Irish Fiddler Gerry O’Connor heads the 2019 Bangor Celtic Crossroads Festival

The festival kicks off Friday night with a concert at the Bangor Arts Exchange (189 Exchange St) ballroom at 7 pm with Gerry O’Connor and Kevin McElroy.

Gerry O’Connor and Kevin McElroy in Concert

A master of Irish Traditional fiddle!

Celebrated Irish fiddler Gerry OConnor (Skylark, Lá Lugh) will be joined by Freeport, ME-based guitarist and singer, Kevin McElroy. Gerry grew up in a family of musicians, dancers, and singers and plays in the fluid, lyrical style of the great Sligo masters. He has recorded 14 albums and toured with various members of legendary Irish ensembles including Planxty and the Chieftains and is considered one of the great fiddlers of his generation. He has just released his second solo album “Last Night’s Joy”

Guitarist, singer, banjo and fiddle player Kevin McElroy has performed regularly in New England for three decades as a soloist and with such luminaries as Seamus Connolly, Brendan Tonra and Joe Burke. Combined wit, prodigious talent and infectious sincerity promise enjoyment for seasoned aficionados of the music and newcomers alike.”

Saturday, the festival opens at 10 am at the Bangor Public Library.

  • 10 am children’s Gaelic Athletic Games with coach Michael Keim. Coach Keim will lead the children in some Gaelic Athletic games such as hurling and Gaelic football.
  • 10-12 Piper and musical instrument petting zoo (with local traditional musicians). Local musicians will bring bagpipes, whistles, fiddles and other musical instruments used in Celtic music and will show children how they are used.
  • 11-12 Celtic story time
  • 12-1 Irish author lecture with Gerry O’Connor The Rose in the Gap. Irish fiddler and author Gerry O’Connor will present a lecture/performance about the background of the Gaelic Cultural Revival of the early 20th Century. He will discuss the Irish instrumental music from the South East Ulster area located by the author in the archives of the University College of Dublin and featured in his book “The Rose in the Gap” highlighting the rich body of dance music, song and dances that were in circulation in Counties Louth, Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan over 100 years ago. The influence of Scottish music and culture celebrated in this area will also be examined. His presentation includes landscape images of the area, maps locating the music to place, and quality images of the original hand written manuscripts of the music. Gerry will also play some of the music for the audience. Refreshments: Irish Soda bread and tea.
  • 2 pm Genealogy workshop with Librarian Betsy Paradis

Also on Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 120 Park St the festival continues with workshops, music and dance. Headed by Irish fiddler Andrew Finn Magill accompanied by Dan Faiella, the evening will end with a performance and Scottish Country dancing.

Afternoon workshops 1:30-3 Saturday

  • Shore to Shore. Songs from Ireland and Maritime New England. – Kevin McElroy
  • Beginning DADGAD guitar – Dan Faiella
  • Irish Fiddle Workshop – Andrew Finn Magill
  • Scottish Country Dance – Members of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society from the Belfast Maine class will demonstrate and teach the dances. Scottish Country Dance is the traditional social dance form of Scotland. It involves sets of couples dancing a sequence of figures to Jigs, Reels and Strathspeys. The dancers move through the patterns, which are related to those used in English, Irish and Contra dancing, but using specific footwork technique, the pointed toe and foot placement influenced by ballet. The dance form has been standardized by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and one can go anywhere in the world and find a class or dance to take part in.

Open Irish music session 3-4:30

Ceili /Andrew Finn Magill and Dan Faiella Saturday night performance and Scottish Country dance 7-9pm

Multi-instrumentalist, All-Ireland fiddle finalist and Ropeadope Recording artist Andrew “Finn the fiddler” Magill has watched his career surge ever since the 2016 release of his 2-disc concept album Roots (which debuted at #46 on the Folk DJ charts) & Branches. Raised at The Swannanoa Gathering, Magill has learned and carved out a name for himself in Irish, American and Brazilian music, collaborating with everyone from Rising Appalachia to John Doyle. He has toured five continents and self-released four albums in everything from traditional Irish music to African fusion.

Dan Faiella has been building a reputation throughout New England’s traditional music communities for his sensitive and innovative interpretations of traditional tunes and songs from the Celtic traditions. His harp- and banjo-inspired approach to fingerstyle guitar playing brings grace and energy to the music, and his skill as an accompanist for traditional melody players is increasingly in demand. He studied with folk musician David Surette and classical guitarist David Newsam and he has performed with some of the Northeast’s premier fiddlers including Dan Foster, Alden Robinson, and Winifred Horan, among many others.

