September will see the
arrival of two excellent Celtic bands to continue our Celtic Concert series.
Ireland's Craobh Rua (pronounced Creeve Ru-ah) will perform
Friday September 25th at 7:30 pm in the Wilde Auditorium. Since their last US tour,
there's been a change in personnel for this Belfast-based quartet, making them even better
than before according to all reports I've read or heard.
In vigorous contrast to the mushy new-age Celtic styling of some
bands and the World-beat Celtic of others, Craobh Rua presents traditional Irish music
that is more reminiscent of the classic style of the early Irish folk revival of the
1970's and 1980's. After six years of extensive touring and four well reviewed albums,
they are one of the most in-demand Irish groups in folk circles today. They've been called
the ultimate seisun band," a well earned compliment in my book! They will present an
evening of jigs, reels, and hornpipes punctuated by beautiful ballads, as well as more
irreverent songs, in English and Gaelic.
Craobh Rua means red branch," a reference to the well known
Red Branch Knights of Ulster from Celtic Folklore. This is definitely a northern"
band as exemplified by the lengthy and mystifying titles of their first three albums, all
of which, it turns out are well known Belfast expressions rather than some secret coded
The band was formed in 1986 by current members Brian Connolly and
Michael Cassidy. About a year ago, piper Mark Donnelly was replaced by Diarmaid Moynihan,
and Aaron Jones took over for singer/guitarist Jim Byrne.
Founder/business manager Brian Counolly plays mandolin and 4
string Irish tenor banjo. Michael Cassidy was a classical violinist in his youth but
switched to traditional fiddle after seeing the Bothy Band as a teen. Uillean piper
Diarmaid Moynihan played with Craobh Rua form 1989-90 and rejoined last year. Aaron Jones
plays guitar and bouzouki and handles lead vocals for the band. He's also a member of the
Scottish band Seelyhoo.
That's the low down on Craobh Rua, the Belfast band that will
delight all you lovers of Irish traditional music.
On Friday September 11th, we have the privilege of presenting the
Tannahill Weavers. This is the 20th anniversary year for one of Scotland's favorite
traditional bands. Rarely, if ever, will you get the opportunity to see them in a small
intimate venue like the Wilde Auditorium. They will open their US tour with this concert
and release a new album coincident with the tour. I'm sure we'll get to preview much of
the new material during this show as well as some of your old favorites.
In twenty years, there have been many personnel changes for the
Tannahill Weavers, but there have been two constants, lead singer/guitarist Roy Gullane
and flautist Phil Smillie. The current line up also includes piper Duncan Nicholson,
fiddler John Martin, and bouzouki/keyboard player Les Wilson.
As always, the band is distinguished by their tight three and
four-part harmony singing, a constant trademark through the years. Looking ahead on our
concert calendar, you'll want to jot down the Cathy Ryan Trio on Friday, November 6th at
7:30 pm in the Wilde Auditorium. This fine Irish-American vocalist and songwriter is the
former lead singer for Cherish the Ladies. She plans to release her second solo album just
before the start of this tour. I'll be giving you an earful as soon as we receive a
Tickets for all these concerts are available through the
University of Hartford box office located at the Lincoln Theater. Their hours are 10 am
til 6 pm. You may also order tickets by phone by calling 1-800-274-8587 or 768-4228. As
always, thanks to the generosity of the box office, there is no service charge for these
WWUH benefit concerts. If you've never seen Celtic music live, you don't know what you've
been missing. Remedy that situation soon. Fill that void in your live experience by
attending one or more of our upcoming shows.
Finally, as I enter my sixth year of presenting Celtic Airs on
Tuesday mornings 6 - 9 am, I want to thank you for your continuing listenership, financial
support for the station and concert attendance. I will continue to present to you the
latest Celtic album releases as well as plenty of your favorites from the past. If you
have questions of suggestions, please call me at 768-4701 Tuesdays 6-9 am.
Copyright©WWUH: September/October Program Guide, 1998