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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, Music, People

Still Much to Celebrate: Celtic Woman’s Máiréad Carlin Reflects on New Album

Celtic Woman was scheduled to perform in Philadelphia toward the end of this month, but then—well, you know what happened. With the onset of the novel coronavirus, the tour was canceled, and so went our latest chance to take in one of the biggest and longest-lasting groups in world Irish entertainment.

Fortunately, we now have a new CW album: “Celebration: 15 Years of Music & Magic,” featuring the 15 performers who have comprised Celtic Woman over the years.

We recently interviewed Máiréad Carlin, a seven-year member of Celtic Woman from Northern Ireland, about the abrupt end to the tour, but—more to the point—the new album’s capacity for comfort in trying times.

Irish Philly: We were looking forward to seeing you in Philadelphia. Quite a disappointment, but understandable circumstances, I’m sure.

Máiréad: Absolutely. I mean, my goodness, I think it was a shock for everybody. The news trickled through the world. I think over the few weeks that we were out there and we genuinely didn’t realize the magnitude of what was about to come. And we really only find out ourselves the day before we announced that we were going to go home and have to postpone the tour. It was such a disappointment because for us, this is a celebration. 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

Podcast: Michael Londra and His “Ridiculously Lucky” Career

County Wexford singer Michael Londra burst on the scene as the lead singer in the United States tour of Riverdance, the cultural phenomenon that itself inspired all of the Celtic and Irish groups and shows that have also swept the country over the years. He was, by many standards, something of a late bloomer. He was 31 when his career began in earnest.

Since Riverdance, he’s performed in many venues and shows, from Broadway to an acclaimed PBS special in 2011. He’s also a producer of musicals, which has kept him off the road recently. But Londra’s back, and he’s performing—including a show, Michael Londra and the Celtic Fire, at Annenberg Center Live March 16.

We recently interviewed Michael Londra about his life and career. Here’s what he had to say. Continue Reading

Audio

Celtic Thunder’s Colm Keegan Brings Irish History to the Philadelphia Irish Center

Colm Keegan made his mark as a principal singer in the well-known Celtic Thunder, but before he embarked upon a performance career, he was a high school music teacher, with a master’s degree in music.

For years, he’s thought about a way to merge Irish history with music, and there never seemed like a good way to do it—until now.

On Saturday, March 9, Keegan brings the first chapter of a new series called Irish History through Music to the Commodore John Barry Arts & Cultural Center (The Irish Center), 6815 Emlen Street, at the corner of Carpenter and Emlen (SEPTA’s Carpenter station on the Chestnut Hill West Line), in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. Continue Reading

Audio

Podcast: Interview with Celtic Woman’s Tara McNeill

With her violin, Tara McNeill provides what she calls Celtic Woman’s fourth voice. And a lovely voice it is.

From early childhood, when she first took up violin, harp and singing, violin has always been her first love. The sound of the violin, she says, conveys layers of emotion that have always appealed to her.

In 2016, she realized a life’s ambition—joining Celtic Woman as a principal member, replacing the previous violinist Mairead Nesbitt. Continue Reading

Audio, News

Podcast: An Interview with Radio Host Marianne MacDonald

Listeners throughout the country tune in to hear Marianne MacDonald every Sunday at noon as she hosts “Come West Along the Road” on WTMR 800 AM. The show features traditional Irish music and interviews, along with local concert and event news.

She’s been hosting the show for many years, and for her, clearly, it’s a labor of love. “It’s a highlight of my week,” she says, “and I really look forward to hearing from my listeners.”

It would have to be a labor of love. The show takes a lot of preparation, and costs thousands of dollars to produce.

You can help out. An on-air two-hour pledge drive will take place this Sunday, December 2. Listeners can phone in their pledges and donations of any size at 856-962-8000. Continue Reading