After more than a decade of economic growth that earned Ireland the monikerthe “Celtic Tiger” the Irish economy has hit the skidders. Spurred on by a boom-bust housing market and surrounding banking practices it has slid downward since mid 2008. On November 22nd, Ireland”s coalition government accepted a financial aid package estimated between 80-90 billon euros ($100-123 billion) from the European Union (EU). EU officials had been pitching and pushing the aid package to help bailout Ireland with the broader goal of stabilizing the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and keep it from spreading to other financially shaky countries, i.e. Portugal and Spain.After initial enthusiasm for the bailout/loan waned, financial markets in Europe and U.S. fell as investors following the money realized that it did not come from an endless pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but rather from a stressed EU debt load.As Irish citizens call for the proverbial heads of politicians, bankers, and the usual suspects, others try to reassure that all will be well. Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihansaid on ITN on the day of the bailout, “I have no doubt that with this external assistance Ireland will emerge from this stronger, better, and leaner.”But, perhaps the best rallying cry can be heard from Dublin based graphic designerFergus O”Neill who created a series of posters which bore the slogan “Keep Going Sure it”s Grand”Taking his cue from the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters produced by the British government during World War II, O”Neill”s quintessentially Irish version is quietly finding its way into homes, offices and businesses across the world as people do their best to get on with things and keep going. He suggests that his posters express a typically Irish attitude. “The posters reflect something which I believe is in the very fabric of being Irish, if that’s good or bad you can decide – I personally believe it’s a good thing, it’s what makes us Irish. We’re NOT French and we’re NOT Greek. Thank Christ!” The “Grand” scheme is not only designed for sales and solace ” O”Neill thinks that he has come up with a solution to help Ireland”s banking crisis. “I’m giving one euro back to the state for every one of my signed and editioned (limited edition of 42 billion) posters sold and my objective is to sell 42 billion posters thus half solving the banking crisis.” A weekly count of monies earmarked for the state along with Department of Finance receipts, have been tracked on the Keep Going facebook page which has attracted almost 3,000 followers worldwide since its foundation last month.O”Neill hopes that a positive message to Irish people home and abroad can be communicated and said, “The bid to sell 42 billion of these posters may seem absurd but it can be deemed no more absurd than the outrageous practices and policies that landed us here. There is little we can do except be ourselves and get on with it.”He added, “What I’m doing is something rather than waiting for something to be done. How can he sell 42 billion posters you may well snicker? Well I have a plan … a very big plan.”So far the plan seems to be working, “The posters are selling quite well. I have sold them to addresses in Scotland, all over the UK, Denmark, Spain, France, Austria, New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and from Clonshaugh to Ballyhooly.” “Keep Going” postcards are also available online and more products in the pipeline including toilet seats and doormats. O”Neill”s “really Irish poster” with slightly different wording is also available to see and order online (If you”re Irish you can guess).When asked in jest by the Celtic Connection if he were to sell all 42 billon posters, would he not be in a position to purchase Ireland and declare himself King, he responded in kind.“I wouldn’t be comfortable as ‘King’ I’m too humble, perhaps some kind of feudal Chief.”The original hand-crafted screen prints are currently available online from http://grandgrand.bigcartel.com both framed and unframed, along with postcards and tote bags and will ship worldwide. Patrons are being urged to display their posters with pride and above all to Keep Going”Sure It”s Grand.(December 2010 Celtic Connection, Denver CO)Buy at: http://grandgrand.bigcartel.com/Find on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-Going-Sure-Its-Grand/130806596969418
by Cindy Reich In Ireland, on Christmas Eve, it is customary to light a candle and put it in the window for Mary and Joseph to find their way” Especially in rural areas, the hillsides are dotted with lights that sparkle like stars on “Oiche Nollaig”. You can experience an Irish Christmas with Danu when they bring their Irish Christmas show to Macky Auditorium on Friday, December 10.Blending Irish carols, traditions and of course, music, Danu will transport the audience to their native Ireland for the evening. Long a driving force in Irish traditional music, Danu has gained the respect and adoration of fans throughout the world with their energetic jigs and reels as well as soulful vocals. However, along with painting a musical picture, Danu will introduce the audience to the rich Irish traditions surrounding Christmas. One of the most unique is the “wren dance” that takes place on December 26th, also known as St. Stephen”s Day. According to legend, Stephen was being pursued by Romans and hid in a furze bush. As the Roman legion passed by, the wren called out, giving away Stephen”s hiding place and he was caught and killed.There is retribution for the wren, in Ireland, even to the present day, but the tradition all but died out except in very remote areas of the Gaeltacht (Gaelic speaking areas of Ireland, primarily in the west). However, even Dublin has its “wren day” and to find out what happens to the wren, you”ll have to be at the gig! (No wrens will be harmed in the wren festivities!!!!)The evening can best be described by original Danu founder and band member, Benny McCarthy (button accordion): “We perform “An Irish Christmas” which basically entails Music, Songs and stories that we play here at home in Ireland. We have many traditions that are particular to Ireland such as the lighting of Candles on Christmas Eve to St.Stephens day and the hunting of the wren traditions. We like to tell our audience about all this tradition and get them involved in some familiar carols (Irish Style mind you), play tunes, sing songs and have local Irish dancers join the band. An overall Christmas Hooley Irish style!!”Other members of Danu include outstanding Gaelic singer and first female member, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (vocals, flute, whistle), returning member Donal Clancy (guitar), Tom Doorley (flute), Oisin McAuley (fiddle) and Donnchadh Gough (uillean pipes/bodhran).With six albums and a live DVD under their belts, Danu has a brand new album, “Seanchas” (Lore/Folklore). McCarthy has this to say about this newest release: “This is the band”s first release since 2005. We are very proud of this new album, which features many tunes and songs we didn’t get the chance to record over the years along with some beautiful newer material. We like to think this our “mature” record!While Danu have not been in Colorado for a while, “too long away” as Benny McCarthy, they are looking forward to returning to snowy (?) Colorado for this special Christmas show. “We are really looking forward to getting to Boulder and the Rocky Mountains”, says McCarthy. “It is going to be the highlight of the tour!”Danu”s “An Irish Christmas” Friday, December 10, 2010 at Macky Auditorium, Boulder. 8pm 303-492-8339
Orla Fallon of Celtic Women and friends will perform at the Boulder Theater, Boulder CO, Saturday March 26 at 3:00PM. “Orla Fallon is a singer / harpist who comes from the village of Knockananna in Co.Wicklow, Ireland. Since leaving Celtic Woman at the end of 2008, “rla has been charting a solo path that includes her very own American Public Television special ” seen on both Rocky Mountain PBS and Colorado Public Television (formerly KBDI Channel 12) this December.Reserved Seating: $33.50 $38.75 (includes Boulder seat tax and fac) Boulder Theater Information Call Celtic Events at 303-777-0502
For over 40 years, Walt Conley was a presence on the Denver and national folk and Irish music scene. After college graduation, Walt made the decision to follow his musical muse instead of answering the schoolhouse bell and entering the teaching profession. Walt”s first big splash in the music business came with his headlining of the Folk Song Festival at Exodus, recorded in 1959 at Denver”s Exodus Folk Club; second on the bill was Judy Collins. From sharing his house with a young Bob Dylan to first booking the Smothers Brothers into Denver”s Satire Lounge, for years Walt played a roll in promoting folk music in Denver. After years of performing on the road and appearing in several movies, Walt “retired” to his hometown of Denver and opened Conley”s Nostalgia”a folk and Irish music club. With the closing of his club, Walt continued performing Irish music on a regular basis with his band Conley and Company at The Sheabeen Pub until his untimely death from complications of diabetes in November 2003.According to his bio on Ocatch.com, he once responded to the question of “What made a black man become a singer of Irish rebel songs”? with the profound answer, “If the band U2 from Ireland can sing American blues, then I sure as hell can sing Irish folk songs!” As far as Walt is concerned, singing Irish songs is just another phase in his long and successful folk singing career. Each year on the anniversary of his death, Walt”s former band mates and friends gather at the Sheabeen Irish Pub, 2300 S. Chambers, Aurora, CO, to pay tribute to a great friend and raise money for the American Diabetes Association. This year they will gather Friday, November 19, 8:pm.Music will be performed by Juice O”The Barley, Michael Collins Pipe Band pipers, and unannounced guests.(Information from Bill O”Donnell, one of Walt”s former bandmates, and Ocatch.com)
With a name like Desmond O”Hagan and a mug to match it would be a surprise to no one to learn that the Colorado fine artist has roots to Ireland not far from the tree. “My father is from a small town in Donegal called Dungloe, and my mom is from Dublin. During WW2, my father watched the American bombers flying over northern Ireland. As a young boy from Dungloe, this was endlessly fascinating and impressive. He knew that when he was old enough, he would come to this country, join the Air Force and be part of the American dream. He emigrated to the U.S. when he was 18 and joined the Air Force some time later. After a few years in the service, he returned to Ireland, met my mother and got married. They were soon stationed at an Air Force base in Wiesbaden, Germany, where my sister and I were born. After a couple of years we returned to the states where my brother was born. We lived in Virginia, Alaska, and New Mexico, where eventually my father retired. Most of our extended family still lived in Ireland and England which led to frequent trips abroad to visit family”. In 1980 Desmond moved north along the Rockies to Denver. “I was studying at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque perusing a degree in architecture and fine art when I decided I didn’t want to be an architect. Through a series of fortunate events, I discovered the Colorado Institute of Art. At the Institute, I studied Advertising Design. After graduating, I embarked on a career as a graphic artist and worked for an advertising agency for four years”. During those years with the advertising agency Desmond”s artistic sensibilities pointed him in a new direction of expression. “Through those early years and around 1985, the interest in fine art deepened and with the support of a fearless wife I changed careers and decided to become a fine artist. I freelanced in graphic design for the first year to support myself during the transition and was represented by a few local galleries. Eventually, I was being represented by national galleries and entered several professional competitions which help build my career”.Desmond works in several media including oils, pastels, acrylics, and watercolors, but his favorites are oils and pastels. He paints a wide range of subjects with particular inspiration. “I’ve always been drawn to subjects that challenge me in painting. I especially enjoy urban scenes, figurative, interiors, and still lifes. The study of light is a constant element in all of my paintings. Whether it is the subtle colors at dusk, or a simple stream of light in a dimly lit interior, all these effects motivate me to capture the scenes on canvas or paper. When I travel, I’m constantly seeking out scenes containing intriguing effects of light. My travels have brought me to much of the U.S., many cities in Europe, and the Caribbean”. . The scenes that Desmond has captured have also caught the attention of fine art fans in the U.S. and Abroad. Listed in Who’s Who in American Art, he has been often honored in his profession. “My paintings have won national awards including the George Innes, Jr. Memorial Award for a Pastel from the Salmagundi Club in New York City, and the Connecticut