First and foremost, let me offer a
heartfelt "THANK YOU" to the 200+ faithful and committed Celtic Airs listeners
who pledged more that $10,000 to support operation at WWUH radio during the 3-hour program
on March 7, 2000. And, special thanks to the six listeners who got up early that morning
to answer your phone calls.
Aman assisted our fundraising efforts during this years Marathon
fundraiser performing a benefit concert on March 8. All had a good time. Those in
attendance were able to pick up a copy of Anams latest CD Tine Gheal months
before its scheduled US release.
The next in our series of Celtic concerts takes place on May 17, 2000
at 7:30 pm in the Wilde Auditorium, featuring the Karan Casey Band. This trio comprises
Karan, the lead vocalist for Solas for four years, Niall Balley, concertina virtuoso and
leader of the band Nomos and guitarist Donal Clance, Liams son, a prominent member
of the Eileen Ivers band and former member of Danu.
Karen, born 30-odd years ago in Kilmeadan, Co. Waterford, decided to
give up the rigors of constant touring with well-known Irish-American band Solas, for the
joys of motherhood. Now, mother, child and father Niall Valley are on the road again and
Karan is working on her second solo album. So much for a quiet family life at home!
Leaving the Waterford Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area), Karan came to
Dublin to earn a degree in Music at University College. She also trained at he Irish
School of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. During her school days, she gained
extensive experience singing in jazz combos but on immigrating to New York City in 1993,
she returned to her early love, Irish traditional music. Soon she joined Seamus Egan, Win
Horan, John Doyle and John Williams and formed the band Solas.
Much has been made of Karans voice by a variety of reviewers.
"One of the true glories of Irish music today" trumpets the Wall Street Journal.
Others say, "Her voice is forceful and angelic, and exhibits exquisite control and
The other oft mentioned aspect of Karans persona is her
willingness to "Undertake material of barbed political import and strong social
conscience, infusing the songs of others with the fire of her own convictions."
A mere three weeks after Karans visit to the University of
Hartford, WWUH and Celtic Airs have the distinct pleasure of presenting the number one
Irish traditional band touring the world today, Dervish. To accommodate the huge demand
for tickets we anticipate with a band of such worldwide acclaim, weve arranged two
shows, June 8th and 9th, in the Millard Auditorium.
This Sligo based septet stands out as the most sought after live band
on the scene today, earning high praise from critics and the adulation and loyalty of
their fans. The seven band members are all superb musicians, but their chemistry really
comes into evidence when they play as a unit. At times, their performances can be
frightening in their excellence. The extra-ordinary tightness of the lead
instrumentalists, driven along by the exceptional rhythm section is breathtaking. Add the
earthy vocals and masterful stage presence of singer Cathy Jordan and its easy to
see why Dervish is such a formidable live band.
Accordionist Shane Mitchell and flautist Liam Kelly, natives of Sligo,
have played together since the ages of 7 and 9. At 10 and 12, they were playing for dances
in the Mitchell familys pub (now owned by three of the band members including
Mitchell). In their teen, these two formed the award-winning band Poiten. In college they
wandered away from traditional music for a while and with future Dervish bouzouki player
and fellow Sligo resident Michael Holmes, they formed a rock band.
In the mid 80s, Mitchell, Kelly and Holmes began playing in
seisuns with Brian MCDonough, a Dublin native who had moved to Sligo. He was already well
known to them as a member of Oisin, one of the seminal bands of the 1970s Irish
traditional revival. He was one of the bands founding members at the tender age of
It was 1988 when Mitchell, McDonough, Kelly and Holmes, joined by
fiddler Martin McGinley, recorded the album The Boys of Sligo. This
all-instrumental project was the firs recording to bare the Dervish name. They quickly
realized that to become truly successful, they needed a quality vocalist and contacted
Cathy Jordan from Co. Roscommon, well known to the three Sligo lads who had often heard
her sing during their college days.
Cathy joined the band in 1990 and shortly thereafter fiddler McGinley
was replaced by Shane McAleer. This lineup recorded three studio albums, Harmony Hill
(1992-US premiere here at WWUH radio on Celtic Airs!!), Playing With Fire (1994)
and At the End of the Day (1996), followed by the double CD Live in Palma
In 1998 Shane McAleer departed and was replaced by another Sligo-born
musician, Sheamie ODowd on fiddle, guitar and vocals and Tom Morrow on fiddle, viola
and vocals. This growth to a septet afforded the band an exciting double fiddle sound
(popularized by Altan) and greatly enhanced their ensemble singing. This new lineup has
recorded a fourth studio album Midsummers Night released to great acclaim in
Ireland and Europe in 1999, but yet to be released in the US.
Dervish has resisted the temptation to stray from their traditional
roots, to add "outside influences" (non-Irish, non-traditional) to their
performances. "We bring the music of the seisun to the stage" says McDonough. He
fails to add that they also bring the considerable talents of Cathy Jordan to the stage as
well!! Regarded as one of the finest traditional vocalists in Ireland today, whether
singing in Irish or English, her interaction with the audience draws people into the music
in a way very few performers are able to achieve.
Come see for yourself June 8-9 when Dervish "present high energy
tunes and beautifully measured songs that lift the audience from their seats."
Tickets for both these shows are available through the University box
office, 1-800-274-8587 or 76804228.
We have a tremendous lineup of concerts planned for the second half of
2000 including Ealu July 15, Lunasa August 3&4, Craobh Rua August 18, Danu in
September, Beginish October 6 and Solas with new vocalist Diedre Scanlan on November 7. I
strongly encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to see the cream of
the Irish traditional bands touring the world today live, right here at the University of
Hartford. Youll have a great time AND all concert proceeds will support operation of
One final note, if youre looking for information on the latest
releases in Irish traditional music, log onto the Custys Music Shop site from Ennis,
Co Clare (www.custymusic.com), a great source for independent releases as well as all the
If you are not on the Celtic Airs mailing list please use the coupon on
the previous page, fill it out and send it to me c/o WWUH. I will make sure you receive
advance notice of concerts and ticket sales via our Celtic Airs newsletter mailings.
Again, thanks for all your support during Marathon. I look forward to
seeing you at the concerts.
Copyright©WWUH: May/June Program Guide, 2000