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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
With your host Steve Dieterich March/April 2002

Thanks to all of you who made this year's Marathon so successful. It was really great to hear from all of my loyal supporters during my fund-raising shift on 2/26/02.
The Celtic concert series is another source of revenue for WWUH as well as another opportunity for us to entertain you. It also gives you the chance to enjoy the artists you hear on CD in person, an altogether different and exciting way to experience the music you love.
Though we've presented more that 60 concerts now since the series began in August 1994, and have developed a mailing list of over 1500 households, I'm always amazed at the number of new individuals who add their names to our mailing list each concert. If you've never attended one of our concerts, I'd encourage you to do so!!
The first two concerts of the '02 series were sell-outs and I expect that trend to continue. The venue (Wilde Auditorium) is small and intimate and the number of prospective ticket buyers is considerable and increasing. With the high caliber of artists we've lined up for the remainder of the year, you'd be advised to order your tickets early when they go on sale about two months before each event.
The first two concerts of the '02 series were sell-outs and I expect that trend to continue. Our guest artists on 3/15/02 will be Providence, an Irish quintet that came together two years ago and are making their first tour of America this "St. Patrick's Day season." They are a traditional band presenting a fine blend of songs (in English and Irish) and tunes. After two years of touring, they're a cohesive unit with a faithful and enthusiastic fan base in Ireland and further a field. Various writers have likened them to "the Bothy Band with a Nomos flavor" (due to their use of concertina) or "a band reminiscent of Planxty due to the twang of their bouzouki and guitar." Ultimately, they are a band that frustrates comparison and classification, with a blend of concertina, fiddle and flute that's unique in Irish traditional music today.
Joan McDermott from Co. Wexford is the group's vocalist. If she ever lacks for songs, her day job in Dublin's Irish Traditional Music Archive offers a well that will never dry up. In reality however, she says most of her songs are learned in sessions and at festivals.
Clodagh Boylan from Co. Derry is the band's fiddler and is also a physician (ala Sean Smyth, fiddler for Lunasa) who completed her internship just before joining Providence.
All Ireland flute and whistle champion John Wynne from Co. Roscommon has recently released a well-received solo CD With Every Breath.
Michael O'Raghallaigh from Co. Meath is the band's concertina and accordion player. He too has a solo CD; The Nervous Man just released 1/02.
Paul Doyle, the band's bouzouki and guitar player is Dublin based. He's a former member of Arcady and The Sean Keane Band, and has also accompanied Martin Hayes on his Irish tours. "These are world-class musicians the lot of them", says Altan's leader Mairead Ni Mooney. Come to see for yourself when Providence make a stop at the University of Hartford's Wilde Auditorium 3/15/02 as part of their debut tour of the U.S.
On April 16th, we're extremely fortunate to be able to present Kate Rusby. Venues all over America have been vying for the opportunity to present one of the UK's most acclaimed traditional artists. Due to fear of flying, Kate's US tours are few and far between.
Kate was voted "Best Female Folk Artist" of 1999 by Irish Music Magazine and "Folk Singer of the Year 2000" by the BBC. She will be joined by multi-instrumentalist John McCusker, ex-Battlefield Band member, and now Kate's husband, and Andy Cutting on accordion.
Kate is first and foremost a folk singer. She's heard her parents sing these dramatic "folk stories" since she was a toddler. She spent her childhood at folk festivals and was playing fiddle and singing harmony vocals in her parent's band at 12 when her schoolmates were more likely to be listening to Bonjovi on a Walkman. At 15 she took up the guitar and was on her way to a career in folk music.
Her first recording was done with childhood friend Kathryn Roberts and was voted Album of the Year by Folk Roots magazine. The two then joined the Lakeman Brothers to form The Equation. Kate left the band when the others decided to pursue a pop music career. She then joined The Poozies and recorded one album with them, Infinite Blue, in 1999. After a year touring with The Poozies, she decided to strike out on her own as a solo artist. Since then she's recorded three albums, Hourglass, Sleepless and Little Lights, each more highly acclaimed than the previous. She also has a budding career as a songwriter. As you might expect, her songs are so traditional in character that they're often mistaken for newly discovered songs from the archives.
In 2001, Kate was voted number 4 in a BBC poll to select the top ten Folk Voices of the Century, just behind Sandy Denny, June Tabor and Martin Carthy. She was followed by Joan Baez, Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan, Maddy Prior, Ewan MacColl and Christy Moore. Fast company indeed!!
Kate also has a great stage presence despite her diminutive stature. With a droll, often deadpan wit, she intersperses her splendid singing with charming anecdotes, impish asides and a series of hilariously surreal tales of life in her native Yorkshire.
This is a rare opportunity to see an equally rare talent ply her trade in your own backyard. Be sure you don't miss what promises to be a terrific night of music and song.
There are other concerts planned for '02 in the Celtic Airs series including Cathie Ryan on 5/16, Craobh Rua on 6/22 and Danu 9/20. I'm also in negotiations to bring Dervish and Lunasa back to Hartford this summer.
Tickets to these shows go on sale about two months before the performance date. The Wilde Auditorium only seats 200, so the competition can be fierce! The University Box office handles all ticket sales. You can reach them at 1-800-274-8587 or 1-860-768-4228 Mon-Fri, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM.
Thanks so much for your ongoing support of Celtic Airs, the concert series and WWUH. Your kind words and generous financial donations are much appreciated.

Copyright©WWUH: March/April Program Guide, 2002

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