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DR Kev talks to Cindy Reich about his new DVD, animals, Keith Richards and other funny things.

One cannot go through life with a name like Kevin Fitzgerald and not be Irish to the core.
“My mother’s family, the Duggans, came from Ennis, County Clare, and my father’s family, the Fitzgeralds came from County Mayo”, related Kevin recently in an interview especially for the Celtic Connection. Most people instantly recognize the tall, easygoing Fitzgerald from his stint on Animal Planet’s “Animal ER”, one of the early reality series that was filmed on location at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver. Kevin’s back story is both fascinating and remarkable, but that is to be expected from someone who got their career counseling from Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Growing up in Denver, Kevin started working for Barry Fey, the iconic Denver concert promoter. It was a dream job, according to Kevin. It was the late 60’s and the music was massive. “I just wanted to be around the music, Kevin said. I couldn’t play an instrument, but I would rather sing than eat. However, most people would rather hear me eat!”

“My uncle was at the 20th street gym and everyone boxed. So we could work the door for Barry and work at Ebbets Field or at the Family Dog and the same at Tulagi’s. I started working concerts and worked as a bouncer for bands that Barry had on the road. (where he met up with and worked with another bouncer for Barry Fey—by the name of Pat McCullough!) I got to go on the road with several of the bands such as The Who, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and others. But to be a young guy from Denver getting to go on the road with the Rolling Stones was like running away with the circus. Everyone in the Stones had their own jobs and Richard was in charge of the bouncers and ticket cutters. At the end of the 1978 tour, he said to me, “You’ve been a good guy for us over a number of tours, but this isn’t going to last forever. The public is fickle and this won’t last. You need to do something. You can’t be a bouncer when your 50 years old. He said, “You worked really hard for us and I’ll help you, but this isn’t always going to be here.”

“So when I came back from that tour my brother, who was working for U2 came and picked me up at the airport. I told him, “Man, Keith told me I should get a grip on my life!” and my brother said, “Well, he’s like the coolest cat ever—when he says something, you’d better listen!” Furthermore, as Kevin related, “My grandfather always said people will pay for a strong back, but they’ll pay way more for a strong mind.”

Kevin had applied to vet school when he graduated from college in the early 70’s and just missed getting accepted and was put on the waiting list. So he put his grandfather’s (and Keith’s) advice to work and went on to do a Master’s degree and a PhD in Endocrinology (study of hormones). If that wasn’t enough, he taught at a medical school in Hawaii and did post doctoral work at Harvard. During the summers he still worked tours as a bouncer. In 1978 he applied to veterinary school again and was accepted. Keith Richards wrote a letter of recommendation as promised and it probably hangs on some administrator’s wall!

As a veterinarian, Kevin came to national prominence as one of the stars of the Animal Planet series, “Animal ER where Kevin’s gentle nature, tousled good looks and wry sense of humor make him a perfect choice for the series and America took him to heart. Kevin was always the one to get the exotic cases like an egg-bound iguana or a Tegu lizard that wouldn’t eat. Kevin had always had an interest in reptiles and amphibians and continues to this day to do research, primarily with rattlesnakes. However Kevin has done much, much more, dedicating a large amount of time to animal issues around the world. He has documented much of this work which involves raising awareness of many critically endangered species as well as preservation of habitat and instructing native populations how to preserve their wildlife as a long term asset that can make more money than by killing it for short term gains.

While many would agree that a career as a veterinarian is extremely difficult and demanding, it probably doesn’t come close to being as difficult and demanding as becoming a successful stand-up comedian. For 26 years, Kevin’s stand up comedy has achieved a legendary status. While he has a lot of excellent life experiences to draw upon for his comedy, it would be safe to say that Kevin seems to thrive on a life that would send most rational people screaming for cover. Whether he is practicing his Irish step-dancing in green tights a lá The Jolly Green Giant at a comedy gig in Loveland (I actually fell off my chair laughing at that one!) or convulsing the audience at a Denver comedy club, Fitzgerald’s low key, deadpan humor sneaks up on you and you’re helpless to resist.

Therefore, there was much rejoicing in the announcement and release of a superb DVD that Kevin has spent years to put together. First and foremost, it is something that can be enjoyed by the entire family—a rare enough quality these days. This DVD called “A Wild Life” is a must-have for the Christmas wish list. There are three segments, each 42 minutes long. Part One is a collection of Kevin’s comedy routines and are suitable for family viewing. Part Two is a video compilation of much of Kevin’s wildlife work that has taken him around the globe, such as footage with polar bears in the town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada or working with rescued seals in Ireland or tracking endangered vultures in Mongolia. The third segment of the DVD is devoted to children and has some incredible games that adults will no doubt sneak out of their kids’ rooms to try for themselves. “One game, called “X-Rays” shows various x-rays and allows the kids to make the diagnosis”, said Kevin. “It’s 30 years of what I’ve cut out of dog’s stomachs. So they see the x-ray and we say that the dog was near a Christmas tree and we’re worried it might have eaten a Christmas ornament and allow the kid to make the diagnosis. They decide whether or not the dog needs surgery and we help direct them in their decision- making. Another game has 22 North American mammals and birds and their footprints. So these are footprints a kid might see in his or her neighborhood or around their house. We help them become an expert tracker. They can kind of go on an urban safari. It helps them become more connected to the world around them. The main thing is that this is something a parent can do with a kid or a big sister can do with a younger kid but both are going to be entertained”. And if anyone knows about entertainment—it is Kevin Fitzgerald.

