an interview with Cindy Reich (August 07 Celtic Connection)Sometimes the good guys do win in the end. From a debut recording made in the bedroom of band member Shane Power to a song that was included in every demo iPhone, Guggenheim Grotto have won fans all across the land. Their debut album, “Waltzing Alone”, released in Ireland in 2005 is an addictive blend of memorable melodies, outstanding songwriting and vocal harmonies, which is utterly captivating. It became the number one folk album on iTunes downloads and the first cut, “Philosophia” was included on every demo iPhone. The Guggenheim Grotto are multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Shane Power, Kevin May and Mick Lynch. So how does one get from a debut album recorded in a bedroom in north Dublin to the darlings of Apple, Inc.? I asked Shane Power. “Apple/iTunes have been amazing to us”, he replied, “and its great to know that they”re interested for all the right reasons. Apparently you can”t buy your way on to a feature like Single of the Week or iTunes, nor can you buy any sort of favors or advertising that will put you to the top of the pile for consideration.” “The iTunes crew sit down together and decide what they like or wish to promote, and luckily for us they chose The Guggenheim Grotto.” “Being featured on the iPhone was a great buzz for us as we”re all into technology and we”ve always used Mac”s when making the Album, and indeed are currently using Apple machines to record the new album!”“The only problem with the iPhone”, laughs Power, “is “I want one now!!! But they”re not available here in Ireland “til next October or November.” “Maybe by that stage they could squeeze a mobile studio into the iPhone so we could take it on the road with us…now that would be nice!”While the GG might be deep into technology, their CD, “Waltzing Alone” is a work of art, in both sound and packaging. It is a small book with a slot in it for the CD to fit in. There is a lot of information packed into it and it is as tactile as the CD is listenable. Band member Kevin May explains, “One of my favorite albums is Leonard Cohen”s “Greatest Hits”. “Normally I don”t like greatest hits albums, but this one has all his early hits like “Suzanne” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” and on this album he had little paragraphs on each song like where he was when he wrote it, or any little anecdotes that may be attached to it. And I loved that about the album”where you can really get in behind the writer or get a sense of the time in which it was written.” “It adds to the experience as a whole, you know?” Kevin continues. “I love holding something in my hands when I”m listening to an album for the first time”scanning thru the pictures. So I guess it was very much an homage to all those earlier albums that we”d loved that would”ve had extensive sleeve notes.”Although The Guggenheim Grotto have gained wide acclaim with “Waltzing Alone”, their live show is even more impressive. The lads are delighted with the prospect of winning over a whole new audience during their performance at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons in August. They played to several sold out venues on their last tour while still relatively new to U.S. audiences. With all of the success and buzz surrounding The Guggenheim Grotto”s “Waltzing Alone”, is there pressure on the band now for the next recording? Shane replied, “The new record is going brilliantly…we”re recording about three days a week at the moment and hope to have it all ready by Christmas, which probably means a release date of early to mid next year.” “We can”t wait to get it finished”although “Waltzing Alone” was only released in the U.S. last September, it”s nearly three years old for us now.”Are you guys going back into the bedroom to record? The atmosphere of “Waltzing Alone” is so nice”“Yes”, agrees Shane. “We”re back in the bedroom for this recording too”it worked for us last time. If it ain”t broke”.” “We bought ourselves some great new equipment”, Power continues, “so this time it”s become easier to capture some great sounding performances in our home studio. I can”t say for sure yet what the finished results will be, but its going to be another genre-mixing, song loving, band-playing album with maybe a dash of electronica on the side. We look forward to unleashing the results on the world!!”You can catch The Guggenheim Grotto live and unleashed on Sunday, August 19 at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival at the Planet Bluegrass ranch in Lyons, Colorado.Check out The Guggenheim Grotto at their website: www.guggenheimgrotto.comGuggenheim Grotto joins Judy Collins, Ray LaMontagne, Chris Isaak, Chris Isaak, Richie Havens, and many others at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, August 17-19 at the Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons, CO. Tickets ($40 Friday, $45 Saturday, $45 Sunday, $105 3-day pass) and camping ($45-60) are available now at www.bluegrass.com.(from The Celtic Connection August 07 issue)
