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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
With your host Steve Dieterich March/April 2000

   Celtic Airs and WWUH have an exciting line-up of concerts to offer this year. The initial concert of the 2000 series featured Cathie Ryan’s band on February 11. The show was a great success, enjoyed by all in attendance, audience and artists included.
The current schedule is as follows:

March 8: Anam (Irish and Scottish)
March 31: Old Blind Dogs (Scottish)
April 28: Josephine Marsh Band (Irish)
May 17: Karan Casey Band (Irish)
June 8/9: Dervish (Irish)
??August 3/4: Lunasa (Irish)
October 6: Beginish (Irish)

    All shows begin at 7:30 pm and all take place in the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium except for the Dervish concerts that are in the Millard Auditorium.
    Tickets for shows through June went on sale at the University box office on January 3, 2000. Order yours by calling 1-800-274-8587 or 860-768-4228 soon! Many of these shows will sell out well in advance.
    I’m also negotiating to add shows featuring Solas, Danu, The Tannahill Weavers and Kornog over the course of the year. I’ll let you know as additional confirmed dates are added. If you’re not already on our mailing list, add your name now by using the coupon on this page.
    A thumbnail sketch of the artists who will be performing in this year’s series follows – some are new to your, others perhaps familiar from previous appearances here.
    Anam are a Pan-Celtic quintet featuring two members from Ireland, two members from Scotland and one member from Cornwall. Their fourth album Riptide released by Green Linnet in 1999, received critical acclaim. They plan to release a fifth album, Tine Gheal, coincident with this tour.
    The end of March will give us the opportunity to meet the new Old Blind Dogs line-up s they make their first US tour. Former lead vocalist Ian Benzies has been replaced by Jim Malcolm, Paul Jennings replaces Davy Cattanach on percussion and Rory Campbell replaces Fraser Fifield on pipes and whistles. Founding members Jonny Hardie (fiddle and mandolin) and Buzby MacMillan (bass and cittern) remain. This line-up produced the group’s sixth album, a wonderful CD called The World’s Room, released in October 1999.
    Josephine Marsh follows in the footsteps of another Ennis, Co. Clare accordion player, Sharon Shannon. Backed by a four piece acoustic band including vocalist, the quintet presents an excellent blend of traditional instrumentals and songs. Her debut album received honorable mention in the new artist category form Irish Music Magazine in their 1998 awards issue. Though she has toured the US in support of Niamh Parsons, this will be her first American tour as the headliner.
    Karan Casey is probably well known to your as the (ex) lead vocalist for Solas. Fresh on the heels of the birth of her first child, (February,"00), she’ll be touring the US backed by a trio lead by Niall Vallely. Perhaps the most acclaimed traditional concertina player in the world today, Niall is also the founding member of the band Nomos.
    Dervish return to the University of Hartford for the fourth year in a row. Undoubtedly the number one Irish traditional band in the world today, they now perform as a septet. Years of constant touring have made them a remarkable group to see in concert. Their latest CD Midsummer’s Night, released in Ireland in July 1999, is due for US release coincident with this tour. Having heard it already, I can tell you, without reservation, that it’s another amazing album of traditional music and song.
    We’ve had the pleasure of presenting Lunasa on both of their previous US tours. They’ve become the "monsters" among the Irish traditional bands touring the world today. Their second album, Otherworld was released in July 1999 and has received rave reviews from a wide variety of critics. We hope to have them back during their summer tour, between the big festivals they are playing in the US and Canada.
    Beginish is a wonderful collection of Irish traditional musicians led by vocalist/accordion player Brendan Begley from Ballydavid on the Dingle Peninsula. The band also includes fiddler Paul O’Shaugnessey (ex-member of Altan), Paul McBratton on flute and bouzouki player Noel O’Grady.
    Please avail yourself of the rare opportunity to see these fine Celtic traditional musicians live in the intimate setting and excellent acoustics of the Wilde Auditorium. Each concert promises to be a memorable event. As always, proceeds from these concerts benefit programming at WWUH radio. We look forward to seeing you there!!
    Keep listening to Celtic Airs, Tuesday mornings, 6:00 am to 9:00 am, for details on these and additional concerts. You’ll also hear a wide range of Celtic traditional music, from old favorites to the latest releases, often before they are available in the US.
    And don’t forget Marathon, scheduled for March 5 – 12. I’ll be waiting for your pledge of support to Celtic Airs and WWUH that Tuesday. In addition to receiving another year of fine Celtic programming, we will have a large selection of Celtic CD’s that day as a thank you’ for your fulfilled pledges.

Stay tuned: the fun has just begun!

Copyright©WWUH: March/April Program Guide, 2000

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