If you live in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Delaware, here are some great links and events that I've come across. If you have a link or event that you'd like to add, please e-mail me. I will make every effort to post them in time, however sometimes life intervenes...
Daltai na Gaeilge: (Irish for "students of Irish") This is a nonprofit group dedicated to teaching the Irish language and culture. They are based in New Jersey, but have immersion programs in the Irish language around the country. They also may be able to hook you up with a teacher of Irish in your area. Their immersion programs are for a day, a weekend or a week, and consist of Irish classes, workshops in musical instruments and dance, lectures, and fun ceilis with live music. Their web site has audio of Irish words and phrases, so you can hear how words are pronounced; a message board for questions; lots of info about the Irish language; vocabulary; info about upcoming and photos of past Daltai events, and much more.
East of the Hebrides: Promoters Bill and Karen Reid hold a number of Irish and Scottish music festivals in the wide Delaware Valley area, throughout the year, including in the Poconos, New Jersey, northern Delaware, and southeast Pennsylvania. The music is always great and varied - and there are also celtic vendors, Irish and Scottish food (as well as American), representation of nonprofit groups and organizations, and much more.
The Irish Memorial: An Gorta Mor (the Great Hunger) of the mid-19th century in Ireland was a tragedy of major proportion, causing the deaths of one million people and forcing another 1-2 million to emigrate. Recently this history has been taught in the schools and in communities, to raise awareness and to try to prevent such things from happening again. A memorial to the famine has been created by sculptor Glenna Goodacre, and placed at Front and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. The landscaping has plants native to Ireland. There are also educational tools at the site, to help teach people about the famine. The sculpture itself is very large and made of bronze (see photos to the right and below).
The Irish Edition is a newspaper published near Philadelphia, which covers events both here and in Ireland. It comes out once a month (about 20-some pages), and has so many interesting sections every month. Local Irish-related events are posted, including fraternal organizations, festivals, concerts, seisiuns, etc.; and there are always articles and columns about current and political events concerning Ireland and from Ireland; there is a large column devoted to recent CD releases with enthusiastic reviews; cultural news such as theater, prose, poetry, dance, art, etc.; and Irish sports news. They can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com) or at (215) 836-1929.
The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre is a theater group based at 2111 Sansom Street in Philadelphia. The level of their productions is very high, and their plays are always so spirited, original and imaginative, including the acting, scenery, costumes, music, etc. One special thing about them is that they present Shakespeare in such a clear fashion that it is easy to follow and enjoy the story. Sometimes they take creative liberties with music or costumes, etc. to produce a contemporary edge. See also Philly Shakespeare for more information.
Famine Memorial Sculpture by Glenna Goodacre, Philadelphia, PA (at Front & Chestnut Streets near Penns Landing) - This large bronze sculpture (12 feet high by 12 feet wide by 24 feet long) contains about 35 figures. The sculpture consists of the metaphorical journey of emigrants of the Irish famine from their beloved land to a ship that carried them over the great ocean to a new land of promise and survival. Emigrants enter the ship on one side of the sculpture, and on the other side of the sculpure, immigrants leave the ship to begin their new lives in America. This photo, taken by my sister-in-law, Ann Hazlett, shows the sculpture from the side representing people struggling during the Irish famine of the mid-19th century. Celtic crosses are shown, and the figures are shown trying to scavenge a spoiled potato crop, and crowding up toward the inside of the sailing ship. The sculpture has been installed in its permanent location, and is landscaped with plants native to Ireland and America. At the landing in America, a tall male figure with a top hat welcomes the new immigrants (shown in the left side of the photo to the left, in front of the flag pole).
The Irish Repertory Theatre of Philadelphia is located at the Lion Theater at 4442 Frankford Avenue in Philly. Call 215-744-5277 for more information. The Irish Repertory Theatre of Philadelphia is located at 4442 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19124.
There are about four events a year, in the mid-winter and mid-summer, and spring and fall. They have as many as three stages of music going at once - with great traditional and contemporary celtic music from the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, England and Brittany. And there is always so much more to do and see there as well.