Pastel Society Award and Hudson Valley Art Association Award both from the Pastel Society of America. I was also awarded the Prix’d Pastel Award from the International Association of Pastel Societies”. Irish America magazine included Desmond in their Top 100 Irish Americans issue n 2003. He was given a full page article in the issue showcasing his art. “This was terrific exposure for me and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I flew to New York for their banquet at the Plaza hotel, and met some very interesting people. The people profiled in the magazine came from all walks of life including actors, writers, fireman, opera singers, and politicians. After 20 years as an artist, I’ve been very fortunate to have been featured in numerous national and international magazines and books which has been instrumental in creating a successful career, and Irish America was a terrific honor”.In a continuing effort to expand his business network and stay connected to his Irish rootsDesmond recently joined Irish Network Colorado (INCO). INCO is one a number of networks that have organized across the country this year in response to an Irish government initiative to help network Irish Diaspora and friends of Irelands businesses and resources. He spoke enthusiastically of the Network. “I’m looking forward to experiencing all that the INCO is planning. It is a great concept for all those interested in connecting with businesses in Ireland. Locally, I’ve already met some great people thanks to the INCO’s social gatherings. I’ve participated in international shows in Japan, China, and France, and am always interested in international business connections which is what attracted me to INCO. It also brings together a segment of the Denver Metro business community that has common networking goals and a mutual interest in their Irish heritage”. Desmond”s fine art is represented in three galleries across the U.S. including Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ogden, Utah, and Boca Raton, Florida. He also will sell paintings through his Denver studio and through his website www.desmondohagan.com. He is happy to meet those interested in his art. “I always enjoy meeting new people and showing them the kind of work I do. My studio phone number is 303.691.3736 and is by appointment”. On Friday, November 19, 2010, Desmond will offer his annual one man studio show in Denver at 2882 South Adams Street. The Friday opening is from 6pm to 9pm, and 12pm to 4pm on Saturday the 20th. The show is titled “An Urban View” and will show paintings depicting scenes of the city including Denver, New York, and Paris. This show is open to the public. For more information, please go to www.desmondohagan.com (INCO members and those interested in joining will meet Saturday, November 20, at 4pm for wine, cheese, and view some of Desmond”s work at his studio2882 South Adams If you plan to attend please RSVP now to email@example.com) (From November 2010 Celtic Connection Newspaper)
CELTIC THUNDER TO PERFORM AT 1ST BANK CENTER OCTOBER 26(from October 2010 Celtic Connection)He may be the “Dark Destroyer”, the heart breaker. The bad boy of Celtic Thunder. But Ryan Kelly is also a serious student of Irish music, a songwriter himself who is getting ready to release an album, and a lover of musical theater. When he auditioned for Celtic Thunder, he was working a 9-5 job as an accountant. Which is probably a good career background for a member of the wildly popular Celtic Thunder. Accountant turned “Dark Destroyer, Ryan Kelly spoke to me from the road, where Celtic Thunder is starting a new fall tour of the United States.Ryan grew up in The Moy, County Tyrone, so I asked him if Paul Brady had been a big influence. “Absolutely”, said Ryan. “Paul Brady would have been a big one. I also listened to people like Christy Moore, for example. I do a version of “Black Is The Colour” which I originally heard from Christy.” CR There is sort of this odd thing whereby you are Irish guys (well, and Scottish, George!) and when the show first came out, it celebrated all things Celtic, more or less. Since then, it has broadened out into all sorts of popular music from Sting to The Eagles. It seems to be sort of be the reverse of what you used to find in Ireland. One would go to Ireland to a pub and you would hear John Denver songs before you would hear Jimmy Mac Carthy songs. Now we have an Irish group that is singing US popular music. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, as Phil Coulter (music director of Celtic Thunder) is a genius who knows more about what people want to hear than anyone in the music business before or since.RK “I think that”s a fair comment that you make”, replied Ryan, “that an Irish show would be mainly Irish music and you”d be there singing the likes of “The Fields Of Athenry” and “Danny Boy” three times a night you know, but the thing about Celtic Thunder from the start, is that it has always been about the music. We”ve always believed that good music is good music regardless of what genre it is. At the end of the day, we are Irish artists. In the new show, we are going back to the roots of Celtic music, but alongside that we are covering songs that are not necessarily Irish, but are songs we grew up listening to. But we are putting our own spin on them, our own Irish stamp on them, you know? Anybody coming to our show is still going to get Irish entertainment, Celtic entertainment”. “Something we take a lot of pride in, is when you come to one of our shows, you see a vast age range in the audience. Kids from four to five years old to their great-granny of 105 and everything in-between! I think that”s very much a testament to the music we do play. There will be kids hearing these songs for the first time, thinking we were the first ones to record them (laughing) but their mums and dads know that these songs were made famous by other groups before we started singing them! I think what our show is trying to do is bring back that era of an entertainment show”a variety show, I suppose, where the whole family can sit there and enjoy the whole show as a family”. “If you look at the set list on paper of a Celtic Thunder show, it probably shouldn”t work (laughing), but when it is on stage, it does”.CR I agree that you do have a complete entertainment factor to your show. For people that haven”t seen the show live, or seen it on PBS, there are a lot of visual things happening on stage. It isn”t just a bunch of good lookin” guys strolling about singing songs. Each song is almost a vignette, with action surrounding it.RK We do have a big visual component to the show. And the stage set