About an hour north on I-25 from Denver, my wife, 3 1/2year old son, and I began shouting out the names of the various animals that we saw in the fields along our leisurely drive toward Wyoming. Just a half hour later we were on the southern outskirts of Cheyenne when my wife and I began calling out Buffalo! as we pointed toward the herd just east of the highway. From the backseat our son responded, and camels too! My wife and I shared silent smiles at the humor of a small boy s imagination.After dropping off our Celtic Connection newspaper, we enjoyed a nice lunch at the Cheyenne Depot (we highly recommend the sweet potato fries). We picked up some literature in the lobby which included a brochure on the Terry Bison Ranch located just south of town. Thinking that the herd of Buffalo that we had seen on our way might be a part of the Ranch we left on a mission. About 7 miles south on I-25 (and about 5 miles from Colorado s northern border) we took the Terry Ranch Road Exit (WY Exit #2). Traveling east under the highway we began to head south along the frontage road.Almost immediately we saw a herd of buffalo grazing along the fence line. After a tourist stop for a few photos we continued south. About 2 miles later, as Terry Bison Ranch came into view we began to make out the forms of other animals they had brown hides, somewhat like buffalo – but they had longer necks and humps on their backs hey, the kid was right-Camels! We drove around as much of the Ranch complex as we could, but most of the Ranches 30,000 acres are off limits to vehicles. Along the way we saw, not surprisingly -horses, cattle, chickens, turkeys, donkeys, goats – but also other non-bison-ranch critters like, llamas, ostriches and emus. Other wild life listed in the Ranch promo materials include peacocks, turkins (1/2 turkey-1/2 chicken), and beefalo (1/2 buffalo-1/2 steer).First stop on site was at the Terry Trading Post. The well stocked store had everything from mementos of the old west to food supplies (including meat from their buffalo herd). The friendly staff gave us a map and some helpful Ranch information along with the keys to a cabin. The cabins are priced at $79.95 and sleep 3-4, depending on what style you get (additional cots are available). There are log cabins reminiscent of the frontier and a few modern cabins reminiscent 1960s mountain cabin. Each cabin has a kitchenette, with a small refrigerator, microwave and sink. There is also a private bathroom with a shower. The all have decks with a very comfortable I-could-stay-here-for-awhile feel to them as you kick back and watch the horseback riders and buffalo roam the rolling hills and folks head to the fishing pond to catch supper.For $58.95 you can stay overnight in the historic Bunkhouse, the original building used by the 7XL cowboys who worked the ranch in the early 1900′s. Each of the 17 private rooms can sleeps 2 on one full-sized bed (sorry, no extra room for cots). Men s and women s restrooms are in the bunkhouse, but bring your robe because the shower house is next door.Space is also available for RVs and campers next to the Trading Post. If you would like someone else to do the cook in n pour in, the Brass Buffalo Saloon and Senator’s Restaurant is open in the summer months serving western style vittles and drink, morning, noon, and night. Their dinner menu includes bison, beef, chicken, seafood and more. Western entertainment is available most Saturday nights (all week long during Frontier Days)Other daylight offerings include a train tour on the Terry Bison Express. The train has two open-air cars for some great picture taking of the roughly 2,500 head of bison/buffalo on the Ranch. Guided trail horses rides (with optional breakfast packages) are available for those 8 and older. Younger folks can saddle-up for a fun pony ride and receive an “Official Cowboy or Cowgirl” certificate! Stop by for a day or a week and awaken your inner-cowboy or cowgirl at Terry Bison Ranch Resort.Call Telephone: 307-634-4171, Fax: 307-634-9746. Directions to the Ranch: From I-25 take WY Exit #2 (Terry Ranch Road Exit) located about 7 miles south of Cheyenne or approximately 5 miles North of CO border, go to the East Service Road and head South about 3 miles and the ranch will be on the East side of the road.(by Pat McCullough From The Celtic Connection, July 07 issue, “Travel Here…Travel There” column)
