Holiday Releases from Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy,The Gothard Sisters and SeaStar!

Holiday Releases from Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy,The Gothard Sisters and SeaStar!

Plus Kyle Carey’s Kickstarter update, The Celtic Social Club and Friday Frolics.

Well well well, lads and lassies my mailbox is buzzing! Music keeps coming in from all sides and this is the busiest holiday so far. There is just so much music to taste (with my ears of course). So first up…

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.

It’s been a while since I heard major releases from these two Canadian artists. I never thought it would be a holiday album with their combined musical talents. I am yet to listen to A Celtic Family Christmas so I can post a reactionary entry.

Here’s an in-depth info from their website for those who are curious. Again my big thanks to Anita Daly for always pointing me to the great artists! The album is available from

 iTunes, Amazon and the  Linus label store. The latter also sells other Canadian Celtic music artists of you are curious. Really worth checking out!

“For the album A Celtic Family Christmas, we’ve taken some classic Christmas songs and flavored them with our own brand of Celtic tradition,” says Natalie MacMaster. “We have celebrated Christmas in a big way our entire lives and finally have recorded the music. What ease and joy with which it came pouring out!”  She continues. “Many Christmas songs have gorgeous melodies that stand strong as instrumental pieces and I want it to stay with our fans throughout the holidays and beyond.”

The album creates a counterbalance between both the traditional and modern. Donnell says, “I feel there is a lot of depth behind the melodies and meanings. What I love about this record are the layers of ancient instruments, weaving through and around one another to create a Celtic Christmas tapestry.”

Please visit http://www.acelticfamilychristmas.com or for additional information on Natalie MacMaster visit www.NatalieMacMaster.com and for information on Donnell Leahy visit www.DonnellLeahy.com

Sound great right? I’ve always considered these two as the ‘stalwarts’ of Celtic music. They are the force of nature in the industry, bringing old and new fans together with every release. I am so excited to listen to the album to let you know what I think.

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New Christmas Album: Falling Snow by The Gothard Sisters

Have you seen any of their YouTube videos? If you haven’t yet, you should. They are amazing stage performers and they combine their mastery of the visual as well as musical side of their careers. They have a new album out, just perfect for the holidays.

Falling Snow will be released in the middle of December (16th to be exact) and I am sure this will enchant listeners.

“It was high time for a new Christmas album featuring the songs we’ve been playing at the Christmas shows over the last few years – there were many great songs and arrangements just begging to be recorded,” says Greta Gothard.

“The music of Christmas is so beautiful, it has been a delight to work on these arrangements of eight classics – Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, Still Still Still, Winter Wonderland, Skater’s Waltz, Good King Wenceslas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, French Carol (Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant) and Joy to the World, as well as including two new tunes that the band wrote – Christmas Flower and The Happy Elf.”

The press release adds that  although the sisters are known for their Celtic music styles, their western American heritage can be heard in their music. This has always been part of their specialty as a trio and the fusion works positively. Expect magical sounds wrapped in sweet melodies floating, bright as tinsel in the cold magical air! Christmas is coming!

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SeaStar is a blend of both the old and the new, the tranquil and passionate, the dramatic and playful.-Official band website.

Here’s another American band bringing to us cool music. They are called SeaStar. I love that name! They describe themselves as an original Celtic Folk band from Seattle.Seattle is also the original home of Grange music in the 90s, if you remember. The same place in the western United States with many Loreena McKennitt devotees.

There are four members  who are also friends ” who love to play music and share stories with others.” Another interesting background is that they already toured around Ireland, Scotland and other places in Europe.They even shared the stage with notable performers  like Dougie MacLean.

The new album is called Never Go Back. The band described the music as “Dusty dreams, salty seas, and a few silver linings tangle with powerful vocals, contagious melodies, and singable choruses.” They also promised to ” bring together a unique fusion of Celtic, Americana, Folk, and Bluegrass.”

Sounds like an interesting combination! I will post my reaction after I’ve listened to the whole album so watch out for that.

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Kyle Carey has reached her Kickstarter goal with 102% this week. This is really good news because it means her fans are passionate about what she does. I am so excited that the new album will happen and we are all part of it! Congratulations Kyle!