in the first part of this new show is very much a Celtic set from Ireland around the 16th century or so. Then in the second half, “It”s Entertainment”, it is back to a bandstand that they may be more familiar with from the show on PBS. And while its great to watch on T.V., there”s nothing like seeing a live show. We”ve got that great big band backing us, a lot of visuals and the lighting is fantastic. CR Well, let”s talk a little bit about your role in the show. You are known as “The Dark Destroyer”. A bit of a lad, who gets the girls, then breaks their hearts. RK ” From sort of day one, Sharon Browne our producer, and Phil Coulter, our musical director decided there would be separate roles within the show on a loose level. “The Dark Destroyer” is the name I”ve sort of been tagged with. It”s a lot of fun, because I get to sing some songs that have been written particularly for myself”for the role. In the last few shows, I”ve been playing the bad guy against Paul (Byrom) who is the good guy. In this new tour, we”re not playing off each other as much as we were before, but I still have a few songs I can put an evil face on now and again (laughing)”. CR Fans are a big part of Celtic Thunder. They call themselves “Thunder Heads” and I think the Celtic Thunder fans have put the “fan” in fanatic. There is enthusiasm, and fandom, but no offense, reading some of the message boards dedicated to you guys are kind of scary. Some of these fans seem a bit over the top with their obsession. Does that bother you at all? Scare you? Because people can be goofy.RK “Yeah, you have to be careful and maybe one person may step out of line along the way, but it is very, very much in the minority. Our fans have been very loyal from the start and they are growing all the time with us as we continue to grow as a show and as a group. To be honest, when you go out onstage every night and the fans are there and they are so excited to be there and to see us, we feed off them, and they feed off us. Its great to know, backstage, before you go out onto that stage the familiar faces are going to be there”and new faces as well and they are there to enjoy the show and we couldn”t ask for more, to be perfectly honest”. “To me, personally, four years ago, I was sitting in an office, doing a 9 to 5 job as an accountant, you know? There”s millions of people around the world who would give their right arm to do what I”m doing, and we always keep that in our minds that we”ve been given a fantastic opportunity and you”ve got to be thankful for that”. CR I saw somewhere you were going to release a CD of your own songs. I know you write songs as well, and considering the deep well of songwriters in Ireland, like Jimmy MacCarthy, Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, Paul Brady and the like, you have a rich heritage to draw on.RK ” Its very interesting that the four people you have mentioned are probably my four heroes when it comes to songwriting! I”ve always been a massive admirer of Damien Rice”s songwriting and his style. I”ve been writing songs since I was 15 or 16 years old and being with Celtic Thunder has given me the opportunity to go further with that. I”ve actually been in the studio and recorded eleven tracks and am in the process of hopefully getting an album released in the next few weeks. I”m very much a part of Celtic Thunder and will be as long as they”ll have me, but its nice to have this as a side project because I love the songwriting and its nice to sing your own pieces from time to time and see people”s reaction to them”. Let”s talk about your theatre background. You”ve done theater before auditioning for Celtic Thunder. Do you have future plans for theater”perhaps as high as Broadway?RK “I”m always honored when people mention my name with Broadway. I”ve always loved musical theater. Whenever I get to New York, I always go down to Broadway to see musical theater or a play. Musical theater is a fantastic art, and I”d love to get back into it again. Who knows? Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have always been heroes of mine and I”d love to get back into it somewhere down the line”.CR You”ll be coming to Denver next month. Have you ever had a problem with the altitude and dry air out here when you sing? Coming from sea level to a mile high often startles singers when they don”t find much oxygen in the air. RK “We”ve definitely all felt it. Not in any drastic way where we”re gasping for air or anything, but you don”t have as much air at times as you do in other venues. I felt it last time because I do a lot of running and I went out for a jog, and I think I lasted about 15 minutes, then I was ready to collapse, you know? (laughing) The one thing about our show is that we never sing more than two or three songs in a row before we get a break and another guy comes on to sing, so I think we avoid most of those issues with that. However, I think I might cancel the running this time around, you know?” (laughing)“It”s a beautiful city. We always have good memories of Denver, because the first time we went to Denver, we had a few days off before the show and we went skiing. So it was my first time skiing up in the mountains. Every time I think of Denver, I think of skiing and the views from up on top of the mountain. They were amazing!”Celtic Thunder will be in Denver October 26 at the 1st. Bank Center at 7:30 p.m.Check out their website at: www.celticthunder.com
CELEBRATE THE GIFT OF LIFE OCTOBER 10th To “give a stranger the shirt off his back” is often used to describe someone who is extremely generous, helpful, or compassionate.To give one of your internal organs so another can live can be described as the height of courage. This selfless act of bravery was exemplified recently when Denver Police Detective (DPD) Danny Veith donated one of his kidneys to Ed David, also a Detective with DPD.A 16 year veteran (prior years at Glendale PD, CO) Detective Veith is now in charge of the DPD Employee Assistance & Wellness Unit that serves 1,400 officers. Among his duties is to assist officers who have health issues that effect their jobs and to liaison with people who have the expertise to relieve and remedy. In March 2010 he was approached by Detective David who had a very serious issue.