Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Irish Arts Center New York celebrates in June

Liam Neeson at the TIFF premiere of The Other ...Image via Wikipedia"The Irish Arts Center New York is kicking off June by welcoming Liam Neeson for a special fundraising event and celebration and continuing the fun with a set of Master classes in Irish traditional singing and music.

Honorary Chair of the Irish Arts Center Neeson will be a special guest at the organization’s Spring Cocktails event, an intimate evening that will be hosted at a private home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. A new announcement will be made about the Center’s plans create a brand new first-class facility to celebrate Irish arts and culture in New York City and across the country. The party will take place on the evening of June 2nd, from 6:30-8:30 pm."

Young masters to compete at music festival in Ireland

"Two young musicians from Chester County plan to represent the United States at a music festival in Ireland later this year.

Keegan Loesel, 11, of Unionville, and Alexander Weir, 12, of West Chester, can play some fine Irish music. The boys are masters of different musical instruments used in a traditional type of Irish folk music called Fleadh. Loesel is a tin whistler, and Weir is a fiddler. They both competed at the Regional Fleadh in New Jersey in April to qualify for The Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, the Festival of Music, this August in Ireland.

Only two regional competitions are held in all of North America to qualify for the Fleadh in Ireland. In the 12-and-under age group, Loesel and Weir were the top two finalists from the eastern half of the continent.

For both boys, it will be a trip of a lifetime."

Irish eyes are ready to smile at festival

Irish eyes will certainly be smiling when the second annual Motor City Irish Festival rolls into Redford Township June 3-5 drawing an estimated 5,000-7,000 people eager to celebrate in the Celtic tradition.

With more than 20 local Irish bands lined up to perform, the family-friendly festival will showcase some of the best that the area has to offer in Irish music, dancing and culture on the grounds of St. Valentine's Catholic Church.

Local acts will perform in two tents, the Claddagh All Ireland Tent and the Dunleavy's Ceilidh Tent. Organized by Wayne County's Stephen Walsh Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, proceeds from the festival will benefit St. Valentine's as well as the Redford Interfaith Relief and other local charitable organizations

The event offers area residents an excellent opportunity to celebrate the Irish heritage, festival co-chair Charlie French of Livonia said.

“This is a feel-good festival. Detroit has such a rich history with the Irish culture; this is a great chance to recognize that,” French said.

Irish eyes are ready to smile at festival | Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies | hometownlife.com

Friday, 27 May 2011

Blas takes the Islands to the Highlands

UamImage via Wikipedia"HIGHLAND culture festival Blas returns this summer better than ever, organisers claim — despite fears the region wide event could be a victim of spending cutbacks.
Launching the seventh Blas Festival at Eden Court Theatre yesterday, Arthur Cormack, chief executive of Feisan nan Gaidheal announced a programme of well over 80 events taking place between Friday 9th and Saturday 17th September.
These include some 40 music events featuring both up and coming and established stars of the traditional music scene such as Julie Fowlis, Karen Matheson, the Outside Track and Irish-American guests Cherish the Ladies.
Other featured artists include Karine Matheson, Iain Morrison and Daibhidh Martin, Kathleen MacInnes, Maggie MacInnes and Colum Sands and chart-bidders Manran.
Among the highlights are a celebration of the centenary of Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean at Inverness Cathedral with music from Inverness composer Stuart MacRae, the world premiere of 'The Boy and The Bunnet' — hailed as traditional music’s answer to 'Peter and The Wolf' and an all star finale at Eden Court."

'Tune in the Church' at St. Nicholas' offers trad fans alternative to pub

National University of Ireland, Galway.Image via Wikipedia"Cormac Ó Beaglaoich is a busy young man. When he’s not working on his PhD in psychology at NUIG, he can be found playing his concertina at sessions in Galway or further afield. He is also the organiser of Tunes in the Church, a summer series of traditional concerts in St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway City, now in its second year. The 2011 Tunes in the Church was launched on Sunday evening at St Nicholas’ by renowned traditional fiddle player, Martin Hayes.

Cormac had seen this kind of musical event enjoying success in St James’ Church in Dingle in his native West Kerry, and last summer, with the support of the rector, Gary Hastings – himself a well-known flute player – he organised a series of concerts in St Nicholas’.

