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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...

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Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Celebrates 60 Years

Held in San Antonio, TX for the first time, CCE’s annual celebration marked the organization’s 60th...

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Ashley Davis: Finding Herself Through Her Past

Ashley Davis has only released one CD so far, but it’s a gem, garnering her much attention in the Irish musical...

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The Original Irish Tenor: John McCormack

The year was 1906. The setting was a stage in Savona, Italy, a northwestern port town south of Milan. The opera to be...

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Beyond the Bog Road

The first new album in 10 years from fiddle virtuoso Eileen Ivers traces traditional Irish music to Canada’s Nova Scotia,...

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In This Issue

Playing in the Band

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.

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...

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What Are You Like?
Keith & Kristyn Getty

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

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...

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Music Reviews

Music reviews from Kristin McGowan.

New music of Irish and Irish American interest. ℘℘℘ Legacy, Volume 2 Celtic Thunder This familiar, favored collection of incredible talent begins with an extraordinary rendition of the...

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Beyond the Bog Road

Eileen Ivers with her blue electric fiddle. (Photo: Mel DiGiacomo)

The first new album in 10 years from fiddle virtuoso Eileen Ivers traces traditional Irish music to Canada’s Nova Scotia, and through the Scots/Irish root of Bluegrass and Old-Time music of...

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In New Joyce Musical, Nora Barnacle Comes First

Whitney Bashor and Matt Bogart as Nora Barnacle and James Joyce.

A new Off-Broadway musical seeks to tell the story of the passionate, tumultuous, and prolific relationship between James Joyce and Nora Barnacle through Nora’s perspective of their nearly 40-year...

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The Celtic Heart of North America

John Kernaghan went to Nova Scotia to explore the heart of Celtic Canada. Sunset on the road to Sydney Mines. (Photo: Pam Martin / Periwinkledragonfly.com)

For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is home to a unique celebration of music and culture, with the finest of storytellers, musicians, and dancers from around the globe taking part in the...

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What Are You Like?
Michael Flatley: The Last Dance

Michael Flatley performing on Broadway in Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. (Photo: Brian Doherty)

Michael Flatley, 57, who has turned traditional Irish dancing into an international phenomenon, is retiring. It’s been his dream since he was a little boy to be on Broadway and that’s where he...

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Joanie Madden:
The Christmas Letter

Cherish the Ladies has a new Christmas album out. Joanie Madden (center) talks to Mary Pat Kelly.

A forgotten Irish song of emigration tells of a mother’s longing for her children who have gone so far away, is a big hit for Cherish the Ladies. ℘℘℘ Irish music was the soundtrack to life...

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The Willis Family

The Willis Clan performing on stage. (Courtesy Willis family)

The Willis Clan have carved out quite the reputation for their musical skills and now have a new reality TV show on TLC. There is a moment during a Willis Clan performance when the stage lights seem...

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Foot Tapping…
Modern Trad in New York

Not depressing. This Is How We Fly (from left): Seán Mac Erlaine, Nic Gareiss, Petter Berndalen, and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh at the  Irish Arts Center in New York. (Amanda Gentile / Irish Arts Center)

There is always a welcoming buzz of familiarity at the Irish Arts Center. On a night in late April, This Is How We Fly made their New York City debut. The quartet of fiddle, clarinet, drums, and...

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Cherishing Joanie

Joanie Madden, center with flute, and Cherish the Ladies is about to embark on its 30th Anniversary Tour.

As the Cherish the Ladies 30th Anniversary Tour begins, Kristin Cotter McGowan talks to founding member, the award-winning whistle and flute player Joanie Madden.  Irish music was the...

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Accolades for Ward’s
Irish Music Archives

"The Army's Full of Irish" sheet music cover detail. Part of the Ward s Irish Music Archive. See below for full size image.

Following the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History, the Ward Irish Music Archives, the largest public collection of Irish music in America, is receiving national...

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Gemma Hayes:
Crowd-sourcing Her Sound

Gemma Hayes in Dungeness, U.K. (Photo: Pip)

The Irish musician, singer-songwriter, and composer Gemma Hayes on making music her way. I’ve never done an interview with a baby before,” says an apologetic Gemma Hayes who has just run off to...

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Songs for the Ancestors

Songs for the AncestorsJudy Collins finds her inspiration in the experience of her forebears.More »

Judy Collins on finding inspiration in the experience of her antecedents. Shortly before Judy Collins was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in New Ross, County Wexford, this magazine...

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Irish Folk Bonanza

The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk

If ever you’ve been mid-St. Patrick’s Day party hunting through your collection for the perfect blend of Irish music, this is the CD you’ll wish you had. The Ultimate Guide to Irish...