“A Wild Life” is available at www.DRkevinfitzgerald.com/shop

gathering-ireland-2013 red

As you read this we are less than one short month away from the official launch of The Gathering Ireland 2013. The Gathering is a year long invitation to the Irish Diaspora, (all 70 million of us!) to come home and enjoy the party, to celebrate our culture and heritage and to reconnect with friends, relatives and all things Irish. It is the Irish government and communities throughout the country rolling out the red carpet for Ireland’s extended family around the globe. No effort will be spared to make sure that those who travel have the time of their lives. Plans are already set for thousands of events, spread throughout every county, from family and clan gatherings to company conventions, from sporting fixtures to a whole array of
spectacular festivals.
The Gathering is interactive and Ireland wants you to be part of it. If you have an idea on a specific event and want advice on how to organize the travel and accommodation, or any other aspect, you can talk to a dedicated ‘Gathering’ expert (see the box on the right for details). For lots more information on The Gathering please check out
www.discoverireland.com and
www.thegatheringireland.com. What are you waiting for?
The festivities proper start in Dublin on New Year’s Eve, what better time? Ireland’s capital city will play host to the rapturous two-day NYE Dublin Festival, featuring a New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert at College Green, a fabulous fireworks display on St Stephen’s Green, a Torchlit Procession through Dublin’s streets broad and narrow, five Festival Zones located around Dublin City Center and the Big Brunch which takes place in Meeting House Square on New Year’s Day. All are welcome to the festival and what a fantastic way to see in the New Year, right in the thick of things, surrounded by all the history, culture and spectacular architecture Dublin has to offer, not to mention the unrivalled wit and welcome of its citizens.
There will literally be no break in the proceedings from then until the end of December 2013. From January 1 onwards The Gathering will be in full flow, with events and festivals and all sorts of fun happening all over the country. As always discoverireland.com is the best resource if you want to find out what’s going on, either in a specific area or just to inspire your trip.
Of the bigger organized events happening early in the year, the Temple Bar Tradfest and the St Patrick’s Festival stand out.
The Tradfest makes its home in the iconic and diverse—some say Bohemian—Temple Bar district of Dublin. It takes place between January 22 and January 27. Now in it’s 8th year the Tradfest is billed as Dublin’s biggest and best festival of traditional Irish music. Over 200 different events take place during the six days and nights. There will be street performers, outdoor stages and top quality music emanating from the doorways of every hostelry. There will be organized concerts at venues such as Christ Church Cathedral and the Rotunda at Dublin City Hall. Ireland’s best musicians will be performing, including such stars as Sharon Shannon, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Maura O’Connell and T with the Maggies. If you’re a trad fan this is a ‘don’t miss’ event.
The St Patrick’s Festival takes place in Dublin from Thursday March 14 through Monday March 18. Each year this extravaganza gets bigger and better, being a wonderful showcase for Irish arts and culture in general. Street theatre and performance, pageantry, spectacle, music, dance, literature, comedy, film, and family events are all enhanced by a warm and uplifting carnival atmosphere. Last year upwards of half a million people showed up for the center point of the festival, the St Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, for the first time ever and in honor of The Gathering, organizers are are inviting up to 8,000 people from around the world to march in the St Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17. It’s called the People’s Parade and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and applications are now open!
As seasoned visitors will know, there is no bad time to visit Ireland. The climate is mild all year round and there is always something going on. In fact, in many ways, those times of year referred to as the ‘off-season’ can sometimes be the best time for your trip. Just about everything is better value (although in surveys over the last few year’s Ireland has consistently ranked top or almost top in most value-for-money categories). It’s easier to get a seat at the theatre, a table at a popular restaurant or a tee-time at a world class golf course when you travel off peak. Hotels and other accommodations are more flexible and generally have better rates. And of course the famous Irish Céad Míle Fáilte, a hundred thousand welcomes, is the same whenever you go.
There are a great many reasons to visit Ireland next year and be a part of The Gathering. Whatever your particular motivation—family, friends, connections, a sense of adventure, or you just love a party—you are welcome at any time. It’s a year long celebration.

There are a great many reasons to visit
Ireland next year and be a part of
The Gathering. Whatever your particular motivation—family, friends, connections, a sense of adventure, or you just love a party—you are welcome at any time.
It’s a year long celebration.
Talk to a Gathering expert on 1-800-SHAMROCK or by emailing gathering.us@tourismireland.com

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(Photo: The 27th Annual Winter Solabration will begin with the Grand March led by a flourish of Pipes and Drums – Will it mark the end of the world as we know it and the beginning of a new era as the old Mayan guys claimed?)

