Celtic Corner
By Decimus Rock

Ten Penny Bit - Troubadours of Kentucky Musical Traditions

On the Feast Day of St. Cecelia (patron saint of musicians) it feels just right to sit down and tell LMN readers about this wonderful band. On a bendy road from rock ` n' roll, old-time Kentucky music and traditional Irish music, TPB has been together since 1984 and now includes original members Bob and Robin Loeffler (hammered dulcimer and guitars, respectively), Mark Cannon (mandolin, whistles, you-name-it-this-guy-can play-it-and-sing-it), Todd Morgan (fiddle), Blue Murphy (upright bass) and Sonny Prentice (guitar, mandolin). In Johnny Appleseed fashion they have traversed Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. In 1993 they were sponsored by the Danish government to come to Denmark to present a two-week program on American music and dance. Robin has played for such Celebes as Ivana Trump, Frederico Fellini, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Dali Lama!

Ten Penny Bit fully explores the direct and tangible links among the music of Scotland, Ireland and Kentucky and is thoroughly steeped in dance. Mark Cannon is the music director of the Louisville Country Dancers and several group members have been staff musicians for the Kentucky Heritage Foundation and the Lloyd Shaw Foundation. TPB has made many a muslin frock and hooped taffeta skirt swirl, as "Period Dances" are a specialty. Mountain man muzzleloaders, Civil War re-enactors and Waterloo officers step to their tunes.

Currently you can get their CD Live at Thomas Winery and a tunebook - Ten Penny Bit Tunebook. In January 2000 they will have on offer Dance of the Haymakers - Period Music of the 19th Century, which includes many Irish pieces from 1812 to 1865. To get ordering information and anything else you might need to know, you can make contact via their web page: www.tenpennybit.com or by e-mail: tenpennybit@fcmail or snail mail at: 4318 Diamond Way, Louisville, KY 40216.

Come out in December to hear what all the fuss is about at these performances: on December 19 and 20, Robin, with the Christ Church Cathedral Choir, will perform Malcolm Dalglish's "A Star in the East"; December 18, Molly Malone's; December 24, Church of Our Lady, 3511 Rudd Ave., at 4 p.m. with harpist Kimble Howard and tenors Chris Loeffler and Denny Nash; December 26, Boxing Day at the Irish Rover, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.; December 31, An Irish Millennium Party for New Year's Eve at the Irish Rover

Northern Ireland Pipe Band in Louisville

The Y2K St. Patrick's Day will be a mighty, mighty show with the presence of All-Ireland Champion Pipe Band Clonoe Independent Pipe Band from County Tyrone. Don't miss the Parade on Saturday, March 11, starting at 2 p.m. from Mid City Mall to Cave Hill. They will be bringing step dancers and singers as well. To book your special event, contact: Harris Entertainment (502) 267-0148.

Calling All Bravehearts!

A student chapter of the Scottish Nationalist Party is forming at U of L. For more information, contact: Sterling Harris at amergin@aye.net. Spokesperson Sean Connery has done wonders for this nonviolent political movement. The old order is rapidly changing or returning?

Four Shillings Short Returns!

The music of Four Shillings Short is a collage of traditions from Ireland, England, Scotland, America and India. Every song and tune sports an unusual stylistic reinterpretation, and this talented duo beguiles with excellent musicianship as well as jokes and stories serious and sublime as well. Composed of Cork native Aodh Og (tin whistles, woodwinds, spoons and dumbek) and San Diegan Christy Martin (North Indian sitar, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, banjo and bodhran), they have played many a coffeehouse, folk festival, bookstore and pub since 1985.

Since 1997 they have been touring nationally. In 1998, they did 150 performances in 38 states. You can hear them on December 4 at Common Ground in Lexington; December 9 at the Rudyard Kipling and December 16 at Picasso's in Elizabethtown (109 N. Mulberry St. 8 p.m.).

Celtic Christmas

Galloglas celebrates its 4th Annual "Good People All - A Celtic Christmas" on Saturday, December 18 at the Rudyard Kipling. It's a popular event and you are well advised to call for reservations at (502) 636-1311.

MollyGlot Molly Malones' presents a fine roster of musical acts in December. Mixing it up is the chosen formula and nothing crosses into the hearts of Celtic music lovers so well as Bluegrass. It doesn't get any better in these parts than Hog Operation on Friday the 3d. Saturday the 4th follows with pan Celtic songsters Galloglas. Memphis Red Hots take the next Friday the 10th with one of Rock's favorites on Saturday the 11th, The Rashers. The final weekend of the month is mighty with the rousing Bridgid's Cross from Cleveland on Friday and our own Ten Penny Bit on Saturday the 18th. Don't forget the "sesiuns" on Sunday afternoons (4 to 7). A great crop of players from Bloomington came down last week including the rare and beautiful uilleann pipes!

Robert Burns Celebration The Scottish Society of Louisville puts on a first class event January 20 at The Olmstead with the traditional rituals including performances by The Scottish Country Dancers, The Louisville Pipe Band and Cincinnati's finest Celtic band, Silver Arm. More details will be in the January issue.

Celtic Y2K Check out the Irish Rover for New Year's Eve. Ten Penny Bit will ring in the millennium with their mighty music. Call 899-3544 for details.

Captain Rock Salutes LMN

It has been a sublime pleasure to write about the music I love for the town I love. I hope that in the next millennium more will realize what a wonderful thing LMN is in its promotion of the diversity of talent and inspiration residing here at the Falls of the Ohio. Buy a subscription!!! Patronize our advertisers!!! Support live music and its friendly venues!!! Fresh blessings to all in the spirit of Christmas, Hanukkah and the new year, century and millennium. Slan, Decimus Rock (decimusrock@aol.com)