Thursday, 30 September 2010

Lunasa does Irish with a twist

Lunasa performs at Interceltic Festival of Avi...Image via Wikipedia"Most traditional Irish bands grow up as friends playing together from the time they are wee at sessions and festivals throughout the Emerald Isle.
Lunasa, a traditional-yet-modern Irish quintet, is the exception to that rule. Kevin Crawford, who plays flute, whistle and bodhran, met the other members as he got on the airplane for their first tour, back in the late '90s -- a plane headed for Australia, no less.
'I did not know them before that moment,' Crawford said, calling from a tour stop on the central coast of California. 'They knew of me from other recordings and asked me to join them. So we did our first gig as Lunasa in the Blue Mountains of Australia. It was a strange beginning, but it has worked.'"
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Musical show 'n' tell at RDS -

Cathy DaveyImage via Wikipedia"This weekend marks the third Music Show event at Dublin's RDS, a convention that incorporates live music, workshops and panels with a chance for bands and music fans alike to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of the Irish and international industries.
�Last year's event was the biggest of its kind in Ireland, with 12,000 people passing through the doors of the venue over two days.
Running this Saturday and Sunday, the show is the creation of Hot Press magazine, who established it in 2008. This year's musical guests include Cathy Davey, Republic of Loose, Damien Dempsey, Fight Like Apes (above) and The Flaws. There will be panels on topics such as music journalism, the benefits of music colleges for musicians, and the art of production, with a number of high-profile guests contributing to each. Newton Faulkner will host a masterclass in guitar-playing, Mundy and Gemma Hayes will host a songwriting workshop, and one of the biggest draws of the weekend will be a public interview with Bob Geldof on Sunday. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster now."
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Isabelle O’Connell’s Reservoir of Irish Music

"Born in Ireland and now based in New York, pianist Isabelle O’Connell has been an energetic advocate for living composers on both sides of the Atlantic. She also plays some mean Messiaen.

Her new CD Reservoir features works from the past two and a half decades by nine Irish composers. The results are not merely a dogmatic presentation of a particular national “school of composition.” On the contrary, O’Connell’s clearly quite willing to program a stylistically eclectic recital. And the Emerald Isle"

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Black Hawk Chamber Music Festival 10th Anniversary Celebration

Viola da Gamba 2Image by aplumb via Flickr"The 2010 Blackhawk Chamber Music Festival will celebrate its tenth anniversary with three unique programs in Davenport, including The Intimate Lute & Flute: Irish, Scottish and Continental Renaissance and Baroque on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 PM with Jeffrey Cohan (baroque and renaissance flutes) and Oleg Timofeyev (lute), The 19th-Century Russian Perspective: Viola, Natural Horn and Flute meet the Russian Guitar on Friday, October 22 at 7:30 PM with Kristen Thelander (natural horn), Christine Rutledge (viola), Jeffrey Cohan (eight-keyed flute) and Oleg Timofeyev (Russian 7-string guitar), and Love to George! From Johann and George: A Bach & Handel Tribute to George Shangrow on Sunday afternoon, October 24 at 3:00 PM with Terri Richter (soprano), Gregory Hand (harpsichord), Jeffrey Cohan (baroque flute) and Oleg Timofeyev (lute and viola da gamba)."
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Chieftains to play mini Irish tour

The Chieftains 3Image via Wikipedia"World-renowned traditional Irish music band The Chieftains will play four concerts in Ireland in November, it was announced today.
The six-time Grammy Award winners play at Limerick University on the 17th of November, Cappoquin Community Centre on the 20th, the Mermaid Theatre in Bray on the 21st and the Tullamore Court Hotel on Wednesday 24th November.
The tour will feature original members Paddy Moloney, Matt Molloy, Se�n Keane and Kevin Conneff, but will also feature guest performers from around the world including Ottowa Valley Dancers Jon and Nathan Pilatzke, New York-based champion Irish dancer Cara Butler, eight string guitarist Redmond O’Toole, harpist Triona Marshall and guest singer Yvonne Mc Mahon-Tiernan."
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Astral project? Van Morrison returns after 37 years -

Van MorrisonImage via Wikipedia"The words “mystic” and “mystical” have been applied to Van Morrison’s music so often that it almost seemed redundant when a song called “Into the Mystic” appeared on his 1970 album, “Moondance.”
Then again, few singer-songwriters anywhere can match this Irish-born troubadour, whose sold-out Wednesday concert at the Civic Theatre (top ticket price: $371.55 per seat) marks his first San Diego date in 37 years.
This holds especially true when it comes to creating genre-leaping music that, at its best, is both highly personal and broadly appealing, intensely spiritual but steeped in the grit of everyday life.
His enormous influence can be heard in the work of everyone from Bruce Springsteen and Counting Crows to James Morrison and Ray LaMontagne. Morrison’s finest albums — 1968’s “Astral Weeks,” 1970’s “Tupelo Honey,” 1988’s “Irish Heartbeat” (which he recorded with The Chieftains) and 1993’s “Hymns to the Silence” — sound very much of this earth while, almost mystically, moving somewhere beyond it.
But there are other words that apply to the Belfast Cowboy and Van the Man, to invoke two nicknames fans fondly use, including “enigmatic,” “obstinate” and “curmudgeon.” It is the combination of these qualities with his singular artistic talents that helps his best music approach transcendence, while Morrison himself can drive even his closest friends batty.
This was reinforced by longtime pal Robbie Robertson, the guitarist and main songwriter in The Band, when he described a joint performance that went anything but as planned.
After giving Robertson precise musical instructions for “Caravan,” a song the guitarist knew very well, Morrison and his band began playing it at “190 miles an hour,” Robertson recalled as he inducted Morrison into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
When Morrison then led his group into a freewheeling jazz vamp, “I wanted to assassinate him on the spot,” Robertson said during his induction speech. “It was like being in a nightmare from jazz hell.”
Morrison currently has no tour publicist. But why would he need one when he rarely does interviews? No media photographers are allowed to shoot his concerts. His website states that “ is the only official and authorized website for Van Morrison information, films and music on the internet.” Fittingly, that sentence is where his website begins — and ends."
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Sunday, 26 September 2010

Cowen opens new home for music and dance

"IT was a day to celebrate culture -- and where better than the official opening of the new home of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.

