One of Ireland's most original, distinctive and thought-provoking vocalists, Karan Casey released her second solo album, The WinAs Begin to Sing, last year. Blending her intimate grasp of traditional music with a daring new approach, she is joined by producer Donald Shaw, Michael McGoldrick, Niall Vallely, Dezi Donnelly, Robbie Overson, John Doyle and Ted Barnes. Described as "at once spiritual, sensual and strong", Waterford-born Karan Casey has, as a solo artist and former lead-singer of USbased band Solas, been acclaimed from Japan to America as one of Ireland's most important voices of recent years.
A ceili is a gathering for music and dance. The Gaelic League sponsored the first Irish ceili in 1897. Ceili dances were derived from group set dances and French quadrilles, but were set to Irish music. They appear to have evolved with the help of Irish dance masters, many from County Kerry. A variety of instruments are played at a ceili including fiddles, pipes, accordions, bodhrans and flutes. Nationalism, combined with the Handboole of Irish Dances published in 1902, led to standardization of ceili dances. Recording the descriptions of these dances occurred through the 1930s before they were lost in history.
Cherish The Ladies
Organized by folklorist/musician Mick Moloney and sponsored by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, they began as a concert series featuring the brightest lights in Irish traditional music. Though initially the group won recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band, they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have won many thousands of listeners and fans of their music. They have shared the stage with such noted entertainers as James Taylor, Joan Baez, Emmy Lou Harris, The Clancy Brothers and The Chieftains. The Celtic Album, their collaboration with the Boston Pops Symphony led to a 1999 Grammy nomination. At the Olympics in Atlanta, they were chosen to represent Irish music and culture at the Official Cultural Olympiad.
The Chieftains are an musical institution. In a career that has lasted 40 years they have recorded nearly 50 albums, written, arranged and recorded numerous film scores, won numerous awards and toured in all corners of the globe. The Chieftains have been both pioneers and ambassadors for Irish music all over the world. They have performed with opera singers, world musicians and rock singers and have a huge fan base that ranges from The Rolling Stones to Sylvester Stallone.
Their roots are in Ceoltoiri Chualann, the folk orchestra set up by Cork composer Sean O'Riada to revive the old music of composers like the blind harpist Turlough O'Carolan. Some of the youngest members of O'Riada's ensemble were the uilleann piper Paddy Moloney, fiddle player Martin Fay, nautist Michael Tubridy and tin whistle virtuoso Sean Ports. When Garech Browne of the Guinness family asked Moloney to put together a group to record a one-off album for his Claddagh Records company, he engaged his old Ceoltoiri Chualann colleagues. They added bodhran player Davey Fallen and were dubbed The Chieftains by John Montague, author of the poem Death Of A Chieftain and a director of Claddagh they recorded their first album in 1964.
Immediately people sat up and took notice, and while there wasn't unanimous approval in traditional circles of what was seen as a diversion, The Chieftains' debut album offered an intriguing alternative for Irish music.
It took five years for them to record Chieftains 2, by which time the great fiddle player Sean Keane had also joined and the late Peadar Mercier had replaced Davey Fallen on bodhran. Initially they all kept their day jobs but after being signed by high-powered London-based manager Jo Lustig they sold out the Royal Albert Hall in 1975, world domination beckoned and since then their rise has been inexorable.
The rigors of being a professional band took their toll and Sean Ports, Peadar Mercier and Michael Tubridy all quit along the way. Kevin Conneff, also a fine unaccompanied singer, replaced Mercier on bodhran, while Derek Bell, a classical harpist and the only Chieftain from Northern Ireland, was added in 1974. Perhaps the biggest coup, however, was the addition in 1979 of ex-Bothy Band star Matt Molloy. In 1984 they became the first western band to tour China, again recording with local musicians on the Live In China collection.
The Stanley Kubrick movie Barry Lyndon provided their first movie score followed by Year Of The French, The Grey Fox, Trystan Isolde and Treasure Island. They have investigated Galician music, South American music (Santiago, featuring Linda Ronstadt, Carlos Nunez, Ry Cooder and Los Lobos), stretching their original roots far and wide in collaborations with a broad variety of artists from other fields. These have included Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, The Corrs and the Rolling Stones.
This family band, from Gweedore in County Donegal enjoyed transatlantic commercial success by skillfully crossing the bridge between folk and rock. Brother's Pol Brennan and Ciaran Brennan, and their twin uncles Padraig Duggan and Noel Duggan formed Clannad in 1968. They played at local folk festivals and Lee's Tavern, run by Leo Brennan, a former showband musician and father of the Brennan group members of
Clannad. Maire Brennan subsequently joined the band, who earned a recording contract with Philips Records by winning first prize at the Letterkenny Folk Festival.