“We hardly new each other,” recalled Veith who spoke with the Celtic Connection prior to the donation procedure, adding, “I just wanted to help a fellow officer in need.”Det. David was scheduled to receive a kidney but there were functional issues with the donor”s kidney and he was unable to donate. Veith began to read and research on the topic and in the process decided to promote a kidney donor drive at DPD in hopes of finding a match. As well as encouraging others to get involved, Veith also signed up to participate, “I felt that I needed to lead by example and put my money where my mouth was.” In June he found out the results of the donor candidates test. Out of the officers tested there was one who”s blood type matched Det. David”s and who was deemed the best donor candidate. It was Veith. Veith told David that a donor match was found but kept the donor”s name anonymous.As more tests and time progressed towards the September surgery date Veith called David, “I told him that the anonymous donor wanted to meet us down at the Celtic Tavern,” and added with a chuckle, “You should have seen the look on his face when the meeting took place and I told him that the donor was me.”Though different work shifts and areas of specialization within DPD kept Veith and David as virtual strangers, the extraordinary circumstances that have taken place since March have created good friends. A week or so prior to the September 27 surgery David presented Veith with a watch. It came with the inscription, “9-27-2010 BRAIPHREACHAS” described Veith, “Which is Gaelic for “Brotherhood” along with our surgery date. Ed bought an identical watch with the same inscription so that we will have more in common than just matching kidneys.”Having a mother from Castlebar, Co Mayo, Ireland, Veith has a respect and appreciation for his roots. He is co-founder of the Colorado Emerald Society (Detective George Kennedy served as the first President, and Veith the first Vice-President). The Colorado Emerald Society is a social organization for police, fire, and emergency responders whom help perpetuate the traditions of the Irish in public safety. Retired DPD officer and current President of the Colorado Emerald Society Dave O’Shea-Dawkins worked with Veith and spoke of his character and police service. “Danny and I worked at Denver Police District 6 together. I was a street supervisor and at one point he was on bicycle patrol. He worked the downtown area and was very community oriented. He worked closely with the homeless and every morning he would check on them – he knew where they were sleeping- and make sure they were ok. When a homeless organizations reached out to the DPD, it was Danny they sought. My desk at work had the American and Irish flags on it, as well as a Sinn Fein poster, and when Danny saw those items we became good friends.” He points out how Veith”s concern for others continues at his role with the Assistance & Wellness Unit. “He calls it the POWER UNIT, “Police Officer Wellness Employee Assistance” He was always concerned about his fellow officers health and how the job affected their health. You know, long hours of boredom interrupted by instant adrenalin rushes. Many officers compensated by eating poorly and drinking too much. Danny’s unit makes them aware of these dangers, offers alternatives to a healthier police life. He is also there to assist officers and families when an officer is sick or injured, or a family member. So, Danny is the guy you want as a friend and a backup because he is competent and caring.”On Sunday October 10, The Celtic Tavern, 1801 Blake St will hold a fundraiser from 3-8pm. “The fundraiser was originally conceived as a small get together to help me compensate for the lost wages from all the extra-duty jobs I do.” Said Veith, “It started to grow in popularity, so we decided the excess funds attained would roll over into Ed David’s existing medical fund. Now that it is getting bigger, we are focusing on using it as an opportunity to bring about awareness in the Denver area for the need for blood, organ, and tissue donations. So we are hoping your story will point that out — that we want anyone and everyone to attend as we are striving for blood, organ, and tissue donor awareness in Colorado.”(Contributions payable to the “Danny Veith Fund” can also be sent to Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union, 700 W. 39th Ave., Denver, CO., 80216.)
GAELIC STORM Saturday, October 23, 2010 7:30pm Show, 6:30pm Doors. All Ages Show/GAGothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood COTickets: $21.25 Advance $26.25 DOS Tickets and information at: Gothic Theatre or call Celtic Events at 303-777-0502.(Note: It will be a homecoming of sorts for fiddler Jessie Burns when Gaelic Storm returns to Colorado this November 1st. The Suffolk, England native and newest member of Gaelic Storm, has made Colorado her home for the past 10 years)Read more…GAELIC STORM is likely the most-seen Irish-influenced band in the world, given their performance as the steerage band in the film ‘Titanic.’ Having never gone down with the ship, the band sails the globe the majority of the year, performing at festivals and packed concert halls where they can connect and hang-out with their fans.As many tens of thousands of enthusiastic record buyers and festival-goers know, the quintet plays high-energy, foot-stomping, rock-tinged Celtic/World music. Not only does their instrumentation include fiddle, accordion and pipes, but also the bouzouki, mandolin and an array of drums including the Malian djembe, the Middle Eastern doumbek, the Brazilian surdo, and the Cuban caj”n, as well as the Irish bodhr”n.GAELIC STORM newest release ‘Cabbage’, is “a party on a platter” and marks the band’s highest charting album on the Billboard 200, and their second #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart!Their sophisticated storytelling was highlighted by Blurt whom enthused ‘Cabbage’ had “some of the wittiest writing the band has ever put to tape, like the opening track “Raised on Black and Tans” and the goofy, though still cleaver “Space Race.” Their cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” is surprisingly original considering how many bands have had their way with that song.”GAELIC STROM will perform on the Sailing Southern Ground Cruise with Zac Brown Band this fall. They have previously toured alongside artists including Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and The Barenaked Ladies. Hear for yourself in Colorado October 23, and listen to Gaelic Storm’s USA Today playlist pick “Raised on Black & Tans” at http://www.myspace.com/gaelicstormGaelic Storm is: Patrick Murphy (Cork City, Ireland) Vocals, Accordion, Harmonica; Steve Twigger (Coventry, England), Vocals, Guitar, Bouzouki; Ryan Lacey on drums and world percussion; Jessie Burns on fiddle (Suffolk, England ” now living in Colorado) and Pete Purvis ( Merrickville, Ontari) Uillean pipes, tin whistle, daeger pipes and highland pipes (a Grade 1 piper who toured with award winning pipe band)s.
