IRISH HAPPENINGS THIS MARCH

IRISH HAPPENINGS THIS MARCH

Hi friends. It looks like yours truly is building momentum for 2018. So expect more posts. I am also keeping busy with my other blogs but I will make sure this one deserves the first on the list as this is first blog I ever built. Yeah that was almost ten years ago. Time flies! So many things happened. Life has altered direction. Perhaps you find yourself in a strange place. It takes time getting used to-like a pair of brand new shoes, but hey we will always find a way to live through many changes. I guess that is what being human is all about. Being hopeful in the midst of adversity. Having faith in the a world of darkness. Is it our DNA? Ir is it something higher? We don’t know fully the mystery of the universe or the forces that draw us to one another. How gravity becomes our death or life-it depends on your perspective.

So March is a busy month. I got these press release from my good friend Anita of Daly Communications. I will just paste them here as I am still creating ideas for the next post. It will be something to look forward to 😉

 

THE CHIEFTAINS – 55th Anniversary Tour!
MARCH 10TH at Town Hall tickets at http://thetownhall.org/ AND MARCH 17TH at The Tilles Center Long Island, tickets at https://tillescenter.org
“55 years, wow, where have they gone as we’re still going strong”, says Paddy Moloney, leader of the six-time Grammy Award winners,The Chieftains.  The Chieftains have been highly recognized for reinventing traditional Irish music on a contemporary and International scale.  The Chieftains were formed in Ireland in 1962 by Paddy Moloney, one of the top traditional folk musicians in Ireland and around the world. Their ability to transcend musical boundaries to blend tradition with modern music has notably hailed them as one of the most renowned and revered musical groups to this day. After more than fifty five years of making some of the most beautiful music in the world, The Chieftains’ music remains as fresh and relevant as when they first began. So now The Chieftains are set to embark on their  55th  Anniversary Tour in the US  beginning in Califonia on February 17th making their way across the US to the east coast with a final show on St. Patrick’s Day in Jacksonville, Florida.  Paddy Moloney says,“This tour will have all the musical force of what we’ve accumulated and achieved over the last 55 years, with a few extra gemsthrown in for good measure”.
LUNASA – MARCH 13TH at The City Winery – with singer Natalie Merchant – second show added due to popular demand! Tickets at www.citywinery.com/newyork/
Music is one of Ireland’s most celebrated exports and LĂșnasa, a band like no other, has been at the forefront of that musical migration. Since the release of their 1997 recording debut ‘LÚNASA’ and the band’s first tour of the U.S., when word-of-mouth led to SRO shows and rave reviews, “This is the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet,” said The New York Times, the all-star quintet has become one of the most popular bands on the international Celtic music scene. In the years since those early concerts and albums catapulted the band to the forefront of traditional Irish music, the members of LĂșnasa have gathered a long list of credits and honors in addition to the legion of fans that spans the globe, fitting achievements for a band that takes its name from the old Celtic harvest festival in honor of the god Lugh, patron of the arts.  LĂșnasa have sold more than quarter of a million albums in the course of the band’s career and boast an impressive back catalogue of 9 highly acclaimed and award-winning studio albums.
Now LĂșnasa is back with a new studio album “Cas” and a tour of the US starting this February to celebrate their 20thAnniversary.  It is their first studio album in seven years and it is also their first recording with vocals, including guest singers who are prominent artists in their own right, that the band has recorded and toured with over the years.  These include Natalie Merchant and Mary Chapin Carpenter, top bluegrass singer/songwriter Tim O’Brien, Blues recording artist Eric Bibb and Daoiri Farrell, a young Irish folk singer star who recently won the BBC Radio 2 Folk contest.  Band member   Cillian Vallely says, “We took a break from the studio and when we came back, we wanted to do something a bit different.  We were becoming increasingly involved in live concert collaborations and from these projects we invited some of our favorite singers to guest on the album.”
CELTIC NIGHTS: OCEANS OF HOPE – 12 night run from March 27th- April 9th at The Sheen Center tickets at https://sheencenter.org/
Celtic Nights-Oceans of Hope is a production of Ireland’s GFD Promotions who have toured Irish musical shows in more than 30 countries worldwide since 1997.  GFD’s Executive Producer, Michael Durkan, says that Celtic Nights-Oceans of Hope departs from previous theatrical productions they have created, among them the successful Gaelforce Dance, by centering the production’s music, dance and narrative on the specific historical theme of the Irish who had to leave their homeland during the Great Hunger and seek out new homes in new lands. Celtic Nights-Oceans of Hope,  captures the very essence of who the Irish are and where they came from with their dreams of a finding their freedom in new lands. It’s the story of the Irish Diaspora in America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.  It’s the story of people moving across oceans to free themselves from hunger, war and religious persecution to start anew.  Celtic Nights-Oceans of Hope expertly weaves together the lilting melodies and plaintive lyrics of the rich Celtic Heritage
to tell an epic story of a people through song, music, dance and narration.
 
