Wow! The Led Farmers @ Arlene’s Grocery 9/2 and LAU @ Rockwood Music Hall 9/15

Wow! The Led Farmers @ Arlene’s Grocery 9/2 and LAU @ Rockwood Music Hall 9/15

Hey! Hey! Hey! one of the coolest Irish bands of the decade is performing. I am talking about The Led Farmers. I love their sense of humor and I admire their musical skills! Now if you haven’t noticed yet, they are on Facebook:

As with Lau I recently wrote a piece about Kris Drever so you know what to expect 😉

Check out the press release of the concert below . They are performing with Lau:

THE LED FARMERS – @ Arlene’s Grocery, Friday Sept. 2nd 10PM
The Led Farmers are an Indie Irish Folk/Rock Band from Ireland that grew up steeped in the Irish music tradition and have garnered a reputation for excellence by combining their rich heritage with modern Ireland to create a fresh new energy. The Led Farmers 
are launching their brand new album “Katie” on September 1stand will be on tour in the US this August and September. While they love to play the Irish folk classics it is their own songs and fresh new arrangements of folk music that has seen them get attention of late. The group boasts a two-time All Ireland Music champion and many of its’ members have studied music at University level. They have toured the US and Europe and are becoming one of Ireland’s best loved live acts. In 2015 they played 87 shows and 2016 looks to be similar. The band keeps the tradition while moving it forward.
THE LED FARMERS @ Arlene’s Grocery, Friday Sept. 2nd 10PM
LAU – Scottish Folk band, LAU, releases ‘THE BELL THAT NEVER RANG’ In NYC 
@ Rockwood Music Hall September 19th sponsored by WFUV
‘The intuitive and often beautiful interplay of accordion, fiddle and guitar glides to a new level as instrumental virtuosity blends easily with tasteful electronics.”  Mojo
Scottish Folk group, LAU, redefine how a trio can sound, arming themselves with both highly original repertoire and superb takes on traditional material. Their latest release, ‘The Bell That Never Rang’ has been nominated for Scottish Album of The Year award 2016. The Bell That Never Rang is their fourth studio album,  released last year in the UK on Reveal Records. Brilliant musicians, thrilling performers and free-thinking visionaries small wonder Lau are regarded as the epicentre of the new folk boom. And they’ve got shelves groaning with awards (BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARD WINNERS, BEST BAND, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2015 THE HERALD), a forest’s worth of ecstatic reviews and breathless plaudits from excited audiences in various outposts of the world ringing in their ears to prove it.
LAU @ Rockwood Music Hall Sept. 19th tickets @ 8:30PM


Hello everyone,

Good news! Our new album has arrived! Say hello to Katie. We are very happy with this CD and I hope you will be too.

To all the people who supported the making of our album, we will get your rewards to you as soon as we can. We’re off to America in 36 hrs but after that we will get to work on all the CDs, t shirts, poems, sketches, Irish lessons and signed photos for all you fine people. Thanks again 😁👍

If you would like a copy you can purchase online at

All the best,
The Led Farmers.


Video premiere of new Van Morrison album!

Video premiere of new Van Morrison album!

Van Morrison will release his brand new album ‘Keep Me Singing’ on September 30th on CD, Gatefold Vinyl & download. You can pre-order the album on CD/Vinyl + Lithograph from the official store here:

Hooray! The legend is releasing a new album next month and this video is a teaser of what’s to come. I admire the simplicity of the music video. No frills. Just the singer-songwriter backed by other musicians in the studio. Too Late is the first single off the upcoming apbum ‘Keep me Singing. It has the eclectic elements that Morrison is known for.

I never got into his music until the mid-nineties when The Chieftains released The Long Black Veil (feat. other artists like Sinead O’Connor, Tom Jones and Sting among others) and I noticed the beauty of his voice. It is a very expressive, bleeding instrument. Watch out for Keep Me Singing at the end of September and I am sure fans will be showered by the greatness of his talents once more!

