There was also that very strong social element that comes with the music that forged friendships among the older folks who took lessons, and now in their own children. So it was no wonder that the young professional group Girsa would emerge as a band for terrific young musicians and singers from Pearl River, all young ladies who came from the Pearl River School of Music.
If today’s young music students have so many resources available via technology and the Internet and exposure to so many great Irish bands, radio shows, recordings and even house parties, then it is no wonder they seem to pick up the music so quickly, keeping these teachers on their toes.
But Flanagan, Furlong and Mulvihill are well able for it, and increasingly they have been able to travel more and interact with a wider circle of peer musicians around the country and in Ireland at the annual Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.
Their teaching prowess has preceded them in many cases and they are now seen as linchpins of the thriving New York Irish music scene like the Old World Masters who gave them their start. Keeping the tradition alive is one of the important reasons all three have been inducted into the Mid-Atlantic Regional Hall of Fame.
What makes the Friday night concert at Ireland House so interesting is that is one of those rare opportunities to see the Living Tradition of Irish music performed right in front of your eyes.
You’ll hear it when Mulvihill, Flanagan and Furlong start off the evening on their flute, fiddle and button accordion respectively in a style that is precise and tight, just like the old master Martin Mulvihill would appreciate.
Then they will perform with their progeny for individual sets as mothers and daughters which will be fascinating to observe. Let’s hope the older ladies aren’t too intimidated by the three members of Girsa (Maeve and Bernadette Flanagan and Blaithin Loughran) being there and calling the tunes.
And while Friday will be mostly a ladies night, it will come to a fine finish when the menfolk who share their households join in the musical mayhem when they call on husband Mike and son Kieran Flanagan, husband John and John Paul Reynolds, and husband Kevin Furlong to join them.
It will definitely be a night to savor in the New York Irish music scene, and that has always been one of the hallmarks of the Blarney Star Concert Series under Meade who keeps a watchful eye on the local talent and looks for the opportunities to showcase it.
For a number of years now the library rooms of Glucksman Ireland House have opened their doors to the series, allowing Meade to use the premises for the monthly event that runs from September to May. It remains a choice venue to play in New York, with many artists hopeful of capturing a slot there while on tour, or to launch a new CD for an audience that makes it a point to be there.
Singer Donal Clancy will be there on February 21 launching his new CD Songs of a Roving Blade, piper extraordinaire Paddy Keenan is in residence on March 28, singer John Faulkner is set for April 25, and box player Sean McComiskey closes out the season on May 16.
There are two performance sets starting at 8 p.m. at Glucksman Ireland House (1 Washington Mews on Fifth Avenue between 8th Street and Washington Square). Admission is only $15 and GIH members and NYU students can attend for free. Call 212-998-3950 or visit www.blarneystar.com.