Like Old Man River the Chieftains keep rolling along, and you can always look forward to them making a coast-to coast Paddy’s Day swing through the U.S., hitting many of the main ports of call.
Paddy Moloney shows no signs of slowing down with all kinds of projects in the hopper, and he and his mates Matt Molloy and Kevin Conneff are leading the charge that also features their veteran campaigners, Triona Marshall on harp, Alyth McCormick on vocals and dancers Cara Butler and Jon and Nathan Pilatzke who have logged thousands of miles on the road with the venerable boyos. Jon Pilatzke (who met and married his wife Butler through the Chieftain tours) also plays fiddle with the band.
The Chieftains have new CD to tout this year, but when you have a back catalog like theirs there will be no shortage of material to perform, and they do have an infusion of youth and creativity on tour with them this year in fiddler Tara Breen and guitarist Tim Edey.
Breen is from Co. Clare and has won all the All-Ireland championship medals she could in her young but stellar career. Edey from Kent in England is one of the more inventive and sought-after musicians in Ireland and the U.K. with great versatility on the guitar, accordion and as a singer.
The Chieftains will be first appearing in the area this Friday, February 28 at 8 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Prudential Center (www.njpac.org) and on Saturday, March 1 in South Jersey at the TD Bank PAC in Sewell. On March 8 they come to Times Square to the historic Town Hall (800-982-2787 or ticketmaster.com).
Look for tributes to the late Nelson Mandela for whom Paddy Moloney composed a tune and also the late Sean Potts, who passed away last week and was one of the founding members of the Chieftains.
The Sligo-based band Dervish is on the prowl for St. Patrick’s month starting this week at the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas but will hit New York with a show on Friday, March 7 at 8 p.m. at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center in the PepsiCo Theater in Harrison (www.artscenter.org or phone 914-251-6200). For full Dervish tour info visit www.dervish.ie/tour-dates.
Danu (danumusic.com) are over from Ireland on tour also with a number of stops up in New England in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont with a couple of upstate New York stops. Worth noting on March 16 at 4 p.m., they will be at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York outside of Albany (518-273-0038), one of the great performance spaces in the country. And they finish up in Hawaii. What a life!
Dropping into New York City next week will be the very exciting Alan Kelly Gang fronted by the superb piano-accordionist from Roscommon, Alan Kelly.
Steph Geremia (a native New Yorker based in Ireland for a number of years) has played the flute in the band for years as well as doing more and more vocals, and they have been recently joined by Alistair White (from the Island of Lewis in the Hebrides) on fiddle and Tony Byrne on guitar.
They will be appearing at the East Village venue Drom on Thursday, March 7 at 8 p.m. during their tour which includes three shows with the Celtic Sojourn St. Patrick’s Day shows in Massachusetts the following weekend. More info at www.alankellygang.com.
Finally, Girsa are appearing at the Stone Street Sessions at Ulysses Folk House (ulyssesnyc.com) on Saturday, March 1 at 10 p.m.
The top 300 Irish family names explained