“The musicians last year worked off a percentage, and I’m grateful to them because they invested in it,” explains Cormac, whose aim is to see any money made return to the performers “who are at the root of the tradition”.

The 2011 series kicks off next Monday with a strong local flavour. Galway piper Cormac Cannnon and Headford fiddle player and singer Breda Keville will be joined by Clare woman Lorraine O’Brien on concertina and sean-nós dancer Máire Ní Chuaig for the event which begins at 8pm.

The concerts, which will run three times a week until September feature some of the leading names of Irish traditional music.
They include Ringo McDonagh, Brian McGrath, Jacqueline McCarthy, Tommy Keane, Alan Kelly, Johnny Connolly, Lillis Ó Laoire, Dermie Diamond, Seán Tyrrell, Ronan Browne, Charlie Harris, Kathleen Loughnane, Mary Bergin, Tim Dennehy, Len Graham and Breanndán Begley and family – including Cormac.

The concerts will take place in the south transept of the church, in an intimate setting. Most concerts, although not all, will feature a musician or two, as well as a singer and dancer. "

Music for the soul from Moynalty songstress

"Moynalty's Deirdre Shannon (Gilsenan) has launched her second album, 'AnamCeol', music for the soul, following on from the tremendous success of her award winning first album. Deirdre who hails from a well-known farming family near Kells, is granddaughter of Mattie Gilsenan, the last surviving member and captain of the 1939 Meath senior footballteam.
She has been described as having 'one of the purest voices around' by her Lord of the Dance colleague and mentor, Michael Flatley. The new CD is a collection of early Irish and Scottish traditional songs about love, nature and mythology, sung for a contemporary audience.
Songs include 'Down by the Sally Garden', 'Silent O Moyle', 'Song for Ireland' and the 'Maid of Culmore', to name just a few.
She said: 'I have always been a lover of songs that speak to the heart - whether they be of love, lost love or just simple things like nature. Our rich Irish heritage offers plenty where these themes are concerned. On my travels in the US, I am continually asked for renditions of old Irish songs."

Young shoulders spared the weight of tradition

"Pared-down ideas, electronics and a focus on visual influences inform young Irish composer Linda Buckley’s first work for the NSO, writes MICHAEL DERVAN

WRITING FOR orchestra is anything but a central concern for most young composers in the 21st century. Quite apart from anything else, many orchestras seem reluctant to take a punt on composers in their early 20s, and the first opportunity for Linda Buckley to work with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra has come at the age of 32.

She has, however, worked with orchestras before, on Osmosis with the amateurs of the Gateway Orchestra under Fergus Sheil in Wexford, and on turn for the Dresden Symphony Orchestra in 2009.

“That was a large-scale project which involved a video connection between Dresden and Venice. There was an ensemble in Venice, and the orchestra in Dresden, with a one-second time delay, which I had to write in to the actual piece.”

Her new work for the NSO is called chiyo, named after a female Japanese haiku poet from the 18th century."

Shawnee Celtic Fest: Music, food, dancers, dogs, jugglers and a wizard

Even though the skis are in the garage, it doesn't mean you can't have fun at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area with family and friends.

The summer festivities start Memorial Day weekend, when the fourth annual Shawnee Celtic Festival returns.

"The Shawnee Celtic Festival was added to the schedule four years ago. It was actually a revival of an older fall event called the Shawnee Scottish & Irish Fest, which was held here for several years during the '90s in September each year," said Jim Tust, administrative manager and coordinator for Shawnee Mountain's summer and fall events.

Tust promises two full days of the sights and sounds of the Emerald Isles and Scottish Highlands, featuring three stages of nonstop Celtic music with eight bands, along with a Bagpipers Parade.

Additional entertainment includes Scottish and Irish dancers, working sheep dogs, a Celtic wizard and Irish juggler. A variety of Irish and Scottish craft and gift vendors, Celtic food vendors, a wine tent and various kids' activities including a Celtic farm petting zoo and face painting will add to the activities both days.

The festival has grown over the years. "We've added the large festival tent with more seating and a larger stage. Also more children's entertainment will be available, such as the magic and juggling shows, and the Celtic farm animal petting zoo," Tust said.