The spectacular building located on the northern bank of the sprawling University of Limerick campus was opened by the Taoiseach yesterday.

Along with hundreds of assembled guests, Mr Cowen allowed himself to be entertained for more than an hour by an impressive group of musicians, singers and dancers, including The Chieftains, The Irish Chamber Orchestra, and UL students.

The Taoiseach was clearly enjoying himself as he clapped along with the melodies of Donal Lunny and Paddy Moloney."

Friday, 24 September 2010

Big crowds expected for Irish Fall Festival

Hereford Inlet in North WildwoodImage via Wikipedia"The number of green T-shirts being sold around town has jumped, red plastic beer cups have been flying off the shelves of local supermarkets, and a number of homes have begun proudly displaying flags in colors of orange, white and green.
All are signs that North Wildwood has been readying for its 19th annual Irish Fall Festival and the thousands of people it brings to enjoy a weekend-long party that celebrates Irish heritage.
“It’s like North Wildwood’s own Mardi Gras,” said Krista Nooney as she stocked up on red plastic cups at a grocery store.
Nooney said her entire family extends their vacation to include the last weekend in September “religiously” so not to miss the festival.
“I don’t think we’ve missed one since the city started hosting it,” she said."
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Academy's €20m new home unveiled - The Irish Times - Sat, Sep 25, 2010

"THE NEW €20 million home of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance was officially unveiled at the University of Limerick yesterday.

The state-of-the-art facility has several theatres as well as dance performance studios, recording spaces, music performance practice rooms, seminar rooms, exhibition areas and an international research centre.

Yesterday’s official opening by Taoiseach Brian Cowen included performances by the Chieftains, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Rex Levitates Dance Company and students of the academy.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Cowen underlined the importance of the academy in protecting and showcasing Ireland’s cultural heritage.

“The new academy building not only offers a place to study, examine and develop the many strands of our musical heritage but it also lets us celebrate it, and the rich and varied traditions of other cultures,” he said.

In his address, the director of the academy Prof Miche�l � S�illeabh�in said the building was like “walking into a poem”.

“It has all the practicalities of a safe haven, and all the poetics of a work of art. The Irish World Academy team holds it in trust for the Irish nation and for fellow artists and scholars across the world,” he said."

Bill Whelan Bursary Makes International Studies A Reality For Talented Irish Composers

"The internationally acclaimed Irish composer Bill Whelan presented two gifted emerging Irish composers with substantial music bursaries at an awards ceremony in Dublin this week. Cormac McCarthy from Cork and Aoife Ni Bhriain from Dublin are the latest recipients of the Bill Whelan International Music Bursary which was established to support Irish music students studying abroad.
The Bursary, which was launched in 2005, has assisted students to further their studies in disciplines ranging from film scoring, orchestration and music composition.

The bursary scheme is administered with the assistance of The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO). Speaking today at the presentation of the awards Bill commented, 'Since the Bursary began over five years ago, I have had the honour and pleasure to meet some extraordinary young musicians, many of whom have gone on to flourishing careers as practicing musicians or in the academic field. Unfortunately, this is the last year of this particular bursary, but I am hoping to continue with something similar in the near future. My congratulations and warm wishes to all who have participated over the years."

Cormac McCarthy, who is entering into a Masters course in Jazz Composition at DePaul University School of Music, Chicago outlined 'receiving the Bill Whelan Bursary has benefitted me enormously in meeting the costs of living and studying in the U.S. Equally the prestige and honour associated with such an award is a massive personal boost and has given me a renewed belief in my composition'.

'The bursary is an act of tremendous generosity from Bill and is a fantastic opportunity for the young talent in Ireland to apply for. The musical opportunities that are to be found in Europe and farther afield are simply wonderful but unfortunately not always accessible to Irish musicians. With bursaries such as Bill's, doors are opened and the level of musicianship in Ireland is drastically improved. I am looking forward to learning and achieving as much as possible in the next 4 years' added Aoife Ni Bhriain who commences a Bachelor of Music degree at Hochschule in Leipzig.

Bill Whelan, best known as composer of Riverdance The Show, a Grammy Award winner for 'Best Musical Show Album', has worked extensively in theatre, television and film. His orchestral works include the specially commissioned piece, The Seville Suite (1992) and The Spirit Of Mayo (1993). His work in international film includes Lamb which he co-composed with Van Morrison, his emotive score for the Jim Sheridan/Terry George film Some Mother's Son and the original score for the film version of Brian Friel's award winning Dancing At Lughnasa which starred Meryl Streep. His production and arranging credits include U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush, Richard Harris and The Dubliners. His chamber music suite, inspired by his recent life in Connemara, has been recorded by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Zoe Conway, Fionnula Hunt and Michelle Mulcahy."