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“The Hard Way Home”

Paddy Homan

Paddy Homan’s newest CD reflects the Irish tenor’s philosophy of life. In the tradition of a lively rambling house, Irish tenor Paddy Homan has been presiding for six years every Sunday night at...

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A Jazz Age Love Story

Ellin Mackay and Irving Berlin. Photo: Library of Congress

Irving Berlin and Ellin Mackay put aside their differences in culture, background and age to form one of the best-known, enduring and loving relationships in New York social history. At the same...

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A Winter’s Tale and a Garden Party with the Merry Men

The Merry Men and guest performers at the Indoor Garden Party in New York, October 2012. L-R: Moley O’Suilleabhain, Alan Doyle, Roberta Duchak, Samantha Barks, Russell Crowe, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, Owen O’Suilleabhain.

After his turn as Inspector Javert in Les Miserables, Russell Crowe’s passion for music is no longer a secret. In fact, he has been playing for years with a number of close friends and musical...

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Sisters Sharing Musical Talent and Health Issues

Sephira: Joyce and Ruth O’Leary

Joyce and Ruth O’Leary are your average pair of young Irish sisters in their early twenties. They share outfits, finish each other’s sentences, and cheer each other up when one is having a hard...

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Judy Collins: El Troubadour

Legendary singer and songwriter Judy Collins. Photo by Kit DeFever.

Judy Collins, one of the most influential folk singers of the sixties, and the voice that has been called the voice of the century, still believes that music can heal the world. Interview by Patricia...

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Harrington: Taking Classical Music out of the Concert Hall

Gregory Harrington. Photo: Daniel D’Ottavio.

Greg Harrington doesn’t look like your average classical violinist. When we met at a pub in Manhattan’s Upper West Side on a recent snowy evening, he was wearing a gray hoodie and peppered his...

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The Great Victor Herbert

Victor Herbert circa 1895

The Irish composer of such American favorites as “Naughty Marietta,” and “Sweethearts” is the subject of a five-month-long exhibition at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Jack...

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The World Peace Jubilee & International Music Festival

Patrick S. Gilmore

For 18 days in the summer of 1872, Patrick S. Gilmore, an Irish-born impresario, led the largest concert in history. Some 20,000 singers and 2,000 musicians from around the world descended on Boston...

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The Luthier: George Lowden

George Lowden in his workshop. Photos courtesy of George Lowden.

Irish guitar makers are rare, and George Lowden, the man behind Lowden Guitars, is the best of them. Here, he tells Tara Dougherty about the beginnings of his craft and the future for Lowden...

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A Lineup of Legends

The Teetotallers (Left to right) John Doyle, Martin Hayes and Kevin Crawford

The Teetotallers is one of those remarkable flash in the pan moments of the seisiuin genre that seems too good to be true. The trio is lineup of giants, Martin Hayes on fiddle and viola, Kevin...

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A Gaelic Storm Lights Up St. Louis

St. Louis Irish Arts students in performance at the Comhaltas convention. Photo by Peter Maher: Publisher, Mid-West Irish Focus.

Patricia Harty writes about Helen Gannon and the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Convention. Storm clouds gather over St. Louis, but Helen Gannon is unfazed as the tornado warning siren blares and we move into...

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Music Reviews

Idir and The Anvil

At First Light • Idir A debut release from the newly formed At First Light, Idir is a perfectly-paced, delightful addition to any Irish library. What sets Celtic music apart from most other genres...

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The Chieftains At 50

The Chieftains: Matt Molloy, Paddy Moloney, Kevin Conneff and Sean Keane.

The Chieftains, Ireland’s top traditional group, celebrate their 50th anniversary with a compilation album featuring many young recording artists. In traditional Irish music, the road to success is...

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The New Irish Songwriter: James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent McMorrow

A spring tour in Australia on the immediate horizon, thoughts brewing of a sophomore album and the world at his feet, James Vincent McMorrow has stormed onto the scene from virtual nothingness in the...

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Music Reviews

Altan: The-Poison-Glen

A look at recently released music of Irish and Irish-American interest. Altan • The Poison Glen In their newest album, The Poison Glen, Altan reverts to the sound that their fans initially fell in...

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Making of Monongah

Kyle Carey

Gaelic Americana musician and songwriter Kyle Carey writes about the ups and downs and ins and outs of recording an album. An album isn’t finished when the musicians go home. One could argue in...