by Rodger HaraBy now the summer festival season is almost over from the first ones in Utah to the Long”s Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival, for many years the usual season-ending traditional festival in Colorado. The City of Edgewater and the Edgewater Arts Project are changing that by sponsoring the first annual Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater that will be the last traditional festival of the season on September 18th and 19th. Celebrating the autumn season and Colorado”s Celtic community, the Festival will be held in Citizen”s Park at 22nd and Benton and admission and parking will be free. Featuring a farmer”s market, pipers, Highland and Irish dancing, a grand list of local bands, food, the Renaissance Scots, Flyball Dog Races and fermented spirits, the Festival will provide a fun time for the whole family Fresh vegetables harvested from local farms will be offered at the farmer”s market along with freshly-baked soda bread from the Irish Bread Company and other delectable food offerings. Artwork by local artists like the wood turnings and portraits of Colin Cunningham, glass art from Michael and Susan Penfold”s Woodland Glass Arts Studio and craftwork from the shops of Colorado craftspersons such as Greeley”s Whistle and Drum will also be available. In addition, Celtic merchandise will be available from local merchants including The Celtic Broker, The Emporium, Gilded Dragon Gifts and BTS Chocolate Honey.Pipers and Highland dancers from the award-winning Colorado Youth Pipe Band will be featured throughout the day on the dance stage along with dancers from the Heritage Irish Youth Dancers. Colcannon and The Indulgers headline the local bands that will be appearing on the Main Stage both days. Other bands include Stone Walls, Orion”s Bow, Skean Dubh, C”ol C”ili, Gobs O”Phun, Indigent Row and Empty Pockets. The Renaissance Scots Living History Association (better known as the RenScots) are a group of re-enactors whose goal is to recreate the look, feel, sound (and according to their website, occasionally the odor) of the Scottish Highlands in the time before the Battle of Culloden in 1740. Their “Living History” presentation of swordfighting, weaving and black-smithing by members in full costume adds a unique experience for Festival attendees.And the Flyball Dog Races have to be seen to be believed (and enjoyed!). Dogs of all sizes “fly” down parallel courses, jump over hurdles (the height of which is determined by the shortest of the 4 dogs on each team), trigger the release of a tennis ball from a box then race back down the course over the hurdles to their trainers. (The box is reloaded with a new tennis ball for each dog.) The start/finish line has an infrared light that is triggered by each dog passing through it and the winner of a race is the team that finishes first without error (or the fewer errors). Flyball Dog Racing is an international sport (who knew?) with tournaments across North America all year. The races are great, noisy family fun.Volunteer opportunities to help make the Festival a success remain available. Information about the Festival, the bands and other groups appearing and a volunteer registration form can be found at www.celticharvestfestivaledgewater.com
The hills will be alive with the sound of pipersSeptember 9-12 with the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival at the Fairgrounds and other venues in Estes Park, COSome of the bands on stage will include Mythica, Alex Beaton, The Brigadoons, Rathkeltair, Albannach, Prickly Pair and the Cactus Chorale, Lough Carron, Eddie Devine, The Tartan TerrorsHighland Dance and Pipe Band Competitions, Irish Dance, Scottish Athletics, Tattoo, Country Dance, workshops, seminars and story-telling, clan tents, lots of merchandise, dogs of the British Isles, military heritage, Guinness and full contact jousting.Ticket prices vary by day and by event. Check the websitewww.scotfest.com
Cindy Reich interviews Celtic Woman”s aesthetic barefoot fiddler (published in September 2010 Celtic Connection) Ethereal women in gossamer dresses float around the stage, singing beautiful songs. That is the quintessential definition of the Celtic Woman experience. That is, until a blond firecracker explodes onto the stage, fiddle in motion, scattering all in her wake. Mairead Nesbitt is the match that ignites the Celtic Woman flame. She provides an astonishing visual picture, racing around the stage, stopping to jam with the back line of musicians, or dancing like a dervish while fiddling so furiously it”s a wonder the fiddle doesn”t burst into flames. While one may be mesmerized with her combination of dancing and fiddling, it would be entirely understandable if her fiddle chops were simplistic”however, her fiddle playing is superb, and no wonder. Mairead grew up in a very musical family”her sister, four brothers and both parents are musicians. Although classically trained, Mairead also embraces traditional music just as fiercely. Mairead is currently on tour with Celtic Woman in the USA and will be performing with them at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison on September 12. Mairead “spoke” with me via email from the road:I asked her which she prefers more”playing classical music or playing trad. She first came onto my radar as a traditional musician when she was playing with Donal Lunny”s show “Sult”Spirit Of the Music” in 1996 or so.. “I love playing both styles”, Mairead replied, “I started the violin and fiddle at 6 years of age, and split the two disciplines in my head.” (She even uses a different bow-hold for each style to keep them separate in her mind) “This was very important as I was determined to be as good as possible in both genres before using some elements of both in my style.”Dancing and playing the fiddle simultaneously is a common style of playing in Cape Breton. For many, the fiddler Natalie Mac Master may come to mind when one thinks of that method of playing.. I asked Mairead if she had to work at this style, which is not typical for Irish fiddle players, or did it come naturally?