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Notes from Celtic Airs
January / February 2007
by Steve Dieterich

  The Celtic Concert Series enters 2007 with lots of wonderful talent already under contract for your listening and viewing pleasure! We'll offer some old favorites; Dervish (3/10), Danu (3/23), Craobh Rua (5/5), Julee Glaub/Little Windows with Jerry O'Sullivan (10/26) AND we'll introduce you to some fresh new acts as well; Back of the Moon (1/19), Buille (2/16), The Emily Smith Band (4/20), Muireann Nic Amlaoibh (6/8) , Bodega (7/6) , Cara (8/10-tentative) and Give Way (9/21).

  Your support of the concert series over the past 12+ years is much appreciated, but NOT taken for granted!! We need your continued attendance to insure the profitability of the concerts. Please consider introducing some friends and relatives to the pleasures of a live performance of Irish/Scottish traditional music at the University of Hartford. The Wilde and Millard Auditoriums provide excellent sound and visibility AND parking is free!
  The success of the Celtic Airs Concert Series is in large part due to your enthusiastic encouragement of the visiting artists. Your reputation is known far and wide among the musicians; they all look forward to performing here and are very grateful for all we do for them. I'll do my best to continue to arrange talented acts that will provide you good value for your ticket price, if you'll continue to do your part by filling the seats. This joint effort is essential!!

            The traditional Scottish quartet Back of the Moon will open the 2007 season with a concert in the Wilde Auditorium on January 19th. Founding member Gillian Frame won the prestigious Young Scottish Traditional Musician Award in 2001. A mere four years later, the band was voted Best Folk Band in the 2005 Scots Trad Music Awards! Though this is their first visit to our concert series, they’ve toured extensively in the U.K., Europe, Canada and America.
            Gillian Frame (fiddle, vocals) is from the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland. The band's debut album, released in 2001, was a part of her prize for winning the inaugural Young Scottish Traditional Musician Award that year.
            The band's second album: Fortunes Road was released in the summer of 2003 at about the same time that they were voted the Best Celtic Band at the Lorient International Celtic Festival, a prestigious award won previously by Danu and Capercaillie. Their third and most recent album; Luminosity, released in 2005, received four star reviews from The Herald and The Scotsman newspapers.
            Ali Hutton (pipes, whistles, bodhran) is from Perthshire. He is a multi-talented musician who was tutored by Brian McNeill, one of the original members of the Battlefield Band. He has toured extensively as a member of some prize winning pipe bands and with a variety of acoustic ensembles.
            Brothers Findlay (guitar, vocals) and Hamish (piano, flute, whistles, vocals) Napier are from Strathspey in the Scottish Highlands. Findlay was one of the eight finalists in the 2002 Young Scottish Traditional Musician Awards. Hamish reached this same lofty position in the 2006 contest and in 2005 he was a finalist in the All Ireland whistle competition! In a 2006 review, commenting on his vocal talents, The Scotsman declared that Findlay was emerging as a truly awesome talent.
            Colin Hynd, Director of Glasgow's famous Celtic Connections Festival, stated that Back of the Moon is leading the next generation of Scottish traditional bands.; I think you'll be equally impressed if you come out to see this talented ensemble on January 19th in the Wilde Auditorium.

            On February 16th, Buille (pronounced bwee-luh, meaning "beat" in Irish), an Irish trio, will make their debut in the Celtic Airs Concert Series. You may recognize some familiar faces in the lineup as founder Niall Vallely (concertina, whistles) has performed here as a member of Nomos and the Karan Casey Band and Paul Meehan (guitar) has previously appeared here with Dorsa, The Karan Casey Band and most recently as the newest member of Lunasa. The band’s third member Caoimhin Vallely (keyboards) is the younger brother of Niall and Cillian (Lunasa's piper)
            The renowned Vallely clan comes from Armagh, North Ireland. The talented brothers parents, Brian and Eithne, founded the famous Armagh Piper's Club.
            Niall moved to Cork in 1988 to attend University College Cork (UCC) and in 1990 founded Nomos, a band that went on to gain international acclaim. The band split up in 2000 whereupon Niall married ex-Solas vocalist Karan Casey and became a member of her band. He also found time to release a solo album “Beyond Words” in 1999 and a duet album Callan Bridge with Cillian in 2003.
            Caoimhin (Kevin) began his musical education on whistle at The Piper Club then took up the fiddle and piano. He too went on to UCC then obtained a Masters degree in Traditional Music Performance at the University of Limerick. During his days at UCC, Caoimhin, like Niall before him, founded a traditional band, North Cregg, and recorded three albums with them; he recently completed his first solo album Strayaway.
            Paul Meehan learned his traditional Irish music in Manchester, England amidst the flourishing scene that also produced Michael McGoldrick and Dezi Donnelly. His family returned to Armagh while Paul was in his teens where he soon became a rising star on banjo and guitar. Paul was drawn to the thriving music scene in Cork where he met Caoimhin and became a member of North Cregg. From there, he moved on to join Dorsa then met Niall and joined The Karan Casey Band. His guitar skills were well known among Irish traditional musicians and in early 2006, he was asked to replace Donogh Hennessy in the Lunasa lineup.
            Together, the talented members of Buille are as fresh a breath that's blown through traditional and roots circles in a long, long time said The Irish Times. I believe you'll truly enjoy the music of Buille and look forward to introducing them to you both on air and in their live performance February 16th in the Wilde Auditorium.

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  Tickets for the Celtic Airs Concert Series are available only from the University of Hartford box office. Call them at 1-800-274-8587 or 1-860-768-4228, or contact them online at hartford.edu/hartt. Tickets for each concert go on sale two months before the concert date.

  Please tune in to Celtic Airs every Tuesday morning from 6:00am - 9:00am on WWUH, 91.3 FM for traditional Celtic music. Tell a friend or relative who has never enjoyed Celtic traditional music to give it a try too! You'll hear the newest releases, and plenty of your old favorites. I look forward to visiting with you every Tuesday morning and hope that I've become a happy part of your Tuesday morning routine. Thanks for listening. Hope to see you at one of our concerts soon!

WWUH: Program Guide 2007 ©

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