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Martin Hayes:
Rhythm and Strings

Martin Hayes

Whether playing solo or with the newly formed The Gloaming, Martin Hayes, the marvelously gifted fiddler, finds his mesmeric rhythm in the Irish tunes he learned from his father – the leader of the...

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Music Reviews

Dan Gurney, Traditional Irish Music on the Button Accordion

A look at recently released music of Irish and Irish-American interest… Traditional Irish Music on the Button Accordion   Dan Gurney Among the most exciting releases to come from an Irish...

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Providence Gives Regards to Cohan

Robert Shure's bust of George M. Cohan in Providence, RI. Courtesy of Sy Dill.

George M. Cohan will always be remembered on Broadway. A statue of the late composer and performer, who penned such influential songs as “Over There,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and...

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Other Voices NYC

(Left to right): Philip King, Glen Hansard, Martin Hayes, Gabriel Byrne, Iarla O Lionard and Colum McCann

“Well the weather tonight is Irish,” seemed to be the joke of the evening as four hundred lucky audience members packed into downtown New York venue Le Poisson Rouge on a wet October evening. The...

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Music Reviews

A look at recently-released music of Irish and Irish-American interest.

A look at recently-released music of Irish and Irish-American interest. For the Holidays… The Blair Band • Christmas with the Celts This Christmas, Ric Blair and his merry band of Celtic...

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Once: The Musical

Steve Kazee as "Guy" in Once, the musical.

The beloved Irish film adapted to the stage. It is hard to forget the little Irish movie that could, Once. Released in 2006, Once was shot in Dublin over a 17-day period, with a scant budget of...

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Comhaltas: Making Music for Sixty Years

Nine-year-old Haley Richardson from Southern New Jersey shares a tune with Tom Dunne of Wexford at the Fleadh in Parsippany, NJ.

It was a social network phenomenon before Facebook, blogging and Twitter came along, and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann is still going strong. For sixty years, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann – Irish...

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Music Reviews

"How to tune a fish" by Beoga, Courtesy of Compass Records.

The latest in Irish and Irish-American music Beoga’s How to Tune a Fish • Beoga An exciting new release from Compass Records, How to Tune a Fish by Beoga is sure to be a lively hit amongst...

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Charting Celtic Music’s Way Forward

Alison Brown Compass co-founders, Photo courtesy of Compass Records

Nashville-based Compass Records has grown to become the most reliable and exciting source for new Celtic music. While it seems there is no conventional story of musical success, Irish American Alison...

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The Seisiún Network

Left to right: Conor Ward (fiddle), Cathal Cusack (guitar), Ailis Ni Riain (concertia), TradConnect Founder Tony Lawless (fiddle), Richard Sheehan (flute).

Dubliner Tony Lawless may prove to be the Mark Zuckerberg of the traditional Irish music world. On April 28th, he launched TradConnect, a new website that aims to connect trad players all over the...

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Once Upon a Stage

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova as the iconic Guy and Girl in the film Once

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s Once to be a musical Written by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, the very anticipated stage adaptation of the acclaimed film Once will debut at the New York...

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Reeve Carney: Spider-Man

Reeve Carney as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Reeve talks about his Irish roots, the premiere of Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, and his band Carney It started out as a highly anticipated but eyebrow raising idea: the transformation of a comic...

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Music Reviews

Kyle Carey

The Latest in Irish and Irish American Music Grá agus Bás • Donnacha Dennehy with Dawn Upshaw, Iarla O Lionáird, Crash Ensemble and Alan Pierson The tradition of sean-nós singing is one not...

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Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Celebrates 60 Years

Traditional musicians performing at one of the many sessions held at CCE North America's celebration in San Antonio.

Held in San Antonio, TX for the first time, CCE’s annual celebration marked the organization’s 60th anniversary. Hundreds of devoted Irish music and dance fans descended upon San Antonio...

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Julie Feeney:
The Impossibly Talented

Julie Feeney live in concert

The Irish chamber-pop princess talks with Tara Dougherty about her recent world tour, her second album and her innovative sound, which is breathing life into the contemporary Irish music scene. The...

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Music Reviews

Cashier No. 9's Goldstar

Reviews of recent releases from Irish and Irish American artists. CONTEMPORARY Cashier No. 9 To the Death of Fun Belfast has for many years been a hub for contemporary Irish music. One of the newest...

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Music Reviews

Barleyjuice, Skulduggery Street

Reviews of recent releases from Irish and Irish-American artists. Barleyjuice Skulduggery Street A band sure to come under their fair share of Pogue comparisons, Barleyjuice’s new album...

