In a display of excellent taste, Vanessa Williams, was at Ireland House last Friday night to enjoy as we all did, the music of Cormac Breatnach, Mike Considine and special-guest Ivan Goff in the second concert of five in the Blarney Star series happening this year. Don Meade's Blarney Star productions are landmark dates on the calendar of Irish New York, offering an intimate setting for connoisseurs of ceol in the heart of Greenwich Village and the shadow of Washington Square Park, on Fifth Avenue.
Cormac Breatnach comes from an interesting cultural background, that has influenced his music and his philosophy of Irish traditional music. At home, as a child, he was raised speaking Irish with his father, and Castillian Spanish with his mother, whom he would later discover had proud Basque roots. English would come easily enough his parents thought from the streets. He explores these personal influences on a variety of wind instruments and in compositions, and has been doing so professionally with such luminaries as Dónal Lunny and Máire Breatnach (no relation). He was a member of Donal Lunny's Celtic Orchestra in 1985, with members Arty McGlynn, Nollaig Casey (Coolfin), Manus Lunny (Capercaillie), Steve White, Seán Óg Potts and Damien Quinn. He then founded Méristem which featured Máire Breatnach, Niall Ó Callanáin & Steve White; and later Deiseal. You can read his extensive discography, here. Audience members were buying up his "Musical Journey" CD like hot-cakes after the show.
Mike Considine is an Irish Londoner, whose people come from Cinn Mhara (Kinvara), on the Galway Bay (Loch Lurgan). He spent much time living in Galway and New Zealand, learning his music by ear, and becoming one of Irish traditional music's finest bouzouki players and a most sought-after accompanist.
The remaining three Blarney Star concerts of the year are as follows:
MARCH 12: KEVIN CRAWFORD & CILLIAN VALLELY
APRIL 16: DONIE CARROLL
MAY 14: JAMES KEANE & RANDAL BAYS
You can read about the first Blarney Star concert that happened in January, here.