“I never thought or think consciously about my movements when I play. I think and feel the music first and foremost. It is a natural thing for me to move, as I feel my most free when I play. I never do formal steps like what is the tradition for the fiddle players in Cape Breton. I just move when I want and change whatever I want to change.”I was curious as to how Nesbitt kept it fresh and fun every night while on tour. Her energy is infectious and she truly projects joy in what she does each performance. So how does she keep it fresh?“I am very passionate about my playing and music in general,” responded Nesbitt. “I absolutely love what I do and it never gets tired for me. The audience every night is different, therefore the energy and performance is different every night. This keeps it fresh and spontaneous!”While Mairead has many and varied influences in her musical history, from Andy McGann to Itzhak Perlman, I asked her if there are any young up and comers who have caught her eye?“There are a lot of influences that have inspired me and lots of musicians, singer/songwriters and bands that have been very stimulating, for me as a musician. Of the established and famous players today, I”m a huge fan of David Garrett”I think he is a stunning player. Chris Thile is another amazing player and I find his talent astounding. There are also lots of really young players in Ireland making their mark as artists on a world stage. Karl Nesbitt, my brother has inspired me so much and composed the title track of my album, “Raining Up”. He is one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists in Ireland today. Tell us a little bit about “Raining Up”.“Raining Up” is my solo album”, Mairead replied. “I had a great time preparing and recording it and really need to do another album! This will definitely happen soon! “Raining Up” is the title track, composed by Karl, as I said”. “The title was inspired by seeing the evaporation of the water from the Atlantic Ocean from the Cliffs of Moher in Clare, Ireland. This is like seeing droplets of water going up to the sky, hence the title, “Raining Up”.“It was produced by Manus Lunny. I am very lucky to have some of the best musicians in Ireland and Scotland playing on it, counting also my mother, Kathleen, my sister Frances, and two of my brothers, Sean and Karl. Karl and I wrote some of the music as did Colm O”Foghlu, a young composer from Ireland. I just wanted to touch off my favorite styles of playing and was really happy that it was recognized by the Billboard World Music Charts!”Colorado”s altitude and climate provide many daunting challenges to both performers and their instruments. I asked Mairead if running around the stage at a mile high causes any difficulties for her? Also, how does her violin handle the dryness of our climate?“Well, it is tough going!” admitted Mairead. “But Red Rocks is such a beautiful place and it”s really humbling to look out at such an awesome place while playing on stage. It is my favorite place to play and we will be ending our tour there”. “The dry climate for the fiddle is really damaging and that”s combated with dampits which are snake-like sponges that go into the F-holes of the violin. This helps the wood of the violin not to dry out and prevents cracks that would be very damaging to the violin and to the sound”. “Instruments in general have to deal with different challenges now compared to what they would have had to deal with 300 years ago when my violin was made. Air conditioning is the main culprit and changed climatic conditions. I have to make sure damage is minimal or none at all.”What are you listening to right now on your iPod?“I”m listening to Miles Kennedy, Alter Bridge, Blackbird; Gabriel Kahane, Delusion Road, David Garrett, Rock Symphonies, Karl Nesbitt, Vista Point”. Who picks the tunes that you play? Does David (Downes, musical director of Celtic Woman) pick them or do you have input?“David Downes is our music director and composer of Celtic Woman. He picks the music and knows each one of us really well. We have a certain amount of input but the responsibility of actually picking the music rests with David. It is really great that David and Celtic Woman have been nominated for an Emmy for “Best Musical Direction”!”Finally, I asked Mairead if she ever steps down the road and sits in on a good session when she is home?“Yes, I do!” “There is a session that my brothers play in if I”m home and its fantastic to meet up with them and play with them!”.The extended “Songs from the Hear”t tour will end in Denver, Sunday September 12 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, featuring vocalists Chlo” Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, fiddler M”ir”ad Nesbitt and orchestra. Buy tickets at www.LIVENATION.com www.celticwoman.com
Music, Dance, and Song to enliven UPTOP Ghost town(photo: Dance Hall and Tavern)Spanish Peaks International Celtic Festival fonder Barbara Yule is excited about the opening day picnic/ceili at the La Veta Pass “Ghost Town”of UPTOP*. Enthusiastically she encourages folks to experience the September 24th event, “Join in the music making and dancing, meet old friends and make new ones. In short a perfect time to get into the weekend spirit!” SPIRIT is the operative word. You will find spirit at UPTOP. Whether the spirit is the happy mood of the gathering, spirits of past inhabitants still embodying the ghost town, or the vital principle or the inspiring animating force within living beings put forth by UPTOP owners Deb Lathrop and Sam Law. The love and passion for their project to restore UPTOP is evident when you tour the property with them and can appreciate all of the hard work put into clean-up and refurbishing, and the sense of joy and satisfaction they have in doing so.Residents of La Veta, the sisters purchased the property ten years ago and with help from friends and volunteers they have restored the chapel, and dance hall/tavern, and the original 1877 railroad station depot that now serves as a museum (and a backdrop for a fictional story the sisters are writing about a