UPCOMING PERFORMANCE DATES FOR DAN PAISLEY & THE SOUTHERN GRASS CAN BE FOUND AT www.southerngrass.net. Click on "Schedule"
Brian Conway - Sunday session at Dunne's based on the Wednesday night format. The first session will be February 13th from 5:30-8:30. Gabe Donohue will be with him to launch the Sunday sessions. More details to follow. Dunne's is located at 15 Shapham Place in White Plains, New York and the phone number there is 914-421-1451. The session gets going at 7:30. See www.brianconway.com
The session at Blaggards is sponsored by Ull Mor Nua Eabhrac, The New York Branch of Comhaltas (CCE) every Sunday, from 5 to 8 pm, and is located at 8 West 38th Street (just west of Fifth Avenue), Manhattan (212-382-2611)
The New Castle County Irish Society is located in Wilmington, Delaware at 1301 South Rodney Street. Their phone number is 302-655-8097. They have many Irish activities, including ceili dances and ceili dance lessons, potluck dinners, parties, and more. They also have a library containing Irish-related books, cd's, etc.
Ian Gallagher is a performer equally at home singing traditional Irish folk tunes and contemporary music including blues, rock, jazz, country and soul. Though his music is firmly based in Irish tradition, Ian Gallagher's professional manner, warmth and years of experience will make entertainment one less thing to worry about. Relax - you've got the best in live entertainment. Irish affairs our specialty.
Ronnie's Sports Bar and Family Restaurant, 215-217 South Street, Holyoke, MA 01040, 413-536-0484 (home of the largest St. Patrick's parade in the area outside of Boston). We have an open Irish session on Sundays, from 1pm-4pm. Our session is hosted by Pat Dunn, a young man from the Black Velvet Band. Pat is a first generation American and he goes often to Ireland to study the traditional music and instruments. You can bring your family.
Brian Conway Biography
New York born fiddler Brian Conway is a leading exponent of the highly ornamented Sligo fiddling style made famous by the late Michael Coleman. The winner of two All-Ireland junior titles in 1973 and 1974 and the All-Ireland senior championship of 1986, Brian's early studies were with his father Jim of Plumbridge, County Tyrone and with Limerick born fiddler/teacher Martin Mulvihill. However, it was the legendary fiddler and composer Martin Wynne who taught him the real secrets of the County Sligo style. Later, Brian met and befriended the great Andy McGann of New York, a direct student of Michael Coleman, who further shaped his precision and skill on the instrument. In 1979, Brian recorded a duet album, The Apple in Winter, with fellow New York fiddler Tony Demarco. He recently released a new solo CD called First Through the Gate in July 2002. This CD was voted the prestigious Album of the Year by the Irish Echo http://www.brianconway.com/review1.html. He has recorded with many of the great Irish musicians of our time, including accordion player Joe Burke. Brian is also featured on the CD, My Love is in America, recorded at the Boston College Irish Fiddle Festival, and on the documentary "Shore to Shore" which highlights traditional Irish music in New York. Brian remains faithful to the rich tradition handed down to him. The directness of his tone, the lift of his playing, and the deft ornamentation he brings to the tunes have placed him among the finest Irish fiddlers of any style. He has performed all over North America from San Francisco to New York and places in between. His talents have also been enthusiastically received throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe. He is also a noted instructor who has mentored many fine fiddle players.
CLAN NA GAEL REUNION TOUR
Before there was Seven Nations, there was Clan na Gael - Kirk McLeod, Neil Anderson, Struby and Nick Watson. Seven Nations is the most popular celtic rock band in the U.S. The four original members of Clan na Gael reunited for a 4-concert tour in October and November 2005. (See photos of the Glenside concert) Bagpipes and rock music - a natural blend - the pipes sound like electric guitars! and celtic music has always had a strong "beat" - which for us rock fans is the most important thing. Plus, they both have "attitude"!
Neil sang and played highland bagpipes, the uilleann pipes (the Irish bagpipe), and tinwhistle; Kirk sang, played keyboards, guitar; Struby played electric guitar; and Nick Watson played the drums. You really had to be there - it can't be described!
COMPASS RECORDS - A site for independent and quality roots music and American Irish traditional music - Free downloads, multimedia section with posters, press photos and streaming videos. A new blog, open to your comments and featuring guest postings from Compass artists. RSS feeds with updates on new releases, Compass Records news, contests and giveaways. Up-to-date, easily accessible information on all of your favorite Compass Records artists.