Arthur Guinness Day Music Festival

"If anyone deserves a day of honor, Irish brewer Arthur Guinness does. To honor its founder, Guinness and the Irish American Heritage Center will put an all-star music lineup on stage to show Chicago that every day is a lovely day for a Guinness.

The Arthur Guinness Day Music Festival is a day-long celebration of music, food, fun and Arthur Guinness, founder of the Guinness brewery business, who was an entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist.

Kick off the next 250 years of Guinness tradition with this indoor and outdoor festival that features world-class beer, in a world-class venue, with a world-class lineup. The festival features Gaelic Storm, Seven Nations, Kevin Flynn and the Avondale Ramblers, the Irish Music School of Chicago and the Dooley Brothers and Jimmy Moore and the City of Chicago Pipe Band and Nineteen Pints."

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Ireland in story and song presented Sept. 30 at Appalachian

"BOONE—Music from Ireland will be performed Sept. 30 by students and faculty from Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music.
The evening begins at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Rosen Concert Hall. Admission is free.
Called an “informance,” the evening features student musicians who participated in the Hayes School of Music’s 2010 study abroad program to Ireland. In addition to performing on fiddle, concertina and Irish harp, students will talk about their experience in Ireland and how it relates to their academic degree.
The study abroad program to Ireland began in 2000. It is based at University College of Cork’s �School of Music. Faculty and students from Appalachian work with UCC faculty and students, attend private lessons, master classes, and recitals by Irish musicians at the university. �Evenings are spent observing and participating in pub music sessions."
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Beamish Cork Folk Festival 30/09/2010

An Góilín members at the Cork Folk Festival. A...Image via Wikipedia"For any event to be celebrating it’s 30th anniversary is cause for celebration. For The Cork Folk Festival, it’s much more than that. Put together from year to year purely on a voluntary basis by a dedicated group of enthusiasts, sometimes with the help of major sponsorship, often by a combination of various sponsors and supporters, it’s endurance is a tribute to the energy and labour of it’s workers.
The Cork Folk Festival’s annual objective is straightforward – to present the best of local, national, and international folk and traditional music, song and dance on Leeside in late august/early September each year."
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If you see just 100 shows tonight . . .

Henrietta street.Image via Wikipedia"Na Piobairi Uilleann is the home of Dublin piping and tonight tours of the renovated Georgian headquarters on Henrietta Street run from 6pm until 10pm.
There will also be a series of recitals, beginning at 6.30pm. No booking needed. See"
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A free evening with Heritage pioneers

Del McCouryImage via Wikipedia"Nashville's in the house! The foot-stomping spot on Friday night will be the Music Center at Strathmore, where the 2010 National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellows will perform and talk. Del McCoury, the bluegrass legend, will bring his 50 years of guitar playing to the stage. The concert, starting at 8 p.m. and emceed by Nick Spitzer, host of public radio's American Routes, will include Yacub Addy, a Ghanaian drum master, Jim 'Texas Shorty' Chancellor, the Texas fiddler, and Mike Rafferty, an Irish flute player. If you can't make it up Rockvile Pike, the NEA is offering a live webcast and instructions will be posted Friday afternoon at"
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Music at center of Greater Danbury Irish Festival

"The 16th annual Greater Danbury Irish Festival kicks off Friday, Sept. 24 at the Charles Ives Concert Park, featuring a number of new musical acts in addition to the cultural attractions, traditional Irish eats and Guinness for which the festival is�beloved.

'It truly is a musical festival this year,' says Eileen Alberts, who is co-chairing the event along with Paul Grasseler Jr. 'Some of our performers, like the Mighty Ploughboys and the Highland Rovers, have been with us for years, but we also have a number of new acts that we're very excited�about.'

That new talent includes the CPTV-featured group the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Celtic songstress Fiona Molloy, and the breakout band Screaming Orphans. All three recently performed at the Milwaukee Irish Fest, one of the largest festivals in the�country."

Lunasa brings stars of Celtic

LúnasaImage by via Flickr"CORVALLIS — Celtic music lovers will have a rare opportunity to hear Ireland’s all-star quintet L�nasa perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Majestic Theatre.
In October 1997, the band released its d�but CD “L�nasa,” a searing mix of concert and studio tracks gathered from their first year together. It was immediately hailed as one of the freshest recordings of Irish music in years, called “moving, pulsating, and thrilling to the very marrow” by Roots magazine and “a true must-have disc” by The Irish Voice.
The album became an immediate best-seller in Ireland, topping Hot Press’ folk charts and nominated one of the year’s top 10 by the Irish Echo in the U.S."
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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Andy Irvine"

Andy IrvineImage by sjrowe53 via Flickr

Andy Irvine"
Date: 25/09/2010 - 26/09/2010
Location: Irish Cultural Centre
Blacks Road, Hammersmith
London, England W6 9DT
Contact Information
Phone: 020 8563 8232
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Edel Fox & The Kane Sisters

Sky Over Ennis - 2Image by Kman999 via Flickr"Edel Fox is one of the most accomplished Irish musicians of her generation. Despite her young age, her musical résumé boasts a list of accolades.
Liz and Yvonne Kane create a highly exciting and vibrant sound. In fact, rather than playing off each other and making contrasting individual statements, they choose to stay close at all times, the result being a powerful and gorgeous unified sound.
Such is the musicianship of these young players that you’ll find yourself listening to every little turn of phrase."
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Blazing Bows

Description unavailableImage by clspeace via FlickrTake three iconic fiddle players - Cathal Hayden, Dezi Donnelly & Tola Custy, add an engine room second to none - John Joe Kelly and Ed Boyd, and the results are one unique gig!!!
Blazing Bows
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2010 Gaelic Roots Music, Song, Dance, Workshop and Lecture Series