I received this link from the Facebook Celtic Music Fan page and it is an interesting concert held in Brittany. They are called The Celtic Social Club. And judging from the Reggae infused music, they are very inclusive  and they keep the listeners groovin.’ Just look at those people! Visit their website to know more.

 

Have you also heard of the Friday Frolics? They are a Celtic/Folk band from Barcelona Spain. I remember featuring a band from Spain before called Aulaga Folk so I feel a bit nostalgic.
Their  second album is called  Factor 3,has just been released. I haven’t heard the new album yet but I will post the entry here when I am done listening. Their Facebook page is right down below. Check out the amazing video. The music will blow you away. Sooo good!

facebook.com/FridayFrolics

 

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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:

 Biography: 

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

 

A New album and Single by James Vincent McMorrow is Out!

A New album and Single by James Vincent McMorrow is Out!

Today, we have a crossover post from my other blog. This singer-songwriter has appeared in The Celtic Connection and he is also very active in the Irish folk/indie scene.

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The Irishman with an exquisite and smooth silky voice is back! The new single is Rising Water released in early July this year. James Vincent McMorrow broke into the indie pop/folk scene with Post Tropical and Early in the Morning. His live performances duplicate the meticulous perfection of his studio recordings. And yes that remarkable voice has attracted 100 million Spotify streams!  Rising Water is taken from the new album We Move. Expect the album to sell like hotcakes. Check out the lyric video of Rising Water above.

Read further about the new release:

NEW SINGLE “RISING WATER” AVAILABLE NOW

James Vincent McMorrow, an Irish singer/songwriter from Dublin, has just released his new single Rising WaterThe single is the opening track of his upcoming album We Move, which is set to be released on September 2ndvia Caroline Records. On July 4th, Rising Water was premiered by Annie Mac on her program ‘Mac’s Hottest Record in the World’ on BBC Radio, listen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p040fl09.   After its UK debut, the single was released here in the U.S., which McMorrow called home for a few months while he recorded his new album.

In early 2015 McMorrow decamped to Los Angeles for four surreal months, wanting to experience something totally alien to any way he’d ever worked before. McMorrow explains “Making this album was about changing so many things. Physically changing where I was, mentally changing how I think about life, about myself, how I think about making music. Every time I’ve made a record in the past, I’ve walked to the edge of where I’ve wanted to be, I’ve gotten scared, and I’ve walked back to a safe distance.”

Rising Water is the perfect example of what the rest of the album holds. The single, along with the rest of the record, features production from Nineteen85 (Drake, dvsn), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Years & Years), and Frank Dukes (Kanye West, Rihanna), as well as mixing from the legendary Jimmy Douglass (Donny Hathaway, Timbaland).

McMorrow’s 2010 debut ‘Early in the Morning’ achieved platinum-status and reached #1 in his home country of Ireland. His “Breath-taking” (VICE) second album ‘Post Tropical’ was nominated for the Choice Music Prize, and led to sell outs at the biggest venues of McMorrow’s career including two nights at Sydney Opera House, and London’s Barbican & Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Earlier this year, McMorrow surpassed 100 million Spotify streams, recorded a cover of “Wicked Games” for a trailer of season six of Game of Thrones, and was featured on “I’m In Love” off Kygo’s debut LP ‘Cloud Nine.’ 

Purchase ‘Rising Water’:

iTunes: https://smarturl.it/RisingWater

Amazon MP3: https://amzn.com/RisingWater

CULTURAL ROADMAPP: IRELAND’S WILD ATLANTIC WAY —A GROUNDBREAKING GPS-ENABLED AUDIO TOUR APP FOR MOTORISTS— TO LAUNCH CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN ON INDIEGOGO

CULTURAL ROADMAPP: IRELAND’S WILD ATLANTIC WAY —A GROUNDBREAKING GPS-ENABLED AUDIO TOUR APP FOR MOTORISTS— TO LAUNCH CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN ON INDIEGOGO

