullivan, William & Michael Hanafin, Shaun O'Nolan, and others. He has given invited lectures on this material at Boston College, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, and the Ward Irish Music Archives.