Irish music

Hup Skerries, via YouTube

Just a fiddle, and a flute. And rhythm, ornaments, breath accents, and stories. In the tradition of Irish folk music, two players is enough for an evening's entertainment, harkening back to the days when resources were scarce but social music-making was prized.

On Thursday at First Congregational Church, fiddler Jesse Smith (Danu, The Tap Room Trio) and flutist Sean Gavin (Bua, Teada) will perform, highlighting their new album, Music From The Lost Continent, which was called "straight-up trad at its best" in a Tradconnect review. Cara Lieurance spoke with Jesse Smith about his love of the music and his admiration for players of the past, including Michael Coleman, who was famous in the 1920 for his cylinder recordings.


Blarney Castle was formed in 2014 by six Western Michigan University music students. It was the brainchild of Joel Myers, a native of Chelsea, MI, who gained his Irish fiddling skills performing with the Chelsea House Orchestra.

Since its formation, Blarney Castle has performed sophisticated arrangements and original sets of Celtic music at festivals around the state and beyond. The new single, "Silhouettes Against The Soil," to be released on October 14, was written by Myers. Myers, keyboardist Lukas Stanley, and singer/flutist E.J. Schubkegel visited WMUK to preview the new song.


seantyrrell.com

On the night of a prestigious engagement at the Purcell Room in London, Irish singer Seán Tyrrell was asked if he could provide a set list for the lighting designer. "No," he told the stage manager, who then asked if he knew which song he would sing first. "I'm sorry, I really don't," he replied. "I won't know until I get to the microphone."

caladhnua.com

The five-member Irish traditional group Caladh Nua recently visited Kalamazoo, performing for school children, college students, and a community audience at Western Michigan University during their visit. It was the culmination of a month-long tour of the United States, which took the band to Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and other states. 

Near the northern tip of Lake Michigan, about 30 miles off the coast of Charlevoix, sits Beaver Island -- a little piece of Ireland surrounded by water. Irish immigrants settled here centuries ago, and now the island is full of musicians playing in bars and converted garages. It's a unique tradition documented in WMUK's "Golden Days and Friendly Faces." And today, the traditions are continued with a group in lower Michigan called the Beaver Island Club of Grand Rapids.


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