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Audio, Audios, Music

“Scatter the Light”—An Interview with Fiddler Eileen Ivers


Premier Irish fiddler Eileen Ivers has released a stunning new album, “Scatter the Light.” We recently spoke with her about the album, the uplifting messages behind each of the tracks, and the uncanny timing of the album’s hopeful, empowering outlook.

Irish Philly: So what inspired you to compose this new album, Scattered the Light?

Eileen: Sort of various things. It came slowly, as an extension I think of even the last record I did, which was called “Beyond the Bog Road,” which really looked at Irish music and its journey, interacting with other roots elements and really forming the roots of Americana music and bluegrass and French Canadian. So it was a very in-depth record. And then after the record came out and all the research and just the touring with that, I started writing more in a certain vein and realized it was all sort of connected with this very upbeat, positive attitude. And I think also coming out of our joyful Christmas shows, I noticed that there was a wonderful sentiment that was happening when those shows would occur, which I loved. And I remember thinking to myself, why can’t this be carried through the year? This feeling of optimism and joy and really looking for those moments? And that’s when the penny dropped, so to speak.

And I felt, you know what, this is a way to connect the dots. And anytime I do a CD, I think I maybe sometimes overthink it because it does take me a little while between projects, but I think it’s such a major statement when you do release a brand-new piece of work like this because it doesn’t come lightly. And I really try to be very thoughtful about it. In short, it really was all of these tracks linking together in a very thematic way, which made sense, which made a statement. And therefore I did call it “Scatter the Light.”

Irish Philly: Well it’s funny that you should mention overthinking it. Because it didn’t come across that way. It really came across as more from the heart than from the head is if there was no conscious decision-making behind it at all, except that you’re going from your soul and your heart.

Eileen: Thank you. No, it’s funny, it really was happening in that way. But when you start to look at a collection of tunes in the body of work, then you, it’s funny, I realized, wow, there is this theme that ran through it, which is the thoughtful part I think of it. But the knee jerk reaction was interesting where I was just writing these tunes. It started with “Shine,” which is the lead track. And also feeling like I wanted those two gospely, faith-filled songs as part of this. And then these tunes just kept coming. “Road Trip.” very quickly. “Hold My Hand” came in a shot. It was literally looking at this picture—and again, heart took over and those words just came right out. And so it is interesting how music does come at different times in people’s lives and thankfully, this did all come and it’s a record I’m super proud of. Continue Reading

Audio, Audios

Podcast: Interview with Fiddler Winifred Horan

Fiddler Winifred Horan is best-known for her work with the band Solas, but she has also forged a productive and creative solo career.

Now she is out with a beautiful new CD, “The Memory of Magic.”

We spent a good long time recently talking about the new album, and the thought and inspiration that went into it.

You can see Win Friday, October 25, at 8 p.m. at the Philadelphia Irish Center in a concert presented by the Philadelphia Ceili Group. She’ll be joined by pianist Utsav Lal and guitarist Dan Faiella.

Purchase tickets here.

Here’s our interview.

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

Audio, Audios

Podcast: Interview with Riverdance Fiddler Haley Richardson

New Jersey native Haley Richardson, a young fiddle player well-known within the Philadelphia traditional Irish music community, where her love of the genre first took root, joined the cast of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin this summer.

Often described as a “child prodigy,” at 17 Haley is no longer a child, and regardless of the  honors and accolades thrown her way, remains a thoroughly grounded young lady.

Anyone who has ever heard her play—from her childhood playing an appropriately child-sized violin to her victories at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (the world championships of Irish music) and appearances on stage with the likes of The Chieftains—knows those honors and accolades are well-deserved.

We recently spoke with Haley about Riverdance, her upbringing in music, and thoughts on her future. Here’s what she had to say. Continue Reading

Audio, Audios, Music

Podcast: Fiddler Tony DeMarco Brings His New York Style to Philly

Tony DeMarco’s family story isn’t unusual for New York and other big Northeastern cities. He’s the offspring of that classic “Gaelic and garlic” heritage, a DeMarco on one side, and, on his mother’s side, Dempseys.

“I’m in a book that was all about the Irish-Italian condition in New York, called ‘An Unlikely Union’, written by Paul Moses,” says DeMarco. “He goes into the whole story about Italians and Irish in New York, and how they did and didn’t get along. My whole family consists of those kinds of relations and marriages.”

In many, if not most cases, the Catholic church was the common denominator. Italians and Irish were both Catholic, and they settled in the same neighborhoods. “So the dominant nationalities were Italian and Irish and they married a lot, and I’m a product of that,” DeMarco says. “So we had Irish music and good Italian food.” In DeMarco’s estimation, it was the best of both worlds. Continue Reading

Audio, Audios, Sports

Podcast: Press Conference with Carl “The Jackal” Frampton

Carl “The Jackal” Frampton visited the Philadelphia Irish Center to talk about his August 10, 2019, fight against Emmanuel Dominguez at Temple University’s Liacouras Center. “The Pride of Belfast” held forth on a range of subjects, too, from fatherhood and family to career highlights to his legacy. And he talked about how the next fight could be his last. (Although he expects to win.)

Audio, Audios, Music, Photo Essays, Photos

Sights and Sounds of the 2019 Philadelphia Irish Festival

The 2019 Philadelphia Irish Festival at Penn’s Landing is history. A very good festival it was. With temperatures in the 80s and a nice breeze along the Delaware, it was picture-perfect most of the day.

Seamus McGroary, C.J. Mills and Joe Kirschen started playing just after noon, and the tunes flowed on into the afternoon, with the McLean Avenue Band of New York City and Philly band Jamison taking the stage later in the day, undaunted by occasionally threatening skies.

A good-sized crowd showed up to take in the tunes, buy Irish shirts and hats, slurp water ice, sip a brew, feast on funnel cake, or watch the Irish dancers. For the kids, there were balloon hats, face painting and a moon bounce. 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.