Tony DeMarco’s fest a welcome addition to New York’s trad lineup


The room does present some challenges in that is it long and narrow with a long bar on one perimeter, but those on the opposite side of the stage were able to view the performers on flat screen monitors and Murray made sure the sound carried equitably around the room.  Since virtually all of the 250 capacity crowd were there to hear and see the mighty musicians assembled it was easy to keep focused on the action on stage.

The frequent but efficient set changes allowed for interaction among the aficionados who came from near and far to enjoy the night, and the camaraderie added to the buzz generating all night for a concert that went on for almost six hours and held the crowd for much of that time.

It was a testament to the fabulous music on offer all night and in sharp contrast to the old Snug Harbor days when most of the music came from the older immigrants; Mick Moloney, James Keane, Ivan Goff and Cillian Vallely were the only Irish emigres on the bill. The rest was homegrown talent who keep New York the hub of Irish traditional music in America.

The musically eclectic DeMarco also saluted the diversity of the local scene in having stellar musicians in the bluegrass and old timey scene like Alan Kaufman, Mark Horowitz, Kenny Kosek, Tony Trischka and Andy Statman on stage, and even a bit of Klezmer with Lisa Gutkin. Stepdancers Siobhan Butler, Kieran Jordan and Megan Downes also demonstrated that the dance music being played was true to its roots all night long.

It was an auspicious debut for the New York Trad Festival which shows potential for the future in the Big Apple.

We’ll allow DeMarco and Butler a respite and a chance to get away to Ireland to participate in the Sligo Live weekend coming up. They will also be participating in the Fiddler of Dooney contest and the Oireachtas sean nos competitions in Killarney the following weekend.

Keeping the tradition alive may seem like work to some but for those who take it to heart that passion is really play.