Monday, 24 December 2012

Thank You, and All the Best for 2013!

Dear friends and readers,

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for reading the Irish Music Ottawa webpage and blog during 2012. We are now consistently over 1000 reads per month. Remember that to make the blog relevant, and alive, I need your news, announcements and stories! Don't be shy!

Please allow me to finish this short post to wish you and your families, friends, and loved ones a very safe and happy holiday. All the best from Irish Music Ottawa world headquarters!  'See you' in 2013!


Chris Lanagan Weekend, Toronto - 18-20 January 2013

The weekend is dedicated to the memory of Chris Langan and his tireless promotion of the traditional arts of Ireland. As such, classes are offered in all manner of instruments, including uilleann pipes, fiddle, tin whistle and flute.

This year the guests and instructors include:

Maeve Donnelly, Fiddle
Cillian Vallely, Pipes
Peter Maguire, Flute
Pat O'Gorman

Chris Langan (1915-93) was an inspiration to a generation of younger Canadian musicians. Arriving in Canada in the mid-1950s, he brought with him rich connections to Irish music and language. An accomplished piper, in Ireland he was pipe-major of a well-known band based in Rush, Co. Dublin. As a teenager he was a competition step dancer and later he learned both whistle and uilleann pipes. One of his teachers was the now legendary Irish piper and pipe maker Leo Rowsome.

More details can be found at the event webpage

ps - be prepared for great classes, concert, and non-stop sessions going late into the night!

Discover NYU's M.A. in Irish & Irish-American Studies

Glucksman Ireland House, the Center for Irish Studies at New York University, has launched a new M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies within the Graduate School of Arts and Science.

The program takes advantage of our unique faculty strengths, our strong connections with Ireland, and our location in the heart of New York City. It allows students to pursue an interdisciplinary course of study in a dynamic field of Humanities and Social Science research; courses are offered in Irish and Irish-American History, Literature, Music, Irish Language, and Cultural Studies.

The M.A. degree can be completed in three semesters at NYU's Greenwich Village campus in New York City, or in one calendar year with full-time summer study in New York and in Dublin. Part-time study is also available.

Priority application deadline for Fall 2013 enrollment: February 15, 2013

Financial aid is available.

Learn more about this program:

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

House Concert with Rosalyn and Frank - 14 Dec 2012

Friday December 14th, Rosalyn and Frank will perform a house concert hosted by Terry McGovern in Manotick. Concert starts at 8:00pm, doors open at 7:30pm. Suggested donation $20.00

Bring your favourite drink. Light snacks provided. Please contact Terry by email if you wish to attend:
mcgovet /at/ rogers \dot\ com

You are invited for an old time session after the performance, so bring your acoustic instruments!

Rosalyn Dennett & Frank Evans met at a hot summers old-time festival down in West Virginia. When Rosalyn began spending time in Frank's hometown of Toronto, they quickly began playing and performing together on a regular basis. Rosalyn's original music is a slight departure from her role in the all-female roots quartet Oh My Darling. She wipes off the polish, and delivers a raw sound with both her fiddle and voice, that's intense and deeply intuitive. Combined with the virtuoso and daring banjo playing of Frank Evans, the two put on a live performance that is rooted in tradition, whilst searching for a unique sound; they'll be banging at your heartstrings and sawing at your soul.

Rosalyn, Dirk Powell and Oh My Darling at Tonder Fest, Denmark:

Frank Evans with Kitgut String Band,

More info:

Rosalyn Dennett is a violinist & singer/songwriter, mostly in that order. She plays as a solo performer and a side player, as well as being a member of the all-female Roots quartet Oh My Darling, and duo Dennett & de Groot with banjoist Allison de Groot. She has been nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award for Best Roots Album "Oh My Darling" and "Sweet Nostalgia" and has released 3 highly acclaimed full length albums that have all reached the top of the Roots/Folk charts across Canada and Europe. Rosalyn has performed sold out shows across Europe and Canada including performing for Canada Day at Trafalgar Square in London (UK), Mainstage at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and Tønder Festival (DK), made her US debut performing with Oh My Darling at the Living Room in New York City. In the last couple of years she has opened for Tegan & Sarah, and Blue Rodeo with the band Oh My Darling, shared the stage with Tim O'Brien, Dirk Powell, Le Vent du Nord and many more fine artists, and has given Fiddle workshops for the European World Of Bluegrass Festival (NL), The Maverick Festival(UK), the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and more.

Frank Evans grew up in a family of classical musicians in Toronto, which made his decision to play clawhammer banjo at the age of 10 all the more unlikely. Carving his own path, he developed a passion for Old Time Appalachian music, making regular excursions to festivals and competitions in the United States, eventually placing second in the banjo competition at the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival (2011). With the guidance of Toronto banjo legend Chris Coole, Evans recorded his first CD, "Big Meal Time" with his brother Max. The two founded the highly popularKitgut Stringband in 2008, performed regularly in Toronto, and recorded the CD, "Rebel Raid". He formed the bluegrass outfit Slocan Ramblers in 2010, who are currently releasing their album "Shaking Down the Acorns" produced by Juno award winner Andrew Collins. Frank broke with convention one again when he began exploring jazz music, becoming the first banjo player to attend the jazz program at the Humber College of Music. Frank currently resides in Toronto and is in high demand as a session player, performing and recording with Oh My Darling, Annie Lou, Hamstrung Stringband, Foggy Hogtown Boys, and many more.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Solstice Song - A Celtic Christmas - 18 Dec 2012

Ars Nova presents:

Solstice Song - A Celtic Christmas


Acacia Lyra: Janine Dudding & Susan Sweeney Hermon, Celtic Harp

Seán McKiernan, Traditional Instruments
Greg Weeks, Cello
James Farr, Guitar
D'Arcy McGuire, Bodhrán
Simon Honeyman, Counter-tenor
Master of Ceremonies: Richard Weeks

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 7:30 p.m.
Churchof St. Bartholomew, 125 MacKay Street
Tickets: General: $25

(Ticket includes a special Wassail reception following the concert)
Tickets on sale at: Compact Music, CD Warehouse, Leading Note and Books on Beechwood as well as online at and

The winter solstice will soon be upon us. Surrounded by the quiet, warmth and beauty of the Church of St. Bartholomew , let voices, harps, and instruments transport you to misty valleys and snow-covered hills, filling you with the spirit of Christmas. Following the concert, ring in the season with a traditional Wassail Reception in the parish hall.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Cajun Fiddle Event with David Greely - 17-18 Jan 2013

I don't stray too often from the Irish genre on this blog, but this sounds like a great event for all you fiddlers out there. - CH

David Greely ( ) Grammy winning fiddler from Louisiana will be visiting Ottawa on January 17 & 18/ 2013. I will be hosting a workshop and a house concert on Thurs. Jan 17 and Fri. Jan.18 respectively.

David is a founding member of the Louisiana supergroup, Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboys. He has recently retired from the group and is pursuing his solo career. David is at once hilariously funny and entertaining as well as a crackerjack fiddler. Though his main focus in fiddle music is French music fromSouthwest Louisiana he is adept in many styles including Country, Swing, Irish, and Quebecois. His unbridled curiosity and enthusiasm is both infectious and inspiring.

SW Louisiana is home to a culture where music and dancing is alive and considered a necessary part of daily life. David Greely is a friend and mentor to me and I'm proud and pleased to be able to snag him for a couple of days on his way through our little corner of Canada. I'd love to show him a good turnout and a warm welcome in one of the coldest months of the year.

Please check these sources : ( ) , ( )

Suggested donation for the house concert will be $20 and there is room for roughly 30 people. Price for the workshop is to be decided. If you are interested please don't hesitate to contact me and/or ( 613 741 0721 ).

This is a rare chance to 'hang' with a world class working musician in a friendly and intimate setting.

Thanks as always for listening and for your continued interest in live music.

Michael Ball

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Ottawa Cape Breton Session Update Nov. 20, 2012

TONIGHT - Nov 21 -Great Canadian Fiddle Show: 7:30pm The Great Canadian Fiddle Show preserves and celebrates Canada's rich musical heritage through traditional fiddling and step dancing.

Nov 24 —St. Andrew's Day Social: 5:30-10:30pm - St. Patrick's Basilica lower level, corner of Kent and Nepean streets. Come celebrate Ottawa's Scottish and Cape Breton heritage. An evening of Cape Breton fiddle music, Scottish country dancing and Highland dancing demonstrations, Cape Breton set dance and sing-along. Ticket $15 (includes meal). Cash Bar. Program: Doors open 5:30pm; dance practice 5:45pm; meal 6:15pm; music and dancing 6:45-10:30pm: music by the Ottawa Cape Breton Session, Ardbrae Scottish Country Dancers of Ottawa, Celtic Cross Highland Dancers, Cape Breton Square Sets and a sing-along with David Barnes. Parking in school board parking lot, across from basilica, enter from Nepean or Lyon streets. For more information and tickets contact: Brendan Hennigan, Cell (613) 793-6798 Email:

MUSICIANS: Brian McLean is coordinator, let him know before Thursday if you can join us for this evening. This has always been a very fun event for both musicians and audience and there is lots of room for everyone to join in providing the music.