Sunday

Enjoy the music of Twisted Strings at Paddy Murphy’s Pub from 12-2.

Gaelic Athletic Games with the Portland Hurling Club will take place from 2-4 pm at Union Street Athletic Fields, 1463 Union Street Bangor. Enjoy demonstrations of Irish Hurling and Gaelic football.

Announcing the 2019 Bangor Celtic Crossroads Festival September 27-29

Featuring the great Gerry O’Connor, one of the great fiddle players of his generation.

From County Lough, Ireland, Gerry is a fourth generation fiddler who has toured with Planxty, the Bothy Band, DeDannan, Boys of the Lough, the Chieftains, and the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

Gerry’s own recordings include music of the Orial region of South Ulster in “Journeyman”, “Jig Away the Donkey,” “Orialla,” “Last Night’s Joy,” and he recently wrote a book about the music of Orial entitled, The Rose in the Gap. https://www.gerryoconnor.net/biog

Gerry will be performing on Friday night at 7 pm accompanied by Maine’s own Keven McElroy at the Bangor Arts Exchange Ballroom. He will also be giving an author’s lecture and performance at the Bangor Public Library on Saturday from 12-1.

Guitarist, singer, banjo and fiddle player Kevin McElroy has performed regularly in New England for three decades as a soloist and with such luminaries as Seamus Connolly, Brendan Tonra and Joe Burke. Combined wit, prodigious talent and infectious sincerity promise enjoyment for seasoned aficionados of the music and newcomers alike.”

We will be announcing additional acts and activities as the festival approaches. In the meantime, we are requesting support to help us bring great acts like Gerry O’Connor to Bangor. We welcome any amount, but a $100 donation includes 2 free tickets to a concert!

We need to raise about $7,000 for the festival and are seeking small business sponsors and major festival sponsors.

Cape Breton’s Kitchen Party with Andrea Beaton and Troy MacGillivray and Sabra MacGillivray

Hi, Friends,

This is our last show for the season, so I hope you will turn out and support these wonderful artists from the Maritimes. Andrea Beaton comes from a long line of Beaton and MacMaster musicians, which explains why her music is her own and deeply rooted in the Cape Breton tradition. Like her father and grandfather, she is a composer, adding fine new music to the island’s repertoire. She tours internationally and is in great demand as a teacher at music camps. Her passion for Cape Breton fiddle, piano, step dancing, and comical stories are sure to delight any crowd. In 2007, Andrea and her family were featured by the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series on an album called “The Beaton Family of Mabou.”

Troy MacGillivray is from Lanark, a small community on the north-eastern shore of Nova Scotia. Troy’s commitment to music has spanned 30 years and includes both practical and academic accomplishments – most recently an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick in Ireland. From as young as six years old, Troy was impressing audiences with step dancing and soon after, fiddle and piano skills. His roots-centered approach has the power to inspire audiences and comes from a family of proud Scottish heritage where fiddle playing and Gaelic traditions runs in the bloodline. His first paid gig was at 9 years old and was teaching by the age of 13 at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s Cape Breton. Troy is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for contributions to culture in Canada.

Separately they have strong careers that has brought them around the world playing and teaching from the North Pole to the Middle East. Solo recordings by both artists have been acknowledged with East Coast Music awards and nominations, as well as Canadian Folk Music Awards. Together, they share a musical ancestry – they are distant cousins where many of their relatives are excellent and prolific musicians! These two accomplished solo artists offer a taste of Nova Scotia’s best traditional music. Andrea and Troy will captivate and enchant the audience with contemporary tunes fused with the music of their Highland ancestry.

    Ireland’s HighTime Bangor Arts Exchange 193 Exchange Street June 7, 2019 7:00 pm

    Music Video for ‘TheVillageofCloch Bhuí’ by HighTime

    This fresh new trio from the heart of Connemara, Ireland combines Irish music and an intriguing blend of modern folk influences to produce a rich sound and exciting experience to delight listeners. Featuring an unusual line-up of flute, whistles, harp, bodhrán, guitar and vocals (with some Irish dancing steps thrown in!), HighTime make a youthful and energetic statement. Equal measures of music and tradition from old Ireland coupled with bold new arrangements make for a tasty platter of story, music, song and dance from these three young men; hailing from the ‘trad hub’ of Manchester, England and the village of Ardmore on the rugged west coast of Ireland.

    The name HighTime came about in reference to a feeling within the band and between its members that it was long overdue (high time) that they started a band seeing as they had been playing together for so long. This is a widely used saying in Ireland and throughout the world. The band are more accustomed to the Gaelic version of this saying as they come from a Gaeltacht (Irish Speaking) area in Connemara in west Galway. This expression has an equivalent in the Irish/Gaelic language (thar ama – pronounced haur – awwmah).