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Sorry for no update for a while!!! It’s been a crazy month. But do check this project out. I think this is really exciting as it involves music, motorcycles and technology:
The transatlantic startup Cultural Roadmapp is launched its first crowdfunding campaign on June 7, 2016, in Indiegogo’s Transmedia category. The campaign for $35,000 will enable the startup to create a pilot audio tour for a GPS-enabled app illuminating the prodigious culture and heritage of Ireland’s west coast. Designed specifically for motorists on Ireland’s 1500- mile (2500 km) Wild Atlantic Way driving route, the hands-free app will comprise four audio tours. The pilot audio tour app spotlights Counties Clare and Limerick.
In both format and content, Cultural Roadmapp offers the immersive cultural experience more and more tourists today are searching for. Unlike the few audio tour apps for motorists available on the market, Cultural Roadmapp weaves unvarnished expert interviews, storytelling, and humor with world-class musical, literary, and dramatic performances–all 100% hands free. The app’s hands-free capability is made possible by the latest GPS technology, called “geo-fencing.” After downloading the app to a smart device, the user plugs the device into the vehicle’s USB port.
Sensing pre-identified landmarks on the tour route ahead, the app triggers the vehicle’s speakers to automatically play audio providing a delightful cultural-historical context to the landmark and local area. Without the need to keep hands and eyes glued to multimedia apps and traditional guide books, motorists can enjoy the scenery as they listen. Based in New York City and Ennis, Ireland, and founded in 2014, Cultural Roadmapp is in its early stages. Founder and president Deborah Schull is a senior writer-producer whose credits include an audio tour for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, which earned the museum world’s prestigious MUSE Award in 2011.
The startup team includes Leah O’Brien Bernini, an ethnographer and ethnomusicologist who directs content collection and curation, and Oisín Mac Diarmada, a world-renowned Irish fiddler and the startup’s music director. For more information about Cultural Roadmapp and its upcoming Indiegogo campaign, please go to http://www.culturalroadmapp.com/press. Also see Cultural Roadmapp’s Indiegogo Campaign Page at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cultural-roadmapp
Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

Celtic Woman Q & A with Máiréad

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I’ve been playing Destiny by Celtic Woman many times. New voices and new songs. And lots of magical listening experience. Check out my entry regarding the album in my previous post.

It is a great honour to finally get to talk to one of the artists, notably my favourite violinist Máiréad Nesbitt who took the time to write the answers to my questions. You are probably wondering what it’s like to be part a powerful musical ensemble that continue to make music after a decade right? Well here’s your chance to know.

 

1. The new lineup brings something exciting to the music. What happened to the previous members?

As with most women we have desires to go off and start families and get married! Most of the beautiful women that have passed through Celtic Woman decided to leave to come off the road and settle down. Some have also gone on to have solo music careers too.

2. I love many tracks in Destiny. My personal fave is How Can I Keep From Singing? What made you decide to record this song?

I love that song too but as a listener from the wings! We love Clannad and Eabha was taught by the lead singer Moya Brennan so it seemed ideal for her to sing it. 

3. I See Fire (for me) threatens to be better than the original. What’s the story behind the inclusion of this song?

We wanted to move towards the future whilst not forgetting what made people love the group in the first place. Ed Sherran has deep Irish heritage so his music is heavily influenced by that- especially this song. It’s very Irish folk in style and is also a modern one so it seemed like the perfect fit. I also love story telling and this song has such drama in it. 

4. You are back with your US Tour. Wow 85 Cities! How are you preparing mentally and physically for this marathon tour?

Well, personally I follow a plant based (vegan) lifestyle to keep myself healthy of mind, body and spirit and I also work out every day to keep my immune system strong. Lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, water and sleep when we can! 

5. Can you give young women tips on how to sing beautifully like Celtic Woman?

Just be yourself. Don’t try and mould yourself into who you think you should be. Accept yourself from within and sing from your heart. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is happy in herself. 

6. What’s next after the US Tour?

We have lots planned including a hopeful trip to Asia-then onto Australia and back to the states for our Christmas symphony tour where we get to perform gorgeous Christmas songs with a different orchestra every night. I am also recording a solo album with Celtic Woman in the summer when we get off the road which I’m super excited about! 

There you go 🙂
-Máiréad Nesbitt
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Robert Doyle Has  A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle Has A Follow Up To A Life In Shadows:Lig Amach

Robert Doyle album cover

When: Friday 22nd April

Where:The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

As a long time admirer of his music, I am happy to announce that Mr Doyle has finished a follow-up to his compelling album A Life in Shadows. It was well received among Celtic and Irish Music sites. If you love laid back songs written and performed around the voice and acoustic guitar then you better hear Lig Amach. I will be posting my own thoughts about the album soon!

