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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
With your host Steve Dieterich May/June 2001

    St. Patrick's "season" is behind us now, but there's still plenty of Celtic music in store for you concert-going fans. The Celtic Airs/ WWUH concert series presents the Aoife Clancy Band on 5/11/01 at 7:30 in Wilde Auditorium. Tickets are available through the University box office at 1-800-274-8587 or 860-768-4228.
       Aoife (pronounced Eefa) is the daughter of Bobby Clancy and the former lead vocalist for Cherish the Ladies. Her band will include Laurence Nugent on wooden flute and a guitarist and fiddler whose names were unavailable to me as I write this article in March. This will be her first solo trip to the University of Hartford. I hope you'll come out to greet her and enjoy an evening of fine Irish traditional music and song.
       The remainder of this article will seem like a schizophrenic flight of ideas, tied together only by a thread in time. The week after St. Patrick's Day was a very busy one for me and provided lots of information to pass along to you.
       On 3/20, I went to the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA to see Karan Casey plus Sharon Shannon and the Woodchoppers. Karan is touring with 15-month-old daughter Muireann, husband Niall Vallely on concertina and Robbie Overson on guitar. They've been on the road now for over a year and are much tighter than when we saw them at the Wilde Auditorium 5/15/00 in their first weeks together. Based on conversations I've had with Karan over the years, I'd say she seems much happier and more relaxed now than during her days with Solas. I'm not sure whether this is the effect of motherhood or of embarking on a successful solo career. Her new solo CD, The Winds Begin to Sing, will be an enjoyable treat for her fans. Guests include Michael McGoldrick and Donald Shaw from Capercaillie, John Doyle former bandmate in Solas, Frank Torpey from Nomos, Dezi Donnelly, and of course Niall and Robbie.
       Karan passed along a few bits of interesting information. John Doyle is working on a solo CD to be released this summer. Karan does some guest harmony vocals with him. Nomos has disbanded with founder Niall spending most of his time touring with Karan. Frank Torpey is producing instructional videos on bodhran. Vince Milne is back into the seisun scene and playing with a variety of local bands. Gerry Mckee has embarked on a career in business!
       Sharon Shannon and the Woodchoppers put on a great show featuring the mighty sound of 4 and 5 fiddles at times; the Kane sisters Liz and Yvonne, the Shannon sisters Sharon and Mary and at times Inishboffin based singer/fiddler Dessie O'Halloran. Sharon's new CD includes vocals for the first time, by guests Steve Earle, John Prine, Jackson Browne, Dessie O'Halloran and the Hothouse Flowers.
       In conversations with Mary Shannon, it appears our chance of seeing the Bumblebees is slim to non-existent.  Because she is so busy with Sharon's band, because Liz Doherty has left the Bees and because they have no vocalist, I suspect this band will be defunct soon.
       On 3/22, we presented Niamh Parsons and the Old Blind Dogs at the Millard Auditorium to an audience of more than 350. This was the first night of the Green Linnet Records 25th anniversary spring tour. Wendy Newton, the founder of Green Linnet was in attendance along with members of the Green Linnet promotions team. They were highly impressed by our handling of this event and by the enthusiasm and knowledge of those in the audience. Green Linnet has a fine new double CD set to introduce you to their artists past and present. The Old Blind Dogs have completed a new album to be released this summer. Green Linnet will be releasing a new CD by Lunasa this summer as well as an album of duets featuring Lunasa's flute and whistle player Kevin Crawford later this spring.
       With barely time to catch my breath, and don't forget I was working my regular job everyday of this week as well, I proceeded to Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield on 3/23 to see Cherish the Ladies. Leader Joanie Madden was as funny and entertaining as ever! The band released their latest CD The Girls Won't Leave the Boys Alone on 4/17. It's a very appropriate title as they have continued the practice of featuring guest male musicians, started with their previous CD At Home, which included their fathers (Cherish the Daddies??) The new album includes Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Eric Weissberg, Tom Chapin, John McCutcheon, the Clancy Brothers, Brian Kennedy, Liam O'Maonlai, Davy Spillane, Liam O'Flynn, Matt Molloy, Arty McGlynn, Kevin Glackin, Mick Moloney, John Sheahan of the Dubliner's, Billy McComiskey, Donnchadha Gough and Jesse Smith of Danu and once again the paterfamilias of the band members. Needless to say, with all these guest vocalists, there are a lot more songs and fewer tunes than you'd usually expect on a Cherish the Ladies CD. The Ladies will be at the University of Hartford, with their dancers, on 8/16/01. Tickets are already on sale through the University box office. If you have tickets for the previously scheduled dates in June, they should be exchanged.
       That was the end of a very busy week of music!!
       Dervish will be here 9/20-21. They are the cover artists on the March edition of Irish Music Magazine which also introduces their new greatest hits album Decade, scheduled for release in Ireland 3/17/01. I almost didn't recognize Brian McDonogh without his hat, beard and mustache! It's very encouraging, and I'm sure very satisfying for the band, that they have been able to continue to record on their own independent label, a rarity these days. As it seems it takes a long time for their albums to be released in the US, you may want to check out their web site at www.dervish.ie for further information on their albums and tours.
       Last but not least, don't forget that Danu will be here on 10/3/01. Tickets for the Dervish and Danu shows will probably go on sale about 6/1/01.  Stay tuned to Celtic Airs Tuesdays 6:00-9:00 am for further concert news.

Copyright©WWUH: May/June Program Guide, 2001

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