Friday, 28 January 2011

Enjoy Irish music and dance: Celtic Crossroads tour brings world-class performers to the Pavilion stage

"In his soft Irish brogue, Kevin Crosby says Celtic Crossroads, the world-touring music and dance show he co-founded, is getting closer to Sioux Falls.

Talking by phone last week as one of his tour buses pulls over in Houston, the show producer says the more than 20 performers and crew can't fly - they have too much production gear packed into buses and cargo trailers to attempt airline travel.

He and his troupe of acoustic minstrels and dancers perform mostly Irish music Friday at the Washington Pavilion.

The show blends traditional music and dance with a light touch of modern beats. He and musical friends began playing in the streets of their hometown of Galway, Ireland, in 2005."

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Battlefield Band set to Storm the Hawai’i’an Islands

"Few forms of music stir the blood as much as Celtic Folk music with its rich interplay of fiddles & whistles incorporating instruments ancient, the bodhran, flutes, contemporary guitars & accordions, modern synthesisers, and the truly unique, the bagpipes with their wail & scream plus enthralling vocals, songs often delivered in a rich syrupy brogue tinged with whisky and ale, words in language older than centuries, vocals plaintive & urgent, tragic and comic.

Music stirring passion, music inspiring dance and movement, music invigorating enticing inciting romance. The Battlefield Band is a proud purveyor of Scottish Celtic music, preserving traditional melodies & songs while adding to the lexicon, their music is as fresh & invigorating at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century as it was when they began their musical odyssey in the tumultuous year of 1969."

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Boston-based acoustic musicians will perform

"PORTLAND — Two Boston acoustic musicians, Irish flutist Shannon Heaton and Celtic harpist Maeve Gilchrist, will get together Saturday, Feb. 5, at The Empire Dine and Dance.

They will celebrate the release of Heaton's new all-instrumental CD, 'The Blue Dress,' featuring Gilchrist on harp, Paddy League on bodhran and bouzouki, and Matt Heaton and Liz Simmons on guitar.

A member of the Boston Celtic music scene for almost a decade, Heaton often appears with her husband, Matt, with whom she tours nationally and abroad.

Heaton was recently chosen Female Musician of the Year by The Irish American News. She is also a founder and director of the Boston Celtic Music Fest. She has a degree in ethno-musicology from Northwestern University."

Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival in Brattleboro

"BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Music Center’s 4th annual Northern Roots Traditional Music Festival -- featuring more than 20 musicians playing music in the rich traditions of Ireland, Scotland, England, Sweden, New England and French Canada -- will be held throughout the day on Saturday, Jan. 29.

The highlights will be a daytime family concert and dance, and an evening jam session concert.

Each year the festival brings together local and regional musicians representing the best of various northern musical traditions. The festival also draws on the richness of talent in the broader region, with players from throughout New England coming to perform, teach and participate in informal sessions.

'The festival focuses on small ensembles and solo players whose talent brings us to the heart of the beauty of traditional music,' said festival director Keith Murphy. 'Our day of teaching workshops gives a fresh boost to students in a variety of styles and on various instruments, while intimate day time performances are a unique listening opportunity for all and the series of jam sessions at our local pub are simply exuberant.'"

Irish music meets Italian passion

‘ONE MORE TUNE.” It’s not exactly the sort of phrase you could imagine a crowd of post-gig revellers in Naples, Rome or Milan chanting, but two Dublin-based Italians have adopted the mantra for their own purposes. Rossella Bottone and Luisella Mazza didn’t know each other before they moved to Dublin – but their common interest in music and media led them to establish in 2008. The website documents the Irish music scene through a series of interviews, conducted with both native artists and international acts that pass through Dublin on their European tours.

Bottone, 35, initially unearthed a love for Irish music through her work for Italian magazine Jam. “It started with The Frames, Nina Hynes and Gemma Hayes in early 2000,” she says. “I was regularly checking what Road Records would suggest on their website, and my brother, who was – and still is – living in Dublin would buy me those records, which were impossible to find in Italy. As a journalist, I covered many Irish artists long before I moved here. I remember flying to Denmark and Germany to see The Frames play and review their concert, as they wouldn’t come to Italy at that time.”

Monday, 24 January 2011

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Traditional Irish Music from the Bridgend Bar in Ballyshannon

Bands Wanted for "Battle for St. Pat's 2011"

"Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- If your band wants to play in front of the green masses of partygoers at this year's St. Pat's Festival in Five Points, then organizers urge you to compete in the Battle for St. Pat's 2011.

In its fourth year, the battle of the bands gives a chance to six local bands eager to play a set on a national stage on March 19th, the Saturday after St. Patrick's Day, and the official celebration of St. Patick and Irish culture.

The Battle for St. Pat's is scheduled for March 6 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Five Points Fountain stage.

If you're interested in entering your band for the competition, you can send a press kit, with contact information, a bio, a picture and a sample CD of your music to the Five Points Association, postmarked by Feb. 1.

Send them to The Five Points Association, c/o Battle for St. Pat's; P.O. Box 5283, Columbia, SC 29250. Press kits can also be dropped off at 2002 Blossom Street in Columbia."

Irish Duo head to Burnham

"MELODIC Irish charm will fill The Railway Hotel in Burnham this month when a musical duo grace the stage.

Rose and Christy Arthur will deliver a set of airs, fiddle tunes, chorus songs, comedy numbers and ballads, all played with a hint of bluegrass and a touch of classical.