Read more about the album through the press release:

ROBERT DOYLE ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM LIG AMACH

Featuring Sliabh Russell/Out on the Ocean https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

Private Album stream (do not share) https://soundcloud.com/robertdoyle/sets/robert-doyle-lig-amach/s-XZsH4

ALBUM LAUNCH: Thursday April 28th The Cobblestone Backroom, 77 King Street North, Dublin 7 Free admission 8.30pm

“Fingerstyle guitar expert…. with a unique vocal edge” Irish Music Magazine    “… a new acoustic guitar maestro” R2 Magazine

Dublin fingerstyle guitarist and singer ROBERT DOYLE releases his second album Lig Amach on April 22nd followed by an album launch concert on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone.  Admission to the concert will be free – as Robert explains as “a special thank you to my fans and supporters for their enthusiasm and support along the way”.

LIG AMACH (Let Out) is the follow up to his well received 2011 debut album Life in Shadows.  Mostly recorded in Dublin over the last year the album showcases his distinctive approach to writing & arranging for the guitar.  A collection of instrumentals, interpretations and self penned originals, Lig Amach vividly displays Robert’s dynamic playing & singing  – stretching from the roots of American folk singing and blues, Irish traditional through to classical & flamenco guitar techniques.  Watch the video for SLIABH RUSSELL/OUT ON THE OCEAN https://youtu.be/WzcSe9TzkC4

While the album features a number of thrilling collaborations, Robert sets down a challenge for himself when he performs live as he will perform entirely solo at the album launch on April 28th in Dublin’s Cobblestone “It really tests your abilities and you learn a great deal about the music when performing in front of an audience.  I choose to play solo so that there’s nowhere to hide on stage.  You learn a lot about yourself as a musician when it’s just you in the spotlight”.

Creativity runs in the Doyle family – the album cover photo was taken by Robert’s brother Eamonn Doyle who is an internationally recognised photographer.  Previously the brothers worked together – Robert as a studio engineer – on Irish label D1 Recordings run by Eamonn, who also founded the DEAF electronic festival.

Robert began playing guitar aged 8 and is a past student of renowned French-Algerian master musician Pierre Bensusan“Pierre is one of the top fingerstyle guitarists in the world but more so he’s also a fantastic musician.  By studying with him, I wanted to gain an insight into how he was able to master the instrument and develop his own individual style. After studying with Pierre, my focus changed from being a guitar player to becoming a better musician and to continue developing my own style”.   In previous years Robert has performed at Celtic Connections and the Moniaive Folk Festival.

Recording the album was a longer process than initially planned as Robert explains “I recorded the guitar and vocals in my home studio with additional instruments recorded in Dublin, London and Italy. Originally I had planned to record this album, like the first, in a studio with an engineer but I later made the decision to record it myself to have more flexibility. The first sessions for the album took place 3 years ago and didn’t go well so I had to go back to the drawing board.  I was only working on the album at weekends so the process was quite drawn out.  The guitar parts are all live recordings, something I’ve always tried to do.”

Like the last album 8 of the 10 tracks were mixed by Marc Carolan who works with Muse. Ross Dowling, who produced the last James Vincent McMorrow album also did a mix as well as Graham Watson from Floodplain Studios in Dublin.

Lig Amach is a departure for Robert in many ways from the first album with a keen focus this time on writing and performing in English.  “The songs on the previous EP and album were based around songs sung in Irish but for this release I wanted to explore singing in English more.”  ACROSS THE LINE was written in 2014 at the time Islamic State attacked and laid siege to Kobani in northern Syria, causing a massive number of people to flee across the border into Turkey.  FLAGS OF BELFAST, which has a traditional air, was written around the time of the Belfast City Hall flag protests while ROUND TWO is a song about a woman who won’t wait too long for a man to make up his mind!

Robert interprets and reimagines a number of covers on Lig Amach including the opening track AN SEANDUINE, a song he learnt from singing in Comhaltas Ceoltóirí  Éireann with this version taking inspiration from recordings by Seamus Begley and Danú.  COUNTRY BLUES is a song Robert learnt from Dock Boggs, an old-time banjo player from Virginia, first recorded in 1929.