“The biggest street party in Ireland” The ExaminerThe annual Spraoi Festival in Waterford is a gem in Ireland s calendar of summer events, offering audiences a dazzling and diverse array of free entertainment over the August bank holiday. For three days the quays, squares and streets of Waterford are transformed into vibrant outdoor stages. This free Mediterranean carnival-style event features performances by top class acts in world music and international street theatre along with an exotic array of performers from throughout the world, offering audiences an atmosphere that is unique among Irish festivals. This year Spraoi will be offering a stunning line-up, from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain to Icarus s bronzed Australian Adonises, and from the Hot Potato Jazz Syncopators to the Daredevil Chickens. The 2007 festival will also see the Irish premiere of Storm Bringer, performed by one of Britain s leading street spectacle companies, Avanti Display. The piece is inspired by Shakespeare s The Tempest and audiences can expect the company s trademark love of water to bring life to the storm. True to its heritage as a festival offering a truly unique celebration of original street theatre, Spraoi will be offering its audiences a total of no less than nineteen street theatre companies. Thirteen will be presenting Irish premieres, and five new works by international companies. The Spraoi Parade, the company’s own production, will be held, according to honorable tradition, held on Sunday evening and form the climax of the festival. This year the parade is entitled Yee-Haw!!! a tribute to the Western. Using imagery from the Wild West the show will feature over 200 performers and an array of floats and special effects, and as ever will be followed by a dazzling fireworks display over the River Suir, a fitting climax to a great outdoor spectacle! Set against the backdrop of Waterford s dazzling coastline and rolling hills, the Festival attracts in the region of 180,000 people to Waterford City, with the parade alone having an audience of 60,000. The event is constantly praised for its safety and friendlessness, and is consistently received with great enthusiasm, with 92% of last year s audience saying they will return. SPRAOI 2007 runs AUGUST 3-5, All events at the festival are free, with daily activities generally running from mid-afternoon to midnight. Additional information may be found at www.spraoi.com. (by Stephanie Dickenson from The Celtic Connection, July 07 “Travel Here…Travel There” column)
On the lower side of LODO (Lower Downtown) where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte River is Confluence Park, the birthplace of Denver.Before it became Denver, the area was an encampment for the Arapahoe Indians. The U.S. government officially recognized that the land belonged to the Native Americans in the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty. However, when gold was discovered in 1858 and whites moved in mass to the area the treaty was unofficially forgotten.William McGaa, (known by many as “Jack Jones”) mountain man, trapper, trader, camped around the Confluence with his friends the Arapahoe. Fond of the bottle and a renowned story teller McGaa was said to have been educated in Dublin, Ireland and to have been a son of an Irish baronet ” he also boasted that he was son of the Lord Mayor of London and had a family estate in Scotland, Glen Arm. McGaa was married to or consorted with a number of native women from various tribes. He rationalized that he had authority to transfer land from his “wives” relatives. McGaa along with William Larimer acquired the land for the settlement of St. Charles, now called Denver. As a reward to the Indians, he supposedly named streets after his “wives” Wewatta, Wazee, and Champa. McGaa also named Glenarm Street after his alleged family castle and McGaa Street to honor himself.Although McGaa at one time owned a Ferry on the Platte, was a 1958 stockholder in St. Charles City, and in whose cabin in Auraria the Denver City Town Company was formed Nov 22, 1858, and subsequently owned several Denver lots, he was not regarded highly by the more refined Denver pioneers. According to Colorado historian, professor, and author Tom Noel, “This town founder became an embarrassment to respectable pioneers. In 1866, the Denver City Council renamed McGaa Street as Holladay Street (changed to Market Street in 1880), in honor of the man who brought the Holladay Stage line to town. McGaa, the unworthy tosspot, was banished from the ranks of the founding fathers. His presence”and that of his half-Indian wife and children”in the Denver Pantheon of pioneer heroes might sully the reputations of other noble white male founders, whom future generations were expected to celebrate.”McGaa died a year after the sanitation efforts of the City Council. The following notice from the December 16, 1867 Rocky Mountain News was kind but not detailed: “Died, in this city, yesterday, in the morning, Dec 15, William W. McGaa, better known as “Jack Jones,” in his 45th year. The deceased had been a resident of the Rocky Mountain regions about 28 years, the companion of Beckwourth, Bridger and other mountaineers of note. