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Dr Mick Moloney’s Celtic Appalachia comes to Manhattan

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Green Fields of America
Green Fields of America


As one of the pre-eminent folklorists in Irish American music history, Dr. Mick Moloney has spent a lot of time in the 19th and 20th centuries studying aspects of performance, especially as it appeals to the Irish emigrant community in the United States.  

I am not sure anyone can juggle a roster of artists like he can in the series of shows he has been doing for the Irish Arts Center in recent years.  Upcoming is another spectacular production and the second year exploring the mountain music of Appalachia and the crossover connections to traditional Irish music. 

On Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. once again the Peter Norton Symphony Space Theatre will be a veritable three-ring circus celebrating “Celtic Appalachia II” with an amazing cast of artists from all over under the guidance of the Limerick-born impresario who balances an academic career with his entertainment one. 

For these semi-annual bashes, Moloney usually has enough firepower in his primary ensemble, the Green Fields of America, to easily fill a couple of hours.  Assembled under this banner are Athena Tergis, Billy McComiskey, Dana Lyn, Brendan Dolan and Liz Hanley, with recent additions Martin O’Connell and Joey Abarta all in the regular mix along with stepdancers Niall O’Leary and Parker Hall. 

But on this night they are also buttressed by some seasoned performers who have appeared in the GFA outfit before in Monsignor Charlie Coen (one of the original GFA team), veteran folk singers Tommy Sands and John Roberts along with Scottish piper Will Woodson rounding out the basic group while lending some  historic heft.

The featured act under the Appalachian tradition is the band Hello Stranger comprising Dale Jett, Teresa Jett and Oscar Harris.  Jett draws from the deep well of mountain music associated with the famed Carter Family with whom he has performed as a member in its third generation.  The Carter Family has been strongly associated with the music of that region that we refer to old-timey or bluegrass and even country music in its simpler heyday.

For some added merriment and contemporary stylings are the brother act Owen and Moley O’Suilleabhain, known as size2shoes, who are the talented offspring of musicians Micheal O Suilleabhain and Noirin ni Rian.

Offering more Celtic diversity are special guests called BZH New York (the Breton Society of New York) who will perform Breton music and dance.

Seeing as this mega-concert occurs on the night on which New York City will hold its massive St. Patrick’s Day Parade, it could spark huge interest in this concert so booking tickets in advance would be wise and also a culturally stimulating and diverse way to celebrate your heritage. 

The show is a production of the Irish Arts Center with support from the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.

For tickets contact SymphonySpace.org or phone 212-864-5400.

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