Irish Language Greeting Cards - including birthday, sympathy, Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, and congratulations cards - Nancy Doyle Fine Art
DVD SUNRISE ON THE WICKLOW HILLS, 400 years of Wicklow songs - now available - available from Mattie Lennon, 15 Weston Heights, Weston Park, Lucan, Co. Dublin, Ireland - Stories and legends of County Wicklow as told through its ballads. 57 minutes of footage, which, along with old photos and sketches, depicts some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Price: 22 Euro (including P&P)
The Heart of Camden is a local non-profit community development corporation dedicated to the revitalization of the South Camden neighborhood known as Waterfront South. Their Mission is to restore the dignity and quality of life in the community through programs for housing restoration, economic expansion and human development.
Among many other fine programs, the Heart of Camden holds a Celtic Spring concert each January, with Irish music and dance provided by Mick Moloney and Friends at Sacred Heart Church. (What a great show! - Webmaster)
My Irish Jeweler has a collection of useful and relevant resources their site, as well as jewelry direct from Ireland
www.folkjam.org is a growing national list of user-contributed acoustic jam sessions in many styles. If you attend or run acoustic jam sessions please consider registering at www.folkjam.org (free, we just need a valid email address to fend off spammers) and contributing your sessions to the site.
[find jams. post jams. play well with others]
Kami Music Co. is a family owned business, manufacturing bagpipes for 50 years - uilleann pipes, Irish pipes, Scottish Highland Bagpipes, Smallpipes, Pipe Chanters, Reeds, Tone Enhancers and a range of other music instruments and accessories.
Green Willow Folk Club is headquartered in Wilmington and Newark, Delaware. They have some great concerts year-round at several venues in the Delaware Valley area. They are dedicated to the preservation and growth of British Isles and Celtic Folk Music. Some of the groups they have presented include the Irish band Teada and the Scottish band Old Blind Dogs.
CCC CELT - A library of Celtic books, music and other materials is located mainly at Bucks County Community College, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This library of Celtic materials is available to anyone at the library, and also through inter-library loan. Please visit www.ccccelt.org for more information.
Connecting Celts - There is a new website which is a form for anyone interested in Celtic culture (including music). The website is www.connectingcelts.com.au - we welcome both listeners, choirs, singers, bands and musicians to discuss Celtic music and much more. Bands are encouraged to connect with their audience via the forum and add links, concert details, etc. The site is still new so join up now and help us make a strong and vibrant community. Connecting Celts - celebrating our Celtic Heritage. Note that while the site is primarily aimed at an Australian audience, absolutely everyone is welcome.
A Tribute to Andy McGann is a new CD from Joe Burke, Brian Conway and Felix Dolan in tribute to New York fiddler, the late Andy McGann, the standard-bearer of the Sligo-American style made famous by Michael Coleman. On April 1, 2006 in the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, Joe Burke, Felix Dolan and Brian Conway performed together in a concert titled 'A Tribute to Andy McGann,' honoring a great musician and friend who had passed away in 2004. Four tracks recorded live at that concert are included on A Tribute to Andy McGann together with several other tracks chosen to commemorate and celebrate the life of Andy McGann and to represent the Sligo-American style. A Tribute to Andy McGann is available in music shops and from www.cic.ie.
The CD was launched at the Willie Clancy festival in Miltown Malbay on July 8th.
BRANDYWINE FRIENDS OF OLD TIME MUSIC:
PHILADELPHIA CEILI GROUP
The Philadelphia Ceili Group, c/o The Commodore Barry Club (Irish Center of Philadelphia), 6815 Emlen St., Philadelphia, PA 19119 - 215-242-4280
The PCG began in 1958 with the purpose of fostering the lively Irish traditional arts and culture in the Philadelphia region.
Irish Roots Magazine is a genealogy and family history magazine, aimed at assisting all those interested in tracing their Irish ancestry. Irish Roots Magazine is a celebration of all things Irish and runs many features on all aspects Irish culture, heritage and tradition.
The Coatesville Traditional Irish Music Series is currently located in a beautiful old theater at The Coatesville Cultural Society Building, 143 E. Lincoln Highway, in Coatesville, PA. (610) 486-2220 - email CTIMS@verizon.net. It is an intimate performance space that has a small cafe that serves food and beverages. It is a great space for Irish music!
