Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Normally we post the Goodnight blog on a Friday night. On the Opening Day of Milwaukee Irish, usually a Thursday, we highlight some of the musicians appearing. Sadly, Irish Fest, like just about everything else in the world, got canceled.
But that won’t deter us. We’re still going to enjoy some of the groups that would have been performing on our lakefront this weekend. Let’s get started.
We begin with what has probably been the biggest fan favorite at Irish Fest in recent years. In addition to the bagpipes onstage, there’s a full rock band, brass section and highland dancers that combine for an very excitement spectacle.
The band calls it “Bagrock,” bagpipes with attitude, drums with a s=Scottish accent and a show so hot it carries its own health warning.
Next up is a traditional Irish band that has played all over the world in settings ranging from performing on Australian TV to jamming with Ricky Skaggs on America’s west coast.
Fiddler and frontwoman mairead Ni Mhaonaigh said, “We’ve listened to a lot of punk and pop, every kind of music. But Irish music doesn’t need to be diluted in any way, what you should give people is what you love and what inspires yourself. Sometimes you see Irish music going a certain way, too many shamrocks and greenery and people talking begorrah. That’s not what it’s about, it’s about real people and real emotions. You don’t need to make it a cabaret show.”
Altan has a rich Donegal heritage.
“We’re cut off by mountains from the rest of Ireland , so it has an isolation, both geographical and political,” said Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. “Even for Irish people, it’s quite a mysterious place. We have a lot of fiddle tunes that nobody else plays.”
Altan was scheduled to play as part of a Donegal showcase at this year’s Irish Fest.
Here’s another Irish Fest fan favorite.
Screaming Orphans is an all-sister band from Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland, and one of the most sought after Celtic bands. At a very young age the Diver sisters performed with their mother Kathleen Fitzgerald until they became teenagers and started their
own Celtic pop band. The Screaming Orphans are known for their four part harmony.
As of this year, the band has released 14 albums of both original pop and Folk/Irish music.
Speaking of festival favorites you’d have to include “Gaelic Storm,” still performing after 20 years and more than 2,000 shows.
Originally a pub band, “Gaelic Storm” formed in the mid-90’s and their success grew and grew, so much so that by the end of decade they starred in the blockbuster film “Titanic.” An impressive resume includes topping the Billboard World Chart six times and consistently sought after at the largest Irish Festivals across the country, like ours.
“You have to see us live. We are the true working-mans’ band,” says Ryan Lacey, who joined the lineup in 2003.
This is definitely a bit different, or as the band likes to say, uniquely creative.
Watch Gaelic Storm perform “Piña Colada in a Pint Glass” quarantine style. “Piña Colada In A Pint Glass” is on the album “How Are We Getting Home?”
That’s it for this week.
Back to our regular Friday night slot next week.
Have a great weekend.
This group won’t be at Irish Fest and may never perform again.
In May the members of Brave Giant that began in 2014 announced they were calling it quits.
“When we went back to writing new material at the beginning of the year, we just didn’t have that spark or energy that we have always had and collectively we came to the decision that we could call it a day. There has been no fall out or fighting, but collectively we have given our lives to the band, some of us for the best part of a decade, and that meant putting our lives on hold individually, and we each want to explore other avenues while we are still young and while we still can.”
Here they are at their peak, late last year at the sold out Olympia Theatre in Dublin.