AN early reminder that the last Blarney Star concert of the season will be on Friday, May 6 and feature three stalwarts of the Baltimore scene. In Billy McComiskey, the godfather of the Baltimore Irish traditional music scene for almost three decades since the Brooklyn native settled there with his Baltimore wife Annie, you have one of America’s greatest box players who won the Senior All-Ireland accordion championship almost 25 years ago.
Donna Long, originally from California, has been a Marylander for a number of years who rose to prominence in the Irish trad scene through recordings with Brendan Mulvihill and also a long stint as the pianist with Cherish the Ladies. Flute player Laura Byrne, another transplant from Vermont, has recorded two solo albums and, like the other two, she is part of a solid teaching brigade in the Baltimore region for a number of years.
This trio delivers Irish music as good as it gets, and has helped make the “Ballmore” trad scene a welcome stop for tradheads. The Blarney Star concerts take place at Glucksman Ireland House at NYU and start at 9 p.m. Visit www.blarneystar.com . . .
PUNCTUATING Baltimore’s now firmly established place in trad America is the fact that the wonderful quartet known as NicGaviskey which features McComiskey’s son Sean, Detroit’s Sean Gavin and Bernadette and Caitlin Nic Gabhann from Meath are opening their upcoming spring break tour there. It is their first Baltimore appearance since launching their self-titled CD in the Catskills last summer where they met in 2009. It will be at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson Theatre in Baltimore on Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m. followed by Saturday night, April 23 at 8 p.m. at the Commodore Barry Irish Center in Philadelphia before heading to D.C., Annapolis, Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. More info at www.nicgaviskey.com . . .
CLOSER to home, the Kerry Hall (305 McLean Avenue) in Yonkers brings two legendary Irish performers there on back to back nights next week. On Friday, April 29 at 8 p.m., one of Ireland’s finest uilleann pipers, Paddy Keenan, comes to perform in the stylish home for Kerry men and women. Keenan first came to recognition with the seminal Bothy Band back in the 1970s before going onto a stellar solo career and establishing a long-time residency in the northeast part of the U.S. He is a leading exponent of the traveler world of Irish music. Joining him as an accompanist is local favorite John Walsh on guitar, a member of Jameson’s Revenge. For tickets contact [email protected] . . .
ON Saturday, April 30, the ageless Sean O’Se makes a special appearance at a special fundraiser for HOPE (hope-charity.org) at their base in the Kerry Hall. Along the way he will be joined by a number of musicians and dancers including Donie Carroll, Mike Diggins, and the Pride of Moyvane Ceili Band who will play for sets. Tickets ($25) can be purchased at the Shamrock Irish Gift Shop, 921 McLean Avenue, or by calling 914-439-5366.
Historic film of old Ireland from 1934 (VIDEO)