We've Always been

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Sidebar

27
Sat, Feb

Tools
Typography

Thirteen, an unlucky number? Not so with super group SíFiddlers comprised of thirteen of the best female fiddlers from the County Donegal. The ladies, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, from Gaoth Dobhair, is well known as a founding member of Altan and the String Sisters. Liz Doherty of Buncrana is also a String Sister and was a member of Nomos. Brid Harper of Castlefinn is a well known, much in demand traditional musician as is Friel Sister member Clare whose roots are in Derrynamansher. In 2017, she was the recipient of the 2018 TG4 Young Musician of the Year Award. Denise Boyle of The Glenties has toured with Carlos Nunez as part of the Galician Celts. Also hailing from The Glenties is Tara Connaghan whose playing is higly requested for album appearances and is often seen on TG4. The far north town of Malin brings Melanie Houton who has played all over the world and is also a frequent TG4 guest, and Eimear McColgan, a young, extremely talented and award winning musician. Clodagh Warnock now of Moville was a founding member and multi instrumentalist of the great band Déanta. Claire Gallagher comes from a strong family background of musicians held in high esteem in Donegal and the world. Add in Culdoff’s Roisin McGrory, who was Eimear’s fiddle teacher, and Theresa Kavanagh a well respected composer and educator from Gortahork who has travelled worldwide playing and writing music. Last, but by no way least, is Aisling Drost Byrne from one of my favorite towns, Glencolmcille, who is only 3 years out of the University of Limerick and already well known and respected. Good friends with Conal O’Kane of Goitse, they have been regulars at the Blas Festival.
The ladies first played together at the Earagail Arts festival which is 18 days of music, theater and visual arts held in July all along the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal. Much like Canada’s Celtic Colors, a variety of venues in each town offers attendees a mélange of entertainment.
The fiddle has played an important part in the music of Donegal, but it is only within recent times that female fiddlers have been given status. The album DONEGAL FIDDLE, is a treasure chest of mostly traditional tunes with several others composed by Francie and Mickey Byrne, Brid Harper, Tommy Peoples, and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh. You will experience toe tapping reels such as the opening set “Jackson’s and The Oak Tree.” Jigs, slip jigs, and barndances, “The Stirling Castle Strathspey” easing into the “The Gladstone Reel,” and even the set of mazurkas, “Francie Mooney’s, Vincent Campbell’s.” Thirteen fiddlers, thirteen individual styles, thirteen different years of experience, but the play is well timed and melds together into a solid and sophisticated Donegal sound.
Like The String Sisters, the large number of band members may restrict their travel for appearances, but we can always have hope. DONEGAL FIDDLE is available for order on the band’s web and Facebook sites.
Another brand new offering is crooner Luka Bloom’s new album BITTERSWEET CRIMSON. While the songs are not “Irish,” they are lovely and sung with the heart and feeling we expect from Luka and his folk ballads. The album is a collection of songs he composed over a period of two years with a general theme of appreciating nature, human and all around us. Accompanying him are ace guitar and bouzouki player Steve Cooney, Jon O’Connell on double bass and electric guitar, Adam Shapiro on fiddle, and Robbie Harris on percussion. Their playing beautifully sets off his rich evocative voice. He sings of true love in the opening song, “CAN WE STAY.” His imagery of human feelings being represented by trees, animals, moonbeams, and crystal looking pomegranate seeds give us vivid pictures to heighten our feelings as we listen. His cry in “WHO WILL HEAL THE LAND” is poignant for our times.
A special addition is the last song on the album, “VISION FOR 2020” where Luka is joined by the amazing Niamh Farrell whose voice he heard and fell in love with just as many of us have. Their voices mesh as if they have been singing together for many years. Hopefully, this is the first of more to come.
For Luka Bloom fans, you will be thrilled with this new album. For those not familiar, BITTERSWEET CRIMON is a beautiful introduction. It is now available on his website.
Kudos need to go out to the festival organizers who have been putting on virtual fests for the musicians and us. Some have been small with sets from bands who would have been playing at the fests, others, such as Milwaukee, have put on extravaganzas including music, culture, cooking, you name it! Michigan’s Irish Fest is coming up yet, so check their website. Many, like Milwaukee, will have Utube and Facebook reruns available for you if you missed the weekend. It has been a pleasure to be able to watch and enjoy what we are missing. There is nothing like being there in person, though, where your attention is not divided, home responsibilities are not sitting on your shoulders, and you can ride on the enthusiasm of the crowd. Here’s to hoping we can get our collective act together to contain this virus to be able to enjoy our festivals and concerts by next summer. It is said music heals the soul, and I know this soul yearns for that. Slaínte!

Join the Irish Book Club!

Become a Book Club Member

Chicago irish Film Festival 2021

N-17 Song Done Differently!

SUBSCRIBE: Buy 1 get 2 - Buy 2 get 3! - Buy 3 get 6 years!

SUB SPECIAL

Advertise

Paying For
Instructions

February Linked Edition

January Digitally Linked 2021

 

December 2020 with ad links

Irish Ann

Irish Book Club

Advertising Rates 2020

Shop Irish!

