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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
With your host Steve Dieterich January/February 2009

We move into a new year with three new groups to introduce in the Celtic Airs concert series, The Outside Track 1/9/09, The Tony DeMarco Trio 1/30/09 and Liadan 2/27/09.
            The Outside Track comprises a diverse multi-national quintet of Celtic musicians who come from Ireland, Scotland, England and Canada. Though very young (average age under 25!!) they’re extremely talented with credentials many veteran bands would envy! They effectively combine flute, harp, fiddle, accordion and guitar with lively five-part vocal harmonies in a performance that’s expressive and energetic.
            Ailie Robertson (harp) is from Edinburgh and has a passion for the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland. She’s already won The National Mod Gold Medal (Scotland’s equivalent of an “All-Ireland” championship) for harp four times!
            Norah Rendell (flute, whistle, lead vocals) is from Vancouver, BC, now lives in Minneapolis and when home, not touring with The Outside Track, performs with Paddy O’Brien’s Doon Ceili Band. She received her MA in traditional music from the Irish World Academy of music at the University of Limerick, majoring in flute and singing.
            Fiona Black (accordion and fiddle) is from the Scottish Highlands. After two years of training at the National Center For Excellence, she has moved on to the University of Limerick to pursue her degree in Irish Music and Dance AND to learn to speak both Irish and Scots Gaelic!
            Laura MacColl (fiddle) won the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2005. This talented fiddler was largely self taught in her early years then honed her skills at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance (RSAMD).
            Alan Jordan (guitar and vocals) is the only male member of The Outside Track and their only Irish native, hailing from County Mayo. He’s now in his third year of school at the Irish Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, polishing his talents on flute and whistle!
            Our guest on 1/30/09 is the well known Sligo-style fiddler Tony DeMarco, a stalwart of the NYC session scene for over 30 years. He recently released his first solo album, “The Sligo Indian” on the Smithsonian Folkways label. When not playing fiddle, Tony is a coffee trader at the New York Board of Trade. Though his surname is most definitely Italian, Tony’s maternal grandfather was the son of Irish immigrants. Tony grew up in East Flatbush, a Catholic stronghold of both Irish and Italians. He began playing fiddle as a senior in high school and was inspired by a young Kevin Burke who he met at New York’s Irish Arts Center. In 1975, he met fiddler Paddy Reynolds who became his mentor. He made his first trip to Ireland in 1976 and on returning to NYC, became an active member of the session crowd and still leads the longest continuously running session on Thursday nights at Paddy O’Reilly’s.
            Tony will be accompanied by Ivan Goff and Ryan McGiver on this night. Ivan (uillean pipes, flute, whistles) is from Dublin. While living in America, he has performed extended engagements with Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. When his schedule allows, he has done short stints with Dervish, Lunasa and Teada as well. He’s also busy pursuing a PhD in music at NYU!
            Upstate New York born singer and guitarist Ryan McGiver is a sought after traditional Irish music accompanist on both sides of the Atlantic. He began playing guitar at age twelve and his early influences were primarily country music. Somehow he became exposed to and fell in love with Irish jigs and reels! The traditional music so inspired him that he took up the uillean pipes at age sixteen and developed his technique more fully after moving to Ireland at age twenty to study literature at the National University in Galway.
            February 27th, 2009 affords me an opportunity to present yet another new band to our concert audience, an all-female sextet from Ireland called Liadan. Liadan, a 9th century Celtic poetess personifies feminine strength through the medium of her art. Each band member of Liadan shines both instrumentally and vocally and together their live stage presence exudes a robust energy. Their mesmerizing singing and creative instrumentals have been captivating audiences in Europe, Ireland and America since 2004.
            Liadan was voted Best Live Band at the 2005 “L’Orient Interceltic Festival” and Best Vocal Group at the “International Pan-Celtic Festival” later that same year. Their debut CD, released in 2006, caught the attention of the Chieftains and they were invited to open for “The Chiefs” on a tour of America and Japan in 2007.
            Band members include Valerie Casey (fiddle, vocals) from East Limerick who has an MA in Irish traditional music from the University of Limerick as do ALL  the members of this very talented ensemble. Deirdre Chawke (accordion, fiddle) is a three time All Ireland winner in solo, ensemble and band competitions. Elaine Cormican (vocals, whistles) was the lead singer for the Cork-based traditional band North Cregg before joining Liadan. In her younger days she won ten All Ireland titles on the Junior level.
            Sile Denvir (harp, vocals) was born and raised in the Connemara Gaeltacht where Irish was her primary language for many years. It was there she also developed a talent for Sean Nos (unaccompanied) singing. She learned to play harp from Kathleen Loughnane of Dordan. Clair Dolan (fiddle) hails from Gortmore, East Galway. After receiving her MA, she toured extensively with Lord of the Dance. Rounding out this stellar line up is Dubliner Sarah Jane Woods (flute). She developed her talents on flute with Michael Tubridy, a former member of the Chieftains, and in 2000 won the All Ireland Senior flute title.
            Earle Hitchner of The Irish Echo said that “with their well executed vocals and impressive instrumental chops, Liadan have the élan to become the next major global force in Irish traditional music.” I urge you to experience this unique, talented band of young women here at the University of Hartford. Look out Cherish the Ladies, there’s a “new kid in town.”!!
            Please help us celebrate the 15th year of the Celtic Concert series by attending as many concerts as time and dollars permit in 2009! Tickets are only available through the University of Hartford box office, open 10AM-6PM, Monday –Friday. Tickets go on sale two months before the concert date. Call 1-800-274-8587 or 768-4228 or purchase on line at www.hartford.edu/hartt.
            Celtic Airs is broadcast every Tuesday, 6:00-9:00AM on WWUH, 91.3 FM

            Thanks for your loyal support and encouragement.

 

Copyright©WWUH: January/February Program Guide, 2009

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