      Mac Morin and Wendy MacIsaac concert! April 9, 2019 at 7 PM, Jeff’s Catering, Brewer

      Mac Morin

      Mac has recorded and toured with Beolach, Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster, Ian MacDougall, YoYo Ma, the Rankin Family, Ashley MacIsaac, Allison Krauss, Dianne Krall, the Chieftains, and Art Garfunkel.

      Wendy MacIsaac

      Wendy is a fiddler/piano player/stepdancer from Creignish, Cape Breton, Canada. Since the early 1990’s, she has toured the world in support of her solo recordings as well as a member of Beolach, and with Mary Jane Lamond.

      Tickets $15 advance,  $20 at the door. Please note venue change. Jeff’s Catering is at 15 Littlefield Way, Brewer.

      Scotland’s Heron Valley at Bangor Arts Exchange, March 9

      Heron Valley is an exciting group of very talented young musicians who hail from various parts of Scotland’s Argyll region. The band name derives from their local area, Strachur, meaning “Valley of the Herons,” said band member Arlene Mackechnie. You can expect to hear a lot of original tunes from their debut album, “ROAM.” Band members joining Mackechnie, who plays piano; are Nick Hamilton, drums and banjo; Abigail Pryde, vocals, guitar; Euan McNab, bagpipes, whistles and guitar; and Callum Cronin, bass guitar.

      Heron Valley’s music is inspired not only by tradition, but their love of the wild Scottish landscape as well. “Quite a few of our new songs are influenced by my home,” said Pryde, who is from the Glencoe area of the Scottish Highlands. “Our sets are based mostly on traditional pipe tunes,” she added. “Our songs are more modern. In Scotland there is a modern folk scene going on.” Heron Valley’s songs “are not quite poppy, but not quite traditional either.” “We like that young people enjoy our music,” said Mackechnie, which is also evident when you tour their website.—Independent Record, UK.

      Festival crowds love them. The effect of their music “was electric.” They and another Scottish band at the festival had folks “jumping, dancing (and) singing.”—Johnny Whalley, Folk Radio.

      The band’s love of what it is doing is patently clear in the crisp, fresh arrangements in the group’s album ROAM.” The mix of songs ranges from “energetic, driving tune sets to thoughtful songs. Their technical ability is beyond good, and everything gels together into a natural-sounding maturity that belies their years. If this is what they’re sounding like now, then the future can only hold great things for them.” —Gordon, Potter, Living Tradition.

      Heron Valley — an energy fueled band deeply rooted in Scotland, March 9, 8pm

      Heron Valley are an energetic, young folk band from Scotland who have serious enthusiasm for the music they play. Their roots lie in Scottish and Irish traditional music, while taking influence from various Folk, Country and Bluegrass styles. Their style sees traditional Scottish pipe tunes played with a modern twist, along with a varied set of traditional and contemporary folk songs. Their live performances are full of excitement and fire, not to be missed!

      Due to their early success, Heron Valley quickly made a strong impact on the folk scene in Scotland. 2016/17 saw the band take to more than twenty festival stages throughout the UK and Europe. With a demand for more, Heron Valley released their debut album ‘Roam’ in May 2017. This was extremely well received by their fan base, and contributed to two successful tours of the USA.

      March 9, 8pm!

      Second Annual Robert Burns Night

      Come join us at our second celebration of the birthday of Scottish bard Robbie Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796). 

      We will begin the evening with introductory remarks, followed by piping in the haggis at 6:30, with a recitation of Burns’ Address to the Haggis. A traditional meal of haggis, ‘neeps and taties (turnips and potatoes) will be served and is included in the price of the event. Cash bar.

      Following supper we will have entertainment and a raffle. Please bring your favorite Burns poem or song to share, if you play traditional music, you are welcome to bring an instrument. 

      We will end the evening with Auld Lang Syne.

      So that we can plan to have enough food we recommend tickets be purchased in advance. Your presence at the event supports Bangor Celtic Crossroads Festival.

      Richard Wood & Gordon Belsher live at the BAE Ballroom

      For the last decade, Richard and Gordon have been performing and touring as a duo. Enthusiastic audiences have been taken on a roller coaster ride of exhilarating – even exhausting – jigs and reels, strathspeys and hornpipes, and beautiful airs, many composed by Richard himself. This is complimented by Gordon’s engaging songs, some humorous and some poignant, warming things up for the next fiddle blaze.

      [ buy tickets ]