Dec 2 —Pub Session: 2pm-5pm Royal Oak Pub 318 Bank St. at MacLaren.

Dec 10 —Concert: 8pm The Barra MacNeils An East Coast Christmas is a musical potpourri of traditional MacNeil family favourites gleaned from Christmas ceilidhs, midnight masses and the general festive frolic that accompanies each holiday season. Centrepointe Theatre Tickets

Dec 16 —Pub Session: 2pm-5pm Royal Oak Pub 318 Bank St. at MacLaren. Time to play some Christmas carols!

Dec 30—Fifth Sunday : 2pm-5pm - No Session today - Christmas Break!

FIDDLERS/MUSICIANS: There are several special events coming up, please mark your calendars and consider participating in one or all of them:

Jan. 26: Robbie Burns Supper at Glen Cairn United Church in Kanata. Musicians get the full church supper, we will provide some music for listening and dancing. The event is a fundraiser for a trip to Scotland for the local highland dancing school. Let Beth or Brian McLean know if you can help out with this one.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Those bastards, again!

La Grange de la Gatineau presents ...


Friday 23 November at 8PM
80 ch. Summer, Cantley, Qc.

$20 plus taxes (includes one beverage) / $15 students
Add a 3 course gourmet dinner including wine for $30 plus tax (dinner at 6:30pm)

Reservations required: PAYPAL (, or/ou 819-827-3164

They're back at La Grange de la Gatineau after highly energetic visit last Spring.

The Irish Bastards is Jean-Philippe Goupil (vocals, guitar & tenor banjo), Dylan Perron (banjo & vocals), Lisa Demay (violin & vocals) and Alexandre Veillette (Mandolin, vocals, guitar, podorythms).

These four musicians originating from different regions of Quebec, have been playing together for a little over two years, but individually they have many years of experience. Their show definitely has an Irish flavour marked by Irish drinking songs. Their influences include The Dubliners, The Pogues, The Chieftains, The Irish Rovers and Planxty. They will not miss an opportunity to make you sing and dance. Come on down to hear them and buy their new CD at the same time!!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Great Canadian Fiddle Show in Ottawa - Wed. 21 Nov 2012

The Great Canadian Fiddle Show is coming to a town near you. Namely, Ottawa, Kingston and Peterborough.

The Great Canadian Fiddle Show preserves and celebrates Canada’s rich musical heritage through traditional fiddling and step dancing. Visiting the breadth of Canada's diverse regional styles, the show captivates audiences with energy and mastery.
Under the direction of Celina DiCecca, The Great Canadian Fiddle Show is a collaboration of some of the best fiddlers in Canada coming together to create an amazingly energetic show. The fiddlers put on an electric performance of traditional Canadian fiddle music and step dance. Be ready to tap your toes along to the driving Old Time melodies as you are swept across the nation, visiting many of the influential regional styles of traditional Canadian fiddle music.

Featuring some of the country's best fiddlers, the cast includes show director and fiddler Celina Di Cecca, veteran fiddler Cindy Thompson, recent fiddle contest champions Kyle Charron and Alanna Jenish, as well as popular accompanists Jake Charron on piano and guitar, and Tony Nesbitt-Larking on percussion and guitar.
Get ready to tap your toes to irresistible Old Time melodies as you're swept across the nation.
“Great fiddlers, great music, great Canadiana.” – London Free Press.
All show times are listed here. The Ottawa concert is being held at the Great Canadian Theatre Company (aka the 'GCTC') in the Irving Greenberg Theatre, Wednesday 21 November, at 7:30 PM. The Irving Greenberg Theatre is a lovely venue for theatre and musical performances, naturally, with great acoustics. (The GCTC is located at the Wellington West & Holland stop for the #2, #14, #16, #86 & #176 bus routes, alternatively, also located 2 blocks north of the Tunney's Pasture transit way stop.)

You can purchase tickets here (click Buy Tickets).

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Irish Movie: "Silence" playing Thursday 15 Nov 2012

This year's edition of the European Union Film Festival returns on November 15th, and continues until December 2nd. The opening feature for the Canadian Film Institute's 27th European Union Film Festival, the Irish made movie, Silence.

Silence, directed by Pat Collins, was released in Ireland this year (2012), and has a length of 84 minutes, and is filmed in English. The film starts at 9:00 PM in the main auditorium. Non-members $12.

As described on the Canadian Film Institute's webpage:
Eoghan is a Berlin-based sound recordist who is returning to Ireland for the first time in 15 years. His reason for returning is a job offer: to find and record places free from man-made sound. His quest takes him away from towns and villages into remote Irish terrain. On his journey, he encounters a number of people who in their different ways prompt him to ponder the facts and silences of his own life. Meditative, poetic, and visually (and sonically) stunning, Silence unfolds with a quiet intensity, dramatically exploring themes of sound and silence, history, memory and exile. Having just had its world premiere at the London Film Festival, this is the Canadian premiere of Pat Collins's latest — and extraordinary — work.
All screenings are presented at the Auditorium of 395 Wellington St., Ottawa (Library and Archives Canada building).

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Now Playing: Fly Me to the Moon (GCTC) until 18 November 2012

Fly Me to the Moon is currently playing at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Wellington at Parkdale.  Another fine productions from director John P. Kelly of SevenThirty Productions.

Have you ever had a workday go from bad to worse? Francis and Loretta are home care workers in Belfast. They take care of an elderly man named Davy, who has a passion for Frank Sinatra and playing the ponies. When Davy dies in the loo, Francis and Loretta tell one lie that leads to another and another... and then another. An attempt to beat the system throws them headlong into an excruciating – yet hilarious – wild ride. A black comedy with an Irish twist by the author of the hit play Stones in his Pockets.

"Ellis and MacDonald both give terrifically comedic performances." - The Ottawa Citizen

"Very fun. Very funny. The most fun comedy so far this season." - Production Ottawa

"This is comedic acting at its best, and with an edge." - North County Public Radio

Cape Breton Fiddle Music in Ottawa 16-17 Nov. 2012

Here is some information about some Cape Breton music events coming up in November. The events are part of an annual series to support young emerging musicians who focus on traditional music styles of Cape Breton, any and all proceeds from the events go directly to the musicians.

House Concert Friday November 16 7:30pm

Anita MacDonald and Tyson Chen $20.00. All proceeds go directly to performers. Seating is limited - reserve your seat by email . Bring your instruments and join in an informal jam session with the artists following the concert. BYOB and snacks if you wish.

Fiddle and Piano Workshops Saturday November 17

Faith Lutheran Church 43 Meadowlands Dr. Ottawa, ON (between Merivale and Woodroffe).
--Beginner/Intermediate Fiddle 9:30am-12:00pm $25
--Advanced Fiddle 1 pm-3: 30 pm $25
--Beginner/Intermediate Piano 9:30am-12:00pm $25
--Intermediate/Advanced Piano 1 pm-3: 30 pm $25

Advance registration, especially for piano, is required as space is limited.

To register:
· Submit form and payment at any Ottawa Cape Breton Session event OR Reserve a space by email OR Submit form and payment (cheque) by mail to:
Ottawa Cape Breton Session
7661 Settler's Way
North Gower, ON K0A 2T0

Ceilidh and Square Dance Saturday November 17

The Cape Breton Club of Ottawa and Ottawa Cape Breton Session present an evening of Cape Breton dancing and music with Anita MacDonald and Tyson Chen with additional entertainment by Dave Barnes and Ernie Fraser. Square set instruction from 7:30~8pm. Officer's Mess - RCMP Headquarters at 1200 Vanier Parkway. Highway 417 east or west to exit 117 Vanier Parkway. Left at first lights to guard hut. Give your license plate number to the guards then proceed to the Mess. The Mess entrance is on the east side of the building, but you have to drive all the way around the building to access the entrance which is just past the garage on the left and has a red awning over the door. There is plenty of parking in the lot across the roadway, parking rules are not enforced on weekends. OCTranspo: From Hurdman Station take Route 9 Downtown/Centreville to the Vanier/Coventry stop. 3-4 minute walk from there. Via Rail: If you are coming from out of town this location is within walking distance of the Ottawa Rail Central Station and Hampton Inn is right across the street. Google Map Admission $10.00 in advance or $15 at the door . Tickets available at the Ottawa Folklore Centre 1111 Bank St. or from Brent MacDonald or Beth MacGillivray at any OCBS or CB Club event or by email at . Additional locations for ticket purchases will be posted at

Anita MacDonald is an accomplished musician, dancer, and Gaelic singer from Little Narrows, Cape Breton. She began stepdancing at age four and has wowed audiences with her impeccable timing and neatly choreographed steps. Anita's fiddle playing has a distinctive sound that comes from her influences and variations on tunes that she has learned over the years from her musical family and teachers. She is the granddaughter of Little Narrows fiddler and guitarist, Charlie Ellis, and noted fiddle player and composer Raymond Ellis is her grand uncle. Anita's passion for Cape Breton music has enabled her to work heavily with the cultural component of Féis an Eilein, Christmas Island for the past five years.

