With the namesake all over my family tree, the ears perked up when I heard of the group Burning Bridget Cleary!
This Philadelphia-based Celtic rock band have been called “the Allman Brothers of Celtic fiddle bands, only prettier.” Pretty lasses like Rose Baldino (fiddle, banjo) and Deirdre Lockman (fiddle, vocals) prove that statement to be true! They are joined by the driving rhythm and bass supplied by Lou Baldino (guitar) and Peter Trezzi (djembe drum).
They have played hundreds of gigs along the East Coast and produced four CDs. Their second production, Everything Is Alright, was named 2009 Album of the Year by Boston-based CelticRadio.net.
Their newest CD, Pressed for Time, has gotten much-deserved accolades from the Celtic radio and press communities.
Their tangled Celtic roots are embedded inside contemporary soil, with hints of the Corrs and Fleetwood Mac evident in their arrangements and performance.
“I adore thee Mother Mary, would you turn me into a witch?” they sing on “On A Sea of Fleur De Lis,” a sunny folk ditty with understated fiddling which showcases the impeccable harmonies of Rose and Deirdre.
Pressed for Time is punctuated with lovely jigs and reels like “The Black Rogue/McIntyre’s Fancy/The Twin’s Delight” for those thirsty for some trad with their pint.
The name Burning Bridget Cleary (BBC) is a tribute to the last witch burned in Ireland, according to folklore.
“The name was chosen when we started the band and we were looking for something with some mystique behind it,” says Rose Baldino. “I had just turned 16 at that time and my mom found the story of Bridget Cleary on the Internet. As teenagers, the story really intrigued us and we thought it was a little spooky, too.”
The name ended up being a good luck charm for the band, giving them immediate notoriety in the upper echelons of Irish culture.
“Since naming the band we have had some amazing experiences that have connected us with Bridget,” Baldino explains.
“Before our first CD was released, my dad called Liam Clancy to arrange licensing for the song ‘I Know Who Is Sick.’ He was so surprised when Liam himself answered the phone and when Liam heard the name of the band, he told my dad a childhood memory about how he and some other boys used to taunt an old man in his town that was reputed to have been involved in Bridget’s ordeal.
“We play high-energy traditional Celtic music, but with our own distinctive resonance,” Baldino says. “We add in a lot of original pieces as well as contemporary tunes and songs, but it’s base is traditional and folk music. It’s very high-energy and exciting, but we throw in some haunting airs and beautiful waltzes as well.
“Deirdre and I do a lot of twin-fiddling, lots of harmonies and intricate arrangements. Lou provides the driving, rhythmic guitar, and Pete keeps us all together with his steady, consistent djembe playing. We like to keep things fresh and exciting, because we know not everyone has the ear for traditional Celtic music that we do, so we try to switch things up to keep it interesting for everyone.
“We are definitely an American-Celtic band. I have Scottish in my blood through my mother’s side, and have always been drawn to “all things Celtic.”
Deirdre’s mom is full Irish and she has cousins in Co. Down.
It takes just one listen of Pressed for Time to be cast under the spell of Burning Bridget Cleary!
For more information visit www.burningbridget cleary.com.