The band's breakthrough success came in Germany, where they toured in 1975. The following year the band decided to commit themselves to music fulltime. Maire's sister, Eithne, (Enya) joined the line-up in 1980 and appeared on the transitional Fuaim, before leaving in 1982 to pursue a highly successful solo career. Clannad initially caught the attention of the wider public in the UK when they recorded the theme tune for the ITV drama Harry's Game in 1982. The single reached #r in the UK charts. In 1984, they recorded the soundtrack to UK television's Robin Of Sherwood and reached the Top 50. Further chart success followed with the 1986 UK Top 20 hit "In A Lifetime," on which Maire Brennan duetted with Bone from U2. Poi Brennan left at the end of the decade to concentrate on solo work, but in his absence Clannad have continued to release enchanting and distinctive albums that have stayed true to their Celtic roots. They have been particularly successful in America, where their work on the soundtrack to The Last Of The Mohicans gained widespread expo-
Willie Clancy was an iconic figure in the revival of the uilleann pipes and traditional music from the 1960s onwards. He was born near Miltown Malbay in West Clare on December 24, 1918. His father Gilbert played flute and concertina and had known and listened to the tunes of legendary blind travelling Clare piper Garret Barry (1847-1900).
Willie played his first tin whistle at five years. Among those who enjoyed his company and knowledge of Irish music and folklore were singers Christy Moore and Paul Brady.
A master carpenter by trade, he explored pipe-making, reed-making and all things connected with the instrument. He died in a Galway hospital in January 24, 1973.
Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem's influence has been central to the folk revival, in both Irish and American contexts, and the huge revival of interest in and performance of traditional Irish music throughout the world. The group comprised of Paddy (1922-98), Tom (1923-90) and Liam Clancy from Carrick-on Suir, Co. Tipperary and Tommy Makem of Keady Co. Armagh. After the Second World War, Pat and Tom emigrated to America in 1948, working first in Cleveland and eventually settling in New York. They worked at various jobs, always aspiring to be actors, in order to pay the rent, they decided to put on midnight concerts in the Cherry Lane Theatre. Folk music interest was emerging and people who are now legendary, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, Jean Ritchie, Jack Elliott, Thee Bikel and Bob Dylan took part. Paddy and Tom also performed. Later, they teamed up with Lou Gordon to do a 'Swopping Song Fair' at the Sheridan Square Theatre. These performances encouraged them to develop their Irish song repertoire and the popularity of the Irish songs gave Paddy the idea of putting out an LP on his own label, which he formed in 1956 and called Tradition Records.
Liam Clancy and Tommy Makem, met in Ireland and both emigrated to the United States in 1955. They became involved in acting but discovered they could make a better living singing at clubs. Paddy and Tom joined in whenever they could and the group, while not yet classed as a group, began to build popularity.
They first recorded in 1959, producing their LP The Rising of the Moon on Pat's Tradition Records. At this time the band began touring in the United States, especially Chicago and New York and became well known for their performances in the Village Vanguard, the Village Gate and Gerde's Folk City. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, The Morning Show, PM East and PM West, and they soon became the four most famous Irishmen in the world. They played to audiences from New York's Carnegie Hall to London's Royal Albert Hall. In 1969 Tommy left the Clancy Brothers to pursue a solo career. In July of 1975 when Tommy was booked for a festival in Cleveland, Ohio. Liam Clancy was booked as a solo act for the same festival. Tommy and Liam were persuaded to do one set together and thus began Makem and Clancy, the combination which was to last until March of 1988 and which garnered them an Emmy nomination as well as several platinum and gold records.
Alan Parker's highly acclaimed 1991 movie, set in the working-class north side of contemporary Dublin, concerns the efforts of a group of youngsters to form the "World's Hardest Working Band," and bring soul music to the city.
Amongst their repertoire: "Mustang Sally," "Mr Pitiful," "Take Me To The River," "The Dark End Of The Street," "Chain of Fools," "Try A Little Tenderness," and Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper's "In The Midnight Hour." The soundtrack album and Commitments Volume 2 spent a total of 131 weeks in the UK chart; the band (with some changes) still tours regularly.
Born in Derry in 1942, Coulter notable compositions of the era include Twinkle's 1964 smash "Terry" and Them's "I Can Only Give You Everything."
But Coulter enjoyed his greatest success as a writer after teaming up with collaborator Bill Martin; together they authored some of the biggest pop hits of the period, including Sandie Shaw's Eurovision-winning "Puppet on a String" and Cliff Richard's "Congratulations." Despite his pop success, he remained drawn to the Irish folk of his youth, working with acts including The Dubliners, Planxty and The Furey Brothers while concurrently writing a series of hits for the Bay City Rollers. After his partnership with Martin ended during the late '70s, Coulter turned increasingly to performing, and in 1983 issued his solo debut Classic Tranquility. Its meditative, lushly-orchestrated renditions of traditional Celtic favorites immediately scored with Irish audiences, and on the strength of subsequent efforts including 1984's Sea of Tranquility and 1985's Phil Coultev's Ireland, he emerged as the country's best-selling artist. Later material including 1990's Words and Music, 1993's Recollections and 2000's Highland Cathedral introduced Coulter to a growing international audience as well. The intimate Songs I Love So Well was released in early 2001.