Barring any cosmic chaos in the Human time-line, Denver’s iconic cross-culture holiday festival, Winter Solabration, will continue in it’s 27th year Saturday, December 22nd at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl Street in Denver. The Yuletime celebration of Christmas and Solstice customs From Europe and America are scheduled from 6 pm to Midnight. Event Founder Chris Kermiet explains below how there is little worry whether the Mayan Calendar prediction about the end of the world is right or wrong as there will be some form of joyous community gathering at the Temple Events Center.

This winter solstice — will it be the End-of-the-World-as-We-Know-It?  And the beginning of a new earth?  A new creation?
Well, yes … at least, according to the old Mayan guys.  The Mayan long count calendar runs out on 13.19.19.19.19 — December 21st, 2012.  And then starts over on December 22nd — 1.0.0.0.0 — the first day of a new era.  Or, as the Mayans believed, a whole new creation.
Some people are getting all excited about this.  And predicting the end of the world.  Certainly a new creation often involves the destruction of the old.  But not necessarily.  The Mayans didn’t predict destruction and chaos.  But many others are.
The Aztec calendar also ends in 2012, and the ancient Cherokee calendar as well.  Several preachers have predicted the arrival of the Antichrist in 2012.  (But they’ve predicted this almost annually for the last 30 years or so).
Can there be a new world?  A restart?  The hopeful part of me wants to see a new world — a new beginning.  An end to divisions and quarrels and an era of peace and unity.  Maybe an end to global pollution and climate change as well.  If an ancient Mayan God can come down and do that, I’m all for it.
The skeptical side of me thinks it’s probably not going to happen.  Although there’s a prediction about the end-of-the-world just about every year, the idea seems to take hold in the public consciousness about every 10 or 12 years.  Remember all the hullaballoo about Y2K?  All the computers would stop working, the power grid would go down, and the earth would be plunged into darkness?  Then all the millennialists got into the act and predicted the rapture, the Second Coming, the end of the world, etc., etc.  I lived through that one.  In fact, the year 2000 came and went terribly uneventfully.
The big one before that — the Harmonic Convergence — remember that one?  Do you remember where you were on August 24th, 1987?  When there was supposed to be a great shift in the earth’s planetary energy from warlike to peaceful?  Been plenty of wars since then.  Not much change, I’m afraid.
I’m not expecting much change on 1.0.0.0.0 either.  But I’m still hopeful.  At any rate, it’s a good excuse to celebrate.  The end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it just might happen!
 I’m still hopeful about our planet — but we could celebrate the beginning of a new era
on December 22nd!  Happy New World!  

Winter Solabration, , December 22nd, 6P-MIdnight at the Temple Events Center, 1595 Pearl Street,Denver. Features storytelling, a Mummer’s Play, the Maroon Bells Morris Dancers, Traditional Southwestern Fandango Dances with Lorenzo Trujillo, Breathless in Berthoud, the Solstice Sword Dancers, and Bryan Connolly Extreme Juggling, along with community singing, wassail, and traditional American community dances for all, and ends with the mysterious Abbot’s Bromley Horn Dance at midnight.
Parents are encouraged to bring your kids,  however, parents must be responsible for their children’s behavior.
Adult advance tickets are $27 (if purchased one week prior to the Solabration),
Adults $33. Teens/Students $19, Children (6-12) $9, under 6 free
Bring a snack or dessert potluck to share. Tickets and more information at wsolstice.org
or call 24 hour info/message machine for ticket availability at the door, 303 571-9112.

Christmas Revels Quilt

This year’s Christmas Revels—at the Boulder Theater on December 16 and December 22, at 2 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.—is set in Appalachia during the mid-1800s where English, Scotch, Irish, and Welsh settlers shared the characteristics of being fiercely independent and desiring the freedom to live as they pleased. Steep mountainsides kept outsiders out and insiders close to home. They shared music, their religious beliefs, and their love of traditional rituals and customs from their backgrounds.
This year’s Appalachian show reflects a culture that is a unique blend of European, Native American, and African elements forged in isolation over time. The Celtic traditions can be seen in the clogging, or “flatfooting,” as it is sometimes called. The old-time mountain music takes on a uniquely distinct quality with complicated fingering patterns in the stringed instruments including banjo, guitar, and of course fiddle. The tall tales and stories that are woven into the culture tell of tricky characters who solve problems with both strength and wit. Animals and people work together in the myths and stories, solving problems, and building cabins and communities on the sides of the steep mountain range known as Appalachia.
Revels, Inc. was founded by John Langstaff in 1971to link the music, dances, and seasonal rituals from an older world to a modern world that needs them. Boulder is proud to be one of only ten cities to produce a Christmas Revels show, which carries the universal theme of welcoming the return of the light. Performers in Boulder’s 12th annual Christmas Revelscome from Denver, Golden, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Nederland, and Boulder, and hold daytime jobs as teachers, engineers, lawyers, community organizers, lobbyists, computer programmers, chemists, homemakers, artists, grandparents, moms and dads, and college students.
Guest artists include well-known vocalist and gospel singer Jann Oldham, storyteller and librarian Judy Volc, and Firing Line, a brilliant Appalachian band from Lyons. Other featured artists include The Flagstaff Brass Quintet, the eleven-year-old fiddler and actor Sam Jarvis, professional actress Jenn Bass as Grandmother Spider, popular baritone Cole Kiersey as the native storyteller, and Rick Romeo, our original songleader. Our Lil’ Bar Chorus, consists of 16 remarkable kids from schools throughout the community, and our Mountain Top Adult Chorus includes 38 talented teens and adults.
As is tradition with all Christmas Revels performances, the audience is included in singing fabulous favorites such as “The First Noël,” “See Amid the Winter’s Snow,” and a “Round for Peace.”The audience also participates in thedancing and singing of “Lord of the Dance,” which traditionally ends the first half of every Christmas Revels show. And, of course, no Christmas Revels is complete without the dramatic reading of “The Shortest Day,” a poem written for Revels by children’s author Susan Cooper in 1977.
The “Appalachian” Christmas Revels is replete with authentic fiddling, clogging, storytelling, and folk songs, along with a fabulous community cast and children’s chorus. It’s a show that’s filled with heart, humor, and an Appalachian soul that’s guaranteed to bring the holiday season alive. Welcome all ages and welcome Yule!