station manager and his 12 year old orphaned niece 1877-1881). At present they are working on the school house. They also rehabilitated one of the houses for themselves to live in. “We live here as much as we can,” enthused Deb, “Even in the winter!”They have made some improvements on personal note as well. They designed a meditation area with a “Peace Pole” honoring the storytelling traditions of UPTOP. The “Peace Pole” asks that “Peace Prevail on Earth” in Navajo, English, Spanish, and Gaelic (the sisters claim Irish, Scottish, and French heritage). There is also a “Wind-Wishes Tepee” dedicated to the memory of loved ones.Sam and Deb have done a magnificent job of bringing back life to a historical piece of Colorado, but when addressed on the topic they humbly put into context, “We”re just the latest chapter in the story of UPTOP.” If the mountains of La Veta pass could talk they would give glorious accounts of chapters of time before history was put to paper. For centuries It has been a point of passage from one valley to another by man and beast. In the valley to the east the twin peaks now called Spanish Peaks were thought to be a where mankind came to earth by early ancient Indians. Even the ancient Aztecs believed the area to hold a hidden treasure.Later day tribes including the Ute, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Navajo and Kiowa Comanche came to La Veta Pass to also hunt and gather medicinal herbs.In time immigrants from Europe came to the area as Explorers, trappers, miners and settlers. Soldiers used the pass to travel to Fort Garland (1858″1883)Kit Carson (grandson of an Ulsterman), American frontiersman who was the renowned guide of John C. Fr”mont’s western expeditions in the 1840s, an agent for the Ute (1853-1861), and a Union general in the Civil War, has crossed La Veta Pass. Mountain man and scout Thomas Tate Tobin (son of an Irish immigrant father and American Indian mother) who became famous for tracking and killing “The Bloody Espanosa Brothers”also frequented the pass. In 1877, General William Jackson Palmer and partner Dr. William Bell built the highestnarrow-gauge railroad in the world over La Veta Pass (as mentioned earlier the original depot still stands at UPTOP at 9,382 feet). Their company was the Denver Rio Grande Western Railroad Line (D&RGW), known as “The Rio Grande.”The original intention of General Palmer and Dr. Bell was to build a narrow gauge railroad system to connect Denver with Mexico City. The route was to pass over Raton Pass in what is now northern New Mexico. Feverish competitive competition construction provoked the 1877-1880 war over right of way with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. After a real gun slinging encounter between toughs from both sides, the Santa Fe won the right to Raton Pass. Subsequently, Palmer, Bell, and the D&RGW focused on exploiting the lucrative mining service opportunities to the west and ended up utilizing what is now La Veta Pass for its connecting links. Lumber, potatoes, and tourist also became important cargo crossing La Veta Pass. The train ride attracted thrill seekers and adventurers, like writer and native Indian rights activist Helen Hunt Jackson, who wrote a document about her experience describing it as “The Railroad above the sky”. In 1880 Chief Ouray of the Utes and his wife Chipeta and their party took the train over the Pass on their way to Washington DC (President Hayes called Ouray “the most intellectual man I’ve ever conversed with.”).In the late 1890″s the narrow-gauge trains became functionally obsolete to the wider standard”gauge trains that had more carrying capacity. Palmer was unsuccessful in his attempts to build a wider track. So he tore up the rails and built a new route through the town of La Veta that still is used today. Over 600 people took the farewell last train ride 1899. About the time that the narrow-gauge train chapter ended at UPTOP a thriving lumber business took off. Timbers were needed in the local coal mines for building “pit props” for underground tunnels. The abandoned railroad beds were utilized to move the timber with horse drawn carts. After Juan Antonio Trujillo built a saw mill at UPTOP the logging community grew to over 100 people. They built a chapel, school house, dance hall and tavern, and of course private homes. In the mid 1940″s the many of the local coal mines were closed down and the need for lumber ended. Just in time for the automobile era, The State of Colorado paved the road (old train track bed) through UPTOP and called it Highway 160. Adventuresome tourists crossing the pass kept the dance hall/tavern and a restaurant in business until 1962 when a new straighter and wider section of Hwy 160 was built by-passing UP TOP altogether. Now everyone drives the new La Veta Pass. Until Now! Bring your instruments, dancing shows, sing voices, picnic basket and camera and meet UPTOP September 24 to help write a new chapter. And if you”re afraid of ghosts don”t worry, Sam and Deb said all of the spirits UPTOP are friendly! UPTOP Come enjoy the”TRAIN MUSEUM in the original 1877 Depot; CHAPEL-BY-THE-WAYSIDE; TAVERN, take your photo behind the original S-curved bar; DANCE HALL-games, get snacks, see exhibits, visit gift shop; GLORIOUS VIEWS of the Spanish Peaks and Southern Rockies! DIRECTIONS:(*You won”t likely find UPTOP on a map as the name is a recent one. Prior to UPTOP the town did not have a name, or referred to as Veta pass)There are 2 turnoffs to UPTOP GHOST TOWN on Colorado Hwy 160:– turn at mile marker 276 — 15 min. east of Ft. Garland– turn at mile marker 281 — 15 min. west of La Veta & WalsenburgEnjoy the vistas as you drive up the original narrow-gauge railroad bedTour Season: July 10 – September 26 Hours: Sat-Sun 10:00am – 4:00pmAdmission: Ages 10 and above– $5.00 (Sept 24 picnic/ceil is free)To schedule a special event Fax: 719-742-3929Food/Lodging/Camping go to www.lavetacucharachamber.comFor more information about the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Festival go to www.CelticMusicFest.com or call 719-742-3003 or 719-746-2061.