Dazzling Lineup for the Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival
itle=”20120810mm” src=”http://irishphiladelphia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/20120810mm-300×231.jpg” alt=”Courtney Malley, with a portrait of her late father Frank” width=”300″ height=”231″ />
There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since Dé Danann last graced the stage at the Philadelphia Ceili Group’s annual festival. Twenty-five years and a few personnel changes, to be exact.
But have no doubt that the version of Dé Danann that takes to the Philadelphia Irish Center stage Saturday night, September 8, at the Philadelphia Ceili Group Festival is the genuine article. Founding members Alec Finn and Johnny “Ringo” McDonagh will be joined by past members Brian McGrath, Derek Hickey, Eleanor Shanley, and Mick Conneely.
Anne McNiff, secretary of the Philadelphia Ceili Group, expects an amazing night of music from the band, and from the opener, acclaimed uilleann piper Paddy Keenan, as well.
McNiff says Dé Danann’s appearance culminates the Ceili Group’s year-long series featuring music from the west of Ireland. “The band originally came from the Galway area, and that’s where they currently list themselves as being from,” McNiff says. “Also we wanted to pick a band that would be a grand finale for the music series. We thought the band would be popular, attracting Ceili Group members as well as others. Many people are familiar with the name Dé Danann, and revivals are all the rage right now.”
This particular revival won’t represent a radical departure from the sound the band is known for, says McNiff.
“At the core, they certainly have a sound that they’re known for. It’s the way the band plays with each other that makes them great.”
So that takes care of the festival finale, but there’s a whole lot of Irish music, dance and culture on the agenda in the days leading up to the Saturday night concert.
Thursday night (September 6) is singers night, dedicated to vocal music, and dedicated to the memory of the late Ceili Group leading light Frank Malley, who dearly loved songs. Look for performances by Rosaleen McGill, Matt Ward, Marian Makins, and others. The night is hosted by Gabriel Donohue.
Friday night (September 7), you’ll be able to dance to the music of the McGillians & Friends, or you can grab a chair in the cozy Fireside Room to take in a brilliant little one-man show, “Who Killed James Joyce,” by troubadour Sean Tyrrell. McNiff is looking forward to that performance.
“We have had Sean Tyrrell before. He is famous for these one-man shows. This is his latest, and he’ll be presenting not only works from Joyce, but other Irish poets as well. While it’s not a theatre piece, it has theatrical aspects to it. Sean’s shows very much incorporate the spoken word as much as the music. We really wanted to present something different in the Fireside Room, which is a smaller, more intimate venue. It’s more of a pub-like experience.”
Earlier in the day Saturday features a wide range of workshops, from Irish singing to the irish language. There will also be live music throughout the day, kiddie activities, vendors, and of course delicious food and drink.
You can find out more about the festival by visiting the Ceili Group website.