Out and about in Mayo

Image of Linenhall Street, looking towards Rus...Image via Wikipedia"Great night of trad and folk lined up

Seán Tyrrell, Kevin Glackin and Ronan Browne, three of the most highly respected musicians on the Irish traditional/folk scene, come together for a night of great music and song at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Thursday June 9 at 8pm.

Seán Tyrrell, renowned for his unique singer/songwriter talents, joins forces with legendary fiddle player Kevin Glackin and creative uilleann piper Ronan Browne as part of the Tyrrell Glackin Browne CD Tour. Seán, Kevin and Ronan have been playing and performing together since the 1980s but have only now (after major hounding by their fans) recorded a CD of songs and tunes, entitled And so the story goes."

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

48th Annual Connecticut Irish Festival Feis & Agricultural Fair set for June

"The Connecticut Irish Festival, Feis and Agricultural Fair, one of the longest running festivals of its kind in the Northeast, will highlight the best in Celtic dance, sports, music, and culture at the North Haven Fairgrounds on June 25th 11 am -11 pm and Sunday, June 26th 8 am – 7 pm. The Festival has a great tradition of celebrating Irish culture, running every year since 1963.

This year’s festival features a feis, or Irish dance competition, which will take place in the newly renovated fairground’s field house. Hundreds of dancers will compete in colorful costumes, giving spectators a wonderful opportunity to witness a lively performance.

The Rogues, who were voted number one Celtic band in a prestigious Battle of the Bands, will headline the Festival with its “high-energy collision of Celtic, rock and world styles.”

Musical performances by a host of extremely talented performers including: The Clancy Legacy, Pride of New York, MacTalla Mor, McLean Avenue, The Screaming Orphans, Tara Gold, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Damien and Sally Connolly, Keltic Kick, Pride of Moyvane, and the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society, will give Festival goers a wide variety of traditional music to listen to."

Maine welcomes Saltwater Celtic Music Festival

Karan CaseyCover of Karan Casey"The Saltwater Celtic Music Festival will take place on Sunday, July 31st at beautiful ThomasPoint Beach in Brunswick, Maine. Kevin O'Hara, author of Last of the Donkey Pilgrims, will serve as emcee for the festival.

The lineup of musicians which Saltwater has assembled is noteworthy, including as it does Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul, Karan Casey and John Doyle, Buille, The Prodigals, The Dublin City Ramblers, The Screaming Orphans, and many more.

Camping will be available on-site and many of the artists will have meet-and-greets following their performances. Celtic-themed food and beverage vendors will serve throughout the day, and Saltwater will also feature a beer garden for attendees who are over 21. On top of all this, Thomas Point Beach offers a beautiful playground for children and a sand beach.

A full program of Saltwater satellite events - which will be separately ticketed - is also scheduled for outlying venues in the days leading up to the festival, with performances from Canada's Bb Sisters, Maeve Gilchrist, The Screaming Orphans and more. An all-star Maine Celtic session will also be held at Byrne’s Irish Pub in Brunswick.

Tickets are available in advance for $25, or $35 at the gate. Admission for children under 12 is free. For tickets and a full lineup of events, see Saltwaterfest.com."

Irish and African Americans changed US history

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 18:    U.S. President Bar...Image by Getty Images via @daylife"As diverse cultures, we struggled as migrants. That struggle led us both to the White House, writes MARTIN O'MALLEY

AS BARACK Obama visits Ireland for the first time as president, I am reminded of a simple gesture of kindness that altered the course of American history.

In October 1960, Dr Martin Luther King jnr was roused from bed in the middle of the night on trivial charges stemming from his protests against racial segregation. King was denied bail and sentenced to four months of hard labour in a Georgia prison camp, which many feared he might not survive, either by lynching or by a convenient “accident”. This was not, on the turbulent surface of the times, John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s problem. The Massachusetts senator was locked in a close race for the White House. If he had any chance to win, he needed to keep the support of white Southern Democrats – Southern Democrats who, for the most part, hated everything that Martin Luther King stood for."

Dublin balladeer taking NYC by storm

"Dublin native Kevin McCormack has been turning heads throughout the five boroughs recently with his lively and energetic sets, putting his own spin on Irish classics and American folk songs, from the bawdiest of drinking songs to the quietest of laments.

