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
- - -
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
- - -
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
- - -
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

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Almonte CeltFest College Workshop Announcement

Workshops abound for the Almonte CeltFest (6-8 July 2012, Almonte, ON) this year. Workshops will be held for those playing or wishing to play bodhran, tin whistle, fiddle and harp.

You can pre-register any time by clicking on the email link or by phone after June 25 at the number provided.

All workshops will be on Saturday, July 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., which will give participants time to have lunch and get to the park for the afternoon/evening concert, which starts at 2 p.m. Please arrive about 15-20 minutes ahead of time so registrations can be completed by 11 o’clock.

All workshops will be held at the Old Town Hall in Almonte and will be $20 cash or cheque (payable to Almonte Celtfest) per person at time of registration – sorry, we can’t take plastic! To preregister for any of the workshops contact or 613-268-2285 after June 25. Prepayment is not needed. If you have any questions about any of these workshops, you can contact us through the website.

6th Annual Russell CelticFest - 16 June 2012

Here is the lineup for the 6th Annual Russell CelticFest!

Ashley MacLeod Ashley is from Dalkeith, Ontario, in the county of Glengarry, a hotbed of Scottish culture in Canada and home of the well-known Glengarry Highland Games.

Lobster Porsche Naughty BitsThe Lobster Porsche Naughty Bits, affectionately known as the “Naughty Bits” or “The Bits” by its fans, came together in the winter of 2010 as a group of musicians set on playing some East Coast music for a down-homer themed event taking place at Club 100 in the Ayr Mess (CFB North Bay Ontario)

Bang On The Ear Born Out of the Foothills of Glengarry County, Ontario, a small Eastern Ontario community, rich in Scottish & Irish heritage. The Group formed in early 2006, performing for the first time at the wedding reception for Bradley & Michelle McMillan themselves. Playing and writing Original music, as well as performing you’re traditional Irish, Scottish / Pub songs, they built a strong following placing emphasis on combining the sounds of traditional Celtic music and fusing it with rock, Canadian east coast folk, and that Glengarry County Music Sound, that has made the area so popular.

Riverthieves is an established, exciting fiddle-based band on the Eastern Ontario folk/roots scene since 2003. Playing a widely diverse range of styles, Riverthieves showcases Canadian party-folk music. Despite an occasional nod to Ireland or the UK, an evening with Riverthieves is a journey of Canadian songwriting from out West to up North, followed by a jaunt down both shores of the Ottawa River with a full stop down East.

Streets of Hastings Formed by the original three hooligans - Phil Alexander, Jason "Trucker" Bedard, & Larry "Peyts" Peyton - in November 2009, the newly formed band agreed on an informal verbal constitution... a set of principles and rules by which the band was to be guided, which included staying grounded, having fun and getting the crowd involved with their live performances.

The Wayward Sound. Jam sessions, and one fateful party at the Old Schoolhouse in Moose Creek brought together a bunch of friends who started playing celtic music in and around Ottawa. After many parties, a few festivals, and new musical influences, The Wayward Sound coalesced early in 2011. A zany blend of Traditional Celtic and Modern Folk music will have you out of your seats singing and dancing in no time.

Herringbone Herringbone was born around a campfire at Fitzroy Harbour just west of Ottawa. Late one warm August night, Richard was camping and had just put his kids to bed. Sitting around the campfire with his guitar, he called Andre on his cell looking for some harmony. An hour later they started an all nighter, jamming from each others' folk repertoire, along with roasted marshmallows and a few pints.

Brandy 'N' Port The band Brandy 'N' Port was born in April, 1987. The founding members are Alec Long, Paddy Maher and Danny Byrne. Today's line up is Alec Long, Al Wilmore, Seamus Costello & Danny Byrne. The band's philosophy is still the same as when it was formed, to play music that appeals to the masses while sticking to their Celtic roots.

For a full day of entertainment:
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the gate.
Children under 10 year are free.

For more information go to the festival website:

Mòd Chanada 2012: 8-10 June 2012

Comunn Gàidhlig Ottawa's mission is to promote Gaelic language, music and culture.

In conjunction with the Chair of Celtic Studies, University of Ottawa, CGO presents Mòd Chanada 2012.

1) Friday, June 8th - 7:00pm - 9:00pm (University of Ottawa campus)
Speaking events at Lamoureux Hall, 145 Jean-Jacques Lussier, Ottawa, ON
Adjudicated by: Catrìona NicIomhair Parsons

2) Saturday, June 9th - 9:00am - 6:00pm (University of Ottawa campus)
Singing, Drama, Instrumental, Highland Dancing, Art and Silent Auction events at 145 Jean-Jacques Lussier, Ottawa, ON
and on the main stage at The Alumni Theatre, 75 Laurier East, Ottawa, ON
Gaelic adjudicated by: Catrìona NicIomhair Parsons
Children's singing adjudicated by: Cathy Ann MacPhee
Celtic Whistle and Fiddle adjudicated by: Kevin Dooley
Pipe Chanter and Small Pipes adjudicated by: RCMP Pipe Sergeant Donald Corbett
Celtic Art adjudicated: TBD

Ticket prices below include admission into events 1) and 2) above, and Comunn Gàidhlig Ottawa members who renew their memberships get in for free.
Adults: $10
Children (under 12): Free
Children (over 12): $5
Family: $25
Seniors and Military/Police veterans: Freewill offering

3) Saturday, June 9th - 7:30pm - 11:00pm (28 Granville Avenue (off Byron near Island Park Drive), Ottawa, ON - Advance tickets required)
Catrìona NicIomhair Parsons CD Release Party and Post Mòd Chanada 2012 Ceilidh
BBQ dinner and light refreshments will be served. (Please bring your own alcoholic beverages)
Tickets (in advance only): $25 / per person

4) Sunday, June 10th - 9:00am - Noon (28 Granville Avenue (off Byron near Island Park Drive), Ottawa, ON - Advance tickets required)
Catrìona NicIomhair Parsons Gaelic Language workshop
Light lunch and light refreshments served
Tickets (in advance only): $25 / per person

Mòd Chanada 2012 corporate sponsors include: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Sìol Cultural Enterprises, Clì Gàidhlig, Pictor Photography, University of Ottawa, The Ottawa Folklore Centre,Scottish and Irish Store, Diana Gabaldon, Jim McGillivray Piping, CHIN FM, MG ALBA

For complete information, visit the Mòd Chanada Website: