Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir, but did you know that
WWUH is a commercial free source of alternative music in the Greater
Hartford area? Our commercial free status is possible ONLY because
we're listener supported and volunteer staffed. I am only one of
many volunteers who do our part each week to keep WWUH on the air
24 hours a day. You, the listeners had your chance to shine during
Marathon, our major fundraiser of the year. As always, you came
through in a big way. Thanks very much!!
Our Celtic Concert Series is another fundraiser for WWUH.
Proceeds from these concerts have made it possible for us to keep
our fundraising goals relatively steady in recent years. Please
continue to support these wonderful musicians and your favorite
As always, March is "St. Patrick's Month" with more Irish
bands performing in area venues than you ever knew existed! We've
got two of the very best lined up for your listening and viewing
pleasure, Dervish on March 10th in the Millard Auditorium,
and Danu March 23rd in the Wilde Auditorium.
If you've been listening to Celtic Airs for a few years,
you probably know that in 1993, I was the first to play Dervish
over American airwaves. A year later, they appeared in the Wilde
Auditorium during their first American tour. They tell me this is
still one of their favorite places to play in the whole world and
they try to return every year. Due to a major snow storm on 3/2/06
that closed the University of Hartford on the day Dervish was last
to perform here, we've not seen them for about two years now!
Those of you who have read this far into my article are probably
very familiar with the Dervish story, so I'll be brief. In 1988,
five friends from Sligo formed the band. This core group has remained
together for eighteen years now except for the replacement of the
fiddler twice, most recently in 1998 when current fiddler Tom Morrow
joined the band. The original line up didn't include a singer. Cathy
Jordan, vocals and percussion, was incorporated in 1991 and remains
the focal point of the band to this day.
Over their career, Dervish has released five studio albums (the
last "Spirit" in 2003), a live 2-CD set ("Live In Palma" in 1997)
and a greatest hits collection ("Decade" in 2001.) They also put
together a vocal compilation available only in Europe/UK ("A Healing
Heart") and are working on an instrumental compilation (unnamed
as of yet.) They're on the road so much performing live that it's
hard for them to find time to get into the studio to record! My
guess is that there's a new album in the works; we'll find out March
Earle Hitchner, columnist for The Irish Echo and music writer
for The Wall Street Journal says that "Danu is one of the
top five Irish traditional bands in the world." Most of the band
members are recently married and/or have young families and have
decided to cut back drastically on their touring for awhile. We're
very fortunate to have them back on March 23rd for a post St Patrick's
This talented ensemble had it's origins in the famous Lorient
(Brittany, France) Inter-Celtic Festivals of 1995 -1996.Waterford's
Donal Clancy (yes, another member of that talented musical clan),
Benny McCarthy and Donnchadh Gough were joined by Dublin based brothers
, Tom and Eamonn Doorley. Like Dervish, the band originally had
no vocalist. Their first official singer, Ciaran O'Gealbhain, was
replaced by current vocalist Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh in 2003. In
another strange parallel to Dervish, Danu too has been through a
number of fiddlers with current star Oisin MacAuley joining the
band in 2001.
Despite a grueling tour schedule, Danu have managed to record
six studio albums already, the most recent "When All Is Said And
Done", widely acclaimed on its release in 2005. They also have a
DVD, "One Night Stand", featuring live concert footage and a short
Though we all like to enjoy "old familiar faces" like Dervish
and Danu, I'm very pleased to be able to introduce you to Emily
Smith, a very talented young singer from Scotland. She and her
trio will make their Celtic Airs concert debut on Friday April 20th
in the Wilde Auditorium.
Emily plays accordion and piano, joined by her band mates
on fiddle and guitar, but her concerts are primarily song based.
She was the "BBC's Young Traditional Musician of the Year" in 2002
and a nominee for the "Scots Singer of the Year" for 2005. Though
only in her 20's, she is already a respected interpreter of traditional
She is also a talented songwriter, and in 2005 became the
first ever winner from Scotland in the "USA Songwriting Competition",
folk category. Her winning entry, "Edward of Morton", is a very
traditional ballad that draws on a tragic tale from Emily's native
Dumfrieshire. These songs, traditional and original, have provided
ample material for two albums, "A Day Like Today" (2002) and "A
Different Life" (2005).
Living Tradition Magazine says Emily has "one of the clearest
, truest voices in Celtic Music". "It's hard not to fall in love
with Emily Smith's voice," said Sing Out Magazine. Her beautiful
voice is complemented by a relaxed and informative stage presence.
She's a versatile performer who can join her band mates in an energetic
tune set then launch into a song with equal skill. Please come to
enjoy an artist new to our concert series when the Emily Smith
Trio appears here at the University of Hartford's Wilde Auditorium
Friday April 20th at 7:30 PM.
Tickets for the Celtic Airs Concert Series
are available only from the University of Hartford box office.
Call them at 1-800-274-8587 or 1-860-768-4228, or contact them online
Tickets for all concert
go on sale two months prior to concert dates.
Celtic Airs, in it's 13th year, can
be heard Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00am on WWUH 91.3 FM.
Tell a friend or relative who has never enjoyed Celtic traditional
music to give it a try too! You'll hear the newest releases, and
plenty of your old favorites. I look forward to visiting with you
every Tuesday morning and hope that I've become a happy part of
your Tuesday morning routine. Thanks for listening. Hope to see
you at one of our concerts soon!
WWUH: Program Guide 2007