McCormack's love of traditional ballads started after hearing the voice of Luke Kelly on his father’s two Dubliner's cassette tapes in the car, on their yearly trip down to Courtown, Co. Wexford. Over the years McCormack has collected an extensive repertoire from greats such as Kelly, Moore, Makem and Clancy.

“My biggest influence is Luke Kelly; I wouldn’t say I sound like him, but I would like to sound like him!” he laughs."

Concert hits high notes in becoming a call to arms

College GreenImage by Kieran Lynam via Flickr
Main picture, top: President Obama with Taoiseach Enda Kenny at College Green last night; above, Dublin singer Imelda May entertains the crowd yesterday and rugby hero Brian O'Driscoll with the Heineken Cup. Paddy Cummins/Collins

THE tens of thousands of people who crammed into College Green in Dublin experienced all four seasons in the space of a few hours.

The crowd stretched back up Dame Street as far as the eye could see as they waited to give the 44th President of the United States the welcome of a lifetime.

Entitled 'Is Féidir Linn/Yes We Can', the concert had been billed as a celebration of Irish music, film and sport but rapidly turned into a call to arms to the nation.

Ireland's music acts had been expected to be provide the perfect warm-up act for Mr Obama but throughout the afternoon it was those introducing them who stole the show.

They included actor Brendan Gleeson, who whipped the crowd into such a patriotic frenzy that he was in danger of upstaging the act he was there to introduce, Monaghan singer Ryan Sheridan.

Another poignant address came from actor Stephen Rea, who, introducing Liberties singer Imelda May, recited a WB Yeats poem: "I am of Ireland to all of those Irish people who had to emigrate over the years. We hope it will not be too long before these people, or their children, return to dance with us in Ireland."

RTE commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh had been another star turn, bringing Irish sporting heroes, including Robbie Keane, Katie Taylor, 'King' Henry Shefflin, Padraig Harrington and Brian O'Driscoll, fresh from Leinster's Heineken Cup victory, to an ecstatic crowd.

Concert hits high notes in becoming a call to arms - Presidential Visit, National News - Independent.ie

Monday, 23 May 2011

In Ireland, A Homecoming (Of Sorts) For Obama

Moneygall, County Offaly, Ireland.Image via Wikipedia"President Obama is in Ireland on Monday kicking off a six-day European trip during which he will visit Buckingham Palace, address British Parliament, attend the Group of Eight summit in France and meet with Central European leaders in Poland.

First though, the president has some family business to attend to: As Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny explained on St. Patrick's Day, the land of O'Connells, O'Neills, and O'Donnells is also the land of O'Bamas.

'I can tell you that in the history of the English language, never has a single apostrophe meant so much to so many,' he said to applause.

Obama's personal connection to Ireland is on his mother's side. It was discovered four years ago, when researchers traced Falmouth Kearney, his great-great-great grandfather, to the village of Moneygall in County Offaly. Kearney was a shoemaker's son who sailed to America in 1850.

Canon Stephen Neill found Kearney's family records at Templeharry Church, just outside Moneygall. He's been fielding questions about Falmouth's most famous descendent ever since.

'It's good fun, but it's pretty tiring,' he says, chuckling."

Review: 'Riverdance' lives up to its hype in its Reno performance

"This weekend offers Reno audiences the extraordinary chance to see — or more accurately, experience — the legendary Irish dance performance, “Riverdance.”


After its debut in Dublin 1994, “Riverdance” became a popular sensation, made Michael “Lord of the Dance” Flatley a household world, spurred a revival of Irish pride and encouraged countless boys and girls to learn traditional Irish dance.

Within minutes after the curtains rose at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts on Friday night, any doubters in the audience likely were convinced: “Riverdance” lives up to its hype."

Friday, 20 May 2011

Hundreds take part in Fleadh events in Ballymore

The organisers of the Westmeath Fleadh, held in Ballymore last weekend, were "fleadh out" for the entire three days.
Hundreds of people from across the county attended the various events that took place in the local hostelries, Boher Hall, and of course, the school and community centre in Ballymore itself.
The competitions started on Friday night, with a range of set and figure dancing competitions at the community centre, and the music competitions were the highlight of Sunday's proceedings, with adjudicators hearing young musicians playing a wide variety of instruments, including tin whistle, flute, fiddle, and accordion. There was also live music in the open air on Sunday, something that was widely appreciated by the locals. Reaction to the Fleadh was very positive, and visitors were delighted with the facilities available locally for the event. Mass in the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in Ballymore on Sunday was in honour of deceased members of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and the choir was accompanied by traditional musicians throughout the Mass. The readings were done by members of Comhaltas, as were the Prayers of the Faithful, and among the gifts brought to the altar was the violin that belonged to the late Tommy Kearney from Ballymore, a founder member of the Comhaltas Branch in Ballymore, 24 years ago. Parish Priest, Fr. Philip Smith said it was an occasion of pride for Ballymore to get to host the Fleadh, the first time in the sixty years of Comhaltas that Ballymore has done so. Read next week's paper for results of the competitions.