Anita's energetic style has enabled her to perform extensively throughout Cape Breton, including being a featured in the Celtic Colours International Festival, Anita is often sought after to conduct workshops in music, dance, and song. She has also been featured on Jean MacNeil's Instructional Stepdance Video: Spring In Your Step, Cape Breton Live Radio: Take 01 and Rita MacNeil's "My Cape Breton Home" Television Special.

She is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Arts degree, focusing in History and Gaelic, at Cape Breton University. Anita is the 2011 recipient of the Frank "Big Sampie" Sampson Award as awarded by the Festival Volunteer Drive'ers Association and supported by Lakewind Sound Studios. This award grants recording studio time to young, up-and-coming Celtic artists. "Stepping Stone" features 14 tunes and songs. There are a number of guests on the album including Susan MacLean, Hilda Chiasson-Cormier, Darren McMullen, Donnie Campbell, Ryan J. MacNeil, Sarah Jane Murphy, and MacDonald's cousin Evan Bonaparte, and her grandfather Charlie Ellis. Anita released her debut album, "Stepping Stone," during the Celtic Colours International Festival.

Tyson Chen is an accomplished piano player from Ottawa who moved to Cape Breton in 2008. Over the past several years, Tyson has immersed himself in the Celtic music scene and learned the Cape Breton style of piano accompaniment. He has performed at many ceilidhs, dances, and sessions throughout Cape Breton and plays regularly at well-known venues including the Red Shoe Pub, Glenora Distillery, and West Mabou Square Dances. Tyson has accompanied many well-known fiddlers across the island including Anita MacDonald and performed with Anita for her debut album release at the Celtic Colours International Festival.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Rideau Canal Workers Designation a Reality!

A note from Kevin Dooley

Below is an article that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen (on-line) yesterday (2 November 2012). Thank you all for your assistance and interest over the years. We will get an invitation to the unveiling of the plaques and will truly celebrate that occasion in style.

Many thanks again,
On behalf of the Celtic Cross Commemorative Group

OTTAWA — Six years after they were nominated, the workers who built the Rideau Canal will finally be recognized as historically significant.
Environment Minister Peter Kent, the minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced Friday that the thousands of labourers — mostly Irish immigrants and French-Canadians — who carved the 202-kilometre waterway through a wilderness of bush, swamps and lakes will be formally recognized by the government of Canada for their contribution.

Read the rest at The Ottawa Citizen:

Ballads & Sea Songs - 23 November 2012

Maura Volante presents an evening of Ballads & Sea Songs
with special guests, Ranald Thurgood, Dale Morland & Neville Miller

(part of Alcorn Music Studio)
953 Gladstone Avenue
Friday, November 23, 2012
8 pm (doors 7:30)

$10 in Advance, $12 at the Door (If this is a hardship, speak to the person at the door for a discount.)

Come listen and sing along with Maura Volante and friends in an evening of traditional folk songs from Canada, the British Isles and the open sea.

The ballads tell archetypal stories of murder, heartbreak, accidents and, occasionally, happy endings.

These will be balanced out by rollicking sea shanties, the work songs used by sailors to help them with their heaving and hauling all over the globe.

Tea, coffee, cold drinks and baked goods will be available at intermission.

Contact Maura for more information:
613 277 9208

Friday, 2 November 2012

Fiddle & Flute Immersion Weekend and House Concert with Patrick Ourceau and Ivan Goff - 25-27 January 2013

Immersion Weekend: $125 advance registration (till January 15), $150 late registration.
Concert: $20 advance (till January 20), $25 at the door

House Concert: Saturday at 8:00, 202 Main Street, Barriefield
Patrick is an acknowledged master of Clare and East Galway music, who will be here for our 8th annual Immersion weekend. .

Ivan goff (uilleann bagpipes, flute) has used New York City as a home base for performances and touring for the recent past. He has been a regular in local sessions, a musical force on the international touring scene, and a piper in high demand. Aside from his life as a performer, Ivan is also a PhD candidate in NYU's Ethnomusicology department. Ivan appears on Patrick's 'Live at Mona's cd (ed. great CD!)

Private classes Friday night, all day workshop, house concert and session on Saturday, half-day workshop on Sunday. Potluck dinner, BYOB

More information at

To reserve a seat, please e-mail

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) Ottawa Branch launches blog!

Pssst...there's a new (Irish) blog in town. Fortunately this town is big enough for another Irish blog. 

The Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Ottawa Branch has just released its new blog. As blogs do, this will help the local Branch to document their activities and maintain its history. When the translation is provided, posts will also be published in Irish. The CCE Ottawa Branch blog is the companion of the Comhaltas website: Note that their main webpage has also undergone some considerable updates.

Pssst...Ar deireadh tá an Ceoltóirí Éireann Comhaltas Ottawa Brainse blog beo! Beidh poist a fhoilsiú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge nuair is féidir. Tabhair cuairt orainn go minic. Is é seo an blag an compánach an láithreán gréasáin Comhaltas:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lá Gaeilge Irish Language Immersion Day - 17 Nov 2012

The Ottawa Irish Language Group, Caint is Comhrá, under the auspices of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, invites you to a:

Lá Gaeilge Irish Language Immersion Day for a fun day of learning the Irish Language!

No experience necessary, just a willingness to learn. Great teachers, good food and friendly folk.

Saturday, November 17th, 2012 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Registration and welcome from 8:30 am to 9:00 am
Blessed Sacrament Church Hall 194 Fourth Ave. (in the Glebe), Ottawa

Cost: $25 per person. Includes Lunch and Coffee Breaks.

Contact Toni Forsythe at: or 613-233-9927 Please confirm your intent to attend by Monday, Nov. 12th, 2012.

We look forward to hosting this event and hope that many Irish Language learners can participate.

Please Note: The regular monthly Comhaltas céilí dance is scheduled for 8:00 pm that same evening. Bring your dancing shoes as well as your notebook!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Some many months ago we attended the play The Communication Cord, written by Brian Friel, and directed expertly by John P. Kelly of SevenThirty Productions, at The Gladstone Theatre. Not only were we delightfully entertained, but in the program there was a great recipe for traditional Irish soda bread. We have been using the recipe (below) and it makes a fine soda bread.

According to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge?) soda bread is "a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as baking soda) is used as a leavening agent instead of the more common yeast."  In Ottawa, it is a tradition to eat soda bread during the last break at the Comhaltas (Ottawa Branch) monthly ceilis. A wide variety of soda breads are made for these occasions by the members of the organisation. That is to say, there are more than one way to make a soda bread, though the recipes are all quite basic.

If you haven't made Irish soda bread before, you might want to watch this  video clip from RTE food (and a very similar recipe).  If you're really serious, you had better review the webpage contents of the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread (that's some serious stuff, there).

The recipe obtained from the Gladstone play is listed as "Nora Dan's Recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread" (just who is Nora Dan?):  

  • 4 cups (16  oz) of all purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 14 oz. (1 3/4 cup) of buttermilk (you can use 14oz if thinned yogurt, buttermilk is available in large groceries)
  • Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease and flour a cake pan (8-10")
  • In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients in the bowl
  • Add the buttermilk slowly to the well, and mix in with your hands to form a sticky dough (add and mix, add more and mix, ...)
  • Place on a floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)
  • Shape into round flat shape in the cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough
  • Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the "bastible pot")
  • Remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes
  • The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped to show it is done
  • Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist
Let it cool a while, then slice, butter, and eat as-is or add some jam or jelly. It's heaven!

Niamh Parsons offering singing lessons via Skype

Ellen McIsaac, founder of the Ottawa Celtic Choir, has sent this interesting opportunity for those who wish to sing in Irish:

Niamh Parsons, formerly lead singer with Arcady (Irish band, not the Canadian one) and Loose Connections, is a traditional singer based in, Dublin, Ireland, is offering traditional Irish singing lessons via Skype.