Another progression on Lig Amach is Robert’s collaboration with a wide number of renowned musicians “After recording the demos I wanted to add some other instrumentation to the songs. The first collaboration was with Chris Haigh, a fiddle player I first heard on an Oumou Sangaré album.”  Francessco Ganassin (saxophone) and Magnus Mehta (percussion) also feature along with Aoife Dermody & uilleann piper Eoin Dillon on a collaboration, Flags of Belfast, which came out of a recording session in Floodplain Studios.

Lig Amach will be available from all digital outlets from April 22nd, from Claddagh Records and robertdoyle.net

facebook.com/robert.doyle

robertdoyle.net

For more information, images & interviews please contact:

ANN MARIE WALSH NOVATONE MUSIC MEDIA

Tel: 01 2018946 / 087 2460957 musicireland@hotmail.com @novatonemm

The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

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This is going to be a short post as I am going to bed since I will have work later tonight but if you missed this, please pay attention sweeties:

From the band’s Facebook: So very happy to share that The Gloaming 2 is available most places today!

Pick it up at your favorite local shoppe or via iTuneshttp://smarturl.it/the-gloaming2-itunes & Amazon.com:  http://smarturl.it/the-gloaming-amazon— with Iarla O’lionairdMartin HayesCaoimhin O RaghallaighCaoimhín Ó RaghallaighMáirtín Ó hAodhaDennis CahillIarla O’LionairdMartin Hayes & Dennis CahillDennis Cahill and Thomas Bartlett.

Larry Kirwan and Friends- A St Patrick’s Day Celebration

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This is the title Larry Kirwan’s upcoming show:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 

 Sounds like you are going to expect something wicked, festive and poignant is happening this March 17. The spirit of Rock and Roll is strong as ever and when it is mixed with Irish Celtic music; the brew becomes intoxicating. All Black 47 fans will love this!

March marks the exciting month in Irish music as we celebrate St Patrick’s Day with gusto. There will be lots music, of course. And there is always a cross-generational/genre appeal when Larry Kirwan stages a concert. And you will know why as you read the rest of the interview.

CMF1. Great to hear you are returning on St Patrick’s Day! You must be excited with the new lineup.

Larry Kirwan: Well, in a way I’m surprised I’m even doing a show with a band.  I had intended doing a solo show for St. Patrick’s Night in some smaller room.

Then BB King’s asked me to put together an evening and headline it with a band.  At first, I turned it down but then I began to feel that there should be a major gig in Times Square on the biggest Irish night.  In many ways,  it was a bit early for me after Black 47 disbanding.  But in the end I followed the old Black 47 advice, “nothing ventured – nothing gained.”

So, I put out the word to a number of musicians I’d been working with in other spheres and they all were keen to play, so onwards and upwards, as the bishop said to the actress!

2. You’ve got eclectic musicians in the team. When/how did you decide to jam together at BB King’s?

Black 47 will never be surpassed for its singular style, originality and energy and being a founder-member I’m very respectful of that. Yet as a writer it’s interesting to speculate how some of the songs would sound with different instruments and a different approach.  Songs to me are living and breathing entities and, in my head, they’re constantly changing and evolving.  I’d always wanted to play with a double bassist, and recently I’d jammed with Rene Hart at a David Amram gig.

  He comes much more from a Jazz and Improv world, so I asked him first.  I’d been very impressed with the piano playing and arranging of Coty Cockrell when he worked on my Hard Times musical, so I approached him.  I’d always admired Deni Bonet on violin.  She’s played with so many artists and we got talking at the Kansas City Irish Festival when she was playing with Mundy (the Irish superstar).  And I wouldn’t have felt right without inviting my long-tme  drummer, Thomas Hamlin.  We’ve played together in so many bands previous to Black 47.  So, it should be an exciting gig and it is St. Patrick’s Night which always promises surprises.

3. I heard there will be lots of laughs and improvisation during the show. 

Every show I’m involved with has lots of merriment.  I always keep things loose onstage.  That’s what Rock & Roll is about.

Throw together some good songs and let the musicians knock sparks off each other.  Music is there for the making, you just have to let the spirit loose.

4. Apart from the usual St Patrick’s excitement, this is going to be interesting as it marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 uprising in Dublin. Sounds like it’s going to be a poignant event.

