Dervish planned to open their March
'06 tour of the U.S. at the University of Hartford's Millard Auditorium,
one of their favorite American venues they say. Cathy Jordan planned
to make her live debut on bouzouki, helping the boys with accompaniment
on some of here songs. She chose Hartford for the debut as she feels
the audience here is very supportive.
The band flew in from Ireland to JFK, arriving early on the
morning of 3/2/06. Their concert in Hartford was scheduled for 7:30PM.
They reached their hotel in Hartford well before snow began to fly
at noon that day. The snow was light, even by Irish standards, and
they had no trouble reaching the University of Hartford by 3:00PM.
They planned to play a bit together before their sound check, working
on some new tunes and songs to be included in the set list for this
year's tour. Sound check would begin at 5:00PM., or so they thought.
Unfortunately, the powers that be decided to close the University
due to "bad weather" and at 4:00PM public safety arrived to tell
Dervish their concert had been cancelled and that they should return
to their hotel.
Once I finished a full day's work (my patients weren't deterred
by the snow!), I went to the hotel to commiserate with the band.
How disappointing to look out the window at 7:00PM, 30 minutes before
we should all have been going on stage, and note that the snow had
stopped and the roads were well plowed!
So that the evening wouldn't be a total loss, they tried
out all the new material on me to see what I thought. As you'd expect,
I was duly impressed and wished they could have been playing to
400, not just one! Cathy's bouzouki playing was quite accomplished!
Though not part of their planned stage show, she also joined Brian
and Michael on some of the tune sets, replacing the recently departed
Seamie O'Dowd in the Dervish rhythm section.
I attempted to find a replacement date for them at the end
of this tour but couldn't procure a venue at the University of Hartford.
They won't be back on America's east coast til 3/07. I've got a
tentative date with them for 3/10/07 already!!
After 11+ years and almost 100 concerts, this is only the
second time we've had to cancel due to bad weather with the artists
already on site! Do you know the other time?? (See * at end of this
article for the details.) Too bad, it promised to be a great night
and a sold out auditorium!
Because of the cancellation of our Dervish concert 3/2/06,
the new date for our 100th Celtic Airs/ WWUH concert is 7/28/06
when the Old Blind Dogs will return. Jim Malcolm will be leaving
the band at the conclusion of this tour, providing just one more
reason why you'll want to make sure you're on hand for the festivities
The next concert in our series takes place May 13th when
we welcome the Scottish vocal trio North Sea Gas to the University
for the first time. Though new to our audience, they are a well-established
band, veterans of the Scottish traditional music scene. They celebrated
their 25th anniversary in 2005 with a "Grand Tour of America". We
had hoped to be a part of that tour but couldn't find a mutually
acceptable date. Ah well, better late than never!
The trio is composed of Dave Gilfillan (lead and harmony
vocals, guitar, banjo, mandola, bodhran), Ronnie MacDonald (lead
and harmony vocals, guitar, bouzouki) and Grant Simpson (harmony
vocals, fiddle, mandola, guitar).
Dave is the founding member of North Sea Gas, well known
for his heartfelt renditions of traditional ballads. Add to this
a great sense of humor on stage and it's clear why he and the band
have been fan favorites all over the world.
Ronnie MacDonald, better known as "Mac", was a member of
the band in its earliest days then left to establish a solo career
in Australia for 12 years. Eventually, his love of Scottish traditional
music and ensemble singing forged a reunion with Dave. His rapier
wit and tongue in cheek humor form a perfect pairing with Dave;
Martin & Lewis?, Laurel & Hardy?, Rowan & Martin anyone?
Grant Simpson began his fiddling career at age 6. By the
ripe old age of 12, he made his first recording as a member of the
Elgin Strathspey and Reel Society. When not touring with North Sea
Gas, he's in great demand as a studio musician and can also be found
leading informal sessions at a wide variety of Scottish venues.
Together they produce wonderfully tight three-part harmony
singing reminiscent of their Scotts Trad contemporaries, the McCalmans.
With the wide variety of instruments they play, stirring instrumental
sets are also an integral part of their live performances. Add their
infectious sense of fun and you can easily predict you're in for
a great night of entertainment! Make a point to meet and greet North
Sea Gas, Saturday May 13th at 7:30PM in the Wilde Auditorium.
Pictured on the cover of this edition of the Program Guide
is the Irish band Grada who will make their second appearance
in the concert series Friday, June 16th in the Wilde Auditorium.
The name Grada means illustrious, and as if this isn't praise enough,
Folk Roots Magazine calls them "gripping and electrifying."
The band was "discovered" and promoted by Trevor Hutchinson,
double bass player for the acclaimed Irish band Lunasa. Trevor also
produced their two outstanding albums. Like Lunasa, Grada is often
cited as one of the forerunners of the contemporary wave of Irish
traditional music. "Contemporary" and "traditional" are definitely
NOT contradictory terms in the hands of talented musicians such
as these. "Grada plays with obvious respect for the ancient origins
of their music but without any apparent fear that they might break
it through their experimentation." (Irish Music Magazine).
Grada is a quintet composed of Nicola Joyce (vocals, bodhran,
fiddle, whistles), Alan Doherty (flutes, whistles, vocals), Brendan
O'Sullivan (fiddle, viola), Gerry Paul (guitar, bouzouki) and Andrew
Laking (double bass, guitar, vocals). Their national origins may
come as a surprise to you. Not unexpectedly, 3 are from Ireland
(Nicola, Alan, Brendan) but Gerry and Andrew are from New Zealand,
definitely NOT one of the seven Celtic nations! Do yourself a favor
and enjoy a warm, early summer night of great music with Grada June
16th at 7:30PM in the Wilde Auditorium.
Tickets for all our concerts go on sale
two months before the performance date and can only be purchased
from the University of Hartford Box Office. Call 1-800-274-8587
or 1-860-768-4228. On line purchases can be made at hartford.edu/hartt.
Don't forget, I'd love to see you at the
100th concert 7/28/06, featuring the Old Blind Dogs. Thanks to all
my loyal Celtic Airs listeners. Please tell a friend or two to check
out the show Tuesdays 6:00-9:00AM. I'll do my best to entertain
and inform them.
Please tune in to Celtic Airs every Tuesday
morning from 6:00AM - 9:00AM on WWUH, 91.3 FM for traditional Celtic
WWUH: Program Guide 2006