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An Irish Tune-Up for Cuba: Una Corda, The Soft Pedal

National Piano Workshop, Havana, Cuba- From the portfolio Una Corda- The Soft Pedal

Since 2006, many visitors traveling from Ireland to Cuba have carried slightly heavier than usual suitcases. In addition to their clothes, toiletries and other necessities, they have been carrying...

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Celtic Thunder’s Global Appeal

Left to right: Damian, Paul, George, Keith and Ryan

The latest Irish invasion offers a cross section of music from traditional to pop – to everyone’s delight. As I sit down in Radio City Music Hall, I think I know exactly what I’m getting myself...

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Music Reviews

Saints and Tzadiks

Susan McKeown and Lorin Sklamberg Saints & Tzadiks In this self-titled album, Saints & Tzadiks, Susan McKeown and Lorin Sklamberg come together on a musical endeavor which takes traditional...

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The March of the Forgotten: Paddy Moloney’s San Patricio

The Chieftains, Photo by Barry McCall

Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains talks to Tara Dougherty about the group’s newest project, San Patricio. In a moment that history books would rate as a minuscule act of defiance, famed Irish...

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Songs of Ireland: PBS Documentaries Celebrate Irish in Music

Hob Clancy

PBS is celebrating March and St. Patrick’s Day with a series of Irish music specials and documentaries, exploring the history of Irish music in America and offering fantastic in-concert footage of...

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Celtic Woman

Celtic Woman live in concert

The women behind the Irish musical phenomenon that has taken America by storm    In 2008, Celtic Woman’s album The Greatest Journey Essential Collection debuted at number one on Billboard’s...

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Music Reviews

Stonewall's Built in Belfast

Tony DeMarco: The Sligo Indians Tony DeMarco’s fiddle is something of a modern legend in the New York City traditional Irish music scene. His new CD, The Sligo Indians, demonstrates why with...

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The Maestro: Kenneth Montgomery

Kenneth Montgomery conducting

Santa Fe Opera House is truly one of the wonders of the world. Perfectly situated on a mesa a 30-minute drive from historic downtown, and offering breathtaking views of the Jemez Mountains to the...

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Andrew Strong: Life After The Commitments

Andrew Strong who played leader singer Deco Cuff in The Commitments

It is difficult to think back to the Irish film The Commitments without remembering the stunning vocals by Andrew Strong playing the character Deco Cuff, the lead singer in the film’s eccentric...

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Frankie Gavin Back with De Dannan

Frankie Gavin and De Dannan

De Dannan, along with The Bothy Band, Planxty and The Chieftains, is one of the seminal super-group Irish traditional bands that started up in the heady days of the 1970s and have powered along in...

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The History of the Clancy Brothers

The Clancy Brothers

As Liam Clancy remembers it, being asked to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show did not seem like a big deal. “We just did not understand the significance,” he told Irish America in a recent...

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Spread the Music!

Beoga's newest release

Ian Worpole casts his eye over the latest CD offerings in the world of trad/folk music. Lots of great CDs this month, and by way of a preamble, I’ve been thinking lately about how the great...

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The Original Irish Tenor: John McCormack

John McCormack pictured by his piano

The year was 1906. The setting was a stage in Savona, Italy, a northwestern port town south of Milan. The opera to be performed that particular evening was L’Amico Fritz by Pietro Mascagni, with a...

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Love, Laughter and Solas

Irish trad band Solas

Ian Worpole talks to Solas stalwarts Seamus Egan and Winifred Horan, and meets the band’s newest member, Mairéad Phelan. As I’ve mentioned in past columns, Irish-American legends Solas are...

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Still Fiddlin’ Away

Kevin Burke

From his days with The Bothy Band, some thirty years ago now, to the present, Kevin Burke, who was born in London to Irish parents, has been one of the most widely admired fiddlers on the Irish...

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Ashley Davis: Finding Herself Through Her Past

Ashley Davis' first release

Ashley Davis has only released one CD so far, but it’s a gem, garnering her much attention in the Irish musical community. Ian: Ashley,  you’re a resident of New York City, but right now...

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Trad Music is a Family Affair

A couple of years ago I went along to my regular Sunday session in Rhinecliff, New York to hear The McCarthy Brothers, and I have never been quite the same since. The three brothers and a few friends...

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U2 Has Gone 3D

U2 sporting their 3D glasses at the premier of U23D

U23D, the new movie of the world’s favorite Irish band shot using the latest 3D technology, wouldn’t have happened without the American connection. The crowd gathering outside Cineworld on a...

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Music Reviews

Straight from the Bottle Anyone who wants to hear what a great seisiún sounds like in full throttle, with a glorious mix of live tunes and songs from virtuoso performers all: pick up the latest...