Her repertoire includes the big ballads of the English language tradition in Ireland, and she has won numerous accolades for her singing. She has been a dear friend of mine for 15
years, and is the singer on whom I modelled my own approach to
traditional singing.

She teaches both seasoned singers and total beginners, and is an incredibly warm and approachable teacher. Interested parties can direct their inquiries to Niamh on facebook, or to me at ellen at laughingbrook dot ca, and I will forward on their messages to Niamh.

Ellen McIsaac

"Brian's Ceili" dates for 2012-2013 Winter and Spring

There will be an Irish dance on Sat. Nov. 3, St. Margaret Mary Church, 7 Fairbairn St., 8:00 p.m., (doors open 7:30). Dance lessons on the basic steps will start 7:50 or when enough people are there.

Future dates include:
Nov 3, Nov 24, Jan 26, Feb 23, Mar 23 and Apr 27

If you have any suggestions on how to improve the Irish ceili's please let me know. Any requests for specific dances will be done if possible. If you would like to bring any munchies/desserts to share, that would be welcomed. If anyone has a talent for music, song, or dance and would like to entertain during our break please let me know.

Hope to see you there


Christmas Concert at Our Lady of the Annunciation - Wed 5 Dec. 2012


Our Lady of the Annunciation
le mercredi 5 décembre 2012, 19h00
Wednesday December 5, 2012, 7:00 p.m.

189, rue Archambault St.
(Secteur Hull Sector) Gatineau

featuring / en vedette
Acacia Lyra, Don Kavanagh
St. Brigid's Irish Session
Mary Comerton, Kristina DaCosta
Tom McSwiggan,
O.L.A. Singers

Special Guest: Archbishop Paul-André Durocher

Tickets $10 until 25 November, $15 after the 25th
Billets: 10$ jusqu'au 25 novembre, $15 après le 25
Information / Renseignements: 819-778-2827

Friday, 19 October 2012

Circle of Friends Harp Concert - 3 November 2012

Hi everyone,

November is a good month for harp music, I figure. It's grey, dull and sad ... the autumn show-off colours are over and the pristine snow-white beauty is yet to come. A little harp music is bound to lift the spirits ! Acacia Lyra will perform all-new and original songs and compositions in an evening of harp music at St. John's Church Saturday November 3. Our duo will be in very good company with fellow harp duo Zephyr Harps, along with classical harpists Lucile Brais Hildesheim and Gordon Johnston, performing a varied programme of musical beauty.

We hope you can attend!

Saturday November 3, 7.30 pm
St. John the Evangelist Church
154 Somerset at Elgin

Tickets $20.00 at the door or through the artists

Reception following the concert.

With best wishes,

Tin Whistle (Gerry Strong) and Guitar (Jean Hewson) Workshops - Sunday 21 Oct 2012

Join two of Canada's top traditional musicians from Newfoundland here at OFC for a set of conjoining workshops in tin whistle and guitar accompaniment followed by a performance (7:30 pm) at Stella Luna, our favorite gelato and fine food hang out next door! This a rare opportunity to study with two of the best.

Whistlers sign up for the Whistle Workshop with Newfoundland's Gerry Strong. This is a great opportunity to learn some unique tunes from tin whistle master Gerry Strong. Gerry will teach a couple of instrumental dance pieces from the traditional repertoire of Newfoundland. Participants should have a passing acquaintance with the tin whistle, but all levels of ability are welcome. Sunday, Oct 21, 2:30-4:30, $15 members ($20 non), WKSHP12-20.

Guitarists head to the Guitar Accompaniment Workshop with Newfoundland guitarist/singer, Jean Hewson. Jean will teach accompaniments for the tunes that Gerry will be instructing in his workshop. She will also pass along some advice and helpful tips on how to develop interesting and tasteful guitar settings for traditional tunes. Participants should have basic guitar skills.

Towards the end of the class,both groups will converge to play the tunes that they have learned, ending the session with a jam! Sunday, Oct 21, 2:30-4:30, $15 members ($20 non), WKSHP12-21.
See you there!


Tin Whistle Workshop
Gerry Strong
21 Oct 2012

Guitar Accompaniment
Jean Hewson
21 Oct 2012

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Two Irish Traditional Music Concerts - great craic!

There are two GREAT Irish traditional music concerts coming up in Ottawa, and they are within a 7 day period. I am recommending both. Advance tickets are competitively priced for the quality of entertainment.

This Friday night (12 Oct) the first concert is Oirialla at the Gigspace Ottawa, located at 953 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa, just up the street from the Gladstone Theatre (near Preston). Due to the size of the venue, which is intimate, there are two Seatings, one at 7:00 pm and one at 9:00 pm. Tickets are $20. Trio Oirialla is comprised of fiddler Gerry O’Connor, accordionist Martin Quinn, and Breton composer and guitarist Gilles le Bigot. Their music showcases both Irish and Breton songs and tunes. Many of these come from the ancient, mystical Irish kingdom of Oriel whose music has developed as an eclectic mix of rhythms, melodies, and strong poetical lyrics. The three musicians making up Oirialla are renowned in their own right, and perform frequently as both soloists and ensemble players. The next day these musicians are offering workshops in their instruments. Tickets and all details are available through the link above.

Not a week later, on 18 October, the second concert is Echoes of Erin at Blessed Sacrament Church, located at 194 Fourth Ave, in the Glebe. This concert is a showcase for all that is best in Irish traditional music, song and dance. A stage of 15 musicians, top class performers from all over Ireland, in all fields display the highest standards and regional styles that have become synonymous with these events down through the years. These are the same performers who have already thrilled audiences throughout the length and breadth of Ireland during the Comhaltas Irish Tour. Tickets and all details are available through the link above.

One more thing. There will be free snacks at the Echoes of Erin concert, and a cash bar. After the show, local musicians who attend the concert are invited to bring their instruments and join the musicians travelling from Ireland off stage for a traditional pub session in the hall. It's going to be a time!  Parking is available on-street, and the nearby schools on Fourth Ave. have agreed to allow concert goers to park in their parking lots.

See you out at the gigs!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Int'l Uilleann Pipe Day hits Ottawa - 20 October 2012

I encourage people to go down to the Ottawa Folklore Center on Saturday 20 October and hear the uilleann pipes. If you are curious about this complex and enchanting Irish instrument, this is your chance to listen and ask questions. You can even try playing them!

April Hurst, Margot McCann and Tim Robinson will be playing an hour long session at the Ottawa Folklore Center, 1111 Bank St., Saturday Oct 20, 1-2 pm. They will be playing on the sales floor of the main level, talking to people and promoting the instrument and its music.

Na Píobairí Uilleann will again be holding a co-ordinated International Uilleann Piping Day on Saturday, October 20, 2012 to raise awareness of the instrument around the world. The first such event last year saw events in 20 locations world-wide and we are hoping on build on that in 2012.

The idea behind the day is that individuals or groups of pipers in locations around the globe organise a small event such as a recital or workshop in a local public venue and it would be great to see events in as many countries and locations as possible.

International Uilleann Piping Day gives the performers the opportunity to raise awareness of the uilleann pipes and activities in their locality and is also a great excuse to have an enjoyable musical gathering.

(Thanks to Tim for the article)

Friday, 28 September 2012

Eh? Concert and Workshops Oct 19 & 20

There is an amazing opportunity for learning. Sponsored by Blue Skies in the Community. The concert will be pure magic, especially in the acoustically wonderful MERA Hall. Please come and join in the fun, bring your musical friends. Please let me know if you would like to attend.

MERA Hall is in Mcdonalds Corners. This village is about 20 min west and north of Perth Ontario. It's also called Mcdonald Corners & Elphin Recreation and Arts. It's the old schoolhouse right in the village. Call Cindy if you need directions or more information.


Two master Canadian fiddlers/multi-instrumentalists with eclectic tastes team up with a brilliant young musician (piano/5-string violin). Eh?! creates music that is at once old and new. 4 and 5-sring fiddles, voices, piano, accordion, mandolins, guitars, percussion and feet all weave their way through an Eh?! experience. Eh?! is dedicated to exploring the myriad pathways between tradition, innovation, collaboration and improvisation. Anything can happen at an Eh?! event.

Drawing from many great Canadian fiddle traditions - Québécois, Metis, Irish, Cape Breton, Newfoundland and Old Time, Eh?! is never content to let old tunes lie. Alongside their own compositions, the tunes of several generations of Canadian composers rub shoulders: Emile Benoit, Louis Boudreault, Oliver Schroer, Brian Pickel. No rosin left unscraped, no bow left unturned.

