Looking for a St Patrick's Day gift?
Look no further than the fabulous DVD "Music of Ireland, Welcome Home," from WLIW21.
The two-part music special (see preview) covers the past 50 years of music in Ireland with great footage from the Bothy Band to U2 to the Clancys, the Chieftains, Riverdance, Clannad and the Boomtown Rats.
The DVD also includes the last ever American interview with Liam Clancy before his death in December 2009.
He poignantly tells interviewer Moya Brennan that each second of his life is just as valuable as a second of his life in his teens.
The DVD includes wonderful footage of the Clancys and Tommy Makem performing on the Ed Sullivan show and includes Liam's explanation as to why they chose the Aran sweater as their uniform.
The footage also includes classic performance clips from Judy Collins, Van Morrison, Riverdance, Thin Lizzay and the Dubliners.
Michael Flatley reminds us all how staid Irish dancing could be before Riverdance. Why oh why did we force the dancers to keep their arms at their sides?
The show is airing on public television the whole way through March as part of public television's annual fundraiser and it's well worth the cost of the donation. (Check WNET.org for times.)
The DVF focuses on the Irish who succeeded overseas, particularly in America.
But Brennan also keeps room for lesser known (in America) Irish stars like Phil Lynott, Donal Lunny, Paul Brady and Christy Moore.
The sequel to "Music of Ireland - Welcome Home" is planned for late 2010 and will highlight "newer" acts such as U2, Celtic Woman, the Cranberries, the Corrs, the Irish Tenors, and singer/songwriters like Glen Hansard and Damien Rice.
They've set themselves a high bar with this production which is far superior to the usual fundraising fare (think Celtic Woman and Celtic Thunder).
Of course, the DVD is as compelling for the people it leaves out as well as the people it includes.
Moya Brennan managed to get artists as busy as Bono, Michael Flatley and Sinead O'Connor to sit down for an interview.
But she couldn't get Enya. Her sister!
Note: "Music of Ireland" is available as a CD and DVD in Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and bundled as a gift for donors to PBS during pledge drives.