Irish festival to begin Sept. 29

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College will again be a gathering place for fiddlers, flutists, harpists and other performers and devotees of traditional music when it hosts the Gaelic Roots II Festival Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.

The event, sponsored by the Irish Studies Program and the Music Department, will celebrate the Gaelic musical heritage shared by Ireland, Scotland, Cape Breton, French Canada and Appalachia. Some of the most prominent vocalists, musicians and dancers representing these traditions will perform and lead workshops on their specialties.

Among the performers scheduled to appear are: tin whistle player Sean Potts and Uilleann piper Paddy Keenan, formerly with the Chieftains and the Bothy Band, respectively, and now pursuing successful solo careers; Tony Cuffe, a popular Scottish singer and instrumentalist; Kathleen Guilday, winner of the All-Ireland harp competition; and part-time faculty member Seamus Connolly (Music), a highly respected fiddler who is music coordinator for Irish Studies and a prime organizer of the University's Celtic music events.

A number of Boston and New England area performers will perform at the festival, including the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club, the Rita O'Shea Academy of Irish Dance, as well as Boston College graduate student and fiddler Marie Reilly and step dancer Kieran Jordan '96.

Over the last several years, Boston College has become one of Greater Boston's major venues for Irish and Celtic music, hosting a number of festivals, performances and other events. Gaelic Roots II, like its 1993 predecessor, provides Boston College an opportunity to add to its reputation as a center for Irish and Celtic culture, Connolly said.

"The word is spreading about BC," he said. "The performers and artists we've contacted about appearing here are very eager to come. We've been getting calls about the festival from places like Alaska and Arizona. There is no question Boston College has established a presence in the traditional and folk music scene."

The first day's events include a performance of Irish and Cape Breton set dancing, from 7:30-11:30 p.m. in Gasson 100, and an open music session from 8-11:30 p.m. in the Gasson Hall Jenks Honors Library.

On Saturday, a series of workshops will be held from 10 a.m.-noon and again from 2-4:15 p.m. in various locations throughout Gasson. Ciaran MacMathuna, a Radio Telefis Eireann announcer and scholar who has collected and broadcast Irish music and song for 40 years, will present a lecture and slide show at 4:30 p.m. in Jenks Honors Library. Concerts and dance demonstrations will take place that day in Gasson 100 from noon-2 p.m., 7-7:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight.

Sunday's events include a Gaelic Mass with music and song from 10-11 a.m. in Gasson 100 and "Masters' Concerts" featuring many of the festival performers from 2-5 p.m. and 7:30-10:30 p.m. in Robsham Theater.

Connolly says he hopes to record and edit the festival performances, adding to those from 1993, and issue them on compact disk. Highlights from the 1990 Irish Fiddle Festival, "My Love is in America," were released by Green Linnet Records on an album which received recognition from the US Library of Congress as an outstanding recording of traditional music.

For further information on festival events and tickets, call ext.0490.

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