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
William Butler Yeats first made us aware of the Fiddler of Dooney in his imaginative poem, but for aficionados of Irish music it has also been associated with being one of the top recognitions that can be bestowed on a fiddler since 1965.
The competition to proclaim a winner has been renewed in recent years under the ramped up Sligo Live program (www.sligolive.ie), and in this year of The Gathering they have reached over to New York to seek a candidate from the Big Apple to compete in Sligo town at the end of October.
The wellspring of tradition seems to be overflowing as there is so much great music swirling around for us to enjoy and share with people who embrace it and know the importance of having an audience for artists no matter where they perform.
This simple fact was brought home to me on a recent trip to Dublin a couple of weeks ago when I was fortunate enough to be in town for the opening night of a Music Network traditional music tour.
I would like to say farewell to a wonderful gentleman and scholar of Irish music, Tomás Ó Canainn who passed away on Sunday at the age of 82. The Derry native was long resident in Co. Cork where he taught for many years in the engineering and music schools of UCC. He was a student of Sean O’Riada’s there and took over his classes when O’Riada passed away.
O’Canainn was a brilliant writer, poet and musician whose early work with the group Na Fili with Matt Cranitch and Tom Barry was recognized as one of the finer treatments for traditional music and he remained an inspiration until his dying day. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
The Blarney Star Concert Series at Glucksman Ireland House in Manhattan is looking forward to a great season of Friday nights there under the directorship of Don Meade. Coming up on Friday, September 27 is the unique pairing of Eamon O’Leary and Jefferson Hamer, collectively known as the Murphy Beds, who display a very contemporary approach to traditional roots ballads.
They released a sublime recording almost a year ago containing 10 gorgeous ballads from the Irish and English folk canon well known to the native Dubliner O’Leary and the Americana stream where Hamer’s music flourishes.
For more info contact Dan Dennehy at 914-588-2710.
Most of what we hear about the debate on immigration reform tends to dwell on the negative, with emphasis on people in the U.S. illegally taking advantage of what this country has to offer or taking jobs away from deserving American born citizens.
While we pay lip service to the fact that the U.S. is really a nation of immigrants, we don’t always appreciate what a brilliant tapestry we have created here and why our American melting pot is the envy of so many peoples around the world.
As proof that the summer is still officially in season, the Irish festival circuit still continues. The cooler crisp days of September make for wonder forays to hear some great Irish music assembled in various locales.
For 39 years folks from the Delaware Valley area of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have looked forward to a hard-core trad festival organized by the Philadelphia Ceili Group which was one of the pioneering festivals in the U.S. devoted to that genre exclusively. The festival has been held at the Commodore Barry Irish Center in Mount Airy section of Philadelphia in recent years which is the home base of the PCG (www.philadelphiaceiligroup.org), making it more feasible to operate.
To find out more visit www.tradirishsongs.com.
One of my favorite music shops in Dublin is the Celtic Note on Nassau Street across from Trinity College and steps away from Grafton Street and Dublin’s central shopping district.
Whenever I am in town I make a point to stop there as I can expect to find new releases along with some of the classic trad recordings that somehow eluded me over the years.
The Irish music sextet Full Set recently completed a long U.S. tour that unfortunately did not include any New York metropolitan area performances in support of their sensational new CD Notes After Dark.
Just a few years old now, the young troupe have made a fast impression for their high-powered trad music anchored deep in the well of the tradition.
The snail mailbag brings many treats to me in the form of new (or sometimes old) music contained in those disappearing artifacts known as CDs.
I still like holding the covers or booklets describing the musical contents that artists or agents send my way for a listen. Some are greatly detailed revealing extensive research along with the necessary production elements and others simply give you the basic facts. And I’ll share three wonderful CDs with you that came my way this summer.
If you tried to keep up with the East Clare fiddler Martin Hayes these days you would have logged quite a few thousand miles, and you would still be amazed at the dazzling creativity that he spawns not only in his own music but in the works of all those who sit alongside of him, including long-time partner and accompanist Dennis Cahill.
For a score of years they have carved out a marvelous career as a duet all around the world, drawing us into centuries-old Irish melodies made new and fresh through their masterful interpretation.