Boulder Theater, December 16 and December 22 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Tickets, 303-786-7030, www.BoulderTheater.com.

Gathering green

Ireland is inviting you to The Gathering 2013 to celebrate Irish music, food, culture and more with hundreds of events throughout 2013. Are you thinking about going? We would love to hear from our readers about your plans to go to Ireland and what inspires you about the Emerald Island. Are you going to discover your roots, visit family, or just want to be a part of one great party in 2013? Reach out to us at CelticEvents@rmi.net, www.facebook.com/celtic.rockies, or 303-777-0502 and we would be delighted to print your story.

For more information on The Gathering 2013 go to
www.discoverireland.com or www.thegatheringireland.com. To organize a corporate trip, a reunion or any other group event— you can talk to a Gathering expert on 1-800-SHAMROCK or by emailing gathering.us@tourismireland.com

Judy Collins award

By Bill Nevins and Lorenzo Duran Photo credits: www.higginsphotonyc.com

Judy Collins, the Colorado-born “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” of Stephen Stills’s famous song, and the beloved song writer/performer whose many albums and concerts have filled our lives with sad and joyous song, was honored Monday evening, October 15 in a gala ceremony in Manhattan, New York City by the Irish American Writers & Artists organization. IAW&A is a four-year old self-described national “progressive artists” membership organization headed up by President T. J. English (author of Paddy Whacked, The Westies, The Savage City and many other best selling books) and Vice President Larry Kirwan (playwright, novelist and leader of the Black 47 rock band). Each year, in a gala gathering in NYC, the organization awards its Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award to a living Irish American artist chosen by the IAW & A board for extraordinary Lifetime Achievement.
These reporters attended this year’s IAW&A O’Neill Award event on Oct 15, which was held upstairs from Rosie O’Grady’s elegant Irish American restaurant on 52nd Street near 7th Ave near Times Square in the heart of Manhattan. It was a memorable evening indeed, as the gab and craic and lovely music flowed.
Tom Paxton, himself a legendary folk music performer, gave us all a lovely set of songs, including “The Last Thing on My Mind’, a song that he wrote and Judy Collins made famous and his wonderful lilting narrative song about his visit to Ireland with his wife and the ageless memories they gathered there. Paxton told this reporter, “It is a joy to be here and I am blessed to know Judy and call her my dear friend.”
Malachy McCourt, the ageless wit and memoirist of television, stage and book fame—regaled us all with praise of Judy Collins and a few choice jabs in the direction of less enlightened public figures who happen to be in the popular eye this election year. The laughs just seemed to roll on for the whole night. Asked if he remembered the days when Larry Kirwan and this reporter were patrons in Malachy’s legendary but long since closed pub The Bells of Hell in lower Manhattan, Malachy quipped, “Ah, were you there? We are giving out refunds to everyone who was!” And he laughed and laughed, as did we all.
The surprise of the evening, besides Judy Collins’s stunningly youthful appearance and warm smile to all whom she met, was the surprise guest appearance by Pete Seeger, the legendary singer and activist, who in his 90s proved and charmingly feisty and musically skilled as ever! Pete treated us to songs accompanied by his well-traveled banjo, the one that has these words inscribed upon it in memory of Pete’s friend and mentor, the late Woody Guthrie: “This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It to Surrender.” Indeed, Pete brought out the love and joy in all of us there, and told this reporter, “I just keep on doing what I have been doing all my life. I see no reason to stop just because I’ve got a few more wrinkles now. And just look at Judy—isn’t she the beauty of the world?”
Judy Collins herself told this reporter, “I am just so happy to be here, and I have to say that being on stage with Pete and Tom and Malachy is one of the thrills of my life! An absolute honor, and I am very grateful to Larry and TJ and all of the Irish Writers and Artists for inviting me.”
On stage that evening, Judy Collins gave us magnificent a cappella renditions of several of her famous songs, and also shared memories of her career, the people she has met and admired and, especially, of her father, the late Chuck Collins, who was a legendary radio host in Denver and who gave to his daughter the grand gift of music and of love of life itself. “I learned more from my dad than I can ever tell, or ever repay. I just hope his spirit lives on in the music and in all the good people here and out there in the wide world,” said Judy. There was scarce a dry eye in the room as she spoke.
IAW&A President T.J. English told this reporter, “IAW&A is a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of Irish American writers, actors, musicians, filmmakers and artists both past and present. We are an independent and progressive collective dedicated to the principle that by promoting and appreciating creative expression, we can enhance the human condition. Our goal is to highlight the rich tradition of Irish Americans in all manner of artistic endeavor in the United States, from the 19th Century to the present day.”
Vice Pres Larry Kirwan added, “IAW&A has established itself as a focal point for artists who would like to use their work to affect matters of culture, entertainment, politics and social justice. We stage events, sponsor readings, concerts and art exhibits, and hope to call attention to books, plays, movies, music and other works that reflect the startling Diversity of the Irish American experience”
The 2013 Irish American Writers & Artists Eugene O’Neill Award Gala will be held in October 2013. IAW&A chapters are being organized nationally, and interested persons may get details athttp://www.i-am-wa.org or by contacting this reporter at bill_nevins@yahoo.com

