This is the
back to school addition of the program guide, so all contributors
have been asked to introduce themselves to the students at the University
of Hartford. Hopefully, other readers who have recently found WWUH
will also find something educational here.
WWUH is a listener supported volunteer staffed radio station broadcasting
as a community service of the University of Hartford. I think that
you’ll find most if not all the volunteers were first (and
continue to be) listeners. Most of us come from the community served
by this station. Our programming is “alternative music”
and public affairs shows unlike any you’ll hear on most of
the FM dial.
I became a WWUH listener 15 years ago. My favorite shows were the
reggae programs, the oldies shows, and the Celtic music edition
of the AM folk programs. My tastes, like many of our listeners,
were obviously eclectic!
Ten years ago, my predecessor on the Celtic program decided to move
to California. Over five years of listening, we had become acquainted
and she asked if I’d consider replacing her. I tried to side
step her by saying I was too busy and had no radio experience. She
blocked my escape by telling me that if I declined the offer, it
was likely there would no longer be a Celtic music show on WWUH.
I had no sly reply to this ultimatum and accepted the challenge
Four hundred and seventy plus shows later, I’m glad I accepted
the challenge! Not only do I love doing my show, I also enjoy the
research into the artists and music that I do to prepare for each
program. It’s a labor of love and the positive feedback from
listeners makes it all worthwhile.
As an offshoot of my program, and to help this commercial free station
raise funds to cover our operating expenses, I began promoting concerts
featuring some of the best Celtic artists in the world. This concert
series has been a great success. We’re well known to the traditional
Celtic musician community now and they seek us out when planning
tours of the U.S. because our audience is so attentive, knowledgeable
and supportive. We show them respect and enthusiasm and receive
the same in return.
Our next concert features Danu on Sept. 20 at 7:30pm in the Millard
auditorium. This septet from Waterford, Ireland is one of the most
acclaimed and highly sought bands in traditional music circles today,
despite the fact that all it’s members are still under 30!
Their playing is energetic and full of improvisational fire, but
as good as the tunes are it’s the vocals of Ciaran O’
Gealbhain that will make the biggest impression. His vocal style
is reminiscent of Kevin Coneff of the Chieftans and his reputation
among Irish traditional musicians continues to grow and grow. Oisin
Mac Auley from Co. Donegal has replaced Jessie Smith on fiddle,
but otherwise the lineup remains intact with button accordion player
Bennie McCarthy and flutist Tom Doorley providing most of the melodies
backed by the rhythm section of Tom’s brother Eamonn on bouzouki
and Noel Ryan on guitar. Donnchadh Gough can augment the rhythm
on bodhran or join in on the melody on uillean pipes.
Irish Music magazine’s readers voted Danu best overall Irish
traditional group in 1999 and best live traditional band for 2000.
Last year Danu was named best band of the year at the BBC 2 Folk
Music Awards. The Irish language television network TG4 proclaimed
Ciaran O’Gealbhain winner of the singing prize in its 2001
traditional music awards.
I like to introduce our audience to new bands whose CD’s have
impressed me. My next opportunity to do so occurs Friday Oct. 4th
when Chulrua pays their first visit to us at a 7:30pm concert at
the Wilde Auditorium.
Chulrua (cool-roo-ah) was the favorite wolfhound of Irish folk hero
Finn MacCool. I’m hoping this trio will also be one of the
favorite groups you see in our 2002 Celtic Concert Series. The band
is comprised of Paddy O’Brien on button accordion, Tim Britton
on uillean pipes, flute, and whistles, and Pat Egan, guitar and
vocals. Their style is very traditional. All have extensive experience
in Irish traditional music and they are very knowledgeable about
the material they present. They enjoy imparting their wisdom to
their audiences and talk quite a bit about the stories behind the
songs and tunes they perform.
Paddy O’Brien (Co.Offaly) is regarded as one of the tradition’s
most important repositories, and is alleged to have collected and
preserved more than 3000 tunes! He was an all Ireland button accordion
champion and also a member of the award winning Castle Ceili Band.
Pat Egan (Co.Tipperary) has been touring since 1985 with a variety
of Irish bands and has been guest artist on a number of critically
acclaimed albums. Tim Britton is one of the most well known pipers
of the current generation. He’s played with Touchstone, Johnny
Cunningham, and Mick Moloney’s Green Fields of America among
others. He’s also sought after as a teacher for workshops
AND constructs and repairs uillean pipes! Dirty Linen Magazine proclaims
Chulrua “a must for Celtophiles!” “Button accordion
and uillean pipes never sounded so sweet”, says Don Meade
of The Irish Voice. “This is terrifically crisp, clear music”,
said Fintan Vallely in the Irish Tribune.
I hope you’ll come out to enjoy these wonderful Irish Traditional
bands and to show your support for WWUH radio. Tune into Celtic
Airs Tuesday mornings 6-9am for a weekly dose of the finest Celtic
music new and old and the latest concert updates. If you’re
a new or returning University of Hartford student, looking for a
worthwhile organization to get involved with during your time here,
come visit WWUH and see what we’re all about. Thirty plus
years on the air is just one sign that we’ve got something
unique and valuable to offer.
Copyright©WWUH: September/October Program Guide, 2000