Nollaig Shona Duit!
"Happy Christmas to you" in Irish is pronounced: NUL-lig HUN-na Ditch. "No fairie strikes, nor witch hath power to harm, so hallowed and gracious is the time" – to quote William Shakespeare – is a fitting introduction to December's calendar of Celtic music in the region.
Ten Penny Bit (or portions thereof) begin the holiday spirit with a performance by Robin Loeffler (hammered dulcimer) and husband Bob (guitars/octave mandolin) at Light Up Middletown on December 5. Drowsy Maggie will certainly cause art lovers to tap their toes at holiday celebrations at Galerie Hertz, 636 E. Main St., from 7 to 9 p.m. and then again in the sculpture garden at the J. B. Speed Art Museum, 2035 South Third Street from 4 to 6 p.m. on December 15. The DM lineup includes its founder and Louisville's nearest thing to a Druid "greybeard" on bodran / bones / shanachie, Gerry Ford, with Paul Kinder on hammered dulcimer/concertina; Sean Ford on guitar; Debbie Webb Gleason, a powerful singer; and Richard Burchard playing mellow wooden recorders. All this in support of the barn-burning fiddle stylings of Roz Carothers, which defines the essential Drowsy Maggie musical character. Added to this incendiary mix is Tipperary step dancer, Pauline Gleason. For more information re: Drowsy Maggie, call 897-9050, as they are ready willing and able to perform for all manner of private affairs as well as festivals, etc.
On December 13 at 8 p.m. at the Rudyard Kipling, Galloglas will offer its 3d Annual holiday show, "Good People All – A Celtic Christmas," with an assorted cast of musical friends as special guests. Reservations are going fast, so call 636-1311.
The Louisville Country Dancers will to and fro with Ten Penny Bit on December 20. Call Robin for more details (448-0700). TPB now includes fiddler Todd Morgan in place of Kimble Howard, who is focusing on her harp instruction and performances. Mark Cannon is still on board with his multi-instrumental and vocal excellence. Mark has been jamming with Lexington-based Dan Cummins, who is a fine tenor banjo player, guitarist/balladeer/raconteur. They are often found holding down the fort at the Celtic jam sessions at the Rudyard Kipling, held on the first Friday of every month. December 5 is date this month.
Christmas Eve will find Bob & Robin Loeffler along with Kimble Howard and tenor Denny Nash at Our Lady of Notre Dame du Port on Portland Avenue. The show is at 3:30 p.m.
Ten Penny Bit will be on hand for Boxing Day at the Irish Rover, December 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., an event favored by local Irish natives. TPB will welcome the New Year at the "First Night" festivities in Columbus, Ohio.
River City Exporting Celti
c Music To Cincinnati
The new Queen City Irish pub, R. P. McMurphy's, is drawing on Louisville bands to keep the celtoids entertained. Galloglas and Ten Penny Bit have already performed there and the Rashers will be making their debut on December 19 and 20. Ten Penny Bit will return on December 26 and 27. RPM is located at 2910 Wasson Avenue in Oakley (near Hyde Park) on the east side of town. For more information, call Vince at (513)531-3300.
All the Rage
Irish pubs are the new growth industry with Guiness-backed ventures and others opening all over and beyond the Irish enclaves of Boston, Chicago and New York. "FADO" is a franchise prototype in Atlanta. Three have opened in the Los Angeles market, and Nashville allegedly has three new Irish pubs. Look for one to open soon in Covington, Kentucky. Molly Malone's will open its doors in Louisville, possibly in time for St. Patrick's Day. The pub will be in a historic brick structure that once housed the Irish White House Gift Shop, on Baxter Avenue across the street from O'Shea's Traditional Irish Pub (which is primarily a college bar with Irish stuff hanging on its exposed brick walls). It will obviously require substantial renovation to have a dining room and kitchen. Details are sketchy at this point but local Celtic musicians are hopeful that this will be an active performance venue.
A Celtic Wedding
Best wishes and congratulations to Cloighean band member Roy Livingston and his lovely bride Carolyn Karibo. They were married in full kilted splendor on a raw November afternoon with Kerryman Fr. John Dalton presiding. Those in attendance quickly forgot the weather upon hearing the skirling of the highland bagpipes. They were subsequently enthralled by lilting uilleann pipes, tin whistles and Irish wooden flutes as deftly played by Mr. and Mrs. Siobahn and Brendan McKinney, from Kerry and Detroit respectively. Afterwards, the wedding party at the Irish Rover rebounded to the benefit of Irish Rover patrons. The McKinneys graciously came down to fill the bar with their wonderful musicianship, along with some utterly delighted local musicians. Rock and everyone in attendance hope they return soon.
Celtic Music In Your Stocking
As well as the various CD/tape recordings of the great bands around today e.g. Altan, Dervish, Nomos, Solas, Wolfstone, Nightnoise, Wolfstone, Battlefield Band, etc., you can get some wonderful collections/sampler albums for the objects of your Yuletide affections. These make great gifts, especially for those who are relatively new to the genre. There are now too many to mention. Rock's personal favorite is Windham Hill's "Celtic Christmas." Released in 1995, it compares favorably with all such productions offered since.
To all LMN readers Rock and family wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.