Nov 092012
November 12 CC Cover

by Rodger Hara

Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill are regarded by many in the traditional Irish music world as the best fiddle/guitar duo performing today. Martin’s bow control is such that during a high energy 30 minute set, not a single hair will be broken. There is an almost tangible psychic link in their playing that elevates their sound to an unmatched height that has to be witnessed to be fully appreciated.

Adam Agee and Jon Sousa, a younger fiddle/guitar duo that plays traditional music may someday achieve that level of recognition and musical chemistry. At last month’s Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival, Martin and Dennis invited Adam and Jon to share the stage with them for a few sets in what was not quite a hand-off from the Old Masters of Tradition to the young upstarts.

When asked about Adam’s playing, Martin said “I’ve known him for a long time and think he’s a talented young man. He’s serious about his musical choices and has good taste.” Regarding Jon, Dennis said “I really like the way he plays. There’s no filler or tricks to his playing – he just makes good music. He has great potential for the future.” Martin and Dennis said that they invited Adam and Jon to join them on stage because they like them and their playing and knew that they would sound brilliant playing together – and they certainly did.

Adam, born in San Jose, California, has played violin since he was 10 years old and lived in Boulder since he was 12. His parents recognized his talent early on and wanted him to get an in depth education in the arts and enrolled him at Boulder’s Shining Mountain Waldorf School from which he graduated high school in 1998. He took a year off to travel around Europe and returned to attend the Rhode Island School of Design from which he graduated with a degree in Industrial Design. Shortly thereafter, Adam immersed himself with his fiddle in Ireland, basing himself in Ennis, County Clare, where he was deeply inspired by the thriving session community, the natural landscape, and the Irish language. He has also enjoyed exposure to a broad array of the world’s fiddle traditions at the Valley of the Moon fiddle camp, which he began attending in 1999. When not performing, he teaches fiddle, does web development, graphic design, illustration and letterpress printing. To learn more about Adam, hear tracks on his solo album and see some of his design work, visit www.adamagee.com.

Jon, in response to the inevitable question about a familial link to John Philip Sousa, said “Probably but I don’t know for sure. Sousa is a common Portuguese name so we’re probably distantly related but I don’t know of a specific link.” Born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, Jon moved to Boulder in 2002 to attend Naropa University. While there, he encountered David Rynhart playing an Irish flute on a bench near Boulder Creek. David was his first Irish music friend who basically “…taught him the ropes of Irish guitar accompaniment”. What really hooked him on Irish music was the gift of a AfroCelt Sound System compilation CD and wandering into Conor O’Neill’s Irish pub in Boulder. After graduation from Naropa in 2005, he spent three years traveling in Ireland and France before enrolling in the University of Limerick’s Master’s Program. There he majored in guitar in the Irish Traditional Music Performance Program from which he graduated with First Class Honors. In spite of that grounding and growth in traditional Irish music, he continues to perform with other bands including The Portal (a Shamanic Journey Rock Opera), a Guns N’Roses Tribute band and a psychedelic tribal rock band called Lunar Fire that occasionally tour regionally and internationally.

Adam and Jon met in a session at Conor O’Neill’s Pub in Boulder seven years ago and have played numerous house concerts, private parties, school workshops and a few festivals since. They lived together in Ennis, County Clare for a year while Jon was attending University and appeared at this year’s Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater, the Spanish Peaks Festival and performed for the fundraiser for Ruth Chaikin at Eron Johnson’s warehouse.

Both love to teach Irish music, each has recorded individual CD’s and they are working on a joint CD this fall. You can hear Adam and Jon perform regularly in Boulder, every other Friday from 8:00 to 10:00 in the morning, at the North Boulder Spruce Confections, 4684 Broadway Street, (303) 449-5819. And you can also catch them this month along with special guest Spirit A’Claddach at Katie Mullen’s Irish Pub in Denver on the 8th and on the 23rd will open for Hanneke Cassel and Mike Block at Eron Johnson’s Antique Warehouse. Adam has built the basic version of their website, http://www.adamageejonsousa.com so go there to keep up with the amazing sound of these rising young stars.

