Connor (center) with his wife, Reem, and their two children, Jude and Fayrouz (right), and Reem’s mother Raghda (far left), a retired public school teacher who was  detained by the Assad regime for attempting to protest in Damascus in 2011, and  father Taha (second left), whose family’s homes have been destroyed by shelling. (Photo courtesy Dylan Connor)

Irish American Musician Advocates for Syria

Dylan Connor is an Irish American singer/songwriter who, inspired by his Syrian wife, Reem Alhariri Connor, has become a celebrated activist for Syria and its refugees. Connor, who is the first cousin of Robert Downey, Jr., has heightened awareness of the Syrian crisis through four solo albums including the 2014 charity album, Blood like Fire (Songs for Syria), all proceeds going to educating...

Sean, Jr., Joe, Kevin, and Mike McGonigal.

Forward the Music of the Gael

There’s more to piping than meets the ear. Kristin McGowan talks to Joe McGonigal, the highly sought after musician and teacher, about his upcoming plans and the influence of his grandfather on the growth of pipe bands in the United States. ℘℘℘ Once the St. Patrick’s Day parade season is over, some pipe bands take a break for the next round of summer parades, while others gear up for a...

From left: Rising, by Black Bank Folk; Visionaries – 1916, by Lorcán Mac Mathúna with Elaine O’Dea, Íde Mac Mathúna, Daire Bracken, Martin Tourish, and Éamonn Galldubh; The Girl with the Beret, by Kate O'Callaghan; No Force on Earth, by Damian Dempsey.

Music Reviews

A number of albums released this year and last have has strong thematic links to the Easter Rising.  ℘℘℘ Rising  Black Bank Folk A debut album years the making, Rising, tells the human stories of historic heroes, an idea inspired by musician John Colbert’s personal connection to the rebellion through his great uncle, Con Colbert, one of the executed leaders of the Rising. John and...

Left to Right: (Back row) Sylvia Herold, Maureen Brennan, Cindy Brown, and Kevin Carr. (Front) Danny  Carnahan, Paul Kotapish, and Brian Rice. Photo courtesy Wake the Dead.

Playing in the Band

For the perfect pairing of Grateful Dead and traditional Celtic sound, look to Wake the Dead, a California group of experts musicians. ℘℘℘ For almost 17 years, Wake the Dead has dug deep into the canon of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, releasing their fourth album, Deal, this past fall. Founding member Danny Carnahan, vocalist, fiddler, and Grammy-nominated songwriter, explains. “We...

Keith and Kristyn during last year’s Christmas tour, which was broadcast on public television. Photo: Getty Music.

What Are You Like?
Keith & Kristyn Getty

The Northern Irish duo reinventing the hymn. ℘℘℘ Keith and Kristyn Getty have written music together since 2001 (and have been married since 2004). Both born near Belfast, they now live between Nashville and Portstewart, Co. Derry. The transatlantic life is an apt parallel to their musical style, which combines classical, folk, traditional Irish, and contemporary genres to form a modern...