Listen out for well-known songs including Whiskey in the Jar, Molly Malone, Sweet Sixteen, Fairytale of New York and The Irish Rover.

The old favourites will be mixed with new songs, all arranged beautifully for flute, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and vocals.

Rose and Christy Arthur will be performing at The Railway on January 29.

For more information call the venue on 01278-784828."

3 Reel "Gan Ainm"

A set of 3 reels on Irish wooden flute and guitar from

Annual St. Patrick’s Day visit to the White House in question

"The now near chaotic political scene in Ireland has cast doubt on how, when, and which government representatives will now participate in the annual Saint Patrick's Day exodus to the US and the White House.

Even the Irish prime ministers annual trip to greet the president with a traditional bowl of shamrocks is in doubt after Brian Cowen announced that the Irish general election will take place just six days beforehand.

Irish ministers traditionally travel around the world during Saint Patrick's week showcasing Ireland as a tourism hot spot (and also as an attractive place to do business). It's an opportunity to highlight the nation that other countries claim to envy.

However, with the climate of political upheaval and with the Irish election date set for March 11, it's unlikely that a new government will be in place to streamline the transition in time."

Pioneer of the people's music

: "IT’S LIKE a scene from a Coen brothers movie: a Model A Ford pulls up outside a prison farm in a remote corner of Louisiana in the 1930s and out step two men, one middle-aged, one teenaged, and brush down their clothes, creased from weeks of travelling and camping out. The man is John Lomax, a Texan folklorist on a field trip to collect prison songs, and the boy is his son, Alan, who has taken time off from his studies at the University of Texas to help his dad. The back seat of the Ford has been torn out to make room for the pair’s recording equipment, which includes a newfangled disc-cutting recorder, vacuum-tube amplifier, blank aluminium discs, microphone, mixing board and all the accoutrements of a mobile studio.

The prison farm, known locally as Angola, after the African country from which many slaves were shipped, is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi, and most of its inmates are there for life. Armed with a letter of introduction from the Library of Congress, in Washington DC, the Lomaxes get permission from the warden to begin recording the prisoners’ folk songs – their interest is in secular songs rather than spirituals – and they set up their gear and go to work."

Riverdance one high-stepping show

"Irish eyes certainly have been smiling on “Riverdance” since its 1995 debut in Dublin.

Watching Thursday night’s show at Memorial Auditorium, it’s easy to see why: impossibly fast, thunderous, rhythmic tapping, 20-dancers strong, in a synchronized line that would put Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes to shame.

Add to all that spectacular dancing a few heart-rending, haunting solo singing performances; a mad-skills drum solo on the bodhran by Mark Alfred; up-in-your-seat, joyful fiddle jigs by Patrick Mangan; and Matt Bashford’s reverberating turn on the Uilleann pipes.

And then there was lead dancer Alan Scariff, whose feet move so nimbly and so adeptly that you dare not blink too fast for fear of missing something, and also Caterina Coyne, who can match him with her quick feet and limber, graceful jumps."

Saturday, 22 January 2011

'We try to surprise people. We love it when the people who get dragged along against their will get into it. It's very satisfying' - The Irish Times - Sat, Jan 22, 2011

"BACKSTAGE PASS: Beoga mixes blues, Cajun rhythms and jazz into catchy Celtic melodies to create a spirited sound, writes TARA BRADY

BEOGA TRANSLATES as lively. Of course it does. If you didn’t know as much before, a quick blast of the spirited Antrim five-piece, who go by that name, will soon set you straight. These skilful practitioners in new traditional music have been raising the roof ever since the gang first converged at a reputedly fierce 2002 All-Ireland Fleadh session.

“Myself and Seán Óg Graham, the accordion player, grew up together,” says percussionist and four-time All Ireland bodhrán champion Eamon Murray."

“Seán knew the other two guys Liam [Bradley] and Damian [McKee] before. I had heard of them but that fleadh was the first time we got together. Niamh [Dunne] joined a couple of years after that and her vocals and fiddle really completed the sound.”

Happily, Niamh Dunne, the daughter of Limerick piper Mickey Dunne and an accomplished recording artist in her own right, didn’t need long to adjust to the joint-hopping pace or to become an “honorary Nordie”.

“When I was young, music was a big part of growing up,” she says. “You came home from school in the evening, you did your homework and then you practised the violin. For years I thought that’s what everybody did when they came home from school.”

Her bodhrán-playing colleague hasn’t always been quite so lucky: “I think I was a bit embarrassed about the whole Irish thing growing up,” says Murray. “I played in a lot of rock bands when I was younger. But as I got through the teen years I realised it was okay. I didn’t have to be wielding a six-string guitar. I did get respect from other kids at that stage. And it’s definitely cooler now than it was.”

Three albums and several international tours later and Beoga have attracted critical wows everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to Hot Press .

The secret, they say, lies in the diversity of their influences. Sure enough, it’s hard to argue with the eclectic extravaganza of New Orleans blues, kicking Cajun rhythms and Astor Piazzolla jazz lurking around their exquisitely catchy Celtic melodies.

“Each of us has our own thing,” says Murray. “Liam, on the piano, and myself, love anything that sounds hyper or off the wall.”

“We change things around a lot,” adds Dunne. “We never dwell on one type of tune or one type of signature. Because we play a lot of our own compositions and arrange around those compositions it’s less likely to be any particular style. We just go with what we like and what excites us. And when our accordion players go, they really go.”

As Beoga gear up for album number four and a stint at Temple Bar’s TradFest, the band’s wildly distinct boom continues to win unlikely converts.

