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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
for May/June of 1998 with your host Steve Dieterich

     I’d like to open this program guide article with a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who helped make our 1998 Marathon fund-raiser a success. Due to your commitment and generosity, we were able to raise over $60,000. On Celtic Airs alone, 185 callers pledged over $8,300, a new record for a three hour program!
     Thanks as well to all those who attended the Solas concert 3/18/98 and the Nomos concert 4/2/98. These were our thirteenth and fourteenth sell-outs in the Celtic Airs concert series benefiting the station. Your continued support of these events has produced over $16,000 to support the operation of commercial-free WWUH radio. From the audience response at the shows, I’d say the concert series has also provided a lot of good entertainment for those in attendance. You’ve had the opportunity to meet these wonderful musicians "up close and personal" in our intimate venues with their wonderful sound and excellent sight lines.
     The concert series continues to roll along. Upcoming shows will include Danu (from Dublin and Waterford) on 6/12/98, Craobh Rua (from Belfast) 9/25/98 and possibly The House Band on 12/10/98. All three events are scheduled for 7:30 PM in the Wilde Auditorium. Tickets for Danu and Craobh Rua are currently on sale through the University Box Office. Call 1-800-274-8587 or 768-4228 to order yours. (No service charge for WWUH sponsored events.)
     Danu is a talented sextet of young instrumentalists who perform with a traditional vocalist who sings in Irish. Danu was the mother of the divine people or "Tuatha DeDannan" or Irish mythology. She’s also the goddess of prosperity. Tom Doorley on wooden flute is from Glenageary, Dublin. He began his musical apprenticeship at a young age, getting his first lessons from Vince Broderick at the famous Pipers club in Monkstown, Dublin. His style is very reminiscent of Matt Molloy, one of his major influences. Daire Bracken is from Monkstown, and has been playing fiddle since age eleven after being inspired by the fiddle school at "Willie Week" in Miltown, Malbay, Co. Clare. Brendan McCarthy is from Deelish, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. He’s been playing button accordion since age thirteen, greatly influenced by the likes of Jackie Daly, Joe Derrane and Mairtin O’Connor. He’s also proficient on the single-row melodeon. Donal Clancy of Co. Waterford has been immersed in traditional Irish music since birth as his father is one of the famous Clancy Brothers. He plays guitar in Danu, replacing the recently departed Timmy Murray. Eamon Doorley is also from Glenageary, Dublin. Though originally trained as a fiddler, he is now the bouzouki player for Danu. His change in course was inspired by Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine. Uillean piper/bodhran player Donnchadh Gough is another Co. Waterford native. He’s also the resident joker of the band. The group’s vocalists change from time to time and the identity of the singer who will accompany them on this US tour was unavailable at the time of this writing.
     Belfast based Craobh Rua (pronounced Creeve Rua) will be our guests 9/25/98. I’ll give you more details on this fine quartet in an upcoming issue of the program guide. I’ve seen them twice myself and am very pleased we now have the opportunity to present them at the University of Hartford.
     Christy Moore, claiming exhaustion, canceled all his UK/European concert dates January through March, 27 dates in all! Hope he’s back in good shape after some R&R.
     Speaking of Christies, long time Boys in the Lough uillean piper and singer Christy O’Leary left the band on less than amicable terms. Newest (at the time) "Boy," guitarist Chris Newman left in sympathy with Christy. The two are now members of a fine new band fronted by Christy. I’m actively pursuing them for a Celtic Airs concert! Christy was replaced by accordion player Brenden Begley, who also has his own quartet called Beginish. I’m not sure who will replace Chris Newman.
     In a more friendly change of personnel, long time Battlefield Band guitarist/vocalist Alisdair Russell left to manage/produce the young duo of Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley. He was replaced by Davey Steele, seen here as a member of Ceolbeg in 1995, who also plays with the Scottish quintet Caledon which includes his wife Patsy Seddon of the harp duo Sileas. Coincident with Alisdair’s departure, piper Ian MacInnes also left the band to return to a quieter life on his native Isle of Lewis. He was replaced by piper Mike Katz, also a former member of Ceolbeg! Best wishes to all involved in these changes.
     Deanta, an excellent band from Belfast have broken up. Many of the band’s members have demanding day jobs and they felt unable to keep up with the increasing demands of their second profession as they became increasingly popular.
     There’s a new supergroup on the loose in Ireland, somewhat reminiscent of Moving Hearts. The band is called Lunasa and is made up of John McSherry (uillean pipes and low whistle), Michael McGoldrick (wooden whistle, uillean pipes, whistle), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass), Sean Smyth (fiddle and whistle) and Donagh Hennessy (guitar). They have no vocalist but feel that the energy and versatility of the band make their performances varied and energetic enough that they don’t need one. Their pedigrees/current associations include The Sharon Shannon Band, Donal Lunny’s band, Capercaille, Niamh Parsons and The Loose Connections and Flook! There’s a rumor they may make their first brief foray to America this fall. If so, I’ll try to snag them for a Celtic Airs concert.
     I look forward to seeing you at some of our upcoming events and rely on you to be listening to Celtic Airs every Tuesday, 6:00-9:00 am on WWUH, 91.3 FM.

Copyright©WWUH: May/June Program Guide, 1998

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