John Whelan was born in the UK but his family is Irish. He was brought up in Dunstable, near to London, where a lot of Irish people have settled in the UK. His family were very traditional, and so this led to him being a fan of traditional Irish music. He was so enthusiastic about Irish music, that he'd carry a reel-to-reel tape recorder to collect sound of Irish music being played live. He also has a band called the John Whelan Band, which he founded in 1997. In 1998, Irish Echo Magazine named him traditionalist of the year. His compositions have been influenced by many things such as stories, documentaries, other musicians, etc. He is well known on an international level, and so he has played at many festivals in America.
I'll leave you with a quote from the man himself about his music: “If you open your ears and your mind you can appreciate my music for what it is, not what kind of music it is.”