November 12 CC Queen Colleen pat

It was about camaraderie not competition! The Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee held it’s Annual Queen Colleen Coronation at the Celtic Tavern in Lodo on October 21, 2012. The Queen Colleen and her Court will reign in the 51st Annual Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 16, 2013. Six young ladies, from six different organizations, participated by speaking with the audience, singing, dancing, and playing instruments. They met each other and the judges a week before over tea and were friends by the time the big day arrived.
The Queen Colleen Coronation committee coordinated a special crowd favorite award which raised over $600 for Children’s Hospital.

The 2nd Runner-up is Susannah Faulkner, sponsored by Udi’s Gluten Free Foods, who was a major sponsor of the Coronation event. Susannah is a member of the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee as well as the Irish Network of Colorado. She performed a beautiful classical ballet.

The 1st Runner-up is Kathleen Zazenski, sponsored by Michael and Ann O’Neill. Katie is a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and a volunteer for Domesti-PUPS. She sang an a cappella version of “Danny Boy” by Frederic Weatherly.

The 2013 Queen Colleen is Jessica Lesser, sponsored by Colorado Emerald Society. Over fifteen years ago, Jessica fell in love with Irish dancing. She was a multiple National & World qualifier in solo dancing, but won the Regional’s, National’s, “All Ireland’s” & World Championships with her team members at Celtic Steps School of Irish Dance.
She danced on two different teams that each won a 2011 World Championship. It was the first time that an American team had pulled off two championships at one World competition.
Jessica now dances professionally with Colorado’s only professional Irish dance troupe called “Strictly Irish” and will be going on a short tour in November with the Irish band called Feast, in a show called Celtic Fire. This group was nominated for two Emmy’s 3 years ago, for this show which was shown on PBS.
Jessica plans to bring that same kind of passion to her new position as Queen Colleen. Bringing the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee representation out into the Irish and non-Irish communities is something she hopes to accomplish.
Congratulations to Queen Colleen Jessica Lesser!

November 12 CC CT CoSpgs

The Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs will welcome world-music power Celtic Thunder to its stage Sunday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Surpassing sales of one million units combined, the musical phenomenon that is Celtic Thunder have recently been hailed as BILLBOARD’s Top World Music Artist, along with Top World Music Imprint and Top World Album of 2011 for their most current disc, Heritage. Celtic Thunder rang in 2012 with a new CD and DVD concert special, VOYAGE just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. VOYAGE the concert special has been broadcast across the U.S. on Public Television stations during the March 2012 pledge period.

VOYAGE continues to pay homage to the musical culture of Ireland, while exploring the musical journey each soloist has undertaken since the beginning of Celtic Thunder four years ago. Former members Damian McGinty and Paul Byrom have moved on – McGinty’s star continues to rise after securing a reoccurring role on FOX’s hit show GLEE (a result of winning last year’s “The GLEE Project”), while Paul Byrom launches his own solo career as well. Keith Harkin is also working on a solo project while maintaining his integral role in Celtic Thunder. He is the first artist signed to the newly helmed David Foster Verve Music Group, and is readying his forthcoming solo debut wildly anticipated by “Thunder Heads” everywhere. The rest of the ensemble including Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne, George Donaldson and Emmet Cahill welcome 13-year-old Daniel Furlong to the fold as a guest artist on this recording. The group performances highlight the diversity of Irish music and song; from the powerful rendition of “Dulaman” to the love song “Maid of Culmore,” the collection also features a rousing performance of “Galway Girl” and beloved Irish party song “My Irish Molly-O.”
In addition to their impressive sales statics, their official YouTube channel, “Thunder Tube” has received over twenty five million views since its inception in 2008.
Celtic Thunder have appeared on multiple national TV programs to date including The Today Show, CBS Early Show’s Saturday Second Cup Café, Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends, as well as numerous regional shows in major cities.

Tickets for this show are on sale at TicketsWest outlets, the Pikes Peak Center or World Arena box offices, by phone at 520-SHOW and online at www.pikespeakcenter.com

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(photo by Kevin Westenberg)

The Script–Dublin, Ireland’s chart-topping hit-makers, step up to the podium with their Olympic sized new single, “Hall Of Fame,” featuring global superstar will.i.am, off of their forthcoming release, #3, out October 9th. Penned by the band (Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power), inspirational new single brings the band back to their piano-laden, pop melodiousness, blending a seamless duet with the hip hop lyrical flow of will.i.am. It’s clear The Script have raised the stakes with “Hall of Fame,” declaring “… and the world’s gonna know your name.” On “Hall of Fame,” Mark Sheehan comments: “We wanted to capture as much emotion in the track’s sound as there is in the lyrics, which are definitely some of the most positive and upbeat we’ve ever written.” In December of 2011, The Script’s frontman Danny O’Donoghue joined Jessie J, Tom Jones and will.i.am as a judge on BBC’s inaugural season of The Voice UK. Working with will.i.am on “Hall Of Fame,” Danny O’Donoghue says: “We thought it might make a great duet but we wanted to do it line by line, true duet style. It took several months, a headlock and a taxi cab to get Will on the song!” The Script have enjoyed an epic rise to fame following the success of their 2008 self-titled debut album and their massive platinum selling single, “Breakeven.” That single rewrote history on Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs airplay radio chart, taking the #1 spot, where the song completed a record-setting 36 week rise to the summit. Impressively, the band has sold over five million singles in the US, and has played stadium shows with Paul McCartney and their mentors, U2. www.thescriptmusic.com

The Script at the Ogden Theatre Tuesday, October 23, 2012. Doors 6:30pm Show 7:30pm. GA are $35.00 plus applicable service charges, available online at
www.AXS.com or www.ogdentheatre.net or call 888.929.7847. 16+ with ID are welcome.

October 12 CC Cover

Clannad are unquestionably one of the most unique yet identifiable sounds in Celtic Music. The Ó’Braonáin (Brennan) and Ó’Dúgáin (Duggan) families have been making their timeless music infused with the landscape of Donegal for over 40 years. Cindy Reich recently caught up with Máire (Moya) Ó’Braonáin at home in Donegal just prior to the start of a North American tour.

CR Did you have a clue when you formed “Clann as Dobhair”—“family from Dobhair” (which became “Clannad”) in 1970 that you would be still traveling the world, bringing the music of Donegal to the world?

MB Not at all. It’s astonishing. It’s astonishing because it was simply something we were passionate about. We didn’t get a band together because we wanted to make money and become famous. We actually got the band together simply from the joy of playing together in my father’s pub. The instruments were around the house, the Gaelic songs were all around us and we were brought up in a musical household. That was the root of the Clannad sound that is now universally regarded as I suppose, “Celtic Music”.

CR Well, I’ve been to Leo’s Pub in Meenaleck and the music just oozes from the walls..

MB Well then you must feel it… When people talk to me about the Clannad sound, I say, if you go to Donegal, you kind of feel that ethereal earthiness that we allowed to become part of our music. It has that ancient kind of feel to it. But you have to remember when we sang the Gaelic songs those many years ago, it was never done with instruments, it was never done with harmonies, so we were sort of shunned a bit for using those things with the traditional songs, but we sort of spontaneously went where we felt the feeling was.

CR—Well, you definitely had the land and the language in your music, but what surprised me what that it became so universal. You wouldn’t really expect that a family singing in Gaelic from Donegal would affect people around the world. Most people wouldn’t even understand the lyrics, so the music itself had to grab them deeply. To go around the world, as Clannad’s music has, for a native language, I think is extraordinary.

MB—It is quite extraordinary, but it has something to do with the way we feel about the music and that always came across—that soulful feeling. The other thing as well, is that we were very blessed in 1982 to do a TV show in England (where the theme from “Harry’s Game” originated) which really opened doors for us. We would never have been played on radio, so to have the opportunity for people to hear that launched us in a way. Then, when the “Theme from Harry’s Game” was used by a car company for a commercial in the US, it brought a whole new audience to our music. If you give the people something to sit up to… however, it was still in the Gaelic language. We didn’t write it to be a hit, but it became one anyway (laughing). So for it to go on “Top Of The Pops” in London—still the only song in Gaelic to be on that show, and to have an ad in America with a Gaelic song, for us was quite extraordinary.

CR—The interesting thing is that there are people today who weren’t even born when “Harry’s Game” came out and yet they hear it today and are captivated by it in the same way. It has a timeless quality about it that transcends generations.

MB—It was never done with a click track. It was just Ciarán and myself—Ciarán on the old Prophet-5 and I’m looking at him and I’m just singing along with the beat of our heart and what we felt. It’s got that organic feeling, I suppose, and people do feel that.
When we were developing Clannad, we weren’t afraid of using our voices and experimenting with them. It allowed that “sound”. I’ve had emails from all over the world asking me what microphone I use, or what reverb I use or whatever, but when they come see me live, they realize it is really just my voice. I’ve allowed my voice to become part of the landscape I grew up in, you know?

CR But you would have grown up singing in your father’s pub and singing in the house. You weren’t afraid of using your voice—it was probably as natural as breathing to be singing and playing as you grew up.

MB Absolutely. My mother was a music teacher and my father was a musician all his life. He had a showband before we had the pub and so I grew up listening him rehearsing in the front room with his band. Anything from Nat King Cole to the Everly Brothers to Buddy Holly or a bit of ceili music or whatever. You can imagine, growing up in Donegal at that time when it was quite remote—we created our own entertainment.

CR So what was the first party piece you can remember doing as a child?

MB “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” (laughing) Would you believe? But I would have a lot of children’s songs in Gaelic that I would’ve grown up with. That was my only English song for a very long time.

CR Did you do the sound effects too?? The barking??

MB Oh, definitely! That was really important!! (laughing)

CR I want to talk about the new album. You are due to release your first album with all of the original members of Clannad since 1989. Is it out yet?

MB Well…with everything else, we keep writing new songs and changing songs. We’re very excited to be back recording and have a huge bank of songs. There has been so much time since the last album; it’s hard to let go of some of these songs because you are always thinking you can improve on them. So it is taking longer than we thought, so you’ll have to hold your breath a little while longer.