"Irish traditional music will be the focus of the fall 2010 Gaelic Roots Music, Song, Dance, Workshop and Lecture Series at Boston College.
The series, sponsored by BC’s Center for Irish Programs, has often featured music from Scotland, Cape Breton and Appalachia as well as Ireland. But there will be a distinctly Hibernian flavor to this fall’s events, which take place at Connolly House (300 Hammond Street near BC’s Chestnut Hill Campus) beginning at 6:30 p.m. All are free and open to the public.
•Fiddler Oisin McAuley and flutist Jimmy Noonan will kick off the series on Sept. 30. McAuley, a member of the popular band Danu, has become a mainstay in the local session scene since moving to Boston several years ago. Noonan teaches in BC’s Irish Studies Program and has played at numerous concerts and festivals with an impressive array of musicians including Seamus Connolly — director of Irish music programs at BC — Louise Costello, Tommy McCarthy and Chris McGrath, among others."
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Michigan Irish Music Festival organizers claim success, looking toward 2011 |

"MUSKEGON — Organizers said last weekend’s Michigan Irish Music Festival was a success, and they are already choosing bands for next year.
Festival President Chris Zahrt said she believes attendance was up slightly from last year, with 15,000 visitors coming to Heritage Landing from Friday to Sunday.
“We had a great turnout,” she said. “We had a full house for Mass Sunday morning — standing room only.”
Last year, about 14,000 people attended, a 40 percent increase from 2008.
Zahrt said vendors reported healthy sales this year, but there was no repeat of last year’s troubles when sellers ran out of most Irish foods by Sunday."
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Susanna Haslett shares her passion for Irish dancing and music

"NAPLES — Susanna Haslett became enamored with Irish folk music at a young age. That love blossomed into a lifelong passion for Irish cultural arts.

Haslett, 56, grew up listening to all types of folk music with her parents, but she immediately took to Irish melodies. The music sparked her interest in Irish dance and playing Irish music.

“The arts has given me so much joy and enhanced the quality of my life,” said Haslett, a petite, dirty blonde who is not Irish, but has Irish ancestry. “I want to share that joy and enhance the quality of someone else’s life.”

One of the ways she shares her passion is by teaching Irish dance classes at Veterans Community Park in Naples. The classes take place every other Monday in the fall/winter season and cost $7."

Celtic Classic kicks off Friday in Bethlehem -

Celtic Classic Bethlehem: Celtic Classic kicks off Friday in Bethlehem - "Celtic Classic returns this weekend to downtown Bethlehem with a new theatrical flourish. Last year the three-day celebration of Celtic heritage was condensed a bit to trim costs, but this year's fest is expanding, with a new venue, called Celtic Crossroads, at Moravian College's Foy Hall, featuring theater and film.

See a new local Irish mumming troupe, an Oscar-nominated animated film about the Irish Book of Kells and performances by local theater groups and one from Galway, Ireland.

Celtic Crossroads, organized by the Eastern Pennsylvania Arts Alliance, rounds out the 23rd annual festival's cultural offerings, which include music by 17 acts, food, beer, bagpipes, Highland games and more."

Irish Don't Really Prefer Guinness

"Ireland's 'Arthur's Day,' in memory of beer maker and purveyor Arthur Guinness, 'is being pitched as a sort of secular St Patrick's Day, a long overdue acknowledgment of the centrality of Guinness to Irish life,' grumbles The Guardian's Ed Power. Unfortunately, for natives the iconic drink has become so pass�that it's viewed as 'the liquid equivalent of a plastic bodhr�n or one of those strap-on Leprechaun beards you can buy in tourist shops.' Harsh words for a beer that's often taken to be a national symbol of the Irish (what Power describes as 'national relic')."

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Top acts taking to streets for Limerick music event

"A FREE music event aimed at attracting shoppers back into Limerick has been unveiled. Limerick Live will feature performances from some of the country’s top artists.

A state-of-the-art stage will be erected on Cruises Street on October 2nd for live performances by top Irish acts including Fight Like Apes, The High Kings, John Spillane, O Emperor, We Should Be Dead and Supermodel Twins. The event will continue into the evening at Dolans Warehouse.

A second stage will showcase local talent with performances from Art In Motion Performance Company directed by Jenny Brown and guests, Myles Breen Bottom Dog Productions, Comedy Improv, Centrespace Studios and Windings."

Monday, 20 September 2010

Temple Bar TradFest Arrives In Berlin Sept 21

"Berlin will resonate the sounds of Irish music on Tuesday 21st Sept as Temple Bar TradFest arrives in town! A special showcase event will be held at the Irish Embassy in Berlin from 6.30pm to promote the very successful Temple Bar TradFest to assembled dignitaries, tour operators and members of the German media.

The event has been organized by Temple Bar traders who organise the annual festival. Many local business people will themselves travel to Berlin to promote Temple Bar and the Irish music and culture Festival. Among those travelling will be RTE Radio One presenter and TradFest Artistic Director Kieran Hanrahan."

