Poor Man's Gambit is the musical collaboration of Corey Purcell (button accordion, cittern, guitar, vocals, bodhran, dance), Federico Betti (guitar, fiddle), and Genevieve Gillespie (fiddle, vocals, dance). Steeped in the traditions of Irish, Scottish, and Americana folk music, Poor Man's Gambit is one of the hottest new trios on the East Coast.
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. In addition to 'Poor Man's Gambit', Corey also tours with 'Ireland – The Show'.
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 met Corey and Genevieve and was delighted to join them in Poor Man's Gambit.
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 founded award-winning, Philadelphia-based Celtic band, Burning Bridget Cleary with partner Rose Baldino. The band's second album, "Everything is Alright," was awarded 2008's "Best Album of the Year" by Celtic Music Radio. After touring and recording for seven years, Gillespie parted ways with the group to pursue 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. Gillespie has been appearing on stages with the group from New York City to St. Louis the past two years. She is thrilled to unite with Dylan Richardson and childhood friend, Corey Purcell, in Poor Man's Gambit.