How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

It’s a light week for Irish types, but still manages to provide plenty of interest..

We have three events in the lineup.

The John Byrne Band takes the stage Saturday for a free concert—yes, free—at Drexel Lodge Park in Newtown Square. The concert starts at 4:30 p.m. The park is at 4104 West Chester Pike. A great band in a neat outdoor venue, and did we mention it’s free?

On a different note, catch an award-winning short film called “The American Wake” Sunday at 4:30 at the Philadelphia Irish Center, 6815 Emlen Street in Mount Airy. It’s the story of filmmaker Kevin Quinn’s grandmother’s immigration from County Mayo to New York back in 1950. You can also meet the filmmaker after the presentation. The film will show in the Irish Center’s Barry room right after the Mayo Association meeting. Continue Reading

Music, Photo Essays, Photos

Beoga Beguiles (Again!)

As Eamon Murray pointed out from the stage in the Ballroom at the Irish Center last night, a lot has changed in the 10 years since Beoga last played here. But the most important thing hasn’t changed: Murray, Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Seán Óg Graham and Damien McKee are still Beoga and still know how to bewitch their audience.

It’s a pretty mean feat to bring 200 people out to listen to trad music on a Thursday night in mid-May with less than a month’s notice, but that is exactly what went down at the concert brought to you by the Philadelphia Ceili Group and the Commodore Barry Arts and Cultural Center last night. Continue Reading

Audio, Audios, Music, Photo Essays, Photos

Philly Fleadh 2019 in Pictures and Sounds

Non-stop music on three stages, dance, Irish and Celtic vendors, food and drink—it was all on display Saturday at Philly Fleadh 2019, held on the grounds at Pennsylvania Army National Guard Armory & Readiness Center in Northeast Philadelphia.

In a week during which rain seemed to be falling every day, the Fleadh’s organizers got lucky. It was bright and sunny, and the grounds had mostly dried out. People came with their lawn chairs and set up on the lawn to listen to tunes from such bands and performers such as Oakwyn, The Bogside Rogues, the John Byrne Band, Seamus and CJ, Ray Coleman.

We were there for a good part of the day and tried to capture some of the flavor of this big, exciting event.

The pictures are up top, and here’s a recording of the band Oakwyn playing “Come Out Ye Black and Tans.”

Editor’s note: All Irish Philly podcasts are now available on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and Spotify.

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

How to be Irish in Philly this week, you may ask?

Funny you should ask!

Let’s start Saturday with a really big event, one of the highlights of the year: The Philadelphia Fleadh—pronounced “flah,” not “flea”—to be held at the spacious Pennsylvania Army National Guard Armory & Readiness Center, 2700 Southampton Road in Northeast Philadelphia.

This event, now in its seventh year, runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

There will be 13 bands and performers, including the Bogside Rogues, the John Byrne Band, Seamus and CJ, Ray Coleman and more, playing on several stages—that ought to keep you going for a long time. If you’re into traditional Irish music, you can take part in—or just listen to—traditional Irish music sessions. Local dance school Celtic Flame will host a dance competition, the Feis (“fesh”) at the Fleadh. Or you can strap on your own dancing shoes at a ceili.

Come hungry and be ready to spend some money on some cool Celtic stuff. There will be plenty of food and drink, plus vendors. The kids will find plenty to do, too, with face painting, a bounce house, balloon critters, and more. Continue Reading

Music, News, Videos

Scenes from the Jarlath Henderson Concert (And a Preview of Some Upcoming Ceili Group Events)

Last Friday, the Philadelphia Ceili Group brought multi-instrumentalist and award-winning folk singer Jarlath Henderson to a very appreciative Delaware Valley audience (with some driving from as far away as Reading in rush hour traffic to attend). And with a crowd of nearly 50 people in attendance at the Fireside Room of the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (AKA The Irish Center) in Mount Airy, the evening was one of brilliant tunes and songs, with Jarlath stunning on pipes (both uilleann and vocal) and accompanied by the talented Glasgow-born Innes Watson on guitar (one audience member was overheard exclaiming “He makes that guitar talk!”). To check out where you can see them perform as they continue their U.S. tour, and to order their CDs, check out Jarlath’s website.

This is just the kick-off to a number of upcoming concerts the Ceili Group is sponsoring, several as a co-production with the Irish Center. First up is next Thursday, May 16, when they bring Beoga to town. In case you haven’t heard, the self-described “new-wave trad” super-group recently shot into the stratosphere when they performed on two Ed Sheeran songs: “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan.”

Then, on Sunday, June 9, they will be presenting David Curley in concert. Dave is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, mandolin, banjo and bodhran, sings and does some Irish dancing as well. He is part of the band RUNA, as well as being a member of SLIDE. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

This is going to be a terrific week for music, benefits and more.

We’ll start with a quick reminder: Jarlath Henderson, from County Armagh, Ireland, is the recipient of the BBC Young Folk Musician of the Year Award and is renowned as a balladeer and three-time winner of the All-Irelands on uilleann pipes. He also plays flute, whistle and cittern. In short: multi-talented. And tonight (May 3), he is appearing at the Commodore John Barry Arts and Cultural Center (a/k/a the Irish Center), 6815 Emlen Street in Philly’s Mount Airy neighborhood, together with Innes Watson.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Details here. Add this to your musical to-do list. Continue Reading

Arts

Picture This: Irish Writers’ Portraits on Exhibition

The bearded face of Northern Irish poet Michael Longley stares out pensively from its frame in stark black and white. It is one of nearly 100 intimate portraits of Irish authors captured by Robin Hiteshew over almost 40 years, a project that blended Hiteshew’s profound love of literature and his passion for photography—a talent he has refined to crystalline perfection.

Fifty of these author portraits will be brought together in an exhibition, “Portraits of Irish Writers,” which debuts June 5 at Neumann University in Aston, Delaware County. Sponsored by the Donegal Association of Philadelphia and funded by an Irish Heritage grant through the Irish government’s Emigrant Assistance Programme, it is Hiteshew’s second major photographic project funded by the Irish government. The first was “The Face of Irish Music,” portraits of Irish musicians from elder statesmen like fiddler and composer Ed Reavy, Sr., to young fiddler Haley Richardson, presented at the Irish Consulate in New York City in February 2015. Continue Reading

Audio, Music

Nathan Carter, Soon Back in Philly, On Irish Country Music, His Career and What’s Next

Back in the States for another tour, Irish country music phenom Nathan Carter has come a long way since his hit song, “Wagon Wheel.” He’s enormously popular—as witness his sold-out appearance at the Philadelphia Irish Center a few months ago.

As with so many artists, it was a bit of a slog to get to that first huge hit. Unlike many artists, he’s been able to remain popular and well in demand, adapting to changes in the music industry that might have cut short the careers of many others.

And he’s grateful for every moment he gets to play his music.

Carter is scheduled to appear Saturday, May 25, at Glenside’s historic Keswick Theater. He’ll be accompanied by Celtic Woman’s Chloe Agnew. It promises to be a great show. Tickets and info here. Better jump on it. Tickets are moving fast.

We recently interviewed Carter. Here’s what he had to say. Continue Reading