A reminder that coming up on the weekend of June 5 and 6, there will be two opportunities to celebrate the new CD Release "The New Broom" by Mike Rafferty, Willie Kelly and Donal Clancy.  

As great a listen as the CD is, it is even more enjoyable to see Mike and Willie play live and in unison despite an age difference that is half a lifetime.

That is a compliment to their long friendship in and outside the music, and a fanatical devotion to music played in a timeless fashion.

They will be featured at the next Blarney Star concert series on Friday, June 5 down at Glucksman Ireland House in Greenwich Village (www.blarneystar.com, 212-998-3950) where the 9 p.m. start is traditional for two sets.

On Saturday, June 6 at 8 p.m. out in Rockaway, New Jersey, it will be more of the same at a house concert featuring the trio at the Irish American Association of Northwest Jersey Clubhouse on Richard Mine Road (www.iaanj.com) organized by Iris Nevins.  

As regular house concert attendees at this venue know the bonus is a sharing of tunes in a post concert session, and plenty of little snacks and tea and coffee as part of the hospitality on offer there out in the suburbs.  For more info contact Iris at 908-813-8617 or [email protected]

The timing of these two concerts may come a week after the CCE Fleadh in Pearl River, where Mike and Willie are leading the May 30 Saturday night session (after all the solo competitions earlier and prior to duets, trios and ceili bands on Sunday) at the Holiday Inn in Orangeburg, but they will offer plenty of post-fleadh lessons for students of Irish music. 

The chance to hear two of the most respected musicians in the New York area play and talk about the chunes speaks volumes about why traditional music is such an integral part of our Irish heritage.

It is important for the younger musicians to be exposed to these primary sources when they can and enjoy them in intimate and informal settings like Ireland House and the IAANJ clubhouse and take something away that can inspire their own musical careers.  They don’t call it the Living Tradition for nothing.

Also, it will be the last occasions to catch Donal Clancy in action before he and his wife, Mary Rafferty Clancy move back to Ireland with their three children, Liadan, Colm and the newborn Liam in mid-June to take up residence in Waterford, where Donal grew up. 

We’ll still see Donal from time to time touring with Danu and other acts, I’m sure, but we will certainly miss all the wonderful music and instruction that both Mary and Donal have provided us here in the U.S. for a number of years. We wish them God Speed and the best of luck back in Ireland.

The summer is coming, and one of its early harbingers is the annual spring picnic and ceili hosted by the Irish Arts Center hosted upstream on the Hudson on Sunday, June 7 from 3-6 p.m. 

It’s an open call to musicians and dancers for a nice relaxed outdoor social on the wonderful timber-floored pavilion as part of the Alpine Boat Basin at the bottom of the Palisades Interstate Parkland off of Exit 2 of the PIP. 

Bring your own grub and refreshments with enough to share and organizer Dan Hunt will make sure everyone has a good time and plenty of hoofing to the music of the Pride of Moyvane Ceili Band stalwarts Margie Mulvihill and John Reynolds. 

Maybe Pauline and Aidan at the center will commission a water taxi from Hell’s Kitchen to go up river on the day!  Call 212-757-3318, ext. 209 and make the suggestion and also for information on the event.