Eclectic mix at evening party

The Chieftains performing at the InterCeltic F...Image via WikipediaCONVENTION CENTRE : AN ECLECTIC mix of people from various walks of Irish life attended last night's indoor garden party and concert at the national convention centre in Dublin on the third day of the State visit by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

The royal couple's final public engagement in the capital was hosted by the British embassy as a "return event" which the visiting country hosts during state visits.

The event, organised by Docklands entrepreneur Harry Crosbie with Riverdance founder John McColgan acting as artistic director, was designed to showcase the best in Irish music and culture. It was attended by President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin, together with some 2,000 guests from the worlds of fashion, sport, business politics and entertainment.

The royals were treated to a festive occasion which included music from the Chieftains, Westlife, X-Factor contestant Mary Byrne, 1996 Eurovision Song Contest winner Eimear Quinn and the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as a fashion show.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Seán Tyrrell & friends @ Monroe’s Live

"THE GREAT folk-singer-songwriter Seán Tyrrell, fiddle player Kevin Glackin, and uilleann piper Ronan Browne have joined forces to produce a new album and they are taking it on the road.

The album And So The Story Goes... is released tomorrow on the Cló Iar-Chonnacht label and the trio will play two shows in County Galway - in Monroe’s Live on Friday May 27 at 9pm and in The Station House, Clifden, on Saturday May 28 at 8pm.

Seán, Kevin and Ronan have been playing together socially and for tours and shows since the 1980s but are only now, after major hounding by their fans, releasing an album of songs and tunes together.

Commenting on the forthcoming tour, Sean Tyrrell said: “Although the three of us are old hands in the business, we are very much looking forward to this tour. We respect one another’s talents and know that we will each benefit from this collaboration. We are also confident our audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy an honest performance.”

For more information and tickets contact Monroe’s on 091 - 583397 or 087 - 9783245."

Drama at Passionfruit Theatre, Athlone

Comhaltas Live 349

North American Feis Commission awards music scholarship

"Designed by the North American Feis Commission to reward the hard work of young musicians and foster interest in performing at feiseanna, the inaugural Music Award Competition for the under 15 age group took place on May 7, 2011. The event was held at the Westin Atlanta North at Perimeter in conjunction with the 21st Annual Peach State Feis, hosted by the Peach State Feis Inc.

Helen Gannon, Director of St. Louis Irish Arts Incorporated and Chairperson of the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann North America, oversaw the competition on behalf of the North American Feis Commission. Gannon explained that each competitor would play two tunes twice over with an 8-bar introduction. A dancer selected by the feis committee would dance two steps (32 bars), and begin dancing immediately following the 8-bar introduction. The candidate would continue to play until the tune had been completed twice over."

Irish music kicks off festival

"CAPE MAY—A new Irish musical group, an authentic British-style brass band and a classical violinist acclaimed by The New York Times will headline the opening week of the 22nd annual Cape May Music Festival on Thursday night, May 26, at 8 at the Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church on the Washington Street Mall at Ocean Street.

The opening attraction of the three-week, nine-concert series, made possible in part from grant funding from PNC Arts Alive, will feature The Pride of New York, what has been described as a super-group. Their musicians, Brian Conway on fiddle, Billy McComiskey on button accordion, Joanie Madden on flute and whistle, and Brendan Dolan on keyboards, have won four all-Ireland championship awards, recorded multiple albums and have toured in the United States and abroad. Their opening act will be the husband-wife team of “McDermott’s Handy,” consisting of Kathy De Angelo and Dennis Gormley who have been performing together since 1979. They sing and perform a variety of instruments

Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for seniors and $10 for students."

Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy

Donnacha Dennehy: Grá agus Bás

(Nonesuch)


No, I can’t pronounce this either. But the Irish sure sounds good in song on the first major release of the music by the Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, who was born in 1970. “Grá agus Bás" (Love and Death) is a rapturous post-Minimalist assault on a traditional Irish song from the old tradition known as sean-nós. It is sung here by a leading exponent of sean-nós, Iarla Ó Lionáird, and there is much to remind us in this magnetically repetitive score that Terry Riley’s roots are in the old country.

The other work on the CD, which features the Crash Ensemble conducted by Alan Pierson, is a song cycle Dennehy wrote for soprano Dawn Upshaw on texts by Yates. They include more of love and death, with plenty of angst thrown in. The accompaniments ripple appealingly, with a slight nod to John Adams, while Upshaw gets at the heart of Yates’ sad, haunted beauty.

Culture Watch: Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy | Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Michigan Irish Music Festival showcases top class Irish bands

The Michigan Irish Music Festival will feature three bands direct from Ireland as headline acts, with Slide IE, Beoga, and Goitse performing on the main stage in downtown Muskegon from September 16-18.

Slide IE, whose lineup originated in 1999 at a Bandon, Co. Cork music festival, will be making their third Muskegon appearance. Beoga hail from Co. Antrim and have been described by The Wall Street Journal as “the best traditional band to emerge from Ireland this century.” Goitse, a group of young University of Limerick alumni, “mix modern rhythms and traditional melodies” creating a unique, personal sound.

Entertainment Director Thomas Schaub commented that the headline acts reflect the high quality of the festival in general.

“Evidence of our festival’s prominence in the Irish Festival realm can be seen in these performances by three incredible bands coming to us directly from Ireland,” he said. “Slide IE, Beoga, and Goitse represent the best that Ireland has to offer in contemporary Irish folk music. This year’s festival will feature some of the most exciting and virtuosic players to ever play in West Michigan.”

Also playing at the festival are a variety of Celtic and traditional acts from around the world, including Old Blind Dogs, Scythian and The Makem and Spain Brothers.

The festival is presented by Mercy Health Partners and will take place at the Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon. A wide variety of food and goods will be on offer in addition to the excellent musical lineup, and the weekend will come to a close with a Catholic Mass celebrated on Sunday, followed by an Irish breakfast.

The Irish Emigrant - Michigan Irish Music Festival showcases top class Irish bands

Ireland recreates the immigrant experience

Ship Jeanie Johnston, moored off Custom House ...Image via Wikipedia
In the archives of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, German filmmaker Martin Duffy has been studying the employee records of relative Jack Carruthers, who started his career as a cooper at Guinness in 1945. But sleuthing the family tree also revealed fascinating insights into the social history of Ireland in the 1940s, the lives of non-skilled laborers and the people and events that lead to the emergence of the trade union movement.

Across town at the Jeanie Johnston, a replica of an 1847 famine ship that opened in June 2010, guide Paul McCarthy describes two cousins from Boston whose great-great-grandmother immigrated to the United States from County Kerry as a passenger. After discovering her name on the ship’s manifest while touring the Queenstown Story in Cobh, they traveled to Dublin to tour the Jeanie Johnston and understand the challenges such a journey must have posed.

At the Queenstown Story in Cobh, a family stands mesmerized by a photograph of Eugene Daly, caught playing “Erin’s Lament” on his uilleann (elbow pipes) for fellow steerage passengers just as the Titanic steams away on its ill-fated maiden voyage. The photographer was Jesuit priest Francis Browne, who disembarked at Cobh. In 2012, the center will mount the first exhibition of his images, the last ever taken of many of the doomed passengers. A staff genealogist will be available to help visitors complete their ancestral jigsaw.


Ireland recreates the immigrant experience | NewsOK.com
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Monday, 16 May 2011

Music Reviews | Irish America | IrishCentral

Ian Walsh and Kevin Buckley
Keeping It Reel
What caught my ear initially on Ian Walsh’s and Kevin Buckley’s album Keeping It Reel, was the chemistry between the two players, which extends from over two decades of playing together. It really shines through in this record, a blend of American roots music and traditional Irish tunes, because their fiddle and guitar portions were in large part recorded live.