But since we haven’t been to North America in 19 years, we feel that with 17 albums—people will want to hear for the first time in ages, the songs that they know. We feel that is what we want to bring first. People want to hear “Harry’s Game” and “I Will Find You” and “Lore” and so on. We didn’t want to rush the album just to have in hand for this tour. It’s really important to us—this album. We are doing two halves to the show and we want to get on as many songs as we can. It’s a big show—we have the five original members plus a percussionist and a keyboard player so its not too big, but big enough to give everyone that Clannad sound! Getting on stage is exciting again and we can’t wait to get to Denver! It’s always a little bit harder to sing there, though..(laughing).
October 2012 Celtic Connection, Denver Colorado

Clannad will be appearing at the Paramount Theatre, Tuesday, October 23 at 7:30pm

November 12 CC Celtic Run_Sean Vogel pic

Mary McWay Seaman reviewed the novel Celtic Run in the October 2012 Celtic Connection. You can read the positive review below.
Mary reviews monthly in her column, BOOKKEEPING.
Sean Vogel will be at Kerreen O’Connor Irish Goods in Littleton CO. (2595 West Alamo Ave Littleton, CO 303-794-6388) on Saturday November 3rd , 12-2PM, to sign copies of Celtic Run.

BOOKKEEPING by Mary McWay Seaman
CELTIC RUN by Sean Vogel (MB Publishing, 2012, 159 pages, paperback, $9.95)

Looking for a page-turner to please that younger adolescent? CELTIC RUN is a sure bet with international travel, a thrilling treasure hunt, and pursuits by a criminal cartel. This contemporary Irish escapade begins as three American teenagers in a cultural exchange program find themselves embroiled in a mystery fraught with danger. Jake, Zach and Julie, and their Irish friend Maggie are all coping with family problems that include detached parents, dictatorial parents, a disabled single parent and parental unemployment. The Americans, housed with host families in Dingle, are keenly aware that they are in a foreign country; they hone their observational skills, weigh alternative actions, and learn to think on their feet. They also join forces to organize and execute plans. Plenty of rollicking sideshows (the kind that can only happen in Ireland) shift this novel into high gear.

Zach is a big, overbearing guy with the wet-blanket potential to ruin the whole experience, and he and Jake get off on the wrong foot. Jake, whose mother is deceased and whose father is disabled, settles in with Maggie O’Connell’s family. Maggie’s father has been unemployed for two years, and he vanishes two nights every week without explanation – the same times that bandits are raiding local museums. Her mother works in a local pub, and teenager Maggie gave up Irish dancing for part-time work there. Young readers will find the Irish pub culture absorbing, especially its embrace of all ages, all the time.

Jake rescues a small child from the sea around Blasket Sound and discovers a relic from the 400-year-old Spanish Armada shipwreck. The teens are fascinated by the history behind the English defeat of Spanish Armada in 1588, and they learn that many of the battle’s artifacts are housed in the area’s museums; however, the bulk of the legendary treasure has never been found. After Jake shows his artifact to the curator of a local museum, he is promptly dismissed: “This is an old country, lad, and you can dig up all sorts of bits and bobs . . . but most of it’s just tinkers’ tin.” Jake refuses to hand over his treasure to the man for further study. The kids are no longer interested in the curator or the museum, but the curator is most assuredly interested in them. They learn that they are being followed, and the four of them close ranks to become a cohesive unit.

The inscription on Jake’s artifact points to a nearby church, so they explore ancient Skellig Michael, and Jake, master of electronic gadgets, keeps his pen-sized, fiber optic camera handy. They pick up an item of interest that is confiscated by the harbormaster, but cleverly retrieved. Teamwork pays off, and serendipity is a plentiful commodity as Jake meets an old man, “the Colonel” who turns out to be his great-uncle. Colonel McGreevy commands him to call if he ever needs assistance. The museum bandits continue their rampages on the days when Maggie’s father vanishes (coincidence?). The kids attempt to follow him into an area near Mount Brandon, but inadvertently stumble into a tinker camp. The tinker’s old tool advances the action, and insights into the travelers’ culture prove fascinating.

Julie is kidnapped and taken to Corráin Castle near Dunquin. Her rescue and a new game plan require heavy artillery and missiles along with Jake’s trusty Leatherman: water balloons, slingshots, a large-capacity water pistol, a semiautomatic disc gun, a foghorn, silly string, a radio-transmitting dog collar, flashlights, chocolate syrup, flour, molasses, vegetable oil, plastic bags and whoopee cushions (who knew?). The hunt proceeds to an underground cave. What secrets does the cave hold? Is the ancient Spanish treasure there? At this point readers learn the meaning of a Celtic Run – a clan saying: “a good run is better than a bad stand.” And run they do.

Evil-doers, double agents, gripping chase scenes, and bits of romance are woven through the novel with bracing lessons about first impressions and the fact that things are not always what they appear to be. One impression, however, remains steadfast: the role of family hardship in supporting self-reliance, self-discipline, problem-solving skills, patience, teamwork and initiative. The high-speed thriller CELTIC RUN will not only transport and enchant young readers, it will inspire them to consider life’s longer view and to double down on preparations for a meaningful future.

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