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and a very fair education. Generous to a fault, and a steadfast friend. His remains were buried yesterday evening in Mt. Prospect Cemetery, followed by a few of the old friends who first knew him here in the spring of 1859.” “Peace to his Ashes.”140 years after his passing, the imaginative storyteller McGaa would not have recognized the Confluence in his wildest dreams. Through a series of recent face-lifts and major redevelopments, the low-lying Confluence Park and surrounds have taken on a high seat among Denver”s most beautiful and vibrant neighborhoods. Located off 15th Street bridge between Platte Street and Little Raven (named in 1995 after the friendly Arapahoe chief who welcomed- and was subsequently displaced by -the white pioneers) you can find wonderful panoramic views of Denver and nice seating for lunch or picnic. Access the park by way of enjoyable bike paths and pedestrian walk-ways. There is a beach for swimming and a great kayaking run (also can use inner tubes).Confluence Kayaks, 1615 Platte Street, Denver, CO 80202 ( 303-433-3676) can teach you kayaking, provide gear, and over tours. They also rent bikes ” and telemark ski gear in the winter months. Gear also available at the REI Flagship store (located behind My Brothers Bar at 15th & Platte).Every Saturday from June 9th through August 11th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, cityWILD (303.227.6863; http://citywild.org) offers free river rafting rides ( Ages: 8 and up) on the South Platte River through the rapids at Confluence Park/Shoemaker Plaza in front of the REI Flagship store, just upstream from the 15th Street bridge. No reservations are required; participants/parents will only need to sign a waiver. Guides, equipment, and instruction are provided. If young kids ” infants to 8- are in the mix when you are planning your trip down to confluence park you might check out The Children”s Museum, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver, CO 80211( 303.433.7444). From I-25, take the 23rd Avenue exit, number 211. Once on 23rd Avenue, head east toward downtown then take the first right on Children”s Museum Drive and follow the curved road to the Museum. Cost: Free to $7.50. Parking is usually free except on special occasions (call ahead).Next to the Children”s Museum is the Downtown Aquarium, 700 Water Street (303-561-4450) www.aquariumrestaurants.com, where there are loads of fun things to do here for all ages. Formerly the nonprofit Colorado’s Ocean Journey, it”s now owned and operated by Landry’s Seafood Restaurants. The facility includes the Aquarium Restaurant, where guests are seated around a 150,000 gallon aquarium full of fish from sharks to stingrays (they are feed often to avoid public hunger attacks). The restaurant has good food and is moderately priced. Admission to the restaurant is free ” however, if you want to tour the facility exhibits it can become a little pricey if you have a big group Admission fees: Adults $13.75; Seniors(65+) $12.95; Children (4-12) $8.25; 3 and Under Free. Prices go down after 6pm. The facility has a number of special group rental offerings ” overnight birthday parties for kids, weddings, even diving with the sharks (again, they should be well fed prior). Go online or call for the list of offerings.Outside the Aquarium are bicycle rentals built for 2 ” 6 people. During the summer there is a reptile petting area that most kids can enjoy for $2. The volunteers who work there actually own and live with these pet snakes, turtles and iguanas. When we took or 3 year-old there we were really impressed on how well the staff worked with the small children (a few of their mothers were freaked-out beyond help).Parking around the Aquarium is a little complicated. Although not advertised, we have taken advantage of the plenty full free parking next door at the Children”s Museum. Official Aquarium parking across the street is $6.00, but is free after six for dinners.Street meters in front are for a maximum of 2 hours. Your call.For more food, fun, and shopping head to 15th & Platte (from the Aquarium just continue along Water Street which becomes Platte Street around 15th). My Bother”s Bar (303-455-9991), House of Commons, English Tea Room (303-455-4832), Paris On The Platte (303-455-2451), Vitamin Cottage. Information (303-455-3172) are just a few eat in-or-out offerings in walking distance of each other and Confluence Park. Continue to celebrate views, water, greenery, art, and movement by walking or biking across from the Confluence to Commons Park, or enjoy Centennial Flower Gardens, patterned after the Gardens of Versailles, located on 1100 Little Raven adjacent to Elitch Gardens amusement park (A combination restroom and maintenance office is located on the site for visitor”s convenience).One last word on parking ” read the signs. There is still some free parking on Platte Street between 17th and 19th (also up 19th toward the free Skate Park). But, meters can go up over night ” so read the signs. Sources include Thomas J. Noel/Denvergoc.org; Denver Library.org/Research; wikipedia.org; geocities.com(by Pat McCullough, The Celtic Connection Aug 07 issue“Travel Here… Travel There” column)