John Spillane at Passionfruit

Friday 22nd October @ 8.30pm
Bookings see

Saturday, 18 September 2010

All hail the high kings of Celtic rock -

Cover of "The Man Who Built America"Cover of The Man Who Built America'We Irish should ke-ep these personages in our hearts," wrote WB Yeats in the preface to Lady Gregory's Cuchulainn of Muirthemne, "for they lived in the places where we ride and go marketing, and sometimes they have met one another on the hills that cast their shadows upon our doors at evening."
For over a decade in the Seventies and beyond, the increasingly bizarrely togged-out Horslips kept the personages of olde Ireland in our hearts with songs about . . . deep breath . . . Connacht Queen Maeve, brown bulls, magicians, all-knowing fairy children, fearless warriors, deposed kings and epic battles with silver spears and so forth and so on. It was an acid trip down through the ages of old Irish history with a touch of Lord Of The Rings thrown in for good measure. Another deep breath now . . .
Dearg Doom: "You speak in whispers of the devils I have slain/By the fire of my silver Devil's Blade." Ferdia's Song: "'Every step I take,' Cuchulainn cried, 'Is measured out in centuries'." You Can't Fool The Beast: "You can see a world of things/They can't understand." Charolais: "The druids read the smoke and sand." Faster Than The Hound: "I travel Ireland in a day. You just nod, I'm on my way."
Last Thursday evening in the Shelbourne Hotel, Eamon Carr and Jim Lockhart of Horslips say that Barry Devlin is on his way from his house in Dalkey. In the meantime, Carr and Lockhart tell me stories of their exploits as a band in the Seventies.
Lockhart once set a restaurant on fire in Germany with a wayward cigarette that caught the curtains. (He can't remember whether it was Berlin or Bremen. Who can forget the name of a city they set a restaurant on fire in?)
Carr remembers one of their entourage another night in Holland standing in a bath filled with blood and foam declaring, a tad melodramatically: "I am bringing this board meeting to a close. I'm losing a lot of blood!" The Shelbourne bar is filled with gnarled laughter courtesy of Carr communications.
Lockhart in turn recalls a man dressed in a police uniform coming backstage at a show of theirs in America, pulling a gun and asking them whether they had drugs. (It turned out he was the promoter of the show and he was worried that the band wouldn't play very well without aforesaid narcotics. He was wrong.)
On cue, Devlin arrives. "There was one time, en route to Stuttgart from Cologne, at four in the morning," he remembers, "and we hadn't got time to stop so I was holding one of the band by his knees out the door of the van so he could throw up without covering us."
The Co Tyrone legend is all flustered. He locked himself out of the house -- no car keys etc -- and had to take the train in. U2 guitarist The Edge once said that when he was a young fella he took the train from his home in Malahide to Skerries to see Horslips and he would never forget the energy of what he saw. This sentiment has been echoed by lots of musicians who were -- and still are -- influenced by them.
For me, and many others, Horslips are so much more than the founding fathers of Celtic rock. Their music wasn't just a new take on indigenous Irish music. The songs of Devlin, Carr, Lockhart, (Johnny) Fean and (Charles) O'Connor were also, in many places, great rock songs; equal parts The Grateful Dead and early Pink Floyd, Yes and Neil Young.
Horslips' performance of Faster Than The Hound on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1974 is a classic YouTube moment. It is pure Floyd, soulfully psychedelic with Neil Young-ish vocals courtesy of Devlin. One wag posed the question: was that Charles O'Connor playing mandolin or Russell Brand?
The Man Who Built America, Faster Than The Hound and, of course, Dearg Doom are classics. Horslips were surely one of the biggest and most exciting bands of that era. They should have been bigger than Thin Lizzy and the Boomtown Rats in the Seventies. Instead, they broke up at their height in 1980.
They reformed for a few big shows last Christmas and are now getting back together again for a string of hugely awaited shows around Ireland. But Carr will not be playing drums on the forthcoming gigs.
"Much as I'd like to do the shows," he explains, "logistically it isn't possible. Rehearsals and pre-production would take too much time. I didn't want to hinder the rest of the guys doing the shows so I convinced them that the set would work with a deputy drummer.
"My first choice was Ray Fean, brother of our guitarist Johnny. He's an old friend, a brilliant drummer and knows the Horslips songbook inside out. So Ray has agreed to play the shows. And everybody's happy. Obviously I'm still a member of the band and will be actively involved in more low-key gigs and recording sessions."
There is tentative talk of possibly recording some new work in the studio. "It would be nice to tackle a theme again on an album," says Lockhart, "because our best albums were the concept albums. So if we put together an album we would probably need a hook to hang it on but we are not exactly sure what that is."
Carr mentions a possible unplugged session: "We won't know until we start fooling around. There is a huge palette to choose from."
The band released 10 albums in their time. And as Devlin points out: "One of the great things about Horslips is that we never repeated ourselves. Every album has its own identity, production style and approach. There are very few bands who can claim that because most of the time they stick to a winning formula. And each of our albums manages to stand up for itself. They had a place and a reason for being."
Horslips still have a place and reason for being in Irish culture now. Many of us seem to love their music more now than we did then. It doesn't matter that the riff on Dearg Doom is based on O'Neill's Cavalry March. It matters as much as saying that The Jam's Start is based on Taxman or saying The Stones' Exile On Main Street is based on the Mississippi Delta or Led Zeppelin's career is based on Robert Johnson. It matters more that the songs of Horslips remain the same, remain magical.
It is also good that the band finally sorted out their legal issues with certain parties who were selling the music of Horslips. "We took a big pay day in 2000 in Belfast," says Lockhart.
Devlin jumps up: "Jim may have taken a big pay day but I want to say to the taxman that I probably didn't," he laughs. "And if I did, then I can't remember it."
"We're back together," laughs Lockhart. "It's too late to stop now."
"It's too much fun to stop now," chortles Devlin.
Horslips play the INEC, Killarney, on November 27; the Royal Theatre, Castlebar, on November 28; the Waterfront, Belfast, on December 1; and the O2 Dublin on December 4
Sunday Independent
All hail the high kings of Celtic rock - Music, Entertainment -
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Joyful traditions open Michigan Irish Music Festival

MUSKEGON -- The crowd couldn't wait to get its Irish on.
The Michigan Irish Music Festival opened Friday at Heritage Landing at 5 p.m. on the dot, but eager fans began to congregate half an hour early to listen to Irish-American duo Switchback perform a pre-concert at the gate. As the hour drew closer, however, some fans jokingly shouted, "It's 5 o'clock somewhere!"