WB Yeats said that “poetry should be as cold and passionate as the dawn.”  I always try to follow that rule.  So, if there is poignancy, it has to be balanced with power and purpose.  Along with songs about James Connolly and Michael Collins (both leading figures in the 1916 Uprising) – I’ll also be introducing a new song, Sean MacDiarmada, about Sean McDermott the real initiator of the rebellion.  But then Black 47 always kept the Spirit of 1916 going – we didn’t have to wait for any convenient centenary commemoration.  That spirit is strong and as long as I perform it will always be celebrated.

5. Your artistry extends to writing and you have your own show on Sirius XM. How do you keep it all together, to give generously to your listeners and still maintain your multi-media expertise?

Well, I rarely watch television or spend much time on the internet, and I’m not a big sleeper.  But I also find that if you work on interesting projects you gain energy by moving from one to the other.  With Celtic Crush on SiriusXM I basically improv, play my favorite artists, and talk about whatever comes to mind for three hours.  That’s exhilarating and is like doing a long gig.  I get amazing feedback from the many listeners around the US and Canada, so that really helps.  I’ve always worked as a playwright and novelist while playing with Black 47, so I’ve always had a couple of projects going while on the road.  I’m currently working on a score for a documentary, though, that is really kicking my butt as I have to learn a new recording system at the same time.  My big regret is that I’ve had to put aside a new musical I’m writing about Iraq until after March 17th.  But maybe the break will help.

6. Your son Rory K is also joining you on stage. He is doing an interesting solo career as an emerging hip-hop artist! I know his music and I am one of his avid followers.You must be a proud dad.

Frankly, I’m amazed at his facility with words.  He has a great feel for the sound, rhythm, and meaning.  That goes for a lot of hip-hop artists.  Yeah, sure I’m proud of him, particularly since he did it himself without any help from me.  I didn’t even know about that side of him for a long time.  He turns me on to really interesting artists like Fetty Wap. I also like the fact that he has a steady job and is doing well at that too.  My major advice to anyone going into the music world is get a skill that will net you a couple of hundred bucks a day.  I didn’t take that route and it was a hard road that brought you face to face with real financial stress.  I give him what advice I can but in the end each artist has to find their own way.

7. There will be stand up comedy during the show right?

Yes, my old friend and comrade, John McDonagh of WBAI will be presenting a small piece of his highly acclaimed show, Cabtivist, as well as acting as MC for the night.  So, in many ways it’s a gathering of the clans.  It will be a fun show.

8. Will this St Patrick’s eve going to be the brand New Larry Kirwan with new music along the way?

I’ve actually written a dozen new songs for the IRAQ musical – so most of my songwriting energy has gone into that.  I will be doing a couple of new songs especially for the show though.  I’m also reworking David Bowie’s Heroes to transpose it from Berlin to Belfast – from one wall to another.  David was a big influence on so many of us.  I was lucky enough to have a long conversation with him one night about music, Berlin, Belfast, and life in general.  He was a very inspiring person.  He loved innovation and I think he would have liked this new take on Heroes.  I guess that’s one of the themes of this coming show – what happens to songs when you look at them in a different perspective?

9. What else can people expect coming to the show?

Well, Chris Byrne, the co-founder of Black 47 will be joining me on stage.  That’s always special for me.  Something happens when we perform together.

 It was like that right from the start back in 1989.  Sparks fly and there’s a joy and purpose in the air.  He’ll also do an opening set with his Urban/Traditional band, Lost Tribe of Donegal.  And another old collaborator, David Amram, will be joining me.  David is an amazing musician and perhaps the last living member of the Beats – he and his friend Jack Kerouac began the whole Poetry/Jazz thing.  He’ll be bringing down his French Horn, whistles and hand drum.  My brothers and sisters from the Lia Fail Pipes and Drums from Mercer County, NJ will perform.  It’s always a thrill to have them present.  They’re excellent and always get the crowd going.  And there’ll be surprise guests.  It will be a night to remember.

For everyone’s benefit please read this press release:

Larry Kirwan and Friends
A St Patrick’s Day Celebration with the former leader of Black 47 
At BB Kings NYC March 17th Showtime 7:00pm sharp!
 
Larry Kirwan, leader of Irish American rock band, Black 47 for 25 years, will return to BB King’s on St. Patrick’s Day.  He will front a new band formed specially for the evening comprising of Coty Cockrell (Hard Times/Dance Theatre of Harlem) on piano, Rene Hart (Branford Marsalis/Mark Ronson) on double bass and Thomas Hamlin (Black 47) on drums.  They will perform new songs and reinterpret Kirwan’s Black 47 uproarious classics, numbers from his critically acclaimed musical, Hard Times, and as befits a Kirwan show, lots of improvisation, social agitation, and hilarity.
 
