A few suggestions for Irish music beyond the pub songs and sentimental favorites often heard this time of year, a dvd of a very fine concert held at Vicar Street in Dublin, and a look back at the work of band of women who changed the face of Irish music, a songster son of a famous Irish musical family, and a fine singer who found her way from County Clare to County Nashville: all this will help you tune up for Saint Patrick's Day, coming up on 17 March.
Producer Andrea Zonn (among other things she plays fiddle with James Taylor) pulled together an all star cast of musicians from the Celtic tradition and from the Americana and country one to collaborate on the benefit recording Hands Across the Water. Altan, Tim O'Brien, John Cowan, Danu, Cerys Williams, Karen Matheson, Flook, Vince Gill, and others in all sorts on interesting configurations. read more at now playing: Hands Across the Water
John Doyle makes songs from centuries ago as relevant and contemporary as if they'd been written yesterday with his organic guitar playing, fine singing, and energetic arrangements on his solo album Wayward Son. more about that recording here
Athena Tergis called on John Doyle to produce and play guitar when she decided it was time to record her solo project. It's her debut, but the impassioned fiddle player isn't new to the game: she was in the original Broadway cast of Riverdance and has backed up innovative accordion player Sharon Shannon, among many other credits. Her music on this disc reflects her deep interest in the music of the northwest of Ireland, with a few other flavors stirred in.. read more... ..
Jennifer Cutting brings her background in classical, Celtic, rock , and folk music all to bear on the music she's composed for Ocean. It's a multifaceted collection of music which references the many journeys of heart and soul, and is framed in images of the sea. more about that here
The seven person band Danu is one of the top Irish traditional groups working today. You can catch their current lineup, which includes fiddler Oisin McAuley, guitarist Donal Clancy, and singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, in concert on the dvd Danu: One Night Stand, which also includes behind the scenes interviews.
Cherish the Ladies is a band who started, and fought, a revolution more than twenty years ago, building much needed professional respect for women in the world of Irish and folk music and in the process becoming one of the best loved Celtic bands the world over. The band has also been a part of the career of a number of Irish music's top artists, including Aoife Clancy, Eileen Ivers, and Cathie Ryan. read more in this interview with founder and bandleader Joanie Madden..
Michael Black is from a a singing family -- his younger sisters are Irish music stars Mary Black and Frances Black, and his nephew is rising pop star Danny O'Reilly, just to name a few -- and despite a successful career as an academic, music has called him back. learn more at this link.
Maura O'Connell grew up in County Clare, singing on the side as she went to school and expecting to make a career in her family's fish shop. Things took another turn though -- find out more here.
All these artists have recordings available, and they all tour regularly. You'll find regular coverage of Irish and other Celtic musics here on Gather at Voices, too.
Kerry Dexter, Music Correspondent Kerry's credits include VH1, CMT, the folk music magazine Dirty Linen, Strings, The Encyclopedia of Ireland and the Americas, and The MusicHound Guides. She also writes about the arts and creative practice at Music Road and contributes to Fred Bals' Series of Tubes.