'Gaelic Roots' tradition continues

by Sean Smith | Office of News & Public Affairs
Sheila Falls with her fiddle
Sheila Falls (Michael Piazza)
Art & Culture / Music | February 01, 2016

Related links

Gaelic Roots website

The internationally noted 'Gaelic Roots' series will present three events on campus during the spring semester, sponsored by BC's Center for Irish Programs in collaboration with University Libraries and the Boston College Alumni Association. Irish Studies faculty member Sheila Falls—herself an accomplished fiddler who is featured on the soundtrack of 'The Mine Wars,' part of this season's 'American Experience' on PBS—will take up direction of the program that was founded by international fiddle champion Seamus Connolly, who retired in December.

On Feb. 4, cellist Natalie Haas and guitarist/vocalist Yann Falquet will perform a concert of Scottish, Quebecois and Celtic music. Haas – a former Boston resident and Berklee College of Music faculty member – has played a foundational role in bringing the cello to prominence in folk and traditional music, through her partnership with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, as well as collaborations with Irish bands Altan and Solas and fiddler Liz Carroll, among many others. Haas’ husband Falquet, a Montreal native and co-founder of the inventive Quebecois trio Genticorum, has become versed in music from traditions of Brittany, Scandinavia, Ireland and North America through his various musical projects.

Two other Gaelic Roots concerts will feature some of Ireland’s most influential and active traditional musicians. On March 22, Michael Tubridy – a founding member of The Chieftains, one of Ireland’s most famous bands – will return to campus, this time with accordionist James Keane. Tubridy is widely known for his excellent flute, tin whistle and concertina playing, and also is an accomplished “old style” step dancer. Keane is one of the finest accordion players of his generation – Italy’s Castagnari accordion company created a line of signature instruments named for him – and has performed and recorded with numerous leading figures in Irish music.

On April 7, Gaelic Roots will host Kevin Crawford (flute, whistles) and Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes, flute, whistles). Both are members of renowned Irish band Lúnasa but also have many other successful pursuits: Crawford has released four solo albums and in recent years has teamed up with fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist John Doyle as the trio The Teatotallers; Vallely toured with the show “Riverdance” and has accompanied the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Merchant, Tim O’Brien and Mary Chapin-Carpenter. Crawford and Vallely have recorded a CD together, “On Common Ground.”

The concerts are free and will take place on Brighton Campus in the Cadigan Alumni Center (Feb. 4 and April 7) or the Theology and Ministry Library (March 22), beginning at 6:30 p.m.