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Shamrock and roll
Parades, parties and green stout are all very well. But there’s so much more to St Patrick’s Day. Fans of traditional music, in particular, have good reason to be cheerful as the national feast day comes around once more.
Greg McAteer, 20 Mar 2006
It’s like a scene from one of those early Bond movies where the little fat bald bad guy is sitting in his swivel chair in front of the giant map of the world. ‘It’s March 17, St. Patrick’s Day,’ he cackles maniacally and, as he flicks the switch, a light comes on in every city, an Irish band on every stage. ‘Gentlemen,’ he purrs, ‘welcome to world domination.’
Leading the charge in this quest for St Paddy’s Day global supremacy are Lunasa, who go for the red button with the release of their sixth album, called, with typical deadpan humour, Sé. In Ireland, it will be available from March 17.
Any hopes you’re harbouring of an Irish launch gig will have to be put on ice as the band is touring intensively in the US, where Compass Records is promoting the album. The hope, it seems, is that the record might prove a major breakthrough for the band. So they’ll be drowning the shamrock in Savannah, Georgia on the night in question.
Of course, not everyone goes away on St Patrick’s day. Indeed, we even get a few cultural exchange visitors. Two such interlopers are Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill who hit Vicar Street running on March 16.
They come promising guests and one of these is very likely to be Iarla O Lionaird, whose own three piece live ensemble is being lionised after an awesome performance in London’s Royal Opera House at the end of January.
Stepping up into the limelight at the National Concert Hall on March 18, in what has to be regarded as one of the highpoints of that institution’s calendar, will be Padraigin Ni Uallachain.
Although she tends to be a little bit more low key than some of her peers, don’t underestimate her abilities. She is a torch bearer for traditional music, an educator, a musical archaeologist and, not least, a performer.
She’ll be performing on the night with Macalla and leaning on the instrumental skills of Steve Cooney and Laoise Kelly, who also accompanied her on last year’s Ailleacht album.