Switchback played traditional Irish music, as well as their tribute to the festival volunteers, "The Michigan Irish Festival Song."
"You'll probably hear that about thirty times this weekend," guitarist and bassist Matin McCormack said. "We're here making sure you all turn to Irishmen and women the moment you step through the 'portal of transformation.'"
Mary Buckley Ellis, of Muskegon, is one of the few who can say she's 100 percent Irish. She and a non-Irish friend, Betsy Schappert of Twin Lake, were dancing in the Bob & Bernie's Pub tent to quintet Kennedy's Kitchen.
"For the next three days, everybody's Irish," Ellis said. "Look at the joy here. Everybody knows they're just going to have a fabulous time."
Ellis said she has cousins who came from Detroit and from Arizona to attend the festival.
Nancy Kowalski, who is not Irish, said she came to Muskegon from Chicago for the first time to hear the music.
"For a small town, the way this is set up is very fine," she said. "It's beautiful."
Necia Colleen Wheeler, of Muskegon, said the festival has done a good job of bringing people to town and keeping it organized.
"It's not a drunken brawl yet," she joked.
Though no fights broke out, the performers paid tribute to the stereotypical Irish love of drinking.
Kennedy's Kitchen played a song called "Whiskey," and a version of "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music" with the line "Do, a beer." They also sang that "I want a beer just like the beer that pickled dear old Dad."
Drinking wasn't the only Irish custom celebrated, however. Cathy and Steve Smith of Columbus, Ohio, gave a presentation on the tradition of holding a "wake" before a funeral to celebrate the life of the deceased, with a stuffed dummy playing the man being honored.
It's important to have salt on hand for your wake to keep the fairies away, Cathy Smith said, because in Irish lore they aren't like Tinkerbell.
"They say fairies get smaller the less you believe in them. Irish fairies are four, four-and-a-half feet tall. They are not cute," she said. "If they took you, you would probably never be seen again. If you were seen again, you would probably be dead."
The festival is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today, and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Joyful traditions open Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon |

Casadh - Live in Concert

Casadh - Gaelic Song and Irish Traditional Music group perform in the amazing Clonard Monastery during Féile an Phobail 2009. Featuring Gráinne Holland, Nioclás Mac Cathmhaoil, Frainc Mac Cionnaith & Desy Downey.
More info

Friday, 17 September 2010

Oireachtas na Gaeilge returns to Killarney after 92-year absence

"Details of what is described as Ireland’s longest-running arts festival, Oireachtas na Gaeilge, or assembly of Irish-related events, were announced in Killarney last night, writes Anne Lucey.

The great assembly returns to Killarney at the end of October for only the second time in the festival’s 113 years, and after an absence of 92 years.

As in medieval times, debates, storytelling, writing, singing and music will mark the event which is open to all ages.

Competitions will be held in disciplines including sean-nos singing, sean-nos dancing, violin, uilleann pipes, harp and duets. The festival takes place from Wednesday, October 27th, until Sunday, October 31st, and thousands are expected to attend."

Celtic band Lúnasa to play Corvallis show

Celtic music lovers will have a rare opportunity to hear Ireland’s all-star quintet Lúnasa perform in Corvallis at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Majestic Theatre.
“We like to think it’s because Corvallis has a reputation of being wildly enthusiastic about Celtic music, but it doesn’t hurt that we happen to be halfway between the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, two mainstays of the West Coast concert circuit,” said local organizer Jennifer Parke of the Corvallis Folklore Society.
Lúnasa is one of the most sought-after bands on the international Celtic music scene. The band’s inventive arrangements and bass-driven grooves are steering Irish acoustic music into surprising new territory.
“This is the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet,” raved a review in The New York Times.
Named for an ancient Celtic harvest festival in honor of the Irish god Lugh, patron of the arts, Lúnasa is indeed a gathering of some of the top musical talents in Ireland including bassist Trevor Hutchinson (a key member of The Waterboys), fiddler Sean Smyth (an All-Ireland champion who has played with Coolfin), Kevin Crawford, considered to be among the finest flautists in Ireland (formerly with Moving Cloud), uilleann piper Cillian Vallely (pipes soloist in the Broadway production of “Riverdance”) and Paul Meehan, guitarist and banjo player formerly with the Karan Casey Band.
Tickets are $20 for Corvallis Folklore Society members and $22 nonmembers at the door. Seniors, youth and advance tickets get a $2 discount. Tickets available at Grass Roots Books & Music, and Winestyles (cash or check) or through the Majestic Theatre box office ($2 surchage for credit cards).
The band just released their eighth CD, “Lá Nua” (Irish for “New Day”). See a video of the band and hear samples of their music at
— The Entertainer
Box Office:

Michigan Irish Music Festival begins Friday

Michigan Irish Music Festival begins Friday | | Grand Rapids, MI: "MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM)- The last big event of the year at Muskegon's Heritage Landing begins Friday.

Thursday volunteers put the finishing touches on set-up for the 11th Annual Michigan Irish Music Festival. The event runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday in downtown Muskegon.