(lead vocals, tin whistle). After gigging locally as a due, Jim and Sharon Corr brought in their younger sisters Caroline and Andrea in order to audition for Alan Parker's 1991 movie The Commitments. Andrea secured the role of Jimmy Rabbitte's sister in the film and the others featured in bit parts. During filming, the sibling quartet were signed by manager John Hughes, after which they underwent a long apprenticeship honing their repertoire in an attempt to secure an international recording deal. A big break came when they were seen playing at a small gig at Whelan's, Dublin in 1994 by the US Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith. She invited them to play in Boston prior to America's hosting of the football World Cup.
While in America they won an audience with Michael Jackson's producer David Foster and signed to Atlantic Records. Their 1995 debut, Forgiven, Not Forgotten, was a striking work, deftly combining traditional music with a strong pop sensibility. Since then The Corrs have become one of Ireland's top bands, with a string of hit albums and singles.
Born Declan McManus in 1954 in London, England, but brought up in Liverpool. The son of singer and bandleader Ross McManus first came to prominence during the UK punk era of 1977. His album My Aim Is True, introduced a new pinnacle in late '70s songwriting. Costello spat, shouted and crooned through a cornucopia of radical issues, producing a set that was instantly hailed by the critics.
His first hit single, "Watching The Detectives," contained scathing verses about wife beating over a simple reggae beat. His new band, The Attractions, gave Costello a solid base and provided the backing on the strong follow-up, This Year's Model, and further singles ensued prior to the release of another landmark album, Armed Forces. This collection narrowly missed the coveted #1 position in the UK and reached the Top 10 in the USA. In 1980 a version of George Jones' "Good Year For The Roses" became a major hit, The prolific Costello has also found the time to produce albums by The Specials, Squeeze, The Bluebells and The Pogues (where he met future wife, Gait O'Riordan). Towards the end of the '80s he collaborated with Paul McCartney, cowriting a number of songs for Flowers In The Dirt. A new recording contract with Warner Brothers Records was now in place, and Costello returned with the eclectic Spike in 1989.
Costello and songwriting legend Burt Bacharach joined forces on 1998's Painted From Memory, and "I Still Have That Other Girl" won a 1999 Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. The two collaborated again on a cover version of Bacharach and David's "I'Il Never Fall In Love Again" for the soundtrack to Mike Myers Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Costello's cover version of Charles Aznavour's "She" also figured prominently in the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts film, Notting Hill, and returned the singer to the UK Top 20. He has recently released a new album, When I Was Crel.
Mary began her singing career in 1984, working with Dutch musician Erik Visser (who became her long-term collaborator). The following year she recorded her first album, which showcased her powerful and bluesy jazz stylings and became an unexpected bestseller in Ireland. Despite her ongoing personal problems, Coughlan continued to reap praise for her recorded output on WEA Records. On Under The InJluence she revived the 1948 Peggy Lee hit "Don't Smoke In Bed" and the Billie Holiday ballad "Good Morning Heartache," as well as Christy Moore's "Ride On. "
This band from Limerick features Dolores O'Riordan, vocals, Noel Hogan, guitar with the line-up completed by his brother, Mike, and Feargal Lawler. The male members had been involved as a band for some time but it had never amounted to much until they joined forces with O'Riordan. EYerybor3r Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? was issued in March 1993, following the release of "Dreams" and "Linger" as singles. It was American audiences who would first truly appreciate the band. On 10 June they began a six-week tour with The The and they were picked up by college radio and soon became a hot radio and concert ticket. No Need To Argue followed in October 1994 and included the single "Zombie." Three more albums followed including Wake Up and Smell the Cofee from last year but the band has struggled to reassert their commercial and critical status.
Dublin headquarters of the CAA in Ireland and while the rule preventing 'foreign' games on its hallowed surface is still in place, it has played host to some of the biggest rock bands in the world over the years.
Cry Before Dawn
Cry Before Dawn were a 4-piece Guitar-based Rock Group hailing from Wexford.
The quartet made an impressive debut with Crimes of Conscience in 1987 with melodies including tin whistle and uilleann pipes.
Johnny Cuomo with Gallowglass
In May 1998 three musicians met at a session at the Long Island Traditional Music Association. Johnny Cuomo, Kevin Meehan and Mike Meehan formed a traditional Irish band, Gallowglass. Although they play mostly original music, they also play classical folk/rock along with an assortment of original acoustic compositions.
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