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
Somerville, Massachusetts – The cultural scene around Davis Square appeals to the hipsters who know their music, and the haunts that present artists who are pretty much on the cutting edge of whatever scene they represent.
When you are taking about Irish music, you know the Burren Pub owned and operated by Tommy McCarthy and his wife Louise Costello since 1996 will be in the mix. Their doors have been open to any trad musician known to mankind since then, either in the front bar room where nightly sessions were the norm or the spacious rectangular back room where the focus and sound can be presented more with a listening or participating audience.
Around New York there are some fine choices for some great music this coming weekend.
For those of you who are hankering for a very eclectic selection of roots-oriented folk music and dance non-stop over the weekend, aim for the Albany area for the 33rd annual Old Songs Festival (www.oldsongs.org/festival) at the Altamont Fairgrounds.
The news coming out of our nation’s capital doesn’t always make us jump for joy, but when a news release arrived a couple of weeks ago from the National Endowment for the Arts announcing that the Irish traditional musician Seamus Connolly would be one of its nine honorees receiving a National Heritage Award in September, it restored my faith in at least one institution down there.
Of course, I wasn’t surprised that Connolly’s candidacy was successful because I was one of many who advocated it by submitting a testimonial acknowledging the wonderful work he has performed since arriving permanently on American soil in 1976 from his native Killaloe in East Clare.
As I was leaving Dingle town last month, a big May bank holiday festival was just getting underway called Feile na Bealtaine featuring a rich array of music and arts programming which I hope to return to in the future.
To say it celebrates the cultural diversity and depth to be found in that part of the world inhabited by West Kerry natives and wannabes is an understatement. In particular, the link between poetry, song and music stands out, and some of that was brilliantly captured in a CD that I picked up there along with three others mentioned here in this column produced by three resident artists.
In recent weeks we have written about the role that fleadh competitions have played over the past half-century in spurring on young people to learn traditional music which may or may not stay with them as they age or move onto other interests.
What has been proven to be more enduring for all ages are dedicated classes where one can study technique and learn tunes and hone their skills. Summer schools and long weekends that provide a total immersion in Irish music in classes, lectures, concerts and pub sessions do the job quite nicely and have for decades and still seem to be proliferating both in Ireland and in North America. Here is a brief survey of some worth noting.
DINGLE -- In the year of The Gathering it is quite possible that you have Dear Old Erin’s Isle on your calendar just to get a piece of the craic that is happening over the course of the 2013 year dedicated to putting people in touch with their Irish roots.
If that is the case let me share some advice from my most recent trip to Ireland that can be employed this year, because it has long been something that I recommend to travelers to the Ould Sod, even first-timers.