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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
With your host Steve Dieterich Jan/Feb 1999

    Our fall fundraiser was a great success. As I’m sure our general manager has told you elsewhere in this issue, we surpassed our goal of $20,000, receiving pledges totaling more than $26,000! Your loyalty and generosity never ceases to amaze us! I want to say a special thanks to the 93 callers to Celtic Airs who pledged more than $3,200. I will repay you.
    The Celtic concert series continues to be a great success. You, the audience, are gaining a reputation as one of the finest, most attentive and supportive audiences in the US. This renown has spread among the Celtic musicians who tour the US. Those who have been here, want to return. Those who haven’t want their agents to book them here.
    On Friday, January 22, 1999, you’ll have the unique opportunity to see Lunasa, "One of the most important traditional bands to emerge from Ireland in a long time," says Irish Music Magazine. After their performance at the Port Fairy Festival in Australia, the Sydney Herald labeled them "the most exciting live band from Ireland that we’ve seen." The band first came together in Matt Molloy’s pub in Westport, Co. Mayo in late 1997 and the establishment’s illustrious proprietor was moved to say "they remind me of a band I used to play in." (The Bothy Band)
    Lunasa are not the newcomers they might appear to be. These five excellent, creative, imaginative musicians have for years been the backbone of many great Irish groups. Now, they push their own considerable talents to the fore as an ensemble of "killer" individual stylists functioning as an electrifying team.
    The band is comprised of three melody instrumentalists, Sean Smith (fiddle, whistle), Michael McGoldrick (flute, whistle, uillean pipes) and John McSherry (uillean pipes, low whistle) backed by a powerhouse rhythm section of Trevor Hutchinson (double bass) and Donogh Hennessey (guitar). All are in great demand when not playing with Lunasa and their past associations are most impressive.
    Sean Smith has a successful solo career and has played with Altan, the Chieftains the Sharon Shannon Band, and at times, the unique flute trio Flook!
    John McSherry has in recent years been the number one session piper in Ireland. In addition to his Belfast based band Tamalin, he’s currently a member of Donal Lunny’s latest group, Coolfin.
    Trevor Hutchinson came to prominence during five years with the Waterboys. When the band broke up, he joined the group’s newest member, accordionist Sharon Shannon, to found her band which has become immensely popular and successful.
    Donogh Hennessey is also a current and longtime member of the Sharon Shannon Band. Prior to this association, he played with Altan, Donal Lunny, Luka Bloom and other luminaries of the Irish traditional music scene.
    This is a rare opportunity to be among the first in America to see a band that’s all the rage in Ireland, Europe and Australia as Lunasa launch their first US tour January 22, 1999, here in the Wilde Auditorium. Don’t miss them!
    Coming up later in 1999, as part of our Celtic concert series, you can see the amazing Sligo based quintet Dervish on March 12, 1999. On May 2, 1999, one of Scotland’s most respected and most loved traditional groups, The Battlefield Band, will visit the Wilde Auditorium for the first time. And as a last minute addition you can see Cherish the Ladies on February 26, 1999.
    Tickets for all these shows are currently on sale through the University box office, 1-800-274-8587 or 860-768-4228. Don’t delay though, with talent like this, early sell-outs are an almost certainty.
    Thanks for your continued support of Celtic Airs, the Celtic concert series and WWUH. I look forward to meeting and talking to many of you in the months to come. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Copyright©WWUH: January/February Program Guide, 1999

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