They say the best way to experience a country is to experience it with a local.Irish born and raised Damien McCarron promises a “trip of a lifetime” to all who join him in a journey back home to Ireland this November. Damien and his Denver based band, The Indulgers (Damien, Pat Murphy, Renee Fine, Chris Murtaugh, and Mike Nile) have planned a great tour at a great price in conjunction with Hammond Travel. Arrangements have been made for you to spend seven days enjoying the sites of Ireland’s cities and countryside and spend six nights in some of Erin”s best hotels.At press time Damien was shoring up some of the band related details in Ireland i.e., arranging equipment, gigs, and working the Irish media. “There’s many bits to get in place, but it’s happening fast and I’ve had some terrific help.” said Damien, “So far, we’ve secured a gig in Ennis (Barge Rooms) on the Friday night, Johnny Fean (guitarist for historic Irish rock band Horslips ) will be our guest on that bill, so that’s very exciting”. On the last night of the tour Damien has secured a gig in Portmarnock (Dublin) near his hometown of Houth where “My mammy and family will be on hand and look forward to meeting everyone.” Excited about the musical aspects of the tour Damien adds, “I can’t imagine that we could ever of pulled this off in any past lifetimes… and the band is licking it’s lips looking forward to seeing where the roots of Irish music came from in Co. Clare and the country in general.”Know doubt there will be plenty of songs song and tunes played (planned or otherwise), the tour offers much more than music. The fun starts upon as you arrive in the morning at Dublin Airport where you will be greeted by your professional Driver/Guide who will take you on a panoramic tour of historic Dublin, one of Europe”s” most beautiful cities. Prior to checking in to your hotel you will already have seen the statue-filled O”Connell Street, The General Post Office scene of the 1916 Easter Uprising, as well as Georgian Square. The afternoon is yours to check out Trinity College and the Book of Kells, the Guinness Brewery, or enjoy strolling along the popular Grafton Street with plenty of trendy shops and entertaining buskers (maybe you will see Glen Hansard or Liam O”Maonlai ” hey, it”s possible on the GS!).Your tour continues through the heartland of Ireland to the wonderful West Coast.Begin in County Galway and its beautiful cities and surrounds. Check out the rugged Gaelic speaking region of Connemara, the humble outreachs of the Aran Islands, or the Kylemore Abby via Clifden. Now, trough the traditionalsounds of Clare and onto the castles and sights of Limerick, Cashel, and Kilkenny. Your tour continues south to County Cork for a visit to Blarney where you can pucker-up and smooch the famous 14th century “Kissing Stone” and check out the Blarney Woolen Mills which sells everything Irish. Heading back towards Dublin with stops in Kilkenny, Athy-Naas, culminating in the last night “Hooley in Howth” with Damein, band , family and friends. “We have folks from Canada, South Dakota, Wyoming, Virginia, and Colorado on board – Even some Irish person living in Colorado have signed on, which is very cool”, said Damien who added, ” We’d love to see more folks sign up -this is going to be a trip to remember.”Note: Tour price of $1685 + US Tax includes round-trip air (Depart from Chicago Nov 7th returning Nov 14th), Deluxe motorcoach vehicle throughout your tour, including all transfers and sightseeing, Irish Driver and Guide, Six (6 Nights) First Class Accommodations, Full Irish breakfast daily,Two Dinners: 1 Galway, 1 KilkennyFully escorted sightseeing as per itinerary, Porterage of one suitcases per personHotel tips and taxes throughout.People who sign up by AUG 6th get the current price quote- After Aug 6th that may get adjusted (airline re-pricing).For more information or to reserve your spot call John or Michelle, atHammond Tours 518-489-7280 or 866-486-8772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org(by Pat McCullough from The Celtic Connection Aug 07 issue “Travel Here…Travel There” column)
The competition was to see who could pour the perfect pint of Murphy’s stout, at stake was a trip to Ireland to visit the Murphy’s Brewery in Cork. Contestants were judged in 10 different categories and the top three contestants were: First Place Winner, Pat Balai from The”Celtic Tavern; First Runner Up, Julia Farkas The Irish Snug; Second Runner Up, Brendan”Dorney from the Irish Rover.