“We try to surprise people,” says Murray. “We love it when the people who get dragged along against their will get into it. We get a few of those and when they come up afterwards it’s always very satisfying. You know you’ve done something right when you’ve done something that isn’t necessarily for the hardliners. And sometimes you hear an ‘ooh’ or an ‘ah’, because people didn’t see what was coming. That makes it all worthwhile.”

Beoga play the Button Factory on January 27th as part of Temple Bar TradFest, 2011:

see for details

Celtic Crossroads World Fusion Tour

"Celtic Crossroads embarked on their much anticipated World Fusion Tour. The tour began last week in Texas. Two performances in Florida followed and then the group made their way to Sacramento. They have a tour bus that will be their home for the next couple of months and will also serve as their mode of transportation. They drove the bus from Gainesville Florida to Sacramento. The bus was parked in front of Harlow’s on J Street as people began entering the night club Thursday night.
Their aggressively scheduled tour brings them to the West Coast for the first time. Other tours dates are scheduled in the Midwest before they take a couple of weeks off. Celtic Crossroads will resume their tour on the East Coast and perform in what seems like a nightly performance from February 16 to the end of March."

Julie Fowlis: Live at Perthshire Amber – review

"The pin-up of traditional Scottish folk, Fowlis has touched an audience normally immune to the charms of Gaelic crofters' songs, such is the sweetness of her voice. Drawn from her three studio albums, this live set from last year's Amber festival in Pitlochry finds her and her quartet in immaculate form, skipping between spirited tinwhistle jigs, mournful ballads and her version of McCartney's 'Blackbird' ('Lon Dubh'). Led by her husband, Eamon Doorley, on bouzouki, her accompanists are themselves a class act, though it's Fowlis's ethereal vocals that captivate, not least on a solo opener that reflects the elemental beauty of her Hebridean homeland."

'Alternative neo-Celtic folk' duo to perform Prescott house concert

"Four Shillings Short comes to town Sunday, Jan. 30, packing more instruments than the husband-wife duo can count for a performance of music that blends jazz, Celtic, American and East Indian traditional music.

'Going out on a musical limb is common for Four Shillings Short,' say Aodh (a Gaelic name pronounced 'ayog') 'g ' Tuama and Christy Martin, whose ever-increasing array of musical instruments includes a hammered dulcimer, mandola and mandolin, tin whistle and woodwinds, a sitar from India, banjo, percussion, vocals and a renaissance crumhorn."

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Portroe and Newtown prepare for Irish music spectacular

"The picturesque North Tipperary villages of Portroe and Newtown will be alive with the sounds of traditional Irish music on March 12 and 13.
On Saturday, March 12, traditional music artistes from various counties will assemble for a gala concert in Portroe Hall on the 20th anniversary of the death of legendary accordionist, the late Paddy O’Brien of Newtown, Nenagh. The concert in aid of North Tipperary Hospice in Home Care and main organiser is renowned musician Eileen O’Brien-Minogue of Moanfin, Nenagh, the late Paddy O Brien’s daughter.
On the following day at 3.30pm another huge gathering is expected in Bobby Reidy’s hostelry in Newtown for the launch of a CD, “My Homelife In Tipperary” by the legendary All-Ireland champion ballad singer, Nora Butler Swan of Nenagh. The Toomevara native who produced the CD with her husband, Pat Swan has five All Ireland ballad singing titles to her credit, three at senior level and two at under 18 level."

McNulty School of Irish Dance and Illinois Celtic Arts sponsoring a traditional Irish Hooley to promote Irish music and dance — Downers Grove news, photos and events —

The McNulty School of Irish Dance and Illinois Celtic Arts invite the public to a traditional Irish Hooley, to be held Saturday, Jan. 22 at Ballydoyle Irish Restaurant & Pub in Aurora, Ill.

‘Hooley’ in Irish translates to a celebration with music and dance. Featuring live music by Leahy’s Luck and a kick-off performance by the McNulty Irish Dancers, the Hooley supports the continuation and preservation of the Irish heritage.

Founded in 1971 by Barbara McNulty T.C.R.G., the McNulty School has grown to become one of the most active schools in the Midwest, with classes in more than 15 locations across Chicagoland, Bloomington, and Rockford, Ill., as well classes in Wisconsin and Iowa. The McNulty School of Irish Dance seeks to preserve the rich traditions of Irish music and dance by celebrating them now and passing them down for future generations.

McNulty School of Irish Dance and Illinois Celtic Arts sponsoring a traditional Irish Hooley to promote Irish music and dance — Downers Grove news, photos and events —

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Texas Tech Celtic Ensemble Presents "Ceili in the Snow: An Irish House-Party"

"( - The Texas Tech Celtic Ensemble will present the concert, “Céili in the Snow: An Irish House-Party,” at 7 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Talkington Great Hall at the Legacy Event Center.

Singers and players will perform dances, songs, listening pieces and tunes associated with the Celtic experience played globally for many centuries.

Students, families and seniors are welcome to attend free of charge to enjoy solo and figure dances, instrumental music and guest appearances by the Texas Tech Irish Set-Dancers and the Caprock Border Morris Dancers.

In the Gaeltachtai ( Irish-speaking communities ) of Ireland’s West, certain houses became known as “céili ( KAY-lee ) houses.” These were places where songs, tunes, musicians, dancers, poets and players could find a warm welcome and an appreciative response in the shared community performance of the house party."

