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Notes from Celtic Airs
with your host Steve Dieterich
May/June 2005

  As I write this article in mid-January, I think forward to the Spring Marathon, our major fundraiser of the year. I know that the very loyal and dedicated listeners who have been answering phones during my show for the last five years will be back in force. I'm hopeful that an ever-increasing number of those of you listening at home will respond to my call for your financial support. Your faithful and generous acceptance of the responsibility to "keep us on the air" never ceases to amaze me. Though I suspect none of the show hosts truly enjoy our week of fundraising, your pledges and comments certainly raise our spirits and gladden our hearts! Ten years ago, I stumbled upon a more pleasant way to raise funds for WWUH…benefit concerts featuring the talented musicians heard each week on "Celtic Airs". I never expected this "hobby" would be so successful and long running! It's very gratifying to see you come out to enjoy and support these dedicated artists. They are truly appreciative of your attention.

  To start your St. Patrick's Day celebration a little early, I recommend attendance at the March 16th Karan Casey concert in the Wilde Auditorium. Karan will be joined by concertina virtuoso (and husband) Niall Vallely, guitar wizard (and funny man) Robbie Overson and the very talented multi-instrumentalist Paul Meehan (bouzouki/ guitar/ banjo/mandolin). We were first introduced to Karan as the original vocalist for Solas, a position she filled for over four years. Her first solo album Songlines (1997) was released while she was still a member of the band. Her departure from this talented ensemble was hastened by a major life change - Motherhood! Two more solo albums have followed Songlines, The Wind Begins to Sing (2001) and Distant Shore (2003), both widely praised. Whether it's a traditional or contemporary song, sung in English or Irish, it's Karan's voice that is the most striking aspect of her performances. The Associated Press says, "she has a voice so beautiful, it's almost impossible to avoid falling under her spell." The venerable Wall Street Journal says "Karan Casey is one of the true glories of Irish music today." She's twice been voted Irish Music Magazine's Best Female Traditional/ Folk vocalist. I hope you'll come to see how well deserved this praise and recognition is when the Karan Casey Band returns to the University of Hartford March 16th at 7:30 PM.

   Flook will appear in the Wilde Auditorium April 22nd at 7:30 PM. This Anglo-Irish quartet was a surprise hit with the audience during their only previous engagement here on May 2nd, 2003.The media have responded with critical acclaim as well. "Flook is a sensational live act…in the front rank of the innovators." (Rough Guide to Irish Music) "They present a multi-layered, rhythmically sophisticated and meltingly beautiful performance." (Glasgow Sunday Herald) "Never have I seen so many people so completely and utterly spellbound… the most magical of experiences." (The Irish Post) Flook is a quartet composed of two Irish and two English musicians, all masters of their craft. John Joe Kelly (bodhran) is a living legend after winning an amazing EIGHT All-Ireland titles! Brian Finnegan (flute/whistle) is equally renowned with four All-Ireland's to his credit. Londoner Sarah Allen (flute/ accordion) was a member of the immensely popular band Barely Works for five years. While living in Manchester (England), Ed Boyd discovered Irish traditional music. He has since become a highly sought out guitarist know for his great taste and subtlety. The band has recorded three excellent albums, Flatfish (1997), Live Flook (1999) and Rubai (2002). They've been in the studio between live engagements working on a fourth masterpiece, and I suspect we'll get a chance to audition tracks from that work in progress during the show here. "Flook is sheer musical magic." (The Scotsman) How can you afford to pass that up!?! Get thyself to the Flook concert Friday April 22nd for a great night of music!!

   Tickets for all Celtic Airs/ WWUH concerts go on sale two months before the performance date through the University of Hartford box office, open 10:00 AM- 6:00PM Mon.-Fri. Call 1-800-274-8587 or 860-768-4228. You can purchase on line at any time by going to hartford.edu/hartt.

   Celtic Airs can be heard every Tuesday morning 6:00-9:00 AM as part of the WWUH "FM On Toast" line-up of folk/roots music that airs Sunday to Friday in this same time slot. If you're already a listener, thanks for your ongoing support. If you've yet to give it a try, I urge you to tune in next Tuesday!

Copyright © WWUH: March/April Program Guide, 2005

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