Gearing up for the trad music Catskills Irish Arts Week
I am proud to say that the objective has been met and that the highly anticipated “Pride of New York” CD will be launched at the Shamrock House Ceili on July 16 in East Durham.
Along with the 95 classes in all the traditional music instruments, singing Irish songs in the Irish and English language, set and sean nos dance classes and step dancing with Donny Golden from Monday to Friday, there are other attractions that non-students are welcome to attend, like the daily lectures, open-air concerts and ceilithe (eight all week) every evening.
Keeping on topic, the weekday lecture series kicks off with a screening of the seminal video documentary “From Shore to Shore: Irish Traditional Music in New York City” giving a slice of life from the Big Apple in the 1980s and 1990s which will be hosted by its producer Patrick Mullins visiting from Texas.
On the Wednesday afternoon, Galway flute player Mike Rafferty, a longtime New Jersey resident, will be honored for his musical contributions over many decades.
During the week, youth will be well served with a Catskills launch of the well-received Girsa CD touting the teenage Pearl River lassies who sported and played from the Catskills to Pearl River as they learned their music and now hold so much promise for the future as well.
On Friday afternoon, July 17 , Bronx-born Brendan Dolan (Pride of New York member) offers a historic look backward to an earlier era of Irish music in the Catskills that was a large part of his research at NYU where he recently completed a master’s in Irish studies.
That evening at the Quill Festival Grounds in East Durham the weekend concert series (M-F from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.) draws to a close with a special tribute to the late great Joe Madden, who made one of his last concert appearances in East Durham last summer in a wonderful Galway musicians night.
It will include some of the staff artists like Mike Rafferty, Monsignor Charlie Coen, Willie Kelly and friends of Joe’s who played with him over the years like Mattie and Deirdre Connolly and Martin Mulhaire and John Nolan.
There will be loads of other influences on display like the Sliabh Luachra craic of Jackie Daly, Matt Cranitch and Paul DeGrae, the Galway girls Liz and Yvonne Kane, a special launch of Mary Bergin’s new tin whistle tutor and two Cavan stalwarts in fiddler Antoin MacGabhann and box player Martin Donohoe.
There is also an amazing trio of singers from Mullaghbawn, Co. Armagh in Len Graham, Patricia Flynn and 82-year-young Mick Quinn, who will highlight that part of the world. Throw in a good mixture of teachers and performers from Toronto, Chicago and Baltimore who add their own brand of music and merriment to the delightful mix, and the Big Apple may have to lend its moniker as the City That Never Sleeps to the Catskills hamlet of East Durham as the multiple nightly music sessions make sleep deprivation a worthy objective.
CIAW concludes with the day-long Andy McGann Festival (noon-7 p.m.) dedicated to much admired New York fiddler who passed away in 2004 during the CIAW, which serves a sampler for those who are not able to attend the week-long feast of Irish music and dance.
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