Gaelic Roots Series Reprises Irish Theme for Spring

"The Gaelic Roots Music, Song, Dance, Workshop and Lecture Series spring program will continue to train the spotlight on the Irish instrumental music tradition, beginning with a concert on Feb. 3 by three of Boston’s most highly regarded Celtic musicians: Shannon Heaton, Maeve Gilchrist and Paddy League.

The series, sponsored by the Center for Irish Programs and directed by Sullivan Artist-in-Residence Seamus Connolly, also will feature the celebrated fiddle-piano duo of Brian Conway and Brendan Dolan, and virtuoso flute and whistle player Larry Nugent.

All events are free and open to the public, and take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Connolly House, 300 Hammond Street. "

Galway schools to perform with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland - Galway Advertiser - January 20, 2011.

"GALWAY NATIONAL schools will be showing off their classical musical talents next month when they join the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland for two concerts.

The shows, entitled Peace Proms, take place in Leisureland, Salthill on Saturday February 12 at 3pm and 8pm.

Peace Proms is part of a series of nationwide concerts by the renowned CBOI to give young people the opportunity to perform with a full symphony orchestra. The project focus is on providing outstanding cultural opportunities for young people while promoting peace, unity and tolerance through music."

The sounds of O'Carolan Duo to perform classic Irish music Sunday

"M argot Krimmel and Mason Brown will present a program Sunday in the truest Irish fashion featuring the historic music of Turlough O'Carolan. The Jan. 23 program in the main building of the Stanley Hotel will feature the harp music of Krimmell and Brown's viol and guitar skills performing the music of O'Carolan. The two will bring the Irish and ancient harp/string music to their 2 p.m. performance.
Admission to the Jan. 23 concert is $5 at the door. Children and students are admitted free. This Estes Park Music Festival Winter Series concert is sponsored by John and Connie Phipps."

Out Of Tune With Business: Sour Note To Bad Busking In Killarney

"BYLAWS ARE to be introduced to regulate bad busking in Killarney. This follows complaints from office workers and businesses in the town centre of poor playing and monotonous tunes played over and over for up to six hours on screeching instruments.

Killarney town clerk Michael O’Leary said some businesses, all ratepayers, were finding it difficult “to transact business due to the sounds created by the buskers”.

He said there were several complaints to the town hall and the council was being asked to amend the town bylaws.

A meeting of Killarney Town Council heard this was not a request to outlaw busking altogether, particularly if the music was good. It was a complex issue in a tourist town, but the particular difficulty was during the day."

Celtic Connections’ opening concert

"THERE could hardly have been a more fitting opening concert to this year’s Celtic Connections festival, with top musicians truly fusing the connection between world music and our own traditions.
The ‘Pulse of the World’ concert beat out the rhythms of Scotland, Ireland and India led by globally-renowned Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, while included in the stellar seven-strong line-up of musicians from Scotland and Ireland were Perthshire’s Patsy Reid and Ross Ainslie.
The festival’s artistic director Donald Shaw introduced the concert, explaining it was the result of a long car journey some 15 years ago when he was listening to a Zakir Hussain cassette and identified a link between music from India, Scotland and Ireland."

Monday, 17 January 2011

Youth music education project finds what it was looking for . . . €5m from U2

"EVERY CHILD in the country should have a chance to learn how to sing or play a musical instrument, the organisers of a music scheme part-funded by U2 have said.

Music Generation, the national music education programme for young people, hopes that 10,000 children who would otherwise not have received a musical education will be able to do so over the next three years.

U2 contributed €5 million towards the €7 million cost of Music Generation. The rest will come from the Ireland Fund."

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Fiddlestone Bar - Traditional Irish Music from

RTE's 'Céilí House' comes to Carlingford - News, frontpage -

RTE's 'Céilí House' comes to Carlingford - News, frontpage - "CÉILÍ House, one of RTÉ Radio's most popular programmes of traditional Irish music and song, comes to Carlingford this evening ( Wednesday) as presenter Kieran Hanrahan and producer Peter Browne travel to the Cooley Peninsula to record many of the regions finest performers in McKevitt's Village Hotel. Ravensdale fiddle player Gerry O'Connor has gathered together some of the artists of the area who have put this region on the international map of traditional music. Taking part in the programme with Gerry will be Stevie Dunne from Clogherhead who has recently released a solo banjo cd 'About Time', Dundalk's Áine McGeeney (songs and fiddle) and Kevin Shields, (flute) will provide the live recording with some local songs. World re-knowned piper John McSherry and local fiddle player Dónal O'Connor, who released the album 'Six Days in Down', Fintan Vallely (songs and flute), Síle Boylan (Fiddle)"

‘Unparalleled opportunity’ for Irish composers in West Cork

"A NEW competition for composers is to become a key feature of the West Cork Chamber Music Festival.

West Cork Music’s PR and marketing manager, Sara O’Donovan, said the competition would present ‘an unparalleled opportunity for Irish composers’ because three winning works will be performed at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in 2011.

The competition – which will give aspiring Irish composers a platform for their work to be evaluated and performed in front of an audience – is a joint initiative by West Cork Music in partnership with the Contemporary Music Centre."

Celtic Crossroads will perform traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance on Sunday

"With its own PBS TV special and CD release, Celtic Crossroads is a youthful, energetic group that performs both traditional and contemporary Irish music. And it wouldn’t be complete without two dancers, who not only provide visual spectacle but add to the percussion as well.