ARTIST
Bryan Boylan
ASSISTED LIVING
Aishling Companion Homecare
Homecare Angels

ATTORNEY

Murphy & Smith Ltd
Dwyer and Coogan
Healy Law

Miller & McGing Law Firm 773-467-8000
BAGPIPERS & DRUM CLASSES

Chicalba Bagpiping

BAKERY
Doughs Guys Bakery
BANKS
First National Bank of Brookfield

Marquette National Bank
BANQUETS
Gaelic Park
Irish Am Heritage Ctr
BEAUTY SALONS
Appearances Pk Ridge
 847-825-7615
Hair by O'Hara & Friends-Hometown
BOOKS - IRISH
TheIrishBookClub.com
BRICK REPAIR/REPLACEMENT
Shamrock Tuckpointing
CARPET CLEANER
Sheila's Carpet Shampooligans
CATERERS
Harrington's Catering & Deli
Unforgettable Edibles
CHARITABLE ORG

Mercy Home
IrishCommunityServices
CAULKING & SEALING
Shamrock Tuckpointing
CHIMNEY REPAIR

Shamrock Tuckpointing

CHOIR
Irish Heritage Singers
COTTAGE RENTAL
Cottage Mary Rose
Dingle Cottage: 312-399-8793
Gurtenard Hse - Listowel Co Kerry
CRUISES

Andy Cooney
Phil Coulter Tranquility Cruise
CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS

Chicago Gaelic Park

iBAM!
Irish Am Heritage Ctr
Irish Am Society Co Will
Irish Heritage Singers
DANCE SCHOOLS

McNulty School of Dance
Trinity Irish Dance
ENTERTAINERS

Chicalba Bagpiping

Paddy Homan
The Larkin Brothers
Catherine O'Connell
Joe McShane
Whiskey Mick Irish Rock
FESTIVALS

Arlington Heights
Dublin

IAHC
Indianapolis
Kansas City
Milwaukee
Naperville Aug 7-8 2020
FINANCIAL PLANNER

Corrigan Financial
FLORIST

Garland Flowers
FUNERAL HOMES

Blake-Lamb

Gibbon's Funeral Homes
Roberty J Sheehy & Sons

GAELIC YOUTH FOOTBALL
773-719-2847 Jerry
GARBAGE REMOVAL
Flood Brothers Disposal
GOLF COURSES
Palos Golf
GRAPHIC DESIGN

Laura Coyle 773-343-7268
GROCERIES/MEAT

O'Connor's Market

Winston's

HOTELS

The Irish Cottage 1 866 CU-IRISH
HUMAN RESOURCE CONSULTANT
James Fitzgerald
IMMIGRATION SERVICES

IrishCommunityServices
IMPORT SHOPS
Ann's Irish Gifts

Celtica Gifts 773-784-7712
Donegal Imports
Gaelic Imports
Irish Shop
INSURANCE

American Family-Joan McKee
Riordan Insurance
JEWELERS

H. Watson
MUSIC SCHOOLS
Chgo Academy of Piping/Drumming
Irish Music School of Chgo
MYSTERY SHOPPER
Cathy Cooney-Millar 224-944-9654

PARTY PLANNERS
That Special Event

PENNY WHISTLES
Michael Burke
PHOTOGRAPH CAPTURING
Memoirs for Me
PHYSICAL THERAPY
SPORTS-ORTHOPEDIC
Athletex
PLASTERING

William McNulty & Son
708-386-2951
PUB/RESTAURANT RECRUITER
Cathy Cooney-Millar
PUBS & RESTAURANTS

Ashford House
The Celtic Knot
Clancy's Pizza Pub
Corcorans
Emerald Loop
Fifth Province
Fiddler's Hearth
The Galway Arms
James Joyce Irish Pub
Lizzie McNeill's
Mickey Finn's Brewery
Peggy Kinnanes
R
ed Apple Buffet
Six Penny Bit
Vaughan's Pub

REALTORS
Dreamtown - Patrick Carney
Koenig & Strey
Mary Ellen Considine  773-769-2500
RESTAURANT/HOSPITALITY RECRUITER
Cathy Cooney-Millar 224-944-9654
SPORTS CLUBS

Chgo Celtic Soccer Club
stbrigids.chicago.gaa.ie
ST PATRICK'S DAY
St Patrick's Day Parade
SWEATERS

Anne's Irish Knits
TABLE RUNNERS
All 32 Counties
TELEVISION-CABLE

Irish Journal 708-366-4665
THEATRE
Late Nite Catechism
TOURIST ATTRACTION
Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
TRAVEL /TOURS
Authentic Irish Tours
BestIrishTours.com
Gadabout Travel
Shay Clarke - Inter Trav Corp
TUCKPOINTING
Shamrock Tuckpointing
VACATION RENTALS
Dingle Cottage
Cork - Cottage from $450 weekly
Don at 608-274-1180
WASTE REMOVAL
Flood Brothers Disposal
WEDDING PLANNER
That Special Event

WEDDING VENUES
Gaelic Park
Irish Am Heritage Ctr
Palos Country Club
WOOD FLOOR SPECIALIST
The Sexton Group