Armed with an accordion and an attitude, 20-year-old self-taught musician Kelly Adsitt has found an ideal stage to hone his musical skills: Gelman Library.
Adsitt may not be a student but he is a highly visible – or at least highly vocal – figure on the Foggy Bottom Campus. He chooses to play outside of Gelman because of the library’s vibe.
“Gelman is a good location: coffee, cigarettes, everything a person needs to play,” he said.
The accordion is just one of many instruments Adsitt taught himself to play. He is also skilled on the Irish war drum, the guitar, the fiddle, the banjo, the mandolin, the harmonica and the penny whistle. He can even play a few tunes on the bagpipe.
“My grandmother really inspired me to go after my heritage, probably when I was eight or nine,” said Adsitt, who sticks to playing traditional Irish music and pub songs.
About three years ago, Adsitt left his hometown of Winnemucca, Nev., for D.C. While living and working near campus, Adsitt made friends by hanging outside of residence halls.
His music, influenced by Frank Sinatra, the Clancy Brothers and the Wolfe Tones – an Irish band who incorporate traditional music into their songs – attracts those who want a bit of entertainment during study breaks.
“Anywhere in the vicinity where I hear accordion music, I run over, just to see Kelly,” junior Kareem Shaban said.
Adsitt is looking forward to his 21st birthday, when he can begin playing the accordion in pubs. In the future, he hopes to travel to Ireland to study the accordion with the goal of becoming “the best Irish accordion player in America.”