The female dancer is Charlene Morrison, a professional who also is completing a master’s degree in traditional dance at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Morrison, 25, began training as a child in her native County Mayo."

Moloney’s medal

"Rita Moloney will fly across the Atlantic later this month to watch her famous husband be honored at the National Arts Club in New York.
That’s a measure of how seriously that institution’s Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Music is being taken in the household of the Chieftains front man, for his other half detests air travel.
On Thursday, Jan. 27, Paddy Moloney will join musicians Leonard Bernstein, Benny Carter, Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Placido Domingo, Benny Goodman, André Previn and James Galway on the honor roll at the club’s venerable Gramercy Square South building. And a cast of international household names – including Sting and Liam Neeson – will be among those paying tribute to him in person or via video."

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Folk festival line-up announced

"NORTHERN Europe and America dominate this year’s Shetland Folk Festival, which has announced its line up of visiting artists for the 31st outing of this award winning event over four days at the end of April.

Having scooped the ‘Event of the Year’ gong at last year’s MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, the festival organisers are boasting 14 visiting bands from “at least” nine different countries at this year’s shindig.

From across the Atlantic come old time country “hillbilly hurricane” The Wilders, from Kansas City, Missouri; rag time blues maestros Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three; attractive young Louisiana Cajun fiddle fusion family band L’Angelus; and from Canada the acclaimed Quebecois three piece Genticorum who weave fiddle, flute, voice, guitar and bass into “a jubilant musical feast”."

Review: A 'Blur' of Irish and Celtic Music at the Community Center

"The Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club gave Northern New Jersey a taste of authentic Irish and Celtic music over the weekend, bringing the Makem and Spain Brothers and Runa to the Fair Lawn Community Center.

While the Runa trio performed only five songs as the opening act, the band—which consists of Shannon Lambert-Ryan, her husband Fionn De Barra and Cheryl Prashker—proved they should be headliners in the future.

Their first song, “Lowlands of Holland” was almost orchestral and rocky. But at several points in the song on Saturday, it occurred that it was only an acoustic guitarist, two voices and an engaging percussionist."

Temple Bar TradFest 2011 Program Launched

"The programme for the 2011 Temple Bar TradFest was officially launched today at a reception in the Workman's Club in Temple Bar.

Programmer Kieran Hanrahan gave details of the 5 day festival which is bound to set toes tapping along the cobbles of Temple Bar this January. Now in its sixth year Temple Bar TradFest is a firm fixture on the Irish music calendar. With some of the best loved names in Irish Trad alongside up and coming acts, showcase concerts and workshops the festival will include 200 free events inviting everyone to join in the fun. It will host performances in the historic Christ Church Cathedral as well as live music and family entertainment on the streets of Temple Bar."

Monday, 10 January 2011


"IVERDANCE - as it's never been seen before! Be prepared to be swept away by the sights and sounds of RIVERDANCE - On Ice! Now, the Irish Dance spectacular joins forces with a cast of Olympic, World and National champion figure skaters for this NBC Sports Television Special to air Saturday, February 19 from 4 to 6PM EST (check local listings) on NBC. The program will be rebroadcast on the Hallmark Channel on March 15 from 6 to 8PM EST and on March 21 from 1 to 3PM EST.

RIVERDANCE- On Ice was performed live with an audience in the Fall of 2010 at the Tsongas Center at UMass in Lowell, MA. The internationally-acclaimed company of brilliant dancers, singers and musicians performed on a specially-designed stage simultaneously with the choreographed skaters on the ice, all to the magic of Bill Whelan's Grammy Award-winning music."

In Search of the Craic: One Man’s Pub Crawl Through Irish Music

"“Just what the world needs: another bloody book about Ireland.” Maybe not the best way to start off a book about Irish music, but Colin Irwin seems to make it work. In his book In Search of the Craic: One Man’s Pub Crawl Through Irish Music, well-respected British music journalist Irwin sets out on a trip to discover Irish music in the present day and through his travels finds the etchings of the past in all modern playing. The difficulty in discovering Irish music, particularly traditional Irish music, is that other than the few exceptions of the Chieftains and Clancy Brothers, it is a music that remains hidden from the charts. To find the true soul of Irish music one was embark on the very kind of thirsty, rambunctious trip Irwin does: a pub crawl."

Utah dancers present Irish version of Alice in Wonderland

"The Shelley Irish Dance Company, co-founded by Tina Shelley and Jo Lambert and located in Cedar Hills, Utah, is bringing its production, Ireland: The Dance Experience to audiences at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem City, Utah.

Described as an Irish version of Alice in Wonderland, choreographers Shelley and Lambert have created a vision in which Alice follows a leprechaun to meet the “Dancemaster of the Pub” and the “Banshee of Killarney.”

The show follows a similar story structure to a ballet, but instead of relying simply on the dance to move the plot along, the narrator is a fundamental part of the show. Lambert told the local Daily Herald: “It sort of mirrors a ballet…in that it’s a story told through dance. However, the ballets tend to be hard to follow because you have a read the story before you watch it. But this actually has narration that leads you through. So it’s a very family-friendly show."

Dinner and fundraiser commemorating Scottish poet Burns slated for Jan. 22 - - Belfast - Waldo - The Republican Journal

"BELFAST — The Maine Celtic Celebration is pleased to announce acclaimed Irish musicians John Doyle and John Williams, formerly of Solas, will headline at the fourth annual celebration of Celtic music and culture, taking place July 15 to17 on the beautiful Belfast waterfront. To celebrate, organizers will hold a benefit dinner Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at Belfast Curling Club on Route 3 in Belfast."

