Celtic Corner
By Decimus Rock

Drowsy Maggie Forever

It all started somewhere in Germany. A young Army soldier and Louisville native chanced to meet a beautiful red-headed Dublin girl. The rest is history.

Aside from four talented children, Martha Kirwan Forde and husband Gerry spawned a musical offspring in a band well-known on the Louisville scene as Drowsy Maggie. Though possessed of a lovely voice, Martha generally only sings together with friends as they chime in with the band. Gerry has pulled the laboring oar since 1980 to create the sounds of the homeland of his heart.

In the course of almost twenty years, Drowsy Maggie has been the place where many musicians have learned and developed their love for Celtic music, e.g. Robin Loeffler (Ten Penny Bit), harpist Kimbel Howard, Paul Whitty (Galloglas), John Woodard (the Rashers), hammered dulcimer and concertina player Paul Kinder, Edith Stein (Galloglas) and others. Long before it was fashionable, Drowsy was preaching the gospel of Irish music. That wealth of experience has enabled Forde and company to develop a show that always gets hands clapping and feet stomping.

Gerry is most proud of his current lineup of five players. Roz Carrothers (fiddle, viola and mandolin), lawyer and U of L School of Music graduate, is arguably the musical "pillar" of the band with her fiery licks, good looks and ebullient personality. Her dynamic version of "The Matioteen Bull" never fails to bring the house to its feet. Sean is Gerry's only son and one in whom he is well pleased for lending solid but subtle guitar backing with the occasional commentary. Vocalist Debbie Singery has had many years experience as a wedding singer and offers a strong and lovely voice on Irish classics like "Dublin in the Rare 'Oul Times" and "Song for Ireland." Richard Burchard (recorders, keyboard, vocals), a professor of music theory at Bellarmine College, is the newest member of the band. He plays smoothly and flawlessly and has a real knack for giving his recorder sound the character of the traditional tin whistle.

"Chairman of the Bard" is Gerry Forde (bodhran, bones, vocals) who has been the "glue" that has held Drowsy Maggie for these many years. He and Martha own and operate the Celtic Centre on Chenoweth Lane as purveyors of quality art, crafts, gifts, food and clothing. The Celtic Centre also houses a shop in the basement, where Gerry and son Sean do elaborate copper work in Celtic motifs, featuring heraldic devices backed by painstaking research to insure patrons an object 'd art that is meaningful as well as beautiful.

You don't have to take Decimus Rock's "chamber of commerce" attitude about Drowsy Maggie and Celtic music. Check them out. Apart from weddings, banquets and private parties they play monthly at Molly Malone's (next on November 13) and occasionally at the Irish Rover. The band has been doing some recording and expects to offer a CD to their fans sometime late spring or early summer Y2K.

1999 Ceili

Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 7 to attend the 1999 Ceili, put on by the Greater Louisville Irish Cultural Society. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. at Bellarmine College's Frazier Hall. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for kids 3-12 and free for 3 and under. Barbecue, hot dogs, baked goods and beverages will sustain you as you trip and whirl to the sounds of Ten Penny Bit and The Louisville Pipe Band. The McClanahan School of Irish Dance will dazzle you with demonstrations of their various steps. There will also be a silent auction, as the entire event is a fundraiser for the 2000 Louisville Feis (June 10 at Commonwealth Convention Center), where nearly 500 dancers converge on River City for an officially sanctioned competition. This is like "Riverdance College." Please support GLICS and the Feis by attending the Ceili. For more information call (502) 254-2863.

Happy Anniversary Irish Rover

The Rover will celebrate its 6th anniversary with a party on Monday night, November 1, featuring music by one of Rock's favorite bands, The Rashers. Make a point to drop in and congratulate Siobhan and Michael Reidy on successfully pioneering an authentic Irish pub in Louisville. The food is always great and the craic is mighty! May they celebrate many more!

World Pipe Band Championship

The Louisville Pipe Band will be competing in the "Worlds" in Glasgow, Scotland on August 12, 2000. They will travel early to participate in two Highland Games: Bridge of Allen and Berwick. If you would like to travel with the band, call 894-8856.

Molly Malone's Irish Pub

Performing this month on November 6, Drowsy Maggie on November 13 and The Rashers on November 20. Also don't forget that there is a Celtic jam session every Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. All players (and certainly listeners) are welcome.

Eileen Ivers rocked the house at The Lonesome Pine Series.

A small but enthusiastic crowd lavished her with standing applause. Again, thanks to the Kentucky Center for the Arts and Dick Van Kleeck for including Celtic in your great programs!

Contact Decimus Rock If you've got news, complaints, etc. Please drop me a line at: decimusrock@aol.com Slan, DR