15 bands will perform on three covered stages so the music can continue rain or shine. There will be traditional Irish dancing, a marketplace and a beer brewed specifically for the event."

Irish music night - Mayo Advertiser

Irish music night - Mayo Advertiser - September 17, 2010.: "Moy Valley Resources will host the Bofield C�il�Band for a big seisi�n in the Kennedy Glasgow Centre, The Quay, Ballina, on Friday September 24 at 9pm.

The night will feature a feast of Irish music, song, dance and storytelling. Proceeds are in aid of the Moy Valley Over 55 Club. Tickets (€10) are available at Moy Valley Business Centre Cathedral Road, Ballina (096 71303)."

Pub Celebrates St. Patrick's Day 6 Months Early - News Story - WNEM Saginaw

Pub Celebrates St. Patrick's Day 6 Months Early - News Story - WNEM Saginaw: "SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- March is still six months away, but one local restaurant is already celebrating the luck of the Irish.
This week, Bennigan's is marking the halfway point to St. Patrick's Day.
The Saginaw Township location will host a tent party Friday and Saturday night, complete with live music and of course, green beer.
Admittance is free until 10 p.m. on Friday.
A cover charge of $5 will be in effect after 10 p.m. and on Saturday."

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Acadian Celtic Music

There's an old saying that goes something like, “ Go out and make your mark in the world exploring the new ways but don't turn your back on your roots”. The members of Vishten have been doing just that for the past seven years, touring their brand of new-traditional Acadian music in over 1000 performances rendered in 8 different countries. Made up of third generation Acadians living separate but Parallel musical experiences, twin sisters Pastelle and Emmanuelle LeBlanc from Prince Edward Island, Canada have teamed up with Pascal Miousse and Louis-Charles Vigneau from the nearby Magdelen Islands to create a sound that incorporates elements of the new ways while retaining and staying true to the essential Acadian spirit of their roots. The sound is essentially Celtic but with a difference. The songs are French, sung by each band member, alone or in four part harmony. The foot percussion drives the rhythm in a fiddle tune at times yet refrains itself in the gentler musical moments. The band members are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and step-dancers incorporating the fiddle, guitar, accordion, penny-whistle, banjo, mandolin, piano, jaw-harp and bodhran into each performance. They are surely making their mark in the world today as their musical maturity comes through to captivate audiences wherever they play.

Cootehill gears up for Gerry Whelan Memorial Weekend

Market Street, Cootehill 1905Image via WikipediaCootehill gears up for Gerry Whelan Memorial Weekend - Entertainment - Going Out - Articles - Anglo Celt: "Cootehill is once again looking forward to an event packed weekend of traditional music, song and dance as the sixth annual Gerry Whelan Memorial Weekend, which runs September 17 - 19, fast approaches.
Coming hot on the heels of the hugely successful All Ireland Fleadh in Cavan, the now firmly established Whelan Festival in Cootehill will be the icing on the cake for music enthusiasts who've already enjoyed the Fleadh 'main course' in the nearby county town.
If the Whelan celebrations are to be the musical dessert in what has been a feast of trad for Co Cavan this year, there are some sweet pickings indeed on offer, with a host of top names from around the country set to take part."
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Fiddler's Bid to make themselves known

Fiddler's Bid to make themselves known - Borders Today: "Fiddler's Bid to make themselves known
Published Date: 16 September 2010
By Unknown
Fiddler's Bid to make themselves known
THE Riddell Fiddles play host to Shetland band Fiddler's Bid in Melrose's Corn Exchange on Monday, September 27.
It is the septet's only Borders gig, and only last year they picked up a Scots Trad Music Award.
Not only do they play fiddle, but the group also use guitar, electric bass and harp.
They have been described as a 'musical tornado' and playing like 'angels and devils'."
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The Thistle And Shamrock: Daithi Sproule

The Thistle And Shamrock: Daithi Sproule : NPR: "Meet one of the gentle architects of today's Irish music sound. Join Fiona and the intimate audience gathered at the Swannanoa Gathering during its Traditional Song Week to enjoy musical insights, conversation and song with D�ith�Sproule, as he talks about working with Skara Brae, Liz Carroll Trian and Altan.
This episode originally aired the week of Sept. 2, 2010."
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Slide Irish band plays two concerts

Slide Irish band plays two concerts 09/15/10: "The Irish Times describes Slide as 'traditional musicians with attitude.' This five-member group of young musicians is currently touring the United States and making their way to Alaska with just three stops: Juneau, Kodiak and Homer.
The Homer concerts are presented by the Homer Council on the Arts and are a unique opportunity for the community to hear traditional and eclectic Irish music. The concerts are at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 and 12:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Homer Theatre."
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Cavan dancing talent on show on TG4.

Cavan dancing talent on show on TG4... - Entertainment - Staying In - Articles - Anglo Celt: "TG4's hit show, An Jig Gig, returns this year and will feature dancing talent from Cavan.
The show which starts on Sunday, September 26, will feature acts from across the country battling it out to become Ireland's best traditional dance act.
Sonia Leonard from Ard-Rialla dance school tutored two groups from the Cavan and Fermanagh area, which competed in this year's show. 'We had girls from Cavan, Belturbet, Ballyconnell, Kildallan, Killeshandra, Bawnboy, as well as Fermanagh.'"

Monday, 6 September 2010

Blackbox Telly - Resurrection Fern

The Shanti Town Collective presents: Blackbox Telly - A showcase for original music filmed on location at the Passionfruit Theatre, Athlone in the centre of Ireland. Episode one features Resurrection Fern, an Athlone based folk band.

