Because the world just does not have enough Irish male vocal groups wrapped in a glitzy production, Druid will be coming soon to an amphitheater near you. They are a musical and theatrical production that celebrates Irish cultural ancestry and contemporary sophistication by combining Celtic compositions old and new, as well as using the finest Irish talents in all its artistic and production values. The debut CD from Druid is called "Come Follow Me, Follow Me." "There are indeed many groups bringing Irish music across the globe," says Druid founder Ciaran Nagle, producer and founder of the group, when asked why the public can't seem to get enough of the men in kilts from shows like Celtic Thunder and the High Kings. "I think the stem of these comes from the tenors concept, and in that guise I have had the pleasure of being one of the Three Irish Tenors and enjoyed touring the world with them. Coincidently, Brian Dunphy from the High Kings was a member of the Three Irish Tenors, as was Paul Byrom from the Celtic Thunder! "I think it's fantastic that all of these groups exist as they continue to keep our strong musical heritage alive, and in fact inspire new compositions. I suppose what distinguishes Druid from the others is in the way it was put together, and the fact that the show brings the audience on a musical journey from ancient to present day. All of the guys are great performers, and we all have great craic on stage together and with our audience. Druid is fresh, sexy and exciting!" Musically, there are spots where the group soars majestically. They do a spine-chilling read of the a capella "Dulaman" that gives Anuna a run for their money. The disc closes with "One Life," a medley of tunes that includes U2's "One" mixed with "Danny Boy" and the most cloying ballad ever created, "You Raise Me Up." On paper this really should not work, but they pull it off nicely. Saccharine ballads adorned with melodramatic strings are the order of the day in other spots, most notably on "Hold Me Now." Credit must be given for their use of Ronan Hardiman's songs; he has produced some amazing albums when not busy providing the music to Michael Flatley's productions, and his "That Place in Your Heart" is a stunning song that deserves all the attention that a new production can give it. "Ronan is one of the most exciting composers in Ireland at present and indeed has produced some magical sound tracks for Michael Flatley," says Nagle. "Ronan and I have become good friends over the years, and to be honest he was so enthusiastic and supportive when I was creating Druid. He just got the whole concept. "He gave me a pile of songs which he had been working on which he figured would work for us. They were all just amazing. We ended up using "La Fiama Sacra," "That Place in Your Heart" and "The Magic" (which all can be heard on myspace.com/druidireland). Ronan has indeed heard them, and in words not really suitable for print he has given a resounding thumbs up!" Druid is produced by Edgewood Productions, producers of the Three Irish Tenors. These shows are not cheap to produce, and there is stiff competition in the Celtic male production category. High Kings, the traditional show from the producers of Celtic Woman, gained a solid fan base from touring with their sisters, while Celtic Thunder boomed because of the genius of musical director Phil Coulter and marketing maven Sharon Browne (the original behind the scenes mother of Celtic Woman). Nagle, Simon Morgan, Jeremy Morgan, Kenneth O'Regan and Rob Archibald, are all vibrant and talented vocalists paired with an accomplished group of musicians who have played with Rod Stewart, Blue Man Group and various other renowned performers. Be ahead of the curve and check them out when they make your debut in our area in the coming weeks. Druid will play on March 7 at the Boulton Center, 37 West Main Street in Bay Shore Long Island, (for tickets call 866-811-4111), the next day at Berrie Center for the Performing Arts, Ramapo College, 505 Ramapo Valley Road, New Jersey at 1 and 4 p.m. (for tickets call 201-684-7844). For more, visit www.druid world.com.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore