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Trad artists embrace the season

March 9, 2021

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Mick Moloney, back in the day right, has blazed a trail with his online series “By Memory Inspired: Mick Moloney’s Songbook.”

 

Traditional Music / By Daniel Neely

Given the dearth of in-person opportunity these days, Patrick’s season will not exactly be “normal.”  But unlike last year, when lockdown was fresh, St. Patrick was facing peril, and the future still very much a mystery, we’re better prepared as artists and fans to find ways to embrace the season, enjoy some terrific music, and support the efforts of artists who continue to find ways of persevering.  There’s a lot to look forward to!

For example, on this Friday, March 12, Mick Moloney, in cooperation with New York City’s Irish Arts Center, will host “Celtic Appalachian Celebration 2021.”  Over the last few months, Moloney has really blazed a trail with his incredible online series “By Memory Inspired: Mick Moloney’s Songbook.”  This year’s Celtic Appalachia concert – which has become something of a New York institution – will mark a return to form.   Although it will be entirely online, virtual audiences will be able to enjoy Moloney’s signature style with a group of top performers, including Green Fields of America featuring Athena Tergis, Billy McComiskey, Liz Hanley and Niall O’Leary; 2018 NEA National Heritage fellow Eddie Bond and Bonnie Bond; Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton; Nora Brown; and Megan Downes.  This should be really great and I recommend folks check it out.  Visit irishartscenter.org for more information.

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On this Saturday, March 13, at 5 p.m. ET, button accordion great John Whelan will host “The Squeeze In,” the new installment of his Whelan Master Sessions series.  I’ve had an opportunity to check out one of these sessions and it was a fabulous and friendly online get-together over tunes and chat.  Past guests include John and James Carty, the Conneely family, Catherine & John McEvoy, Joanie Madden & Mirella Murray, Michael McGoldrick & Angela Usher, Kevin Crawford, Cillian Vallely, Brian Conway, Kevin Burke, and many others.  Upcoming guests include Joey Abarta & Nathan Gourley (20th), and Nuala Kennedy & Gerry O’Connor (27th).

“The Squeeze In” will feature a set of great box players, including Derek Hickey, Jimmy Keane and Josephine Marsh.  It promises to be amazing, so make sure to have your instrument in hand and your beverage of choice by your side!  (And don’t worry –if you’re not up to joining in in the master session, Whelan hosts a popular online Slow Session every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.  There’ll even be one on St. Patrick’s Day itself!)  To learn more about Whelan’s various streaming offerings, visit JohnWhelanMusic.com.

(By the way, although the master session series is only a few months old, Whelan is an old hand at this online presentation thing.  For six years, he’s hosted a regular Monday night solo stream that attracts viewers by the truckload.  An early adopter for sure!)

One of the season’s biggest events happens on Sunday, the 14th, at 4 p.m. ET, with trad supergroup Lúnasa presenting a rare online concert through their YouTube channel.  This will only be their second such online offering (the first took place back in September), so it should have strong appeal for thirsty fans – I know I’ll check in!  I hear that Dave Curley will be aboard as a special guest, so that’s something special to look forward to as well.  To tune in, visit the band’s YouTube channel, tinyurl.com/LunasaYouTube – I can’t wait.

 

Supergroup Lúnasa will present an online concert on YouTube next Sunday.

 

And another bit of news from the Lúnasa camp: they’ve completely revamped their website and have acquired a new URL.  With it, they’ve improved their site’s look and functionality, which is great.  (The old site was a bit clunky, so this is a real upgrade.) From now on visit www.lunasamusic.com for all things Lúnasa, and please, update those bookmarks!

 

Then, on the 17th you’re going to want to check out the Mary Wallopers, who will stream a new episode of “Stay at Home with The Mary Wallopers” at 4 p.m. ET.  If you’ve not heard of Dundalk’s own Mary Wallopers (Charles & Andrew Hendy, and Seán McKenna), now’s the time to acquaint yourselves.  They first came onto my radar in December 2019 with their recording of “Cod Liver Oil and Orange Juice” and I’ve been a fan ever since.

 

The Mary Wallopers are staying in on St. Patrick’s Day.

 

Describing themselves as “the Clancy Brothers meet John Lydon” – an apt description if there ever was one – they’ve been particularly active during COVID, largely through livestreams from the stay-at-home pub they’ve build for themselves.  Some even say they saved St. Patrick’s Day last year with their very first “Stay at Home” stream, a claim none among us can even deny.  Look for a variety/talk show format with chat, ballads, and guests.  (Past episodes have included appearances from Lankum, Junior Brother, CMAT, and Shane McGowan, each of whom “beams” themself in for a bit of craic.)  It’s always very funny and a good bit of contained anarchy – perfect for the day.

 

Will the Hendys and McKenna save the day for two consecutive years?  Tune in at 4 p.m. ET on the 17th to find out.  Visit the Mary Walloper’s website (www.marywallopers.com) or their YouTube Channel, (tinyurl.com/MaryWallopers), to learn more.

Mark those calendars, folks — there’s lots to see!

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