Emilyn Stam: is a young pianist and fiddler who worked closely with Oliver Schroer as a founding member of Twisted String. She is quicky being recognized as a brilliant improviser, composer and creative collaborator. She has worked with Pierre Schryer, Daniel Lapp, David Woodhead, Anne Lindsay, Bill Brennan, Casey Sokol, Soozi Schlanger and Jaron Freeman- Fox. Emilyn recently released her debut album, Holding Time – a beautiful collection of solo piano improvisations recorded in the summer of 2008.James Stephens: James is known both for his work as a performer and as a producer/recording engineer. In performance, he plays a multitude of stringed instruments with an emphasis on fiddling. He has an abiding interest in various traditional styles, and also works extensively with singer- songwriters. He was the principal songwriter in critically acclaimed pop/roots band “Fat Man Waving” and has performed with many Ottawa area singer/songwriters such as Lynn Miles, Ian Tamblyn, Melwood Cutlery, and Terry Tufts and was a member of Texas Swing group, The Black Donnellys and neo-traditional Celtic group, Six Mile Bridge. Currently, he performs with The Brian Pickell Band, Finest Kind, Ecosse (Bobby Watt, Duncan Gillis and Rob Graves), renowned clawhammer banjo player Ken Perlman, and JIIG (James, Ian Robb, Ian Clark, Greg Brown) whose self- titled CD won a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2005. James also teaches regularly at fiddle camps throughout Canada and the U.S.

Anne Lederman: Originally from Manitoba, Anne is an internationally- acclaimed fiddler, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist strongly rooted in several musical traditions - Celtic, Métis and French-Canadian, Klezmer, Balkan and African music. Over her 30 year career, Anne has worked with such bands as Muddy York, The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Siyakha, and LOKA and such artists as Harry Hibbs, Margaret Christl, Don Freed, Holly Cole, Theresa Tova, Tom Leadbeater and Garnet Rogers, among others. She has her own band, Fiddlesong, and also performs with Njacko Backo and HAWP. She has recorded four CDs under her own name: Not a Mark in This World, 7 Cats, Come From Every Way and Fiddlesong. Anne also composes for theatre and her own play, Spirit of the Narrows, about the Metis fiddle tradition, was featured at the Blyth Theatre Festival in 2004 and 2005. Anne teaches traditional fiddle at the World Music Centre of the Royal Conservatory.


Anne Lederman - Piano, feet, tenor guitar, Jaw Harp, Bones, 4 & 5 string fiddles, tenor mandollin Emilyn Stam - Piano, Accordion, 5 string fiddle James Stephens - Bass, Guitar, mandolin, 4 & 5 string fiddles

Eh! Concert at MERA
Oct 19th - 7:30 to 9:30 pm
$10 at the Door.
Workshops at MERA
Oct 20th - 9 am to 5 pm
$35 includes the concert.

There will be six different disciplines. You can choose 3.

Anne Lederman:
Beginner Fiddle
Intermediate /advanced Fiddle

Emilyn Stam:
Piano accompaniment
Beginner Fiddle
Intermediate Fiddle

James Stephens:
Mandolin Techniques
Intermediate Fiddle
Advanced Fiddle

Café MERA will be providing excellent, healthy snacks, lunch and beverages for sale at the concert and workshops.

For more info or to register:
Cindy McCall

This event is Sponsored By Blue Skies In the Community & supported by MERA.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Echoes of Erin Tour comes to Ottawa - Thursday 18 October 2012 -

The Echoes of Erin tours provide a fantastic showcase for all that is best in Irish traditional music, song and dance. Top class performers in all fields display the highest standards and regional styles that have become synonymous with these events down through the years. These are the same performers who have already thrilled audiences throughout the length and breadth of Ireland during the Comhaltas Irish Tour in October 2011. Now they are touring North America! Don't miss this evening of Irish music, dancing, song, and humour.

Blessed Sacrament Church
194 Fourth Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 2L6

Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Comhaltas Members, Students, Seniors: $20
Non-members: $25

Advance tickets:
and at the 
Ottawa Folklore Centre (1111 Bank St; 40 tickets available at OFC)

Please note that admission at the door on the night of the event is $30.00
Discounts apply only with advance purchases.

Oirialla Concerts October 13 and Workshops October 14, 2012 at Gigspace

This looks like a great Irish music gig (two actually) at Gigspace, near the Gladstone Theatre, in mid October. The following day workshops are being offered.

Friday, October 12, 7 & 9 pm, Celtic Harmonies International Festival presents CELTIC REFLECTION. Fresh from Ireland, the Trio Oirialla (Gerry O'Connor fiddle, Martin Quinn accordion, Gilles Le Bigot guitar) will present music from Ireland and Brittany. GIGSPACE, 953 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa,

Advance tickets ($20): 613.729.0693 at Alcorn Music Studios Monday through Thursday 3 to 9 pm.

Trio Oirialla Workshops in Guitar, Fiddle and Accordion, Saturday, Oct. 13, 9:30 am-12:30 pm.

3 hours for $30. Info and pre-register Mon. thru Thurs. 3 to 9 pm. 613.729.0693.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

House Concert: Kelli Trottier with Greg Simm - Thursday, 6 September

Promoting her six independent recordings; singing, dancing and playing her way to the top of her musical genre, Kelli Trottier is an unforgettable and enchanting artist, consistently delivering performances that raise her stature in the hearts and memories of audiences everywhere.

Kelli blends traditional Celtic, contemporary Country, Folk, Bluegrass and Western Swing with her inspired fiddle and vocal arrangements. Kelli has performed for Canadian soldiers in the Middle East and for the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic.

She is currently touring North America with the very successful Bowfire entourage. Kelli’s soaring vocal pieces are a highlight of the Bowfire productions, often described as “The finest line-up of fiddle and violin virtuosi ever assembled on one stage."

- - Concert time: 7:30pm - -

Greg has been a mainstay on the Nova Scotian music scene for over thirty years. He has performed with artists as diverse as Denny Doherty, Lennie Gallant, Natalie MacMaster and Old Man Ludecke. He has appeared on over thirty CDs as a musician, engineer and producer.

For the last twenty years he has performed regularly with fiddler Gordon Stobbe for over twenty years and recently has been a member of the Stobbe, Trottier, Simm trio featuring Kelli Trottier.

Greg is also a guitar instructor teaching in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba and Nunavut as well as serving as Associate Artist at Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro Nova Scotia.

$20  --  Seating is limited – All proceeds go directly to Kelli and Greg

To reserve your seats (and the address), email Graham at

On Central Park Drive, Ottawa
Light refreshment will be available during intermission (BYOB).
CDs available for purchase

Caint is Comhrá Gaeltacht Deireadh Seachtaine/Irish Language Weekend - 21-23 Sept

If you want to learn some Irish language, gear up for 21-23 September 2012 for the Caint is Comhrá Gaeltacht Deireadh Seachtaine/Irish Language Weekend. 

The location is the Galilee Mission Centre 398 John Street Arnprior, Ontario. For more information please contact: Joan O'Donoghue at (613) 729-0376, or Get the application form by clicking here (pdf).

Monday, 27 August 2012

Live Irish theatre - Stones in His Pockets - Gladstone Theatre season opener - 7 September 2012

Stones in His Pockets
Directed by John P. Kelly

The multi-award-winning Irish play Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones
opens The Gladstone’s exciting 2012-2013 season. By arrangement with Paul Elliott, Adam Kenwright & Pat Moylan, Presented by SevenThirty Productions.

September 7 to 29, 2012 (preview September 6)
8:00 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday
3:00 p.m. matinees Saturdays & Sundays

SevenThirty Productions’ John P. Kelly returns this fall to kick-off the Gladstone’s 2012-2013 season with the world famous Irish two-hander Stones in His Pockets, featuring Ottawa favourites Zach Counsil and Richard Gélinas, from September 7 to 29.

This witty, funny and yet profoundly moving play by Marie Jones (A Night in November, Fly Me to the Moon) tells the story of Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn, two down-on-their-luck Irish lads living in rural County Kerry—a town recently overrun by a visiting Hollywood film crew. Stones in His Pockets won the prestigious Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Comedy, and ran for four record breaking years in London's West End before being nominated for the Tony Award for Best Comedy when it transferred to Broadway for its successful three-year run.

Counsil and Gélinas’ standout performances in last season’s The 39 Steps garnered unprecedented media attention, and Kelly is delighted to showcase this dynamic duo once again this fall. “The two actors will portray more than fifteen different characters in the play,” says Kelly. “This acting tour-de-force is the perfect vehicle to showcase the versatility and talent of these two exceptional local performers. Ottawa audiences are in for a real treat.”

