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Notes from Celtic Airs
March / April 2007
by Steve Dieterich

  Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir, but did you know that WWUH is a commercial free source of alternative music in the Greater Hartford area? Our commercial free status is possible ONLY because we're listener supported and volunteer staffed. I am only one of many volunteers who do our part each week to keep WWUH on the air 24 hours a day. You, the listeners had your chance to shine during Marathon, our major fundraiser of the year. As always, you came through in a big way. Thanks very much!!
  Our Celtic Concert Series is another fundraiser for WWUH. Proceeds from these concerts have made it possible for us to keep our fundraising goals relatively steady in recent years. Please continue to support these wonderful musicians and your favorite radio station!
  As always, March is "St. Patrick's Month" with more Irish bands performing in area venues than you ever knew existed! We've got two of the very best lined up for your listening and viewing pleasure, Dervish on March 10th in the Millard Auditorium, and Danu March 23rd in the Wilde Auditorium.

  If you've been listening to Celtic Airs for a few years, you probably know that in 1993, I was the first to play Dervish over American airwaves. A year later, they appeared in the Wilde Auditorium during their first American tour. They tell me this is still one of their favorite places to play in the whole world and they try to return every year. Due to a major snow storm on 3/2/06 that closed the University of Hartford on the day Dervish was last to perform here, we've not seen them for about two years now!
  Those of you who have read this far into my article are probably very familiar with the Dervish story, so I'll be brief. In 1988, five friends from Sligo formed the band. This core group has remained together for eighteen years now except for the replacement of the fiddler twice, most recently in 1998 when current fiddler Tom Morrow joined the band. The original line up didn't include a singer. Cathy Jordan, vocals and percussion, was incorporated in 1991 and remains the focal point of the band to this day.         Over their career, Dervish has released five studio albums (the last "Spirit" in 2003), a live 2-CD set ("Live In Palma" in 1997) and a greatest hits collection ("Decade" in 2001.) They also put together a vocal compilation available only in Europe/UK ("A Healing Heart") and are working on an instrumental compilation (unnamed as of yet.) They're on the road so much performing live that it's hard for them to find time to get into the studio to record! My guess is that there's a new album in the works; we'll find out March 10th!.

  Earle Hitchner, columnist for The Irish Echo and music writer for The Wall Street Journal says that "Danu is one of the top five Irish traditional bands in the world." Most of the band members are recently married and/or have young families and have decided to cut back drastically on their touring for awhile. We're very fortunate to have them back on March 23rd for a post St Patrick's Day concert.
  This talented ensemble had it's origins in the famous Lorient (Brittany, France) Inter-Celtic Festivals of 1995 -1996.Waterford's Donal Clancy (yes, another member of that talented musical clan), Benny McCarthy and Donnchadh Gough were joined by Dublin based brothers , Tom and Eamonn Doorley. Like Dervish, the band originally had no vocalist. Their first official singer, Ciaran O'Gealbhain, was replaced by current vocalist Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh in 2003. In another strange parallel to Dervish, Danu too has been through a number of fiddlers with current star Oisin MacAuley joining the band in 2001.
  Despite a grueling tour schedule, Danu have managed to record six studio albums already, the most recent "When All Is Said And Done", widely acclaimed on its release in 2005. They also have a DVD, "One Night Stand", featuring live concert footage and a short documentary.

  Though we all like to enjoy "old familiar faces" like Dervish and Danu, I'm very pleased to be able to introduce you to Emily Smith, a very talented young singer from Scotland. She and her trio will make their Celtic Airs concert debut on Friday April 20th in the Wilde Auditorium.
  Emily plays accordion and piano, joined by her band mates on fiddle and guitar, but her concerts are primarily song based. She was the "BBC's Young Traditional Musician of the Year" in 2002 and a nominee for the "Scots Singer of the Year" for 2005. Though only in her 20's, she is already a respected interpreter of traditional songs.
  She is also a talented songwriter, and in 2005 became the first ever winner from Scotland in the "USA Songwriting Competition", folk category. Her winning entry, "Edward of Morton", is a very traditional ballad that draws on a tragic tale from Emily's native Dumfrieshire. These songs, traditional and original, have provided ample material for two albums, "A Day Like Today" (2002) and "A Different Life" (2005).
  Living Tradition Magazine says Emily has "one of the clearest , truest voices in Celtic Music". "It's hard not to fall in love with Emily Smith's voice," said Sing Out Magazine. Her beautiful voice is complemented by a relaxed and informative stage presence. She's a versatile performer who can join her band mates in an energetic tune set then launch into a song with equal skill. Please come to enjoy an artist new to our concert series when the Emily Smith Trio appears here at the University of Hartford's Wilde Auditorium Friday April 20th at 7:30 PM.

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  Tickets for the Celtic Airs Concert Series are available only from the University of Hartford box office. Call them at 1-800-274-8587 or 1-860-768-4228, or contact them online at hartford.edu/hartt.

Tickets for all concert go on sale two months prior to concert dates.

  Celtic Airs, in it's 13th year, can be heard Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00am on WWUH 91.3 FM.
  Tell a friend or relative who has never enjoyed Celtic traditional music to give it a try too! You'll hear the newest releases, and plenty of your old favorites. I look forward to visiting with you every Tuesday morning and hope that I've become a happy part of your Tuesday morning routine. Thanks for listening. Hope to see you at one of our concerts soon!

WWUH: Program Guide 2007 ©

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