As you receive this issue of
the program guide, St. Patrick's Day is only weeks away. What better way to celebrate
Ireland's patron saint than with some of the best Irish traditional music you could ever
hope to find! On March 18th we'll welcome back Solas to the University of Hartford and on
April 2nd, you'll get your first chance to see Nomos. Both concerts take place in the
friendly confines of the Wilde Auditorium with it's excellent sound and sight lines, (but
only 200 seat capacity).
If you attended the first concert by Solas here in July 1997,
you're probably one of those who keep asking me if and when we can get them back. Fear
not, the time has come, your wish is my command! Americas number one Irish band will
return the day after St. Patrick's Day.
Shortly after their first show here, the quintet made their first
trip to the UK and Europe. The tour was a rousing success. The reviewers were uniformly
impressed and ecstatic.
Though US based, Solas is as traditionally Irish as any band from
the Emerald Isle. Vocalist Karen Casey (Co. Waterford), Mick McAuley (Co. Kikenny) who
replaced John Williams on accordion and concertina and guitarist John Doyle were all born
in Ireland and came to the States in the 90's. Seamus Egan was born in the suburbs of
Philadelphia, moved to C. Mayo for ten years and returned to Philadelphia in his teens.
Fiddler Winnie Horan is first generation Irish-American, born in New York City.
Seamus Egan won All-Ireland championships on five different
instruments but now devotes himself primarily to flute, Whistle and banjo. He was The
Irish Echo's 1996 Traditional Musician of the Year, at 27 the youngest to ever win the
Guitarist John Doyle was a founding member of Chanting House with
Egan and Susan McKeown. Susan kept the name while Doyle and Egan left to form the nucleus
Win Horan was classically trained on violin at The New England
conservatory of Music but never forgot her Irish roots. She joined the all-woman ensemble
Cherish the Ladies as a step dancer and fiddler then left this group to join the Sharon
Shannon Band with whom she still performs when her busy Solas schedule permits.
Karen Casey is a gifted vocalist who learned her vocal style from
the traditional Sean Nos Singers of her native Co Waterford. She is a great collector of
traditional songs for the band.
When original accordionist John Williams decided to devote more
time to his wife and three small children last summer, Mick McAuley, then living in
Belfast was invited to join the band. He filled in admirably and is now a full-time member
of the group.
Earle Hitchner of NYC's The Irish Echo calls Solas "one of
the most exciting bands in the world."' They're "the first truly great Irish
band to arise in America" says The Boston Globe. "They bear all the marks of
greatness" according to The Wall Street Journal. And The Irish Times says
"traditional music doesn't get any better than this."
Come see why everyone's raving about Solas on Wednesday, March
18th at 7:30 PM.
The members of Nomos are from all over Ireland but all were drawn
to Cork University to study traditional music under the guidance of renowned Irish
musician Michael O'Suilleabnan.
The quintet's core is founder and concertina virtuoso Niall
Valley who was born in Armagh. In addition to his technical dexterity on concertina, he's
a gifted writer who composes many of the band's tune sets.
The high-energy rhythm section is made up of bodhran master Frank
Torpey from Wexford and Co. Antrim's Gerry McKee who plays blistering reels and jigs on
bouzouki. He and Niall met at the Lisdoonvarna festival, played together for the summer
and returned to Cork for the fall session.
Add to all this instrumental energy the considerable talents of
singer/songwriter/guitarist/bassist John Spillane, the only Corkman in the band. His
original songs in the traditional style and smoky tenor voice are the perfect compliment
to the instrumental sets so attractively rendered by this very talented quintet.
I've see Nomos twice in concert and was favorably impressed on
both occasions as were the rest of the audience. After talking to them at Green Linnet's
20th Anniversary party, I was determined to bring them to the University of Hartford
whenever the opportunity arose. Please join me on April 2nd to welcome and enjoy the music
Tickets for both Solas and Nomos are avallable through the
University Box Office at 860-768-4228 or 1-800-274-8587. There is no service charge for
WWUH benefit concerts! The almost 500 households on our Celtic Concert mailing list were
notified of these events in February, 50 you should make haste to call for your tickets!
If you've yet to attend one of our Celtic concerts, nows the time to see what you're
missing. Both shows will sellout, (only 200 seats available), so act now!
Copyright©WWUH: March/April Program Guide, 1998