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Bill Whelan and guests

A conductor's score and batonsImage via WikipediaBill Whelan and guests - The Irish Times - Wed, Sep 01, 2010: "Some will recall that Ireland took the 1994 Eurovision prize with Rock’n’Roll Kids�, but the de facto winner of that particular song contest was surely a dance. Nor, 16 years later, would luck seem to be running out for Riverdance�, that luckiest of Bill Whelan’s inspirations. The smash-hit show it spawned has now been playing to worldwide audiences for longer than did the most prominent of Eurovision victors, Abba�.
Whelan must be one of the few people in the wordy world of popular music ever to have had a big say purely in the language of notes. He describes his secret simply as “taking trad music, working it in with the orchestra, and giving it a new twist”.
The Seville Suite�and Riverdance�have sounded subtler than they did in Friday’s muscular performances by the RT� Concert Orchestra under principal conductor David Brophy. Amplification funnelled the timbres, and spelled danger for the solo string tuning."
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Irish Fest offers fine blend of old and new

Concert review | Irish Fest offers fine blend of old and new - "Before he and his band, McPeake, played “Wild Mountain Thyme (Will You Go Lassie)” on Friday at Irish Fest, Francis McPeake III told the crowd that his great-grandfather, who wrote the song more than half a century ago, probably never imagined that his great-grandson would one day perform the song at a festival in Kansas City.
In many ways, this annual rite of Labor Day weekend is still your great-grandfather’s Irish Fest. It still features plenty of traditional forms of Irish music, dance, art and culture. But as it has grown — it’s now the world’s third-largest, organizers say, behind events in Milwaukee and Dublin — it has evolved."
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A Concert of Reconciliation for Peace

A Concert of Reconciliation for Peace - Chris Caswell master harpist Tickets at Song and Spirit Center, 9/11/2010 - SF Gate: "Saturday, Sep 11 7:30p
at Song and Spirit Center, Novato, CA
Concert Series at Song and Spirit...
Healing, Connection and Continual change... heal all dissonance, war and inner angst, between you and other, between brother and sister, mother, lover and you.

A Concert of Reconciliation....for Peace on 9/11� Chris Caswell master harpist presenting: 'the heart of the harp' a celtic, international flavor with excellence we take a leap together�towards healing on this blessed day"

Meath VEC offering Irish music history course in Nobber

Seán Ó Riada was a brilliant composer and musi...Image via WikipediaMeath VEC offering Irish music history course in Nobber - News - Meath North - Articles - Meath Chronicle: "Meath Vocational Education Committee is offering a new course in its adult education programme in O'Carolan College, Nobber this autumn. A course on the history of Irish music and tin and low whistle will commence in Nobber on Tuesday 28th September.
The first hour of this course will focus on the history of Irish music looking at the instruments, different forms of dance music and traditional singing.
It will also look at developments in Irish music from the harpers of medieval times right down to more recent times, incuding innovators like O'Riada and groups like the Clancy Brothers, Horslips, Planxty, Altan and the Afro Celts and shows like Riverdance. Fusions with other forms of music and connections with Celtic music in other parts of Europe and North America will be explored. In the second hour the tin whistle or low whistle will be taught at beginner level. A 'D' whistle will be required and no experience of playing or reading music is necessary.
The teacher of the course, Harry Long, plays and composes with the band Coscán who released their second CD last year. He has taught tin whistle/low whistle privately and in schools for almost three decades and has also given workshops and courses on the history of Irish music to students all over Ireland and in Europe and the US.
He has published a number of books and recordings with Walton's of Dublin, including tin whistle music collections and DVD, a book on the history of Irish music for Leaving Certificate and 'The Walton's Guide to Irish Music', a comprehensive A-Z on the subject. Mr Long has a PhD in Irish history and archaeology from TCD. "
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Kirriemuir music festival hailed a success

Waterfall at the top of the Gairie Burn, Kirri...Image via WikipediaKirriemuir music festival hailed a success - Press & Journal: "MUSIC lovers gathered in Kirriemuir over the weekend for the annual Festival of Music and Song.
The three-day event, which is in its 29th year, saw a variety of groups and musicians perform, including Crieff-based singer and storyteller Margaret Bennett, traditional Scots singer Jock Duncan and Angus Folk and the Forfar Instrumental Band.
The event also saw musicians from throughout Scotland compete in a number of competitions.
Festival spokeswoman Helen Gardiner said: “It was a tremendous festival with a lot of people attending the various events. We were also very pleased with the competition results.
“There were lots of different things on at the same time so there was a lot for people to do."
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Devilish Merry's new CD incorporates influences from both sides of the Atlantic

Devilish Merry's new CD incorporates influences from both sides of the Atlantic: "The first two tracks on the new Devilish Merry CD, 'Water & Vines,' could cause disorientation to a folk music fan trying to trace all the roots.
The title song begins simply with a banjo, played Appalachian clawhammer-style, but then the percolating percussion of a Celtic bodhran comes in, followed by the melancholic textures of an alt-country lapsteel guitar. If that's not dizzying enough, by the middle of the minor-key 'Bluebird,' plaintive Irish fiddle and almost-bluesy tin whistle melt into a traditional Appalachian dance tune, 'Cluck Old Hen,' previously recorded by the likes of Alison Krauss and Kris Delmhorst.
On top of that, anyone not familiar with Devilish Merry might be amazed to hear the members have been doing this conscious merging of styles since before 1979, when they self-released an LP (reissued on CD in 2000) called 'The Ghost of His Former Self,' which can still be found by eagle eyes in used record stores and is considered a folk music cult classic."
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