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Top Honors for Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne

Screen shot 2012-04-17 at 11.05.52 AM

Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway received Irish America’s “Artistic Achievement Award” at this year’s Top 100 Awards ceremony. The presentation came at the end of the Galways’...

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The High Kings are Stepping Out

Newversionkings

Celtic Woman took the world by storm when they debuted in 2004, topping the charts and touring to standing-room-only audiences. Now it’s the boys’ turn. Meet the High Kings, a quartet of...

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The Chieftain of Endurance

Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains

With St. Patrick’s season came the mighty Chieftains and their annual tour of the U.S., which began in Albuquerque in February and ended up at Carnegie Hall on March 17.  What to say about these...

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Ceol Na nGael

dylanfoley

About ten years ago I stumbled into the traditional Irish music scene and life has never been quite the same. My first article for this magazine was about that experience, but this time around I’d...

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Mary Black

Mary Black, one of Ireland’s most-loved performers, is back in the spotlight with Full Tide, her finest and most critically acclaimed album in many years. Mary Black and her siblings, Frances,...

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Cape Breton Awash in Celtic Colors

Buddy McMaster and neice and Natalie McMaster

It was over a decade ago that an imaginative union of tourism and cultural heritage formed to create the Celtic Colours International Festival  in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  With the 11th annual...

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Cathie Ryan: Home is Where the Music Is

My mum had a phrase that fascinated me – whenever something like the vacuum cleaner showed signs of failure, she would say, “Oh, it’s going home.” I’ve always had a vision of what a strange...

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Remembering Tommy Makem

When Tommy Makem died on August 1,the worldlost not only a great musician and storyteller but an original thinker, who was passionate about Ireland, and  unfailingly gracious. We’ll not see...

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Music to Fall For

Kevin Burke and Cal Scott

A few months ago I wrote a column for Irish America called “Songbirds,” a review of my favorite female singers of the Celtic idiom. There were many to include, so many that my editor described it...

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While Mem’ry Brings Us Back Again

The Irish Music and Social Club of Greater New York, 1947.

Memory is the bond that ties us to home, even when we are far away. And now a stirring book produced by The Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers explores the connections Irish immigrants to New...

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The Pogues: They’re Back! (Almost)

From left- Shane MacGowan, Andrew Rankin, James Fearnley,  Darryl Hunt, Terry Woods, Philip Chevron, Jem Finer, Spider Stacy

Ian Worpole never managed to be in the right place at the right time to catch The Pogues live, but there’s always next year, and in the meantime there’s the re-release of all of the band’s...

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The Pirate Queen

Stephanie J. Block (on rock) and company in The Pirate Queen.

The producers of The Pirate Queen, husband-and-wife team Moya Doherty and John McColgan, talk to Cahir O’Doherty. Between the first draft and the opening night the challenge of mounting a Broadway...

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New York City Redux

Dervish (above) performed recently at the Metropolitan Room in New York City

Music Columnist Ian Worpole chronicles his return to the Big Apple Having spent a rowdy ten years in a cheap loft in Tribeca, New York City (Cheap! It wasn’t quite yet an oxymoron twenty years...

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Hibernia

The Great Victor Herbert

The Irish composer of such American favorites as “Naughty Marietta,” and “Sweethearts” is...

Songs of Ireland: PBS Documentaries Celebrate Irish in Music

PBS is celebrating March and St. Patrick’s Day with a series of Irish music specials and...

An Irish Tune-Up for Cuba: Una Corda, The Soft Pedal

Since 2006, many visitors traveling from Ireland to Cuba have carried slightly heavier than usual...

Accolades for Ward’s
Irish Music Archives

Following the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History, the Ward...

The Seisiún Network

Dubliner Tony Lawless may prove to be the Mark Zuckerberg of the traditional Irish music world. On...

Top Honors for Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne

Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway received Irish America’s “Artistic Achievement Award”...

Cape Breton Awash in Celtic Colors

It was over a decade ago that an imaginative union of tourism and cultural heritage formed to...

Providence Gives Regards to Cohan

George M. Cohan will always be remembered on Broadway. A statue of the late composer and performer,...

Once: The Musical

The beloved Irish film adapted to the stage. It is hard to forget the little Irish movie that...

Once Upon a Stage

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s Once to be a musical Written by Irish playwright Enda...

The High Kings are Stepping Out

Celtic Woman took the world by storm when they debuted in 2004, topping the charts and touring to...

While Mem’ry Brings Us Back Again

Memory is the bond that ties us to home, even when we are far away. And now a stirring book...