The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities will welcome Cherish the Ladies and Southern Exposure to the outdoor amphitheater on Saturday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. Cherish the Ladies combine impeccable musicality with an exciting theatrical flair. Absolutely unique in their magnificent blend of beautiful female vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning step-dancing, these renowned Irish songstresses have shared a stage with the best in the world including Emmy Lou Harris, James Taylor and the Clancy Brothers. An Arvada Center summer concert favorite, Southern Exposure opens the concert with its traditional and contemporary bluegrass sound. Cherish the Ladies combine impeccable musicality with an exciting theatrical flair. Absolutely unique in their magnificent blend of beautiful female vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning step-dancing, these renowned Irish songstresses have shared a stage with the best in the world including Emmy Lou Harris, James Taylor and the Clancy Brothers. An Arvada Center summer concert favorite, Southern Exposure opens the concert with its traditional and contemporary bluegrass sound. Tickets are $32 for reserved covered seats and $18 for general admission on the lawn. For tickets, call the Arvada Center box office at (720) 898-7200 or visit arvadacenter.org. All summer concerts are held rain or shine.
The 44th Annual Colorado Scottish Festival, Aug. 11-12, will take place at Highland Heritage Park in Highlands Ranch. Festival visitors will be able to sample many aspects of Scottish culture. More than 100 pipers and drummers will play en masse at noon each day, with individual and band competitions throughout the weekend.”Vendor booths will spotlight Scottish, Irish and other British goods. Dogs of the British Isles will be on display, and over 50 clans will educate folks about their heritage.”The unique sports of Scotland, including the famous tossing of the telephone pole-size cabers, will entertain sports fans while others will cheer on championship rugby games. Racers in kilts will be running the “Kilted Mile” around the Festival perimeter. On Sunday, a parade and display of classic British cars is always a hit.”Other activities include genealogy, children”s games, Highland dancers, Irish step dancers, Scottish country dancing, Welsh and Bretagne dancing, haggis and whisky tasting -and a bonnie knees contest for kilted men will add to the fun!Celtic songs and music feature fiddle, Gaelic, Irish flute, Welsh pipes, harp, accordion, and dulcimer music, Sat. & Sun. try your hand at Irish bodhran drumming workshops for beginners, and int./adv. players. Sunday workshops include Celtic guitar, hammered dulcimer, and Irish fiddle by one of Ireland”s masters, Seamus Connolly. Other performers over the weekend include Oceans Apart, Chuck Wilcox, Empty Pockets, Ceol Ceili, Juice o” the Barley, Rudy Ramsey, Star Edwards, Molly Magpies, Holly & Jake, Loretta Thompson, Holly Williams, Jon Sousa, Skean Dubh, Canned Haggis, Ron Tomocik, Nick Kelly, and John Mullen.”Saturday evening will feature a Concert and Ceilidh (music and dance party) with bagpipes, fiddlers, folk singers, and social dancing for all. The Concert begins at 7 pm with bagpipes and brass. The ceilidh (pronounced KAY-LEE) follows at 8 pm. Concert and ceilidh will be held at the ballroom of the Sheraton Denver Tech Center, 7007 S. Clinton St., Englewood. Concert tickets are $15 ($8 for children), at the door. Advance discount tickets are available on the Festival website and on Saturday of the Festival at the St. Andrew Society information tent.Scottish Festival tickets are $12 per day for adults, $8 for seniors (60 plus) and children 7-12 years old.”Kids 6 and under are free.” No pets allowed, per a county ordinance.Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Highland Heritage Park in Highlands Ranch, 9651 So. Quebec St.(Take C-470 to Quebec, then south two miles to Lincoln Blvd). Free shuttle buses will ferry visitors from free parking lots to the Festival front gate. Watch for the signs. For additional information visit www.scottishgames.org, or call 303-238-6524.Contributed by Jan Mitchell and Loretta Thompson