SevenThirty Productions and Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company are collaborating by co-promoting two plays by this famous author in their respective theatres, presented less than two months apart. Audiences can see Stones in His Pockets at the Gladstone in September and then her very latest Fly Me to the Moon at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre from October 30 to November 18. Both plays are directed by John P. Kelly.

New Book: "A Complete Guide to Playing Irish Traditional Music on the Whistle"

Steve Ducke recently contacted me to tell me of his new instructional book (and audio) for Irish tin whistle. It is entitled "A Complete Guide to Playing Irish Traditional Music on the Whistle".

This tutor book, with its accompanying audio files, is intended to give a complete introduction to playing Irish music in the traditional style on the tin whistle; it covers all from the very first notes on the instruments to the most advances ornamentation. The book is broadly divided into two parts, with the shorter first part covering the basics of the whistle (pages 1-48) while the longer second part (pages 49-286) covers the playing of Irish traditional music on the instrument

It is currently available as a download containing 1 print-friendly indexed pdf file (286 pages) and 429 audio files.

The tutor is available here:

Be sure to visit Steve's principal webpage:

Maugarot, 05190 THEUS

Ottawa Celtic Choir new season!

The Ottawa Celtic Choir is about to embark on a new season! If you're interested in singing Celtic songs, having a laugh and meeting some new friends, then come out to our first rehearsal, September 4th at St. John the Evangelist church on Somerset and Elgin. No pressure - if you like what you see, keep coming back! Reading music or speaking a celtic language is not a prerequisite to joining the choir, and there's no audition. Come and join a fun choir this year!

Contact: Ellen MacIsaac,

Celebrating Irish Theatre on August 28th


Fly with Stones
August 28, 5-7pm at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre
You are cordially invited to come celebrate the work of Irish playwright, Marie Jones, whose work is coming to Ottawa. Stones in His Pockets will be running at The Gladstone Theatre from September 7 - 29 and Fly Me to the Moon at the Great Canadian Theatre Company from October 30 - November 18, both directed by John P. Kelly.

We'd like you to come celebrate it with us on August 28th from 5 pm to 7pm at an event we are calling "Fly with Stones". This one-of-a-kind event at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre will celebrate the work of Marie Jones. The evening will feature actors from both plays in a script-off for the audience,. The female cast of Fly Me to the Moon will read from that play and the male cast of Stones in His Pockets will read from theirs and then they will switch and read from each others. Come celebrate Irish culture, the work of Marie Jones, and the coming together of GCTC and The Gladstone Theatre with some Irish themed music, food and drinks.

No RSVP necessary. Send this to anyone who loves theatre and everything Irish
Buy tickets for either show online at or
Come and see us 1233 Wellington Street W. (At Holland)
Follow GCTC on Twitter @GCTCLive or like us on Facebook at
And check out our staff blog for all the behind-the-scenes info.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Navan 2 Navan - 9-16 August 2012

There is a visiting entourage from Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland, to Navan, ON, and Ottawa, with series of events planned from Thurs Aug 9th - Aug 16th. The event coincides with the Navan Fair.  There is an Irish music session Monday night at 8PM at the Heart and Crown in the Byward Market location.  Bring an instrument and sit in, or just listen to the great music and have a pint with the group.


Thurs 9:00am: A walking tour of Navan
Thurs 7:30pm Official Opening and Welcome at Navan Arena
Fri - At Navan Fair
Sat: 9:00 Community Breakfast
Sat 10:00: Parade
Sat 4:30: Gaelic Football v Ottawa Gaels (TBC)
Sun 8:00: Gaelic Hour
Sun 10:00: Ecumenical Service at Navan Church
Sun 1:00: Groups performs on stage at fair
Sun evening: BBQ (TBC)
Mon 9:00: Depart for visit to North American Gaeltacht, Tamworth
Mon 6:00: Reception
Mon 8:00pm: Irish music session at Heart and Crown (Byward Market)
Tue: 9:00am: Bus Tour of Ottawa
Tue afternoon Departs

The main webpage for the exchange is:

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Liz and Yvonne Kane - Workshops and Concert - 29 July

with Liz and Yvonne Kane Sisters
Sunday, July 29th Concert at 8:00 p.m.
202 Main Street, Barriefield (Kingston)

Concert: $20 advance (till July 22), $25 at the door.

Workshops: Intermediate / Advanced Fiddle 4 – 6 pm, 2 hr Workshop: $35 (Workshop & Concert $50)

From North Connemara, Liz and Yvonne Kane, known as The Kane Sisters are truly a dynamic duo, and much respected musicians and educators. Born in Letterfrack, they were educated in Kylemore Abbey School. First learning fiddle from their grandfather, local fiddle player Jimmy Mullen, and Sligo musician and teacher Mary Finn, the Kanes later spent three years touring with accordion player Sharon Shannon as part of her band "The Woodchoppers." Their first solo album was called "The Well Tempered Bow"; this was followed by "Under the Diamond", and just this past summer, "Side by Side". Both full-time fiddle teachers as well as touring performers, Liz and Yvonne succeed in combining their love of playing music with their desire to pass it on to others.

Harp of Tara Web site:
The Kane Sisters:

To arrange tickets contact

(I love their style of playing, this will be a great concert! - Craig)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Ottawa Gaels - Gaelic Football match, and Golf Tourny this weekend!

You are invited to the Rideau Carleton Raceway on Saturday, July 14 at 1:30 to see the Ottawa Gaels Women's and Men's Teams face Durham County in Gaelic Football. It is a great way to watch the game (for free!) and meet other members of our fantastic Irish community! See you there!

Also, join us for:
the Ottawa Gaels Golf Tournament CYC fundraiser:
Sunday July 15th
The Irish Hills Golf Course
12:30 Best Ball Play
Come and support our football friends! All are welcome!

( Follow the Ottawa Gaels on Twitter: @ottawagaels , and Facebook )

Monday, 2 July 2012

Clannad to play Ottawa - first time since 1993!

The cat's been out of the bag a few weeks now, but if you didn't hear, Clannad is playing the Centrepointe Theatre, Ottawa, 21 September, 2012.  The concert is presented by: Centrepointe Theatres & The Gaelic Hour (way to go Austin!).  The concert starts at 8pm. I expect tickets to sell fairly quickly on this concert, so delay no further! Get your tickets!

For more information and tickets, use the following link:

For the more curious, a fairly lengthy Wikipedia entry exists for this group that has been entertaining audiences around the world for decades.

Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada, July 7th in Tamworth

An open-air Irish festival, Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada, is held this week on July 7th in Tamworth , Ontario. The second big activity the open–air Irish festival, Oireachtas Gaeilge Cheanada, has every aspect of Irish culture you are looking for : music, song, dance, storytelling and a whole lot of fun.... Check out this video from last year

Yes it is all in Irish... but fun is fun.... music is music, dance is dance...

Hope to see many of you at these activities... bring along a few friends... goods times are always best shared with good friends...

If you are interested attending, please contact either Sheila Scott at or Aralt Mac Giolla Chainnigh at .

Celtfest Workshops for fiddle, harp, whistle and bodhran

The Almonte Celtfest is offering workshops for fiddle, harp, tin whistle and bodhran.

This year Celtfest will present a Special Workshop in Intermediate Fiddlefeaturing Cindy Thompson. Cindy Thompson grew up locally where she initially learned and competed extensively in fiddle and stepdance regionally and throughout the province. Cindy is now recognized as one of Canada's premiere combination fiddle player/stepdancers.

Celtfest 2012 will also present a Workshop in Celtic Harp with Joanne Griffin. Joanne is a retired schoolteacher who presently works as a freelance musician, teacher, arranger and publisher, and therapeutic harpist (IHTP graduate). After many years of studying piano, for which she is an accredited teacher (ARTC Piano), Joanne began exploring the harp and after 10 years of study received the 2007 Silver Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music for the highest mark in the Grade 9 exam. She has also received a number of other awards including the New Century Harp Competition in 2007.

Have you been waiting and wondering when you would get a chance to learn how to play that tin whistle you got for Christmas or the bodhran you bought on your trip to Ireland? Introduction to the Bodhran, with Art Solomonian, will cover the basics such as how to hold the drum, how to hold and use the tipper, how to “voice” or provide texture to bodhran playing so it doesn’t sound like you’re just beating on a hollow log. Introduction to the Whistle, with Chuck Quick, will cover basic fingering, breathing technique, scales and scale exercises, and work on a couple of simple tunes to get you started (but not Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!). We are hoping to obtain extra whistles, but if you have or intend to buy one, a D whistle for the workshop is recommended. During the last 20 minutes or so of the workshop, Chuck will demonstrate the fascinating world of the Uilleann pipes, the traditional pipes of Ireland: how they’re made and how they’re played.

For more information (time, place, cost) please visit:

Sign up today!