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A touch of Ireland | | Iowa City Press Citizen

A touch of Ireland | | Iowa City Press Citizen: "The Irish Gaelic alphabet has only 18 letters in it, with 'J,' 'K,' Q,' 'V,' 'W,' 'X,' Y,' and 'Z' not included, Robin Slater told a group of Regina Elementary students Friday morning.

'If your name is J.J., you don't have a name,' he joked.

The introduction to the Gaelic language was part of the presentation by Slater and his wife, Dearbhail Finnegan of Irish Kaleidoscope. Natives of County Meath in Ireland, the couple stopped at Regina Elementary for the day to teach students about the culture, dance and language of Ireland as part of the Cultural Kaleidoscope, which is based in Kansas City, Mo."

Group Celtic Crossroads brings their modern, fun take on traditional Irish music to Gainesville

Crosby is 27 years old and is building something of an entertainment empire full of the best Celtic musicians and dancers to be found. But, like most empires, it started from rather humble beginnings.

"The show started by us putting on street performances," he says. "Myself, and my brother and a friend named Michael McClintock put on a street show showcasing Irish music. We started promoting the shows by getting sign carriers to walk around the streets, and as our name got bigger, even after the first week of doing these shows, people started to come and sit down in the bars and restaurants around where they knew we would be performing. There was no formal idea or big business plan; it was just a group of guys that were very talented."

Group Celtic Crossroads brings their modern, fun take on traditional Irish music to Gainesville |"

Friday, 7 January 2011

Trad for Trócaire - Traditional irish Music from Clip 4

Trad for Trócaire - Traditional Irish Music from Clip 3

Trad for Trócaire - Traditional Irish Music from Clip 2

Trad for Trócaire - Traditional Irish Music from Clip 1

Celebration Day: Jimmy Page’s Top 10 Guitar Moments

Gibson Les Paul legend Jimmy Page is a true ambassador for the absolute power and authority of rock ’n’ roll. And this Sunday, January 9, he gets a little more senior as he celebrates his 67th birthday.

Of course, both Page and his music are ageless – enduring in the same way as David Lynch and his landmark films, or Beethoven or Poe. That is to say, he was a radical attuned to the cutting edge in his salad days, and the works he created then still have the same breathless ability to excite and inspire.

Page was a giant sprung forth in the ’60s and ’70s, who first fully realized his genius in 1969 with Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II. That was also the year of the MC5’s Kick Out the Jams, The Stooges, the Stones’ Let It Bleed, Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats, Fleetwood Mac’s Then Play On, King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, Blind Faith, Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone’s Stand, and many more great albums.

Yet, even in such company, Page stood out for his daredevil playing and the ungodly sounds he coaxed from his little Supro amp in the studio and a stack of Marshalls on stage. And by the time Led Zeppelin II was completed, he’d also cemented what’s been an enduring relationship with the Gibson Les Paul model.

Page purchased the sunburst ’59 Gibson Les Paul Standard that would become hallowed as his “Number One” from Joe Walsh in April 1969 during a tour of the U.S. in the wake of Led Zeppelin. Walsh was playing Gibsons and other guitars while singing in the James Gang, and had the ’59’s neck shaved to a thinner profile before selling the guitar to Page. There was already a Black 1960 Les Paul Custom in Page’s collection that he’d modified with a Bigsby tremolo arm. But the six-string from Walsh was different. It felt perfect in his hands and on his shoulders – where it would hang for thousands of iconic concerts – and conjured the heavy sound he envisioned in a nearly effortless manner.

Page has described “Number One” as his “wife” and “mistress,” and calls it irreplaceable. Unlike the Black Beauty, which was stolen in 1970, it remains in his possession and has been immortalized in several Gibson Custom Shop reissues. In the ’70s the bridge tone control was replaced with a push-pull pot that puts the pick-ups out of phase, and the bridge pick-up was replaced after it failed on tour. The instrument also sports gold-plated Grover tuners. Otherwise it remains the same as when he acquired it, plus road wear.

After making Led Zeppelin II, Page got a second Les Paul Standard he dubbed “Number Two.” He had its neck shaved to emulated “Number One’”s distinctive profile, and installed push-pull pots to coil-split the guitar’s humbuckers. After Led Zeppelin disbanded, he had phase and series switches installed beneath the pickguard. But before Zeppelin’s dissolution, “Number One” and “Number Two” helped Page and his supergroup create awe-inspiring, timeless albums. This historic instrument has also been recreated by the Gibson Custom Shop, as the Jimmy Page Number Two Les Paul.

To celebrate Page’s back pages, here’s a dream compilation of his six-string pyrotechnics.

10. “Most High,” Walking into Clarksdale (1998)

“Most High” is part of the dark, southern Gothic journey Page and Robert Plant reunited for after the dissolution of Led Zeppelin – to date their only collaboration on new material since their legendary band’s finale. It’s worth noting that the album also includes the first version of Plant’s “Please Read the Letter,” which became a hit on his 2007 duet album with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand.

9. “Wearing and Tearing,” Coda (1982)

Proof that when it came to energy and aggression, punk rockers had nothing on the Zep. This is pure China-shop bull charge with Page slashing out chords and tearing through high-speed riffs. A fitting “coda,” indeed.

