Gaelic Roots Music And Dance Festival To Use Expanded Format Again This Year

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College will continue its highly acclaimed showcase of the Celtic music tradition with the 1998 Gaelic Roots Music, Song and Dance Summer School and Festival during June 21-27.

Sponsored by the Irish Studies Program and Music Department, the festival will bring to campus some of the most eminent performers of Celtic music and dance from Ireland, Scotland and North America. They will present concerts - individually and in groups - and offer instruction in fiddle, flute, harp, tin whistle, accordion and other instruments, as well as singing and Celtic dance styles.

Festival participants also will have the opportunity to hear lectures on aspects of Celtic music, and to take part in music sessions geared to different levels of skill and ability. Other highlights include a musical cruise on Boston harbor, an evening barbecue and a dinner and music session at the Green Briar Pub and Restaurant in Boston.

It will be the second year for Gaelic Roots' expanded format, which festival organizer Seamus Connolly said proved highly successful last year.

"The response was tremendous, beyond our wildest dreams," said Connolly, a renowned fiddler who is director of Irish Studies Music Programs and one of Gaelic Roots' featured performers and instructors. "Classes, workshops, concerts and special events were all well-attended. The whole festival was a sell-out. It is truly the premier Irish music event in the country and we hope to build upon it every year and offer something a little different. We're also working on ways to make the experience as affordable for as many as possible."

Others lending their talents will be: Phil Coulter, one of Ireland's foremost singer-songwriters and a visiting professor in Irish Studies last semester; legendary accordionists Joe Burke and James Keane; Tommy Hayes (bodhran), Noel Hill (concertina), and Paddy Glackin (fiddle), among the most prominent musicians in the modern Irish music revival; Scottish guitarist and vocalist Tony Cuffe; and Mick Moloney, respected for both his scholarship in Irish music and his banjo and mandolin playing.

In addition, leading Irish harpists Kathleen Guilday and Maire Ni Chathasaigh will be featured, as will popular singer-songwriter Robbie O'Connell and highly regarded stepdancing instructor and choreographer Michael Smith, a part-time faculty member in Irish Studies.

Coulter, Keane and Connolly will be featured in a special concert, "A Musical Life," on June 25 at 7:30 p.m. in Robsham Theater. Capping the festival will be a Master's Concert on June 27 at 8 p.m. in Robsham, at which many of the performers and instructors will perform.

As with previous Gaelic Roots events, Connolly said, participants can opt to register for the whole festival or individual events. Accommodations on campus also will be available again this year, he noted. For complete ticket and schedule information, contact Connolly at ext.2-0490 or by e-mail at, or view the 1998 Gaelic Roots World Wide Web site .

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