Tradition at its Finest:Roots by Andrew Finn Magill

Tradition at its Finest:Roots by Andrew Finn Magill

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Irish music was already dominant in the life Andrew Finn Magill while growing up and spending every summer at the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops. He learned to play the fiddle with the help from some of the finest folk musicians in the world.

By age 16, he already accomplished the following:

-As a two-time finalist at the All-Ireland Championships.

-He has toured France with the popular Celtic music & dance revue, Celtic Dances( under the musical direction of Liz Knowles & Kieran O’Hare).

-Produced a Fulbright-MtvU- funded concept album, Mau a Malawi( about those affected by AIDS with Malawian Afro-vibes artist Peter Mawanga).

I am currently enjoying his first in the series of concept albums. This one is called Roots. Why the title Roots? Well, I noticed that it is perhaps the most Traditional Irish I got my hands on this year. The tracks are familiar and they are rendered in a way they are supposed to-with emphasis on the style of music itself.

I once had this conversation with a friend while listening to traditional tunes. I just got my hands on a bodhran courtesy of my friend in England. So I was trying to learn my ear and these are songs from Lunasa, Chieftains and other bands who are into hardcore trad music. This is also the time when exploring the technical aspect of the music can be an enjoyable experience. And this love for traditional music gave way to many blog posts in this site.

?So what’s the story behind Roots? According to his press release:

Roots is the first disc in a concept album series which charts Magill’s musical progression in Irish music, featuring the tunes and players that defined his earliest years playing the fiddle: John Doyle, Cillian Vallely (Lúnasa), Sean Earnest (The Yanks), Duncan Wickel and Vincent Fogarty (The Red Wellies). Recorded in three studios on two continents, the music is ‘pure drop’ Irish with sparse instrumentation and innovative arrangements.
From the lively set of reels that opens the album, the listener is treated to brilliant and respectful renditions of much-loved jigs, hornpipes & reels, as well as some rarely-heard gems such as a beautiful setting of the set dance, “The Blackbird” the slow air, “Roisin Dubh,” and Carolan’s “Maurice O’Connor’s Third Air.” The album ends with a rolling, powerhouse set of reels sure to get any Irish music fan’s blood pumping.
In fall 2016, Magill will release Branches, the sequel to Roots, which integrates Finn’s traditional Irish musical foundations with his many other influences in ten original compositions.

Looking forward to the release Branches and that will showcase how flexible and colorful Traditional Irish music has grown through the years.

Roots the album has ten tunes featuring  jigs, reels and hornpipes. I love his precision and perfect pitch. The album features John Doyle, Cillian Vallely & Colin Farrell of LĂșnasa, among others. There’s also Duncan Wickel whose work I am familiar with. It also features the 10-string bouzouki of Vincent Forgarty. Now DAGAD fanatics will hear the strumming of Sean Ernest.

So what track is closest to my heart? It’s got to be The Green Fields of Glentown as part of the medley in the 10th track. If you meet someone asking about Traditional tunes then let him or her listen to this CD as it will ‘teach’ everything there is to know about the music. And hopefully it will influence younger audience to learn the style for future musical generations to come.

I really enjoy Roots. I take it with me when I ride the bike. I listen to it when I am stressed and I want to keep focused. But most of all I just listen to it for its musical richness. And it should be part of your growing collection.


Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

I have to admit, writing about the new musical venture of Cathy Maguire was a challenge. How do you start writing about something totally different from what you are used to? I reviewed bands, I blogged about musicians and their albums,or even wrote about musicals but posting about a TV show was a challenge. But then again this is no ordinary TV show. It is about music and the Irish musicians that perform them.So where do I start? Of course, the music. The music will guide you through.

Sunnyside Sessions is an exciting venture that Irish singer-songwriter launched recently and it showcases talents based in the East Coast United States-the expats. Now I remember posting a video of HamsandwicH on my Facebook status and that’s  why the show’s title sounds familiar. I saw them perform in the Sunnyside Sessions with the rest of the talented people. My first impression: great location and set design.