8. “In the Evening,” In Through the Out Door (1979)

At the time of its release, this album was a disappointment to fans who craved Led Zeppelin’s heavier side. But, in retrospect its melodic direction and lovely arrangements prove it as enduring as any of the band’s earlier albums. “In the Evening” revisits Eastern themes to evoke a sense of mystery and romance, blending thunderous chords and memorable single-note passages that soar and sting.

7. “Achilles Last Stand,” Presence (1976)

This ripper’s lyrics are steeped in mythology, and so is Page’s legendary approach to tracking this orchestral masterpiece. There are roughly a dozen guitars overlaid on this tune, playing both scales and textural parts, some manipulated by Vari-Speed, which was one of Page’s favorite ways to doctor the tones and moods he created in the studio. This is Led Zeppelin’s most grandly conceptual guitar recording.

Celebration Day: Jimmy Page’s Top 10 Guitar Moments

Glasgow prepares for influx of diverse musical talent as Celtic Connections arrives

ON Thursday, Scotland's gloomy winter will be brought to life as the annual Celtic Connections Torchlight Parade lights up Glasgow's city centre.
Over the next 18 days 1500 acts will play 300 events across 14 venues.
And this year, more so than any year since it began in 1994, Scotland's top winter festival will offer a range of music unsurpassed in the UK, with sounds varying from traditional Scots and Irish music to folk, jazz, roots, gospel and indie.
As well as an exclusive gig from Sir Tom Jones, the festival will celebrate Bob Dylan's 70th birthday, a one-off gig by Glasgow cult band Love and Money and a gig to mark the 25th year of the BMX Bandits.
Celtic Connections will also feature performances from Fran Healy, gospel singer Mavis Staples, Scots legend Dougie MacLean, ex-Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, Raul Malo from The Mavericks and Johnny Cash's daughter Rosanne.
Donald Shaw, Artistic Director of Celtic Connections, said: "We're very excited. I think this year's festival is the most diverse to date.
"We have a really strong indie strand with acts such as Fran Healy, John Grant, Seth Lakeman, all appearing in Glasgow over the next few weeks, as well as some really talented new Scottish artists like Rachel Sermanni and Aerials Up.
"This year we're also celebrating the influence of gospel with legendary artists such as Mavis Staples and Tom Jones, who'll perform his fantastic new album Praise & Blame.
Another highlight is sure to be Rosanne Cash performing from The List, her latest album featuring her dad's favourite 12 country songs."
Confirming the radical diversity of this year's festival is The Pulse of World featuring Zakir Hussain at the opening concert next Thursday at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Hussain is the son of Alla Rakha, Ravi Shankar's tabla player and the event will bring together Indian music, Scottish and Irish traditional musicians, the Hebridean singing of Jenna Cumming, and the drum corps of the Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band to create a breathtaking night of music.
Another highlight will be the allstar tribute gig on January 24 to celebrate Bob Dylan's 70th birthday.
Although Dylan won't be making an appearance it will feature Rosanne Cash, Josh Rouse and Tim O'Brien.
Last year Sir Tom Jones turned 70 himself and also released one of his best albums, Praise & Blame, which stripped back the pizzazz of more recent hits to his younger days singing gospel tunes in his local chapel.
He will perform on January 17 at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
He said: "It's the kind of music that got me really interested when I was young, when I would hear this gospel, country or blues. It's basic roots music.
"We used to sing a song in a chapel called The Old Rugged Cross.
"People like Mahalia Jackson and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded it."
When Sir Tom became pals with Elvis Presley the pair would sing gospel tunes together and The King suggested The Voice should record one - but it took nearly 30 years.
He added: "I was concentrating on making a good album with the right musicians and the right songs.
"I thought I can make a really good album that will last, that people can play at any time that's not seasonal.
"It's basic stuff, really well recorded. And it paid off."
Celtic Connections is on from January 13 until January 30.
For more information, dates and ticket details, log on to

Glasgow prepares for influx of diverse musical talent as Celtic Connections arrives - The Daily Record

Irish arts to get US exposure

Irish arts to get US exposure - National News, Frontpage - "The Government has announced it will present 400 Irish arts events all across the US this year.

Actor and cultural ambassador Gabriel Byrne formally announced details of the €5.3m programme at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

A spokesman said the events would cover every art form: theatre, dance, literature, music, film and visual arts.

More than 2,000 artists will participate in the year-long, 40-state Imagine Ireland project."

From Clare to here

Clare Maguire has rubbed shoulders with Jay-Z, Leonard Cohen and Rick Rubin, but she hasn’t released an album yet. Brian Boyd talks to the 23-year-old Birmingham native about Topshop (party frocks), Raglan Road (party pieces) and her new album (party time)

YOU MAY not have heard about Birmingham-Irish singer Clare Maguire yet, but the biggest names in the music industry have – and are queuing up to work with her. The mystery around Maguire has been fuelled by the fact that she’s been kept out of the spotlight for the past three years (her label even took all her songs down from MySpace). Talents like this don’t come around often, hence the hush ahead of the release of her album next month.

“It has been a bit surreal,” says the 23-year-old, who grew up in a big Irish family and was raised on a diet of Irish trad. “There have been certain moments over the past few years when I couldn’t really believe what was happening to me. The producer Rick Rubin had me flown over to his house in Malibu when there was talk of him producing the album. I remember looking at this picture of him with Johnny Cash and June Carter on the wall while I was waiting for him and suddenly realising just how many huge stars he’s worked with and then getting really nervous. But he was really nice to me and in fact we ended up singing The Butcher Boy together. And then the phone rings and it’s Leonard Cohen inviting him down to a rehearsal, and he brings me down as well and there’s only a few people in the room and it’s the most incredible thing.”

