As we say farewell to summer and hello
to fall, the Celtic Airs/ WWUH concert series will turn up the heat
a notch to warm your autumn evenings. Concerts by the Old Blind
Dogs 9/16/05, Grada 10/8/05, John Doyle & Liz Carroll 10/21/05 and
Susan McKeown 11/19/05 will give you ample reason to spend some
pleasant evenings at the University of Hartford's Wilde Auditorium.
If you've yet to join us for a fine evening of Celtic music,
let me tell you that the Wilde is a gem of a performance space,
intimate, excellent sight lines and acoustics - a perfect place
to enjoy live music and the wonderful musicians who create it.
The Old Blind Dogs have been audience
favorites ever since they first graced our stage in the second concert
of the Celtic Airs series on 11/4/94. Over the years, there have
been gradual changes in personnel and at present only founding member
Jonny Hardie (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bodhran, vocals) remains
from that original 1994 lineup. Current band mates include Rory
Campbell (whistle, small pipes, vocals), Aaron Jones (cittern, guitar,
bass, vocals), Fraser Stone (percussion), and silver throated Jim
Malcolm (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica).
Old Blind Dogs took flight in 1990. Their name is borrowed
from an American Old-Timey song. The band's trademark style features
the very traditional melodies of Jonny's feisty fiddle and Rory's
pipes and whistles, punctuated by world rhythms from Fraser's African
based percussion. Their songs are a mixture of traditional and contemporary.
"Historically, we've shied away from anything too sentimental. There
usually has to be death and pestilence involved," relates Jim Malcolm.
The Dogs were named Folk Band of the Year for 2004 by the
Scottish Traditional Music Society. Jim Malcolm was voted Songwriter
of the Year for 2004 by the same group, a double helping of glory
heaped on this fine ensemble.
The band's 9th album, "Play Live", came out on Green Linnet
in June 2005. It's a very appropriate release for the band leading
into this American tour, as they're renowned for their live performances.
"Old Blind Dogs play with a compelling energy and intoxicating rhythm
as players and audience seem to share a wild ecstasy of emotion."(The
Scotsman). Jonny Hardie agrees; "We like to make a show of it whenever
we can. Perhaps we even err on the side of being too frenetic. We
don't pace ourselves; we just go for it!" An Old Blind Dogs audience
doesn't sit quietly. They are ready to join in and participate -
dancing in the aisles and cheering.
If you've yet to experience the Old Blind Dogs live, I hope
you'll correct that with a visit to the Wilde Auditorium where they
will appear Sept 16th, 2005.
Grada (Irish for "illustrious") make
their University of Hartford debut October 8, 2005. This is a quintet
of young musicians (3 from Ireland and 2 from New Zealand) known
for their multifaceted interpretation of traditional music, a new
breed of Irish band who grew up with one foot in the world of Irish
traditional music and the other in popular music. Their musical
style is the natural progression of Irish music in the hands of
a generation of musicians with different and more varied influences
than the previous generation of musicians. "Grada plays with obvious
respect for the ancient roots of their music, but also without any
apparent fear that they might break it through experimentation."
(Rick Anderson, All Music Guide).
The Grada line up includes Alan Doherty (fiddle, whistles,
vocals) widely recognized as the lead soloist in the Lord of The
Rings soundtrack, Nicola Joyce (vocals, bodhran), Brendan O'Sullivan
(fiddle, viola) and the New Zealand rhythm section of Gerry Paul
(guitar, bouzouki) and Andrew Laking (double bass, guitar, vocals).
Their two CD's, The Landing Step (2004) and Endeavor (2002),
were produced by Trevor Hutchinson, bassist for Lunasa. He has high
praise for this band and convinced me to sign them to a concert
Please come to welcome Grada to the Wilde Auditorium on Sat.
October 8, 2005.
John Doyle and Liz Carroll will be
our guests on October 21, 2005. Separately, they are geniuses of
their instruments, musicians who take the tradition of Irish music
in daring, inventive new directions. Together, they present a dynamic
live stage show not to be missed by lovers of Irish traditional
Chicago born Liz has been amazing audiences with her fiddle
performances ever since she won the All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Championship
at only 18 years old!! In addition to her acclaimed recordings,
she's known for her fiery live performances, full of inventiveness
and intense emotion.
John Doyle is one of the most extraordinary acoustic guitarists
to come out of Ireland in recent years. He's also an accomplished
singer and songwriter who first rose to prominence as a member of
Solas. His guitar playing was the harmonic and rhythmic foundation
of Solas' relentlessly high-energy sound. Since leaving that groundbreaking
band, his spine-tingling voice and hard driving guitar style have
been showcased on two solo CD's, most recently Wayward Son (July,
These two virtuosos are sure to put on a dazzling display
in their duet performance at the Wilde Auditorium on Friday, October
21, 2005. I certainly hope you'll be there to enjoy them!
Tickets for the concerts go on sale two
months prior to the performance date through the University of Hartford
Box Office. Call 1-800-274-5587, 1 -860-768-4228 or contact them
online at http://hartford.edu/hartt.
can be heard on WWUH 91.3 FM every Tuesday from 6-9 am. and has
been on the air for 12 years. The concert series began in August
1994. Its goal is to raise funds for WWUH radio, and to give traditional
Celtic musicians the opportunity to display their considerable talents
to you in person. As I've said many times, the live experience is
far superior to merely listening to a CD. I hope you've taken the
opportunity to enjoy this experience.
WWUH: September/October 2005 Program