CELTIC WOMAN – March 29th at The Tilles Center Long Island, tickets at https://tillescenter.org
Since its debut, global musical sensation Celtic Woman’s concerts continue to touch the hearts of a huge audience that spans the globe. Both an accomplished recording ensemble and a world-class performing collective, Celtic Woman celebrates Ireland’s rich musical and cultural heritage, while continuing its remarkable legacy of introducing some of Ireland’s most talented singers and musicians onto the world stage.  Celtic Woman successfully melds the traditional and contemporary.
Following its debut on PBS in 2005, the group has achieved massive success encompassing twelve chart-topping albums, eight DVDs and nine public television specials leading to sales of over ten million albums, with platinum success in nine countries. Each of its CDs – including 2016’s Destiny, which was nominated for a Grammy in the World Music category,  has debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s World Albums chart. The group has been named Billboard Magazine’s #1 World Albums’ Artist six times.

 There you go. See you soon. 0001452019
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Kyle Carey’s The Art of Forgetting will haunt our musical memories.

Kyle Carey’s The Art of Forgetting will haunt our musical memories.

a0344602089_16A good singer knows how to use the voice to achieve an effect. She knows when to use nuance and her phrasing is always on point. Apart from that, a good singer possesses a good timbre. Although we know that our concept of ‘beauty’ varies from culture to culture, we do know a remarkable voice when we hear one. Kyle Carey is one example that deserves a mention. When you hear the way she sings, you respond to it right away-the way you respond to singers like Sarah McLachlan, Connie Dover, Janis Ian or Moya Brennan. It is not the fireworks and volume that count. It’s the intelligence on how such instrument-the voice- is used to tell a story or to express a sentiment.

Now in her third full-length album, The Art of Forgetting, the singer-songwriter and amazing interpreter of Gaelic songs continues to touch listeners with her unique art. Carey continues to tackle the Celtic influence in American music. There are twelve songs in the album. My current favorite is the jazzy Suil A Ruin. It reflects the mood of the early 20th century that gave rise to the Jazz babies among Irish and Scottish immigrants. I think it is a perfect song to describe that era. Her playful voice carries us through a not so distant past, but still has a very strong anchor to the present.

The Art of Forgetting is also a testament to the evolution of her musical style. Yes it is still the Celtic Americana artist that we have grown to love, but she added a sense of playfulness to her latest effort. A sort of exuberance that could only come from an artist that has developed both personal and aesthetic wisdom. She can easily incorporate jigs and other traditional forms in her ballads seamlessly. Like in the case of the poignant Opal Grey.

Vocally, she is great shape. In Sios Dan An Abhainn, she incorporates breathy passages while still maintaining the strength of her voice, highlighting the consonants of each line. I admire the clever use of a saxophone in this track which further intensifies the mood.  For Your Journey continues to showcase her vocal power. Yeah, two minutes if pure haunting bliss! She breathes a new life in the traditional Puirt a Beul, a track I first heard performed by Julie Fowlis. Her rendition stands on its own in b terms of beauty and gentleness. Trouble in the Fields closes the album. This is Carey going out of her comfort zone singing in a style that is upfront and fresh.

The Art of Forgetting is a joy to possess. There are many memorable moments here. This album makes us anticipate for more music to come from this lovely artist like no other. Big names that worked with her on this album are:

Rhiannon Giddens
Sam Broussard
Liz Simmons
John McCusker
Mike McGoldrick
James MacKintosh
Ron Janssen
Dirk Powell
GillebrĂŹde MacMillan
Kai Welch
Josh Scalf.

So you know what to expect 😉

 

 

LĂșnasa: Hitting the right notes with Cas.

LĂșnasa: Hitting the right notes with Cas.

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It feels like being away for long time and the fondness if overwhelming. I am talking about Ireland’s hottest export, LĂșnasa. They have a new album out called Cas. And this is not just like any of their past albums. Here, the have guest vocalists and I will talk about it later(and why I am giddy). Let’s talk about their music first. They released their self-titled debut in 1997. I did not discover them until I got my hands on Otherworld which really changed they way I feel and look at traditional music. They are purists in terms of staying true to their musical heritage but they also love innovation.

Cas is na album driven by rhythm and texture. Each track is like sparkling wine-smooth and seasoned with age and experience. I suppose that after two decades of devoting their lives of the perfection of their craft, they can teach newbies how surf the winds of our ever-changing musical fads. But some fads come and go. Only the ones distilled with intelligence maintain their effervescence and thus remain precious.

It’s been seven years since their last studio album. And perhaps this is why Cas sounds so different. That time apart may have created the gestation process that resulted to a birth of .a new sound. I admire artists who have the patience of staying away from the musical spotlight in order to come up with something fresh. It takes a draconian kind of patience and control to achieve that. Sometimes it is our fear of being forgotten by the community that drives us to work tirelessly to maintain that following. But very few can take the challenges of art over ego.

So in this album we are blessed with guest voices: five vocal tracks from Natalie Merchant, Tim O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Daoiri Farrell and Eric Bibb. I am familiar with the works of each of these artists, most notably that of Natalie Merchant. The album got its world premier via LiveIreland.

Cas is a joy to have. LĂșnasa can still deliver tradition the way you love it, but they have added a new  layer of musical approach, one that will take us to a new journey-and our lovely relationship with their music for years to come.

Kevin Crawford – Flutes and Whistles, Trevor Hutchinson – Stand-up Bass, Cillian Vallely – Uilleann Pipes and Whistles, Colin Farrell – Fiddle, Ed Boyd – Guitar