The second standout was the combination of Cape Breton fiddler Jerry Holland and Dubliner John Doyle, who were teamed up for the weekend at the Cottage, Burren and Point stages where they received standing ovations and great encouragement.
Given the smiles on both their faces through out the duets, it would be hard to know who had the better time, them or those privileged enough to listen to the rare pairing.
Holland played with great verve and attack despite his nasty battle with cancer for the past few years with the form that has won his respect and admiration throughout the Celtic music scene. Once again John Doyle proved he was not just an accompanist but a spark who gets the best out of everyone.
As the festival drew to a close, Liam Clancy performed an iconic set that helped put things old and new into the right context. Some things never change and the beauty of folk and roots music is the spirit and dedication that is at its core.
It was manifest all weekend and tested by the conditions but all those who made their way to Canton came through with flying colors with hopes to gather there again next year under clear or stormy weather.
Solas Finishes Tour
ONE of the groups that garnered a lot of attention at ICONS was Solas embarking on their second decade as a performance troupe with a new singer on board in Mairead Phelan who appears on their brand new recording For Love or Laughter (www.compassrecords.com) bolstering their current U.S. tour.
The northeast phase of their itinerary concludes this week with appearances at the Egg in Albany (18th at 8 p.m.), the Towne Crier in Pawling (19th at 9 p.m.) and the last appearance in New York on the 20th at 8 p.m. at Sullivan Hall in Greenwich Village before finishing that leg in their U.S. base hometown of Philadelphia at the World Caf Live on the 21st.
From looking at the website of their Manhattan gig (www.sullivanhallnyc.com) it is described as a spacious music venue with good sightlines and sound that can hold around 345 people in the music-rich Greenwich Village scene. Perhaps it is a place that will show some promise for Celtic Acts so much in need of a good New York City club to appear in that can satisfy the mutual needs of the listening public paying for tickets and those who do the presenting.
ON Sunday, September 21 there are a couple of things worth noting. The Irish Arts Center celebrates the arrival of fall with the annual September alpine ceili on the Hudson at the Alpine Pavilion from 3-6 p.m. Dancers and musicians gather for a social picnic (bring your own food and refreshments) and contribute to paying guest musicians for the dancing on the timber floor overlooking the Alpine Boat Basin and Hudson River. Call 212-757-3318, ext, 209 . . .
LATER that night Julie Fowlis, the Scots Gaelic singer will be showcasing at Joe's Pub (425 Lafayette Street; 212-539-8777) in New York as part of a brief U.S. tour in support of her new CD Cuilidh. From isle of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides where Scots Gaelic was her first tongue, she has emerged not only as one of the finest singers in her native language but one of its rising crossover stars in the Celtic music scene.
This tour which also includes stops in Boston at Cambridge's Club Passim (Wednesday, September 24 at 8 p.m.) and Philadelphia at the World Caf Live (26th at 8 p.m.) also features her husband Eamon Doorley, the Dublin musician who was one a member of Danu for a number of years as part of her band.