Almonte Celtfest Celebrates 16th Year Showcasing Amazing Ottawa Valley Talent and Guests From U.S

Almonte Celtfest, July 6-8, celebrates the music, song and dance traditions of the Ottawa-Ottawa Valley region. This 16th annual festival of Valley talent is thrilled to have as special guests, The Elders as main stage headliners for this year’s festival. Since forming in 1998, The Elders have set the Celtic-rock world internationally on its ear thanks to a mix of stories of Irish history, traditional instrumentation fueled by creative energy and a superb stage presence, and a unique sound that “falls somewhere between Van Morrison and U2”. The Elders have been called "One of the best, if not THE best Irish rock band in America" (Joe Farrell on "Celtic Crossings" Hot Talk 1510 AM) Another reviewer states “Forget everything you think you know about Irish music. This isn’t your father’s version of “Danny Boy,” and you don’t have to dance a jig to keep time to every tune. States Elders band member Steve Phillips, “It’s got enough Irish to pass for Irish, but it’s definitely rock ‘n’ roll and folk, too.” Steve (guitar, mandolin, vocals) is joined onstage by Ian Byrne – vocals, percussion, whistle, flute, Norm Dahlor – bass, guitar, banjo, vocals Brent Hoad – fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals, Joe Miquelon – accordion, keyboards, and Kian Byrne – drums, bass. The Elders take to the main stage July 7th Saturday night, and as closers of the festival, on, Sunday afternoon.

Celtfest commences on Friday night with music in area pubs and Saturday morning with Celtfest College instrument workshops (check for listings) Gemmill Park’s Main Stage events commence on Saturday at 2:00 pm with Opening Ceremonies and run continuously until dusk with The Barley Shakers, Les mots dits Anglais, Elly Squared, Cindy Thompson & Jake Butineau, Julie Fitzgerald & Friends, Brandy ‘n’ Port, and The Elders. 

Celtfest Sunday begins at 10:30 am with an “everyone welcome” Fiddle Mass at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. The Main Stage festival commences at Noon in Gemmill Park and extends to 6pm with the Monday Night Fiddlers, Triple Trouble,Dai Bassett, Celtic Cross Dancers, Neil McDaniel with Kyle Felhaver, Salty Dog and The Elders closing of the weekend.

Almonte downtown, and Gemmill Park are about 2 blocks from each other and are wonderful settings for Celtfest 2012. The shops, pub/restaurants and The Riverwalk are great complements to the activities in Gemmill Park. The festival site features artisans, children’s activities and an open “jam” session for all who bring instruments and great food and beverages for all. Come and celebrate the “unofficial” kick-off to summer in the Ottawa Valley. For more info see .

Sunday, 17 June 2012

CONCERT: The Life & Times of Thomas D'Arcy McGee in Words & Music - Friday, 22 June

The McGee Band is performing this coming Friday night at Saint Brigid's (310 Cumberland St.) in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Irish Studies conference being held this week at the University of Ottawa (see previous blog post).

I last saw this performance in Almonte in 2011, and it was an absolutely outstanding concert and oral performance. The Delivery is key to a great performance. The interplay between the orator (Dr. David Wilson) and The McGee Band was timed to perfection. The mood is set by a joint effort of the oration and the music which transports the listener to the time and place of Thomas D'Arcy McGee.

Never was Irish Canadian history more fun on a Friday night!

Do not miss this musical, literary, thriller.

Tickets are available here. Go get' em.

ps - I hear James Stephens will be in his usual spot in the band as well, just in from the other side of the world.

Canadian Association for Irish Studies - 2012 Conference - This Week at U of O.

The Canadian Association for Irish Studies (CAIS) 2012 conference is in Ottawa, commencing this Wednesday, 20 June.

The conference schedule illustrates the breadth and depth of the research which is taking place in Irish studies. The schedule is posted here:

About the CAIS:

The Canadian Association for Irish Studies (CAIS) has been serving students of Irish culture for over thirty years, seeking to foster and encourage the study of Irish culture in Canada. It also works to encourage young scholars and develop the next generation of Irish studies enthusiasts as well as support discussion of current issues in Irish studies and culture through conferences, publications, and online resources.

CAIS brings together all those who are committed to the promotion of Irish culture in Canada. Members of CAIS can be found in every province and territory of Canada. Members also come from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Britain, the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australasia.

Every year, we convene at one of Canada's universities for a celebration of Irish culture and heritage. At these conferences, we meet poets, scholars, musicians, actors, novelists--all in a spirit of inquiry and conviviality.

Founded in 1974, The Canadian Journal of Irish Studies (CJIS) is the official scholarly publication of the Canadian Association for Irish Studies.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Niamh Ni Charra Trio - Concert tickets and Workshop registration now available

Concert tickets and Workshop registration is was open as of yesterday, and already people are buying there tickets! Thank you!

Concert Tickets
Tickets are available for the whole family. Seating is limited to 100. Concert Advance ticket purchase:
(Note that tickets sold at the door, if available, will cost $5 more than the listed Advance fee).

Workshop Registration (free!):
The workshop situation for guitar and flute is simple. Sign up, and you get the workshop. For Niamh it is slightly more complicated. She can offer fiddle and Irish language workshops. There is a rare chance that there are enough concertina players out there that want a workshop (but I doubt it).  Depending on the demand for fiddle and Irish language, both of these workshops may occur, but this requires planning on our part, and that depends on 'your' registering and letting us know your preference so we can gauge the demand and manage the schedule.  WORKSHOPS REGISTRATION:

Hope to see many of you there!

The Niamh Ni Charra Trio tour is in part sponsored by:

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Niamh Ní Charra Trio playing Ottawa - 31 July 2012


Irish Music Ottawa is proud to present the Niamh Ní Charra Trio, Tuesday 31 July, at the official residence of the Irish Ambassador to Canada (Dr. Ray Bassett) in Rockcliffe.

Niamh has already played Ottawa this past spring when she performed on-stage with Riverdance at the National Arts Centre. Her musical ability and stage presence were superb as she frequently interacted with the dancers. We are fortunate to have Niamh come back to Ottawa bringing her trio for one performance in a stunning venue graciously provided by the Ambassador. After Ottawa, Niamh will be 2 weeks in Italy, then Belgium and finally Ireland, before hitting the studio in September to record her fourth album.

Concert ticket sales will be mostly online, details soon.

All proceeds go to the musicians. Irish Music Ottawa is volunteer run and does not profit from this.


Prior to the performance, workshops of 1 hour duration will be provided for FREE, yes FREE, in the following (details are TBD): fiddle/Irish language/guitar/flute. You do not have to attend the concert to attend the workshops, although I highly recommend it and can hardly imagine you'll want to miss such a great show.

Online registration will be required, and workshop availability will be based on demand. The musicians biographies are provided below.

Please book the date for an evening of learning and incredible Irish music!! (and tell your friends!)


Niamh Ní Charra – Fiddle, Concertina, Vocals (Irish and English)

Niamh Ní Charra hails from Killarney, County Kerry in the south west of Ireland. Strongly influenced by the wealth of local Sliabh Luachra musicians, she started playing music at the early age of 4, under the tutelage of renowned local musician Nicky McAuliffe. A multiple award winner on both fiddle and concertina, she toured for 8 years as a soloist with Riverdance, performing in over 2500 shows, before returning to Ireland where she is now based.

She released her debut album "Ón Dá Thaobh / From Both Sides" in 2007 to much critical acclaim - it was the only Irish album on MOJO's Top Ten Folk Albums for 2007. She received the "Best Trad Music Act 2008" award from UK publication The Irish World, and "Best Fiddle/Violin 2008" by the American based Irish Music Association. She released her second album "Súgach Sámh / Happy Out" again to rave reviews - it was listed in NY Journalist Earle Hitchner's Top 30 albums for 2010, and as "probably the best album of 2010" in Irish Music Magazine. She was nominated for "Top Solo Performer 2011" in the Irish Music Awards and in January 2012 was awarded "Female Musician of the Year 2012" in the Live Ireland Music Awards. These awards, compiled by respected and renowned industry critic Bill Margeson, are (along with TG4) the most eagerly anticipated Irish Traditional Music Awards of the year.

Along with touring extensively as a solo artist and with her own band, Niamh has also performed and recorded with The Chieftains, and with Carlos Núñez. and recently released a new album "The Basque Irish Connection", in collaboration with Basque musician Ibon Koteron. She has taught both fiddle and concertina and regularly gives workshops and masterclasses.

Cathall King - Flute:
A tutor at last year's reknowned Meitheal, he is one of the new breed of avant-garde flute players currently emerging. He hails from the Clare/Limerick area and is quite experimental in style. He has an excellent natural flair for fluid, effortless ornamentation and variation which interweaves seamlessly with the melody. He has performed with Niamh regularly both nationally and internationally and also tours with Irish Dance show Celtic Legends.

