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Notes from Celtic Airs
May / June 2008
by Steve Dieterich

            North Sea Gas (5/16/08) began performing 27 years ago and released their fifteenth album, Rosslyn, in August 2007. Needless to say, after all those years and all those recordings, they have a large and diverse repertoire! Their motto has always been quality folk music AND great entertainment. There is a great warmth and integrity to this trio; they clearly love what they’re doing. Their 3-part vocal harmonies are rich and melodic, a sheer joy to the ear.
            Dave Gilfillan (lead vocals, guitar, banjo, mandola, bodhran) is the founding member of North Sea Gas. After 27 years, his amazing voice just keeps getting better, a rich, deep, expansive sound that reverberates around the room. He loves to encourage audience participation by leading rousing sing-alongs. He’s equally well known for his on stage fun and tongue-in-cheek humor.
            Ronnie MacDonald (harmony vocals, guitar, and bouzouki) was an early member of the North Sea Gas lineup, left the band to live in Australia for twelve years, and then returned to the band. He has a great love for Scottish history and Scottish traditional ballads and happily shares the knowledge with his audience. His fantastic sense of humor makes him a wonderful foil for Dave.
            Newest member Grant Simpson (harmony vocals, fiddle, mandola, bouzouki, and guitar) began playing fiddle at the age of six and was recording with the Elgin Strathspey and Reel Society by the age of twelve. He is a phenomenal fiddler whose young age adds freshness and vigor to the band.
            I hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some fine Scottish traditional music from this trio of crowd pleasers when North Sea Gas return to the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium May 16th at 7:30 PM.

            On June 21st, we welcome back Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill. The Irish Echo said “There’s no more impressive partnership in Irish instrumental music today than Hayes and Cahill.” The musical rapport between the two is so strong that it’s often said they appear to be playing one instrument, working on a telepathic level. While Martin pursues the melody, Dennis explores the harmony and rhythm within the tune.
            Martin grew up playing traditional music under the watchful eye of his late father P.J. Hayes, celebrated fiddler and for many years the leader of the famous Tulla Ceili Band. With this great experience, Martin went on to win six All-Ireland fiddle championships. In 1999, the BBC named him Folk Instrumentalist of the Year. In 2000, The Irish Tribune cited Martin as one of the 100 most influential Irish men and women in the fields of entertainment, politics and sports and one of the most important musicians to come out of Ireland in the past 50 years.
            After leaving Ireland, Martin moved to Chicago where he met Dennis Cahill. Dennis was born in Chicago t o parents from County Kerry. In addition to the traditional music favored by his parents, he became well versed in the other musical styles of ‘The Windy City’; blues, rock, jazz and folk. This background produces his unique and innovative accompaniment to Martin’s soulful fiddle style. After ten + years together, he seems to know intuitively Hayes’ next move, consistently matching it with astonishing skill and grace.
            “Welcome Here Again” is the title of Hayes & Cahill’s latest CD, released in March of 2008. It is the first new release on the Green Linnet label for quite a few years, signaling the rebirth of this prestigious label under the aegis of Compass Records. The album got rave reviews in both The Irish Echo and The Irish Times. It also received 
 a lot of attention and favorable reviews when featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” on St Patrick’s Day.

ááááááááááááá              While Dennis still calls Chicago home, Martin is now a resident of West Hartford, CT!! Please come to say hello to our new neighbor and his musical partner par excellence when Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill appear at 7:30 PM, June 21st in the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium.

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  Tickets for the Celtic Airs Concert Series are sold exclusively by the University of Hartford Box Office. Call them at 1-800-274-8587 or 1-860-768-4228, or On-line shoppers can use the secure website at hartford.edu/hartt.

Tickets for each concert go on sale two months prior to concerts.

  Celtic Airs begins it’s 15th year on the air in August, 2008.
Thanks to my listeners and the radio station management for making this possible!

Celtic Airs, the Tuesday morning installment of WWUH’s ‘FM On Toast’ can be heard 6:00-9:00am at 91.3 FM, or streaming live on the internet at wwuh.org.  I hope I can count on you to be among my listeners each week and look forward to meeting you in person at one of our concerts, scheduled monthly throughout 2008.

See you at the concerts!

WWUH: Program Guide © 2008

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