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The University of Hartford

Notes from Celtic Airs
Host: Steve Dieterich
September/October 2005

  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 here.
  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 music.
  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, 2005).
  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.

Celtic Airs 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 Guide ©

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