Both award-winning fiddlers, Walsh and Buckley understand the richness of sparing instrumentation. On the opening track “Mayor Harrison’s Fedora,” they keep the focus of the reel on the fiddle and allow the bodhran and guitar to work as interchangeable fills. The song, a reference to a former mayor of Chicago, is a playful and intimate recording.

They then explore the Irish in the Appalachians with the old song “Say Darlin’ Say,” enlisting Tommy Martin on the uilleann pipes. The arrangement allows for hints of Celtic traditional fiddle playing while remaining very true to the song’s American country roots. The album is crisp, fun and expertly played: a comforting Sunday morning record.

Caoimhin and BreanndanImage by Irish Philadelphia Photo Essays via FlickrBrendan Begley & Caoimhin O Raghallaigh
A Moment of Madness
This trad duo combines button accordion and fiddle to record favorites of the Irish music world. Brendan Begley embraces a simple style with his accordion, avoiding over-ornamentation with a more straightforward melodic interpretation than many trad listeners are used to. Caoimhin O Raghallaigh complements this with his fiddle, driving the rhythm of the album with his precision.

The album is traditional but somewhat rigid. Perfect for the Irish dance world but perhaps a little too regimented for the everyday listener. “Cronin Slippery Jig” is an entrancing track, though, where the pair’s commitment to that stripped-down sound really pays off.

Begley’s story is included in the inside cover of the album: once a Dublin schoolteacher, one day he read his horoscope, which made a welcome suggestion: “Follow your heart. A moment of madness is better than a life of logic.” Begley took this nugget of astrological inspiration and moved to Dingle where he and O Raghallaigh used that phrase, “A moment of madness,” for their album.

Music Reviews | Irish America | IrishCentral

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Inside Ireland-America: The Ties That Bind

Entering “Ireland-America: The Ties that Bind,” housed in Lincoln Center, one of New York City’s finest arenas for the arts, it is easy to get overwhelmed. We’re dealing with more than two centuries of performing arts history, after all. A television screen is on the right; posters and display cabinets are straight ahead; a sign describing the exhibition is just to the left; a playing fiddle and the sounds of feet tapping in tune can be heard. Head to the television and sit on the bench. The next 18 or so minutes will be thrilling as a video reel plays a representative variety of clips, including Michael Flatley performing in Lord of the Dance, a short interview with Liam Neeson, and a clip of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in a 1974 production of Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Past the television, the gallery opens into its first and largest section, “Performing Ireland, Becoming American.” Showcasing Irish-American stage performances since the 1800s, the space is brimming with broadsides, lithographs, programs, posters and more. The best way to see the exhibits is to crisscross the room. The walls are adorned: a poster for a production of Dion Boucicault’s The Shaughran, another for Da by Hugh Leonard. Between the framed posters hangs a QR ("Quick Response") code. Anyone with a smart phone can use a QR code reader to decode the information, including special messages from Irish actors. Dispersed throughout the gallery, the QR codes really show spectators (at least, the smart-phone-equiped spectators) a new way to experience an exhibition. Nearby, another television monitor shows a continuous video of scenes from Irish plays performed in America, including Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come (1994 New York production) and the Broadway production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh.

Inside Ireland-America: The Ties That Bind | Irish America | IrishCentral

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

It’s Cavan or ‘busk’

"It’s Cavan or bust for a group of New York area teenage musicians who are playing their way to this year’s Fleadh Cheoil in Cavan.
After qualifying for Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2011 at the Mid-Atlantic Fleadh Cheoil, held recently in Parsippany, New Jersey, the teenagers have decided to “busk” their way to Cavan.
The intrepid young players come from Queens, Long Island, Westchester County and Manhattan.
Rosie Cooper 17, Chloe Curley 11, Jake James 13, Seamus Finneran 13, Dylan James 11, William Cooper 15, and Kyle Curley 13 are up against the odds with the sky-high airline ticket prices.
While all are American born, their parents come from counties Westmeath, Leitrim, Wicklow, Fermanagh, Donegal, Cavan and Galway.
The talented traditional musicians are students of well known Antrim fiddle and piano teacher Niall Mulligan and Dublin accordian and bodhran teacher, Niall O’Leary.
All of the young musicians attended Scoil Eigse last year in Cavan town prior to the Fleadh. This is a week-long traditional music school run by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in conjunction with the Fleadh."

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