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Audio, Music

Podcast: Interview with Joanie Madden

Joanie Madden brings her band Cherish the Ladies to the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (The Irish Center) Saturday, December 1, for the first stop of the Celtic Christmas tour. Tickets here.

Joanie, who recently won the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish-American Writers and Artists, recently took time for a chat about the award, the band, her career, and the new Christmas music tour.

Jeff: So I guess I’ll just jump right into it. You recently received the Eugene O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from the Irish-American Writers and Artists. That had to be gratifying after so many years of performing.

Joanie: Well, you know, Jeff, first off it’s great to speak to you again, and secondly, you know, it’s always nice to receive awards and honors and we had a great night. It was actually Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas presented me with the award, and it was great to join this illustrious list of names of people that have won it previously. But it was a great night. What was great about it for me, more importantly, was that so many of the musicians in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut came out. You know, all my great friends in the music business, so it was wonderful to see them all there for that. Continue Reading

Audio, Music

Podcast: Irish Christmas in America Comes to Sellersville

A bright, balanced blend of Irish music and dance drawing on seasonal inspirations, Irish Christmas in America arrives on stage at Sellersville Theater 1894 Tuesday, November 27. Fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, of the Irish traditional supergroup Téada, has been producing the show for 14 years, which never ceases to delight audiences from one end of the country to the other—regardless of whether their roots are Irish.

“We started in 2005, a few years into touring with Téada, he says. “We really enjoyed it, so we kept on doing it.”

March, of course, is perhaps the best time of year to acquaint people with Irish culture, but, he adds, Christmas is a great time, too.

Irish Christmas in America features some of the finest musicians and dancers you’re likely to find, including well-known singer, accordionist and story-teller Séamus Begley and harper Gráinne Hambly, who has performed frequently in the Philadelphia area over the years. Continue Reading

Music

Music and Dance! Kevin McGillian Ceili Set for Saturday

Everyone who is anyone in the Philadelphia area traditional Irish music scene knows of, has met, or been influenced or encouraged by the late accordion player Kevin McGillian.

McGillian, born in County Tyrone, passed away April 1 at the age of 90. To say he is deeply missed is a vast understatement.

However, his music lives on this Saturday night as Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann’s Delaware Valley Chapter hosts its Kevin McGillian Ceili at the MacSwiney Club, 510 Greenwood Avenue in Jenkintown, Pa. Continue Reading

Audio, Music

Audio Podcast: Interview with Celtic Woman’s Máiréad Carlin

Celtic Woman’s Destiny World Tour is coming to Reading, Pa., June 18, 2016, at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading. If you’re willing to drive a little farther, you can also catch them at Eisenhower Auditorium in University Park the night before.

We interviewed singer Máiréad Carlin, one of the four current members of the troupe, which began in 2004 and took off from there.

Máiréad is classically trained, with a background in opera and folk music. She’s well known in her native Northern Ireland for many things, not the least of which is her duet with Glee’s Damian McGinty, singing Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run,” celebrating Derry’s designation as City of Culture in 2013.

She joined Celtic Woman in August of the same year.

We spoke to Máiréad about her career, about going Celtic Woman, and about music generally and what it means to her. We started by asking her: Why is the world still so enamored of Irish music and dance, more than 20 years after Riverdance.

Here’s what she had to say.

Music, Photos, Videos

Mick Moloney, Jimmy Keane and Robbie O’Connell in Concert

Longtime Philadelphia Ceili Group member Jim McGill shared an old  program with Mick Moloney before his concert with Robbie O’Connell and Jimmy Keane Saturday night at the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club.

I didn’t get a look at it, but it was from the first time Mick played at the center, many years ago. It was a photo, of course, of a much younger and bushier Mick Moloney. O’Connell had a look at it and he drew laughs from the audience when he described Moloney as looking like “Sasquatch with a banjo.”

That’s kind of how the evening went. A concert with these three masters of the trade is an informal affair. They all had stories to tell—moonshine and the Tennessee World’s Fair figured prominently in one particularly quirky tale—and even though the three of them were up on stage in the bright lights and the rest of us were sitting in the ballroom in the dark, it felt like a much smaller room, with friends sharing gossip, a few well-worn tunes and a drink or two.

Better to show you than to tell you. So what we have is three videos and a small collection of photos from the concert. Hope you like them. Continue Reading

Music, News, People, Photos

Dropkick Murphys Welcome Vets Backstage

The Dropkick Murphy’s front man Ken Casey doesn’t just give his name to his charity, The Claddagh Fund—he gives his all. When DKM blew into town last weekend for a sold-out concert, part of its 20th anniversary tour, at The Electric Factory, Casey and crew carried a banner in the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade promoting the band and the charity, which raises money to help underfunded nonprofits in Boston and Philadelphia.

One of the Boston-born Casey’s pet projects is any organization that serves military veterans, so he met with some from one of the Claddagh Fund’s grantees, Healing Ajax, backstage before the show, where they mingled with fans who made donations to the fund to get into the meet-and-greet.

Healing Ajax is a peer support program in which veterans help other veterans adjust from the battlefield to the homefront. Many of the vets are young men from the Iraq and Afghanistan fronts who may be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, or other mental health issues. Continue Reading

Music, Videos

Video: The Next Gen Plays “Mairi’s Wedding”

Getting an early start on St. Patrick’s Day, the Next Generation youth Irish music group, accompanied by dancers from the Broesler School, gave a crowd-pleasing performance at the Garden State Discovery Museum.

We captured some video from the concert—an old favorite called “Mairi’s Wedding.”

Chris Brennan Hagy, Kathy DeAngelo and Dennis Gormley lead the group—as they have with dedication for years.