Along with the festivities the event will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Uprising in Dublin with such favorites as James Connolly and The Big Fellah, and a new song about the driving force behind the rebellion, the enigmatic, Sean MacDiarmada!
 
Kirwan is host of Celtic Crush on SiriusXM, writes a bi-weekly column for The Irish Echo and is President of Irish American Writers & Artists association.  A renowned playwright, novelist and political activist, surprise guests from all these worlds will make appearances.  He will be joined onstage by co-founder of Black 47, Chris Byrne, whose band, The Lost Tribe of Donegal, will also perform a set of their Urban/Traditional Irish songs.
 
Kirwan’s son, Rory K, an emerging Hip-Hop Artist, will hit the stage with Kirwan, after performing a set of his high-energy, youthful anthems.  He will be releasing his second CD, ‘Young Professionals’, at the show.
 
Long time NYC yellow cab driver, activist and standup comedian, John McDonagh will perform a short excerpt from his sold-out show, Cabtivist.  Host of Radio Free Eireann and Talk Back on WBAI-FM, McDonagh will MC the festivities.  Lia Fáil Pipes and Drums, from Mercer County, NJ, will begin the evening with their traditional march through the audience.  Get there early.  There will be Kilts and pipes a swirling!
 
This is an All Ages Show designed to keep the party going after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.   Doors at 6pm, Show at 7pm sharp!
Tickets:

Big thanks to my friend Anita Daly for arranging this interview!

Nóirín Ní Riain is One of Ireland’s Finest!

Nóirín Ní Riain is One of Ireland’s Finest!

While it is a joy to ponder on how Celtic music continues to be a force of nature due to the internet, it is also worth pausing and looking back at the artists who paved the way for the new generation of Irish singers, composers and performers. Big thanks to Caitlin Grey for tweeting about musical artist Noirin Ni Riain. I heard her Celtic Soul  album from 1996 outside newyears ago and it is a special album as it introduced me to her body of work. Her style is unique as it preserves the essence of Irish spirituality that continues to fascinate listeners. It is the kind of sound that placed Ireland in the musical map. Mainly because it is a sound that can only come from that place  in the Atlantic.It is a joy to know she continues to record music!

Hearth Sounds is her new album released around 2014. More about the album:

Ancient Songs from Ireland and the World

This is my second album with her sons Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin. We have been singing and performing with her for almost a decade now. This album, recorded in Glenstal Abbey, Morroe, County Limerick is a great album mixing Irish language chant, with medieval Gregorian chant and some english language hymns. There is a sound we make as a mother and two sons; something happens organically for people when they listen to us. We’re aware of it ourselves too. Somehow, they’re in the same moment as I am when we sing these songs. I taught them to them, sang to them an awful lot when they were in the womb.

Listen to the samples here: http://www.theosony.com/music/hearth-sounds/

In the meantime, enjoy the links to her youtube music:

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

If traditional-based Irish music needs a wake up alarm then leave it to the members of Na Fianna. Their energy is punk-like but they owe most of their aesthetics Irish music like the ballads of Christy Moore and the melodic wonder of The Clancy Bothers and Dropkick Murphys. They play lively tunes that are so catchy Thin Lizzy will be proud of them. 11223581_10155793250160504_1664260918107804656_n

I became familiar with the band’s name after browsing Reddit and see them trending under ‘Celtic’ category. But even though the musical identity of Na Fianna is distinct, their sentiments are inclusive and that makes their music universal.

Still not convinced? Go ahead and listen to their new single via YouTube and you will know what I mean:

 

There are four people in the band comprising of:

Hugh Finn: Banjo & Vocals

Ciaran Finn: Guitar & Vocals

Peter McMahon: Percussion & Vocals

James O’Connor: Accordian & Vocals

Unearth is the new album and it has twelve songs. There are traditional songs that are familiar like Step it Out Mary, Star Of County Down, The Lakes Of Pontchartrain and more. Fans of Christy Moore and Luka Bloom will love both this album and these four lads. Check out the EPK below: