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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
With your host Steve Dieterich March/April 2010

The Celtic Airs concert series took a hiatus following the Girsa concert on 11/7/09. We decided not to compete with the “distractions” of the holidays and hoped to avoid cancellations due to nasty winter weather.
            Now it’s time to launch into the 2010 season with vigor!! We’ll start out with two of the most acclaimed acts in Irish traditional music today! They’ve both been part of our concert series in the past and have sold out each time we’ve presented them. (HINT: Plan your ticket purchase early! Tickets go on sale 2 months before the concert date.)
            Dervish will make their annual visit 3/18/10, appearing in the Millard Auditorium at 7:30 pm. They first performed here on June 6, 1996, the opening show of their first American tour. There have been a few line up changes over the years; Shane McAleer departed in 1998, replaced by Seamie O’Dowd who moved on in 2005. For the most part, this has been a very stable ensemble since Cathy Jordan joined the band in 1991. Their first CD” Harmony Hill” was released in 1992 and first played in America right here on Celtic Airs!  Dervish has since released five additional studio albums, most recently “Traveling Show” in 2007. Their extremely busy tour schedule precludes more frequent opportunities for recording. The 2-CD set “Live In Palma” (1997), complete with stage patter, has long been hailed by critics as one of the best live recordings of traditional Irish music ever made.
            The original band members were and still are Sligo based: Brian McDonagh (mandola, mandolin), Liam Kelly (flute, whistle, backing vocals), Shane Mitchell (button accordion) and Michael Holmes (bouzouki, guitar). Later additions are from nearby counties: Cathy Jordan (lead vocals, bodhran, bones, guitar) from Roscommon and Tom Morrow (All-Ireland fiddle champion) from Leitrim.
            The band and their recordings have accumulated numerous awards over the years. Their second album “Playing With Fire” (1994) topped the Irish Folk and World/Roots music charts for many weeks. “At the End of the Day” (1996) was the Folk RootsFolk Album of the Year”. In 1997, the readers of Irish Music Magazine voted them “Best Overall Folk/Trad Band of the Year.” “Midsummer’s Night” (1999) was voted “Irish Traditional Album of the Year” by numerous U.K and U.S. publications. To recognize their achievements and promotion of local heritage, the Sligo town council bestowed the “Freedom of the Borough” award on the band, an honor first given to W.B. Yeats many years ago and infrequently presented since then.
            Dervish have played in numerous venues all over the world including a tour of China with many members of the Irish government in 2006. In 2000, they performed before an estimated crowd of 250,000 at the “Rock In Rio music festival. Don’t miss your chance to see them a lot closer to home when they return to the University of Hartford’s Millard Auditorium Thursday March 18th at 7:30 pm.
            Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill are relative newcomers to our concert series, making their debut appearance August 26, 2006. They will return Saturday April 24, 2010 for a 7:30 pm show in the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium.   
            Martin Hayes was born and raised in Maghera, Feakle, East Co. Clare and grew up surrounded by great Irish traditional music thanks to his father P. Joe Hayes, legendary leader of the famous Tulla Ceilidh Band. Though he often returns to the place wherein lie his musical roots, he is now a resident of the State of Connecticut! His route to this area was circuitous with long stops in Chicago and Seattle. It was during his time in Chicago that he met and melded with his musical partner of the past twelve years, Dennis Cahill.
            Martin is one of the most extraordinary talents to emerge in the world of Irish music in recent generations of renowned musicians. Before the age of nineteen, he had already won six All Ireland fiddle championships. In honor of the new millennium in 2000, the Irish Sunday Tribune compiled a list of the 100 most influential Irish men and women in the fields of entertainment, politics and sports, a list that included Martin Hayes! They touted him as “one of the most important musicians to emerge in the past fifty years.” Since then he has been named Folk Instrumentalist of the Year by BBC Radio, Man of the Year by the American Irish Historical Society and in 2008 was Irish language television station TG 4’s Musician of the Year. His albums have also won NEA Record of the Year awards (equivalent to our Grammies).
            Martin’s first two albums, “Martin Hayes” (1993) and “Under the Moon” (1995) were recorded before he began his association with Dennis Cahill in Chicago. They recorded their first album “The Lonesome Touch” in 1997 followed by “Live In Seattle’ in 1999. There ensued a long break til their latest recording “Welcome Here Again” was released in 2008.
            Dennis Cahill was born in Chicago to parents who emigrated from Dingle, Co. Kerry. He is a master guitarist whose spare, essential accompaniment style is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for the guitar in Irish traditional music. In addition to his work with Martin, Dennis has played with other legendary Irish fiddlers including Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers and Kevin Burke. He is also a sought after producer for traditional artists who he records in his own Chicago studios.
            Seldom will you have the opportunity to see such remarkably talented musicians in an intimate, exceptionally constructed musical venue like the Wilde Auditorium. I strongly encourage your attendance for a magical evening of Irish traditional music with Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill at 7:30 on Saturday April 24, 2010.
            Tickets for the Celtic Airs Concert Series go on sale TWO MONTHS before the event and are ONLY available through the University of Hartford Box Office, open Monday-Friday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Call 1-800-274-8587 or 1-860-768-4228. You can also purchase on line at www.hartford.edu/hartt.
            If you aren’t yet on the Celtic Airs Concert Series e-mailing list, simply go to the WWUH home page (wwuh.org). In the center of the home page, half way down, you’ll find a small box where you can make your request to be added to the list. Don’t worry, we don’t share the list with anyone, so it won’t generate any SPAM in your in box.
            Celtic Airs can be heard on WWUH, 91.3 FM, every Tuesday from 6:00-9:00 am. If you can’t listen on your FM radio, you’ll find us steaming live on the internet. Use the  “Listen” link at the upper left corner of the home page to make this simple connection. Thanks for listening!! I look forward to seeing you March 18th at the Dervish concert and at many more shows over the course of 2010.

Steve Dieterich,
Producer /host of Celtic Airs and the
WWUH/ Celtic Airs Concert Series

 

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