Coming on to Christmas

Amid all the doom and gloom in the air in recent months, I took great joy in witnessing the historic election of Barack Obama. and in seeing him introduce his cabinet on TV today. As someone who had chosen American citizenship, rather than being born into it, I had many misgivings about that decision during the past eight years. Now those doubts are put to rest.

I do not expect him to perform miracles but, at the very least, intelligence and dignity have been restored to the office and the man knows how to pronounce “nuclear.” I decided to make a list of the top ten qualities that I admire in Obama. That’s when the trouble started. I accidentally hit the return key after the fourth line and I almost died of shock. Here’s what I saw:

Dignity
Intelligence
Charisma
Kindness

Charm
Honesty
Energy
Nobility
Equanimity
Youthfulness

You may think this is a coincidence but I am convinced that Cheney is ensconced in his evil lair with some dastardly machine that he uses to manipulate Obama’s mind. I was already suspicious when I heard that he had kept the Republican, Robert Gates, on as Secretary of Defense but this is the last straw. Does anybody know what time the next bus leaves for Canada?

However, I have some good news too. The new Green Fields of America CD is now available at Celtica Music Shop.

Compass Records will not officially release it until February but you can get an advance copy now and give it to yourself or someone else as a Christmas present. I recently did an interview with Brian O’Donovan for his Celtic Sojourn radio show on WGBH. We talked about the Green Fields group and played some tracks from the new CD. You can listen to some of that interview here. It’s a fairly large file so it may take a few moments to download.

Thanks to all of you that have emailed me to say how much you have enjoyed reading “Clean Cabbage in the Bucket.” I just got in a new supply for Celtica Music Shop. It makes a perfect present for any Irish music aficionado who would enjoy a behind the scenes look at the life of the traveling Irish musician or as we are known in scientific circles, Homo Hibernicus Musicus. I think I may have been watching too much PBS recently.

Speaking of PBS, you can see A Christmas Celtic Sojourn on TV in the Greater Boston area on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 7:30pm on WGBH 2, Sunday, Nov. 30, 4:30pm and Friday, Dec. 5, 3:30pm on WGBH 44. It may be on other PBS stations as well so keep an eye out for it.

It is a recording of the show at the Cutler Majestic Theatre that I was part of in 2006 with, our congenial host, the aforementioned Brian O’Donovan. The huge cast consisted of Karan Casey, The Mulcahy Family, George Keith, Shannon Heaton, Navan, Tony McManus, Billy Novick, Kieran Jordan and many more. The Boston Globe called it, ” A musically resplendent stroll through Celtic Midwinter.” There is also a CD and a DVD of the show available from Celtica Music Shop.

Of course the best present of all, for yourself or someone you love, would be a Celtica Tours trip to Ireland, with me, next May. This time we are exploring the Northern Sights of Ireland. I shied away from touring in this area for many years because of the “troubles.” However, the peace process has really worked and it is now possible to safely visit so many of Northern Ireland’s magnificent places like The Glens of Antrim, The Giant’s Causeway and the Grianan of Aileach. It’s the best of all possible worlds, wandering around scenic rural Ireland in the beautiful month of May and listening to great Irish music every night. Please call me at 800-299-CELT if you have any questions.

“Yes, I’m the Great Procrastinator, Woe Oh, Woe Oh….”

Sometimes, procrastination pays off. This time last year, I put some free MP3 downloads of Christmas songs on my website and, you guessed it, they are still there for the taking. I almost did the same with the Christmas lights but I finally got them down in July, which was early for me. And what good did that do me? Now I have to put them all back up again. Why can’t everyday be Christmas? It would make life so much easier.

I hope you all enjoy the upcoming holidays and New Year. My New Year’s resolution is to write my blog more often but don’t hold your breath.

On the high seas


This year’s Irish Music Cruise was a great success. I really enjoyed playing with Aoife, George, Matt & Shannon. Since we were setting out from Los Angeles, Willie Quinn organized a great concert for us in Santa Barbara beforehand. We had a great time but were surprised to find the weather was cold and wet. It was weird to see snow on the mountains around Los Angeles and it didn’t really feel hot until we got to Acapulco. We spent a few days at sea but we had some great sessions on board the ship. Cabo San Lucas is a strange place. When you go ashore they greet you by putting an iguana on your head. Thanks to Hamish Burgess for the photo.

We had some great additions to the roster this year with Danny Doyle, Fiona Walsh and Ciaran Sheehan. Danny’s show about the 1916 Rebellion was brilliant. The only downside of the week, for me, was the Patriot’s loss in the Super Bowl. I still can’t believe they got out-coached and out-played but hats off to the Giants for playing so tough. They won it fair and square. The 2009 cruise will be in the Caribbean and we will get to visit a lot of Mayan ruins. I’m really looking forward to that. The information should be up soon at Irish Music Cruises .

I’ll be doing my first gig in Bristol, RI next Saturday at the Stone Church Coffeehouse.
The Clancy Legacy will be back at the Kinsale Inn
in Mattapoisett on Sunday March 2nd for an afternoon show at 4.00 PM. There are a bunch of other shows coming up in Michigan, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Massachusetts and West Virginia and you can find all the relevant on my Concert Calendar.

Keep an eye out for a Concert Film and Documentary, called Absolutely Irish, by award-winning filmmaker, Paul Wagner. The world premiere screening will take place on March 2 nd at the Irish Arts Center in New York. It is edited down from about 8 hours of performances we did last April and features an amazing cast: Mick Moloney, Susan McKeown, John Doyle, Seamus Egan, Eileen Ivers, Karen Casey, Liz Carroll, Joanie Madden, Athena Tergis, Niall O’Leary, Darrah Carr, Tim Collins, Jerry O’Sullivan, Mike Raferty, Billy McComiskey, Brendan Dolan, Rhys Jones, Mac Benford and Jo McNamara. And, oh yeah, I’m in there too. I haven’t seen the film yet but it was an incredible concert so I have high expectations. There’s a clip of the Fiddlers on You Tube. The full show should be on most PBS stations in the month of March. It will also available soon on CD and DVD.

The Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI is hosting a photographic exhibition, called In the Heart of the Hibernian Metropolis by Fionan O’Connell until March 20th. Fionan is my first cousin and an amazing photographer as well as one of my favorite people on the planet. You can read more about the exhibit and see some of his work at Fionan O’Connell.

I’m getting together this week with Aoife and Donal Clancy to work on material for a new CD. We hope to do some recording next month and get a Clancy Legacy CD out by the end of the year. With all our different schedules, it’s tricky finding times when we can get together but with a little luck we should be able to do it. By the way, we will be playing together at the Dublin Ohio Irish Festival this August.

I’m looking forward to the Irish tours this year. I’ve had enough of winter and I can’t wait to be in Ireland in May. The WGBH tour is sold out but we still have a few spaces available on the Celtica, Best of the West Tour May 19-28. Wandering around the west of Ireland in the month of May is hard to beat and you can join us if you wish by contacting Celtica Tours.