I exchanged emails with Cathy Maguire and I discovered more about why everyone should check out Sunnyside Sessions. Here’s an excerpt from Irish Echo written by Sean Devlin:

Cathy Maguire is no stranger to new opportunities. In possession of a career decorated with accomplishments, including television appearances and multiple album releases, she has rubbed elbows with some of the best talent the country music industry has to offer. With “The Sunnyside Sessions,” she’s been branching out into a new TV venture, and embracing all the stops along the way.

With many amazing performers I am sure Sunnyside Sessions will continue to attrack audiences eom different demographics. Here’s an info I got from the press release as to what this show is all about:

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I think this is a fascinating show that everyone should support. We need more artists like hose that appeared in her show. May the force be with her!

Padraig Duggan-The Spirit of His Music Will Always Live in our Hearts.

Padraig Duggan-The Spirit of His Music Will Always Live in our Hearts.


August 9. Moya Brennan posted a photo of Padraig Duggan with this caption: My dear uncle and fellow Clannad member, Padraig Duggan, passed away peacefully this morning. Rest in Peace Padraig and thanks for all your music over the years


Today, we reflect and remember Padraig Duggan of Clannad.He passed away this week due to a recurring illness. It was  a shocked because he was only 67 and this is so unexpected. For lovers of Irish music, The Duggans are a duo that I am sure you are familiar with. I am currently listening to their music via YouTube and these are songs from their 2005 album Rubicon.


Padraig Duggan.

You can feel the passion of the brothers as they are joined by special guests: Moya Brennan on vocals, Bridin Brennan, Deirdre Brennan, Andrew Roberts, and Ciaran Byrne on backing vocals, Maire Breathnach on viola, David James on cello, Peter Jack on bass, Ingolf Kurkowski on drums, Ian Parker on piano and keyboards, and Ian Melrose in guitars, whistle, dobro and backing vocals.

According to Noel and Padraig Duggan:

The Rubicon is the point of no return. It is the place at which someone must continue on their present course of action. For us, the Rubicon is very significant. Musically, we felt that this album was the only direction that we could take at this time. The night was approaching and we could hear the wind rise. We now feel that we have crossed the Rubicon. Clannad-Banba-Frontal

Duggan played guitar, mandola, mandolin and provided vocals for Clannad. I think his most memorable contribution was with Banba. It’s the album that introduced me to the Clannad discography and I just fell in love with their sound. His mandolin playing was highlighted especially in tracks like The Other Side and Sunset Dreams.

Apart from the Duggans, Padraig was also a member of Norland Wind with his nephew Ciaran Brennan.

His contribution to music will never be forgotten and peers mourn for his passing.

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The Led Farmers: They have a likability that is instant. The music is full of vigour and wonderful melodies.

The Led Farmers’ website says they are touring around Europe but they will start their North American tour in the last part of August. There is no doubt they will fill venues with their energetic sound and a style that is homegrown as it is punk with its rebelliousness.

Katie is the latest album that landed on my speakers from Ireland. Caution: Their music encourages you to get up and move. . So who are they? The band is comprise of the following:Brendan ‘Dog’ Walsh: Banjos. Ross O’Farrell: Bass. Glenn Malone: Drums. Shay Long: Guitar.

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Share the Wealth is the latest single off the album. The music video shows the band playing in what appears to be a living room. There is an alternate scene(acted by the band members) of what looks like a money-lender making deals over the phone. First client comes in and signs a contract. He hands it back to the man who tears it up and laughs at his face while smoking a cigar.Then another appears, same thing happens but this time he puts an X on the paper to the dismay of the other guy. Third guy gets his paper crumpled. In the end he receives a termination letter. He packs his stuff and walks out of his office. Outside, he meets the men he conned. Their expressions say:” See what happens to greedy people?”
What I like about them as a band? The reviewers are right. They have this likeability factor. They’ve got  what you need in a superstar Irish band: Sound, looks, and stage presence. Any banjo fan will rejoice as this recording highlights the instrument very well. Guitars and bass have their moments. The drums are also mixed in a way that it doesn’t sound too aggressive especially in the faster tracks.
 Row by Row is my favorite as of the moment. It has all the elements of a timeless tune. The voices of the quartet blend well and I love the counter points in the chorus section. But this is not to say that is the only stand out track. There are many more. From Share the Wealth which introduces the mood of the album, to their beautiful remake of Star of the County Down, the funky Space to their rendition of traditional Irish music- everything you look for in an excellent Irish pop rock album is here.
Yes Katie is an album of fast tunes, but Foggy Dew and Ragland Road prove that they can be masters of  haunting ballads.
Read the press release that follows:


The Led Farmers are an Indie Irish Folk Rock band from Ireland. The group boasts a two-time All Ireland Music champion and many of it’s members have studied music at University level. They have toured the U.S. and Europe and are becoming one of Ireland’s best-loved live acts. 2015 saw them play over 80 concerts and 2016 looks to be something similar. While they love to play the Irish folk classics it is their own songs and fresh new arrangements of folk music that has seen them get attention of late. Their spontaneous nature and friendliness on the stage makes them a very entertaining live band.

What the media says:

‘The Led Farmers are the kind of act that you just want to see go far, they have a likeability factor and stage presence that just completely enhances their performance and makes them so distinctive in comparison to so many trad/folk groups out there at the moment’ – Dublin Concerts reviews

‘According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word ‘fresh’ has the following meaning: having its original qualities unimpaired, full of or renewed in vigor and not worn or rumpled
 and here comes a band that seems to fit the bill
 they are infectious likeably and distinctive, these are lads you might indeed want to join for a pint or two’ – Irish American News

‘The Led Farmers preserve the tradition of their own native songs while adding a decidedly unique perspective to it. I can see that if The Led Farmers can persist like the Clancy Brothers did. Maybe in 20 or 30 years it may be said that they helped set the new standard for traditional Irish Music’ – Paddy Rock

‘I like the vibe of The Led Farmers. They have an acoustic sound that reminds me of Dexys Midnight Runners. These lads have an energy and style that takes up where the Pogues left off’ – Christy McNamara


Sing by Jennifer Licko: The Sunny Side of Celtic Music.

Sing by Jennifer Licko: The Sunny Side of Celtic Music.


The Appalachian elements in her songs provide the balance to the misty and often mystical atmosphere of Scottish traditional music. That is why her latest offering “Sing” shines a musical light on every corner like a summer morning. Sing evokes a feeling that is at home with Reggae, Ska and Bluegrass. Her previous effort, A Thousand Curses Upon Love’ actually won the Celtic Album of the Year by Celtic Music Radio. According to her press release, Licko wanted to record an album that felt a little closer to home:

Jennifer sings Scots Gaelic dance & work songs from the perspective of the music’s adopted home in the Carolinas. Original songs in English that express her own folk music style compliment this new Celtic sound which could only have taken root from a North Carolina native who spent her childhood years Scottish dancing.


Sing opens with mouth music SEINN O CHURADAIL O/THOIR A NALL AILEAN THUGAM. Licko channels her inner priestess making the Gaelic vowels and consonants beautifully mesmerizing. You don’t have to understand the language to feel the passion in the music.

Light the Way is written and compose by Licko herself.

“I want a finer day

where the sun just lights

the way, and run…

See all that I can see,

Feeling wild and free..just run…

She sings the chorus with a child-like wonder, yet the acoustic alternative style keeps it real and grounded. FILL IU O is another Scottish tune with an Americana twist. THE TIDE has a reggae vibe. Puirt a beul lightens up RUIDHLIDH. It is a short track that dances around your mood.

Flying High is another original recording which is a love song. The Major 7 chords evokes warm sunny afternoons by the beach.EADARAIBH A HUINN O/’S IOMA RUD THA DHÌTH ORM follows. I think I first heard it performed by Scottish band Capercaillie if I am not mistaken. HE NA MILIBHIG gets a bluesy treatment and it is another standout track from the Sing.

SOME ROADS LEAD ON ( words & music by Bill McKay) is another English track owing its style to Irish hymns. I BHÌ À DA closes the album accompanied by the exquisite beat of a bodhran.

Sing is a unique vision.This proves that genres can be fused in the hands of an expert, and the end result is always something magical.



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