Above: Ballroom at the Irish Center. Right: Bar at the Irish Center (shown talking are Irish traditional musician Fintan Malone and Connie Tyrrell, wife of Irish musician Sean Tyrrell, who was performing at the Center - see below, Sean's program of the life of Irish patriot and poet John Boyle O'Reilly, and Sean talking with concert-goers afterward)
The Irish Culture Club of Delaware is another Irish group in Wilmington, Delaware - Check out their website! They run the St. Patrick's Day parade every year, as well as a feis in August that hosts Irish dance competitions. They meet at Catherine Rooney's pub once a month for an Irish history/culture event, such as speakers, films, etc.
Brian reports that his new CD, Consider the Source, will be released this summer, on the Clo Iar-Chonnachta label at the Willie Clancy Festival and then in North America at the Catskills Irish Arts week. It will be released on Friday, July 18. For more info, please visit http://www.east-durham.org/irishartsweek/index.html. Guests on the CD are Brendan Dolan, Niamh Parsons, Dan Milner, Joannie Madden, Billy McComiskey, Felix Dolan and other musicians.
Concerts start at 8:00 pm at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 420 Willa Road, Newark, DE 19711, unless another venue indicated. Tickets: Public $17; Seniors $14; BFOTM Members $12; Ages 17 and under FREE! Buy tickets online - http://ticketderby.com/vendor/john-lupton-id-553
Inis Nua Theatre Company
The Philadelphia-based Inis Nua Theatre Company stages contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. Based in the Off-Broad Street Theatre at First Baptist Church (1636 Sansom Street), you can reach Inis Nua by PATCO and Septa Regional Rail (Suburban Station is nearby). For tickets and information, visit www.inisnuatheatre.org or phone (215) 454-9776.
May 2012 was the play The Walworth Farce by Dublin playwright Enda Walsh. This webmaster had the pleasure of seeing the play - it was great!
*******WE NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THE COATESVILLE TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC SERIES GOING...*******
When you buy your tickets online please remember that CTIMS is in the midst of its Spring 2012 fundraising drive. If you can, go the extra mile and make a donation to assist us in bringing you the finest Irish traditional musicians from Ireland and elsewhere in an affordable, intimate setting. Please read the kind letter from Mick Moloney on the CTIMS web page and then do what you can. "No one makes any money but the musicians themselves, and believe us, they don't make much." - Slainte from CTIMS
THE PORCHLIGHT SESSIONS - BLUEGRASS DOCUMENTARY ANNOUNCES KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN - until April 29, 2012
The Porchlight Sessions Kickstarter Fundraising Campaign is now in progress. The story of the uniquely American style of music known as bluegrass and the community that has grown up around it is beautifully and insightfully told on the upcoming music documentary The Porchlight Sessions. The film offers one of a kind performances and interviews with many of the creators and innovators of the bluegrass sound.Over 75 musicians, 10 states and 4 festivals are represented in the film, including Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson, and Bobby Osborne, as well as Bela Fleck, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas and more. Kickstarter is helping to raise funds to complete the post-production process and license the archival music and imagery. Perks offered for contributing to the project include a special edition Porchlight Sessions Hatch Show print, pre-release copies of Porchlight Sessions DVD, VIP tickets to IBMA FanFest and the IBMA Awards Show, an autographed 5-string Deering Banjo and more. For more info, www.theporchlightsessions.com
There is a weekly Irish traditional music session at Catherine Rooney's Pub and Restaurant in Wilmington, DE, on Sunday nights from 4:00-7:00. You can have dinner and drinks while the 5 or so musicians play on the uilleann pipes, fiddle, bodhran, guitar, bouzouki, concertina etc. and sing as well. It's great craic! Other musicians and dancers are also welcome to perform. The pub is located in the Trolley Square (or Forty Acres!) section of Wilmington, at Delaware Avenue and Dupont Street.
IRELAND XO - Ireland Reaching Out is an Irish-government-sponsored genealogy program in Ireland, where people from all over the world can trace their ancestors' roots in Ireland. Thousands of volunteers in Ireland are doing reverse genealogy - they are researching emigrants and reaching out to descendants worldwide. You register on the site, join the group from your ancestral home parish, and receive help from other searchers and from the volunteers on the site. If you don't know your parish of origin, they will help you locate it, and if you decide to go to Ireland, they will help your search when you get there!