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Music, Videos

Sneak Preview: “The Christmas Letter,” With Cherish the Ladies and Don Stiffe

On Saturday, December 1, Cherish the Ladies with Don Stiffe take the stage at the Commodore Barry Arts & Cultural Center (the Irish Center) to present their amazing Celtic Christmas show. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets here.

One of the seasonal songs to be presented will be the poignant “The Christmas Letter,” with lead vocals performed by Stiffe. As the YouTube promo explains: “The song tells the sad story of forced immigration due to starvation and unemployment and a mother’s broken heart lamenting over the loneliness of a Christmas morning knowing that her family is forever torn apart and the only contact she’ll ever have is the letters that arrive for Christmas.”

Try listening to it without developing a little tremble in the lips and forming a few tears. Heart-breaking and lovely.

Here’s a sneak preview.

Audio, Music

Podcast: Interview with Derek Warfield

Derek Warfield, leader of the Young Wolfe Tones, continues his illustrious musical career, now exceeding the 50-year mark. We recently interviewed him, and he looked back on those 50 years—his life, musical upbringing, career, and hopes for the future of the Irish musical tradition. Continue Reading

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.