There was also the shock of finding out that Jay-Z had sent out word that he wanted to meet her. “I met him in this bar he owns in New York. It was just insane. He comes over to me and says: ‘You’re Clare Maguire, aren’t you?’ Imagine Jay-Z saying that to you. He brought me up to his private bar upstairs and we were drinking shots together as he told me all about his struggles to break into the music world. I remember saying to him ‘How can you tell if somebody is a star?’ and he said he can see it in their eyes – so I asked him if he could see it in my eyes!”

All of these meetings were engineered by record companies who were desperately courting Maguire and trying to impress her. “It got to the stage where crazy money offers were being thrown at me, and it did seem that every single label out there was interested. You just forget about the money and get to thinking about which label could give the best career,” she says.

Eventually signing to Polydor, you can get some idea of what all the fuss is about by listening to her first single, Ain’t Nobody, on YouTube. And her voice is really something else – a sort of more earthy Stevie Nicks.

Maguire has already picked up Q magazine’s Next Big Thing award, and this week Maguire was announced in fifth place in the BBC Sound of 2011 poll. (The winner will be announced today.)

“That was back last October,” says Maguire. “I was terrified making my speech in front of so many famous people, and I only found out later that Paul McCartney was in the front row listening to me. If I had known that before I made the speech I’m not sure I would have been able to make it.”

Brought up in Birmingham by Irish parents who have roots in Cavan, Limerick and Roscommon, she was shaped by the music she heard as a child. “Ireland is the heartbeat of my music – it all comes from there and I first learnt to sing to Irish songs,” she says. “There would have been a lot of folk music in the house – The Dubliners, Liam Clancy – and there were quite a few parties where you’d have to get up and sing. I’d always do Raglan Road or Down by the Sally Gardens . And already there’s huge support for me among my relations in Ireland – I keep telling the record company that there’ll be no problem selling this album because I keep fielding phone calls from relations asking when is it out and when can they buy it.”

Maguire says she remembers singing more than she remembers talking as a child. “I actually started writing songs when I was seven – can you believe it? And it sort of went to an extreme with me. So there never really was a conscious decision to become a musician, it just happened naturally for me.

“Where I’m from in Birmingham the only option is to get a job in the yard where my dad works or work in a shop – so I worked in a shop and spent all my spare time on my MySpace page. Even at school I would tell the teachers that I was going to become a musician, and they’d be telling me to give up my silly notions and get a proper job instead. I remember being so annoyed that I actually walked out of school and went to work in Topshop. I was thinking ‘that’s no way to talk to someone with a dream’.”

Travelling down to London as often as she could, she relentlessly worked her MySpace contacts and began attracting AR interest. “Because I had dropped out of school to pursue this, I felt I really needed to work hard on it and prove people wrong,” she says. “I developed this really strong work ethic – but it is hard. I was adamant that I would only sing my own songs. Singing for me is the tool – the songs are the most important thing.

“At one stage Mike Skinner [aka The Streets – also from Birmingham] got in touch. He had this beat and he wanted me to sing over it. But I wrote my own chorus for the song, and as far as I know he’s kept it and is using it on his next album.”

Since signing her deal, the past two years have seen Maguire in a variety of studios – in London, Sweden and New York – getting the songs down for her debut album, After Dark , which is released at the end of February.

“I put myself under a lot of pressure. I was going, ‘I have to make this really great – I dropped out of school in order to do this’ to myself all the time. And there was also the consideration of how to do the songs live. Towards the end of last year I went out on tour with Plan B and he’d be playing to 5,000 people, so that was absolutely terrifying for me.”

Now that the album is ready to go she’s able to look back on her meetings with Rick Rubin, Jay-Z and Cohen and realise just what a big deal it was. “It is mental when you look back on it. At the time you don’t really realise what’s going on, but now I do, and it’s making me a bit nervous.

“There’s a big, epic production sound to the album, and I’m worried about how I can get that across live. I’m worried – and excited – about bringing these songs to Ireland. I’m so passionate about this because when you’ve been waiting 22 years to do something, you really want to get it right”.

After Dark is released on February 25

From Clare to here - The Irish Times - Fri, Jan 07, 2011

Andy Irvine: Abocurragh – review

Released a few weeks back, this set marks a welcome return from one of the great musicians of the Irish folk scene. Andy Irvine has played with a variety of bands but is best known for his role working alongside Christy Moore, Donal Lunny and Liam O'Flynn in the now-legendary Planxty, who were still in remarkable form at their reunion shows five years ago. Moore makes no appearance here, but there are still echoes of Planxty: the album was produced by Lunny, who also adds guitar or bouzouki on almost every track, while the first two songs feature O'Flynn's exquisite uilleann pipe-playing. This is Irvine's first solo album in more than a decade, recorded in Dublin, Norway, Australia, Hungary and Brittany. It's a finely crafted, varied work, with his intimate, carefully articulated vocals matched against his own mandola, bouzouki and harmonica playing, along with accordion, fiddle and occasional strings. The songs include new settings for traditional ballads such as The Demon Lover, and new work from Irvine himself, including The Spirit of Mother Jones, a tribute to the Irish-born American activist Mary Harris, who died in 1930. The humorous songs include Oslo, a witty tale of travelling and drinking that segues, Planxty-style, into the traditional Norwegian Mazurka. It's available from

Andy Irvine: Abocurragh – review | Music | The Guardian


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