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St. Patrick's Day With the Irish and the Jews

mic_moloney.jpegAboveMick Maloney's new album recreates music from the nearly forgotten era
 of collaboration between Jewish and Irish songwriters in pre-World War New York

By Sarah Litvin, The Forward

The first time Mick Moloney visited America, he fell in love with a library. "God almighty!" Moloney said when remembering it in a 1993 interview with Steve Winick of Dirty Linen magazine. "I couldn't leave it. I used to stay up all night reading these books." The library belonged to Kenny Goldstein, then chair of the University of Pennsylvania Folklore and Folklife Department. After enticing Moloney back to the States in 1972 to enroll in the University of Pennsylvania's folklore program, Goldstein served as Moloney's mentor, advocate, and friend, guiding him to international acclaim as a folklorist and musician. Thirty-six years after meeting Goldstein, Moloney noticed a trend: ?
Nearly all the significant partnerships I've had with people professionally have been with Jewish people."
Now read on after the jump

 This is the tenth anniversary event and here are this years participants.

 There are two new teachers in 2010: Téada's Tristan Rosenstock and Uiscedwr's Cormac Byrne! Add  Junior Davey, Jim Higgins, Siobhan O'Donnell, Stiofan O'Brion and Rolf Wagels and you will see that this years teachers board again covers a variety of styles and approaches in bodhrán playing.

Celtic Music Workshops and Lessons in Tucson For those musicians in the Tucson area, mark your calendars for August 26 an 27.  (For the Aran connection, read on....)
That's when you'll have the opportunity to take private lessons and/or workshops with the internationally renowned, award-winning musicians who make up the groups Cara and 2duos. The bands are performing on Saturday August 29, at the Temple of Music and Art (for ticket information, see The bands are arriving in town early and will be available to teach private lessons and workshops on Wednesday August 26 and Thursday August 27. Private lessons are $40/hr and workshops are $30 each. For more information, or to register, contact me at melissaltatum AT yahoo DOT com. Please note these are not beginner workshops - students are expected to provide their own instruments and know how to play them. Whistles should be in the key of D. Wednesday Aug 26 (Cara only): Private lessons available from 10am - 12:00noon and from 2:