Matt Griffin – Guitar:
Matt Griffin is a multi instrumentalist based in Dingle, in the West Kerry Gaeltacht of South West Ireland. Born in London of Irish parents, Matt grew up playing and learning music within the capital's vibrant traditional Irish music scene, teaming up with other young local musicians to form the group Mise. In 2004 Matt relocated to Ireland where he began his studies in Irish traditional music at the University of Limerick. Since arriving in Ireland, Matt's abilities as a guitar accompanist have been in great demand and he has recorded and/ or performed with a variety of artists including Alan Kelly, Steph Geremia, Niall Keegan, Garry Shannon, Michael O'Suillleabhain and The Chieftains. He is also teaches Guitar to local students in Dingle. (see Matt and Niamh in action in this video!)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Brid Harper & Michael Magennis: 23 June 7:30pm

Brid Harper & Michael Magennis
Saturday June 23, 2012, 7:30pm

Brid Harper is originally from Donegal and now living near Dungannon Co. Tyrone. She has been hailed as one of the leading exponents of traditional fiddle playing of our time. She was senior All-Ireland Champion, Fiddler of Dooney and Oireachtas winner in 1988.

Brid is in Canada expanding her musical repertoire with some of Ottawa's greatest fiddlers, and found a hole in her schedule to perform "In the House"!

Michael Magennis, born and raised in the city of Belfast, Michael has been playing guitar and entertaining folk since the age of 13. Starting young, writing poetry and music, he has published a hardbound coffee table edition of "Stars in our hearts, Whispers".

Moving to the Canary Islands, Michael played the circuit of Irish and British pubs building up a repertoire of Celtic and contemporary songs that have appealed to all generations. Michael moved on to entertain full houses in England and Australia

Returning to Ireland he set out to write his first album. Opportunities opened up and he ended up moving to Ottawa, where synchronicity and luck prevailed and he landed time at ChannelK studio, the birthing place of the album.

Michael Magennis continues to captivate his audiences with a unique voice and authentic presence with that raw Irish ancestry in his throat, giving memorable performances that you're sure to want to see and hear again and again.

Seating is limited. Minimum donation required.
To reserve a spot, email Graham at
Central Park area, Ottawa
Light refreshment will be available during intermission.

Upcoming events at Saint Brigid's (National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre)

Here are some fun events happening for June 2012 in the Irish community, via the people at Saint Brigid's:

Summer is here a great time to get out and do something different, if you have not had the opportunity to attended one of our events, now is the time.


Real toe-tapping, knee slapping, singing and dancing. Featuring musical entertainment by our very talented and dedicated volunteer musicians from the Irish community.

Pancakes, Ham, Home Fries, Juice, Fruit, Tea/Coffee
COST: Adults: $5, Children $3. TIME: 10 am – NOON
Live music, good food, good company at affordable price.

Info: 613-225-1830. Entrance to Kildare Room on Cumberland Street
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4th ANNUAL – St.Patrick's Parade Golf Tournament
TIME: 12:00 pm
Split Tee start-Best Ball
Mount Cascade Golf Course
915 Chemin du Mont Cascades, Cantley, Quebec 819-459-20980
Dinner and prizes immediately following – Tickets- $125 per person
Dinner only - $50
To reserve your foursome now please contact:
Sean Kealey 613-220-4706
Brennan Thomson 613-227-8179
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Celebrating "Bloomsday Ottawa 2012" - Bloom and other Characters about Dublin on 16 June 1904. Produced for Tara Players Theatre of Ottawa, scripted and directed by Pádraig Finlay. With and at Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts, 310 St.Patrick St. Fundraising Benefits for: Saint Brigid's Historical Centre and Tara Players Margit Tauchner Scholarship in Irish Theatre, University of Ottawa. Donations ... appreciated …. Cash Bar. Edwardian Dublin 1904 style dress encouraged…for a Costume Competition!
13.00 Bloomsday Reception at The Well
14.00 Bloomsday Explict ...BDX, Performance in the Kildare Room
16.30 Bloomsday Ottawa 2012 Procession through the ByWard Market to The Aulde Dubliner Upstairs, 62 William St.
17.00 "ReJoyce Dubliners" with "Bloom's Bites" menu, pints, wines and high spirits
- - -
THURSDAY 21st to SUNDAY 24th
This art exhibition is a fundraiser for the Gaeltacht. (An area in which the Irish language is spoken as a community language and its culture and traditions are very much alive and thriving). Vernissage is Thursday 21st June and will be opened by:
Irish Ambassador to Canada, His Excellency Dr. Ray Bassett.
Thursday 5:00 – 7:30 pm
Friday 11:00 – 7:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 – 7:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 – 4:30 pm
Entrance to Kildare Room on Cumberland Street
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The Canadian Association of Irish Studies is proud to present:
The Life & Times of Thomas D'Arcy McGee in Words & Music
The McGee Band is James Stephens (fiddle, octave mandolin, and vocals) and Frank Cassidy (tin whistles and tenor guitar), multi-instrumentalist Greg T. Brown (concertina, accordion, fiddle, tenor banjo and vocals), bodhran player extraordinaire Ken Harper, and piano and melodeon player Jeff McClintock. Together, David A. Wilson and the McGee Band put on a show that combines the speeches, letters and poems of McGee with original music by The McGee Band, that is fresh, and innovative and respectful of its traditional roots.
TICKETS: $25:00 (students $15:00) Online from Evenbrite
TIME: 8:00 pm

Please refer to the website for these and other events on offer:
Saint Brigid's for the Centre Arts
Home of the National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre
310 St. Patrick Street,
Ottawa, K1N 5K5

Almonte Celtfest Celebrates Music, Song, and Dance Traditions of the Ottawa Valley

Almonte Celtfest 2012 (July 6-8) is thrilled to have The Elders return as main stage headliners for this year's festival. Since forming in 1998,  The Elders  ( from that Celtic hotbed, Kansas City, Missouri, but with original Irish connections ) have set the Celtic-rock world internationally on its ear thanks to a mix of stories of Irish history, traditional instrumentation fueled by creative energy and a superb stage presence, and a unique sound that "falls somewhere between Van Morrison and U2". The Elders have been called "One of the best, if not THE best Irish rock bands in America" (Joe Farrell on "Celtic Crossings" Hot Talk 1510 AM) Another reviewer states "Forget everything you think you know about Irish music. This isn't your father's version of "Danny Boy," and you don't have to dance a jig to keep time to every tune. This, as The Elders like to say, is "arse-kicking music from the heartland."

"People have a hard time putting us in a category," states Elders band member Steve Phillips, "It's got enough Irish to pass for Irish, but it's definitely rock 'n' roll and folk, too." Steve (guitar, mandolin, vocals)  is joined onstage by Ian Byrne – vocals, percussion, whistle, flute, Norm Dahlor – bass, guitar, banjo, vocals Brent Hoad – fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals, Joe Miquelon – accordion, keyboards, and  Kian Byrne – drums, bass. Bill Cameron wrote in The Humm in July 2005 that "The Elders' up tempo, high-energy presentation of almost all-original material has plenty to recommend it. Their songs are heavy on time-honoured themes ..(and) they are clever and delivered with passion and fire.." Almonte Celtfest 2012 truly looks forward to The Elders headlining the main stage July 7th Saturday night, and as closers of the festival, on, Sunday afternoon.

Celtfest commences on Friday night with music in area pubs and Saturday morning with Celtfest College instrument workshops (check for listings) Gemmill Park's Main Stage events commence on Saturday at 2:00 pm with Opening Ceremonies and run continuously until dusk with The Barley Shakers, Les mots dits Anglais, Elly Squared,  Cindy Thompson & Jake Butineau, Julie Fitzgerald & Friends, Brandy 'n' Port, and The Elders.

Celtfest Sunday begins at 10:30 am with an "everyone welcome" Fiddle Mass at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. The Main Stage festival commences at Noon in Gemmill Park and extends to 6pm with the Monday Night Fiddlers, Triple Trouble,Dai Bassett, Celtic Cross Dancers, Neil McDaniel with Kyle Felhaver, Salty Dog and  The Elders closing of  the weekend.

Almonte downtown, and Gemmill Park are about 2 blocks from each other and are wonderful settings for Celtfest 2012. The shops, pub/restaurants and The Riverwalk are great complements to the activities in Gemmill Park. The festival site features artisans, children's activities and an open "jam" session for all who bring instruments and great food and beverages for all. Come and celebrate the "unofficial" kick-off to summer in the Ottawa Valley. For more info see