From The Hobby Paul Keating
- Pearl River trad group Girsa to perform holiday concerts in the tristate area
- Clancy Legacy continues with Christmas shows from Aoife and Robbie, new CD from Donal
- Boston’s WGBH to present 11th annual broadcast of “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn”
- At concerts across the tristate area, artists will celebrate an Irish Christmas
- Owners of Boston’s Burren Pub to host CD release party while helping homeless
The New York City area is buzzing with anticipation for the long-awaited CD launch of The Yanks, the exceptional new recording that as much as anything else reflects the very healthy state of Irish traditional music among young people in the metropolitan New York area.
The self-titled maiden voyage sonically was recorded in East Durham in three days by John Walsh, who captured Dylan Foley, Dan Gurney, Isaac Alderson and Sean Earnest in peak form at the Blackthorn Resort during the Catskills Irish Arts Week.
Last week there was a wonderful night out at the New York Irish Center in Long Island City, with another capacity turnout for a great night of storytelling, music and charity.
It certainly was a sterling example of what a brilliant Irish community center that place on Jackson Avenue has become when it welcomed two visiting musicians from Ireland in Oliver O’Connell from Clare and Mickey Dunne from Limerick who were on a one-week tour with stops in Virginia, Massachusetts and New York.
The return this spring of that occasional super group the Teetotallers -- Martin Hayes, Kevin Crawford and John Doyle -- is very welcome. The three superstars of Irish music relish the opportunity to match their talents and performances with one another whenever they can carve out time in their own busy schedules.
The results have been fantastic given the reaction thus far in Ireland and around the U.S. for their shows in the last year and a half.
There is nothing that soothes the soul like going out and hearing live music and watching a talented and creative artist work their magic with a responsive audience. That is one of the underlying principles stoking the music performance arena at the Irish Arts Center in New York City, a small Irish Cultural Center more than punching above its weight in massively overstimulated Big Apple marketplace. Their recent initiatives like their Masters in Collaboration series and more particularly SongLives shows have sparked creativity and new performances at their black box theater space called the Donaghy Theater on the ground floor of the former garage building in Hell’s Kitchen, more fashionably known as Clinton these days on Manhattan’s far West Side in Midtown.
Last year , Dubliner Declan O’Rourke made an appearance with SongLives Curator and singer songwriter Susan McKeown as she sought to give much needed exposure to many gifted Irish singer-songwriters plying their trade on either side of the Atlantic these days. Contemporary folk singers need all the help they can get to muster out folks grown sedentary and housebound glued to television or computer screens. O’Rourke made an amazing first impression in the series and when he was anxious to come back to New York City for a full evening’s show, the Irish Arts Center enticed him with the offer of a one-week residency which was too good to pass up.
When all the cylinders are clicking and you are at your most creative, it seems like good ideas keep regenerating, looking for opportunities to unfold.
In this vein, when New York’s Irish Arts Center launched another novel series last year introducing us to a whole generation of brilliant contemporary singer songwriters from Ireland and America in a series aptly named “SongLives” it tapped into an appetite for more programming like this that they were only too willing to supply.
Last Friday on a cold rainy and windy day, one of New York’s most popular Irish musicians, Felix Dolan, was laid to rest in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla as family and friends shared a final prayer and a couple of tunes.
That bone-chilling last ritual followed a truly extraordinary Mass further south in Westchester at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima Church, the parish church of Felix and Joan Dolan, his widow and wife of 53 years.
Once again the Masters in Collaboration presentation at the Irish Arts Center was one for the ages.
If Easter has come and gone, then one of the harbingers of spring in the Irish traditional music scene is the annual North American convention of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, a four day celebration of music and dance under one roof usually at a posh suburban hotel.
Doing the honors this year as the host branch is the O’Neill-Malcom CCE centered around Washington, D.C. They’ve taken on the sizeable chore of organizing the massive entertainment and workshop weekend as well as the business sessions slotted for the first full day of activity on Friday.
On a brief tour of Massachusetts and New York next week are two very lively entertainers from Ireland who each in their own way are the bedrock upon which Irish traditional music survives and flows into the next generation.
Oliver O’Connell, originally from Doolin, Co. Clare, is a historical storyteller, songwriter and musician. He is teaming up with Limerick piper Mickey Dunne for a series of enlightening concerts that will provide a great deal of information about the importance of the traveling community in Ireland in preserving and passing on so much traditional music over the years.
Coming up this Friday night at Glucksman Ireland House is another pure-drop tandem visiting from Ireland in fiddler Pat O’Connor from Ennis, Co. Clare and Eoghan O’Sullivan from Co. Cork. They are touring around the U.S. and hitting the Big Apple.
It is part of the Glucksman Ireland House Blarney Star Concert series that gets underway at 8 p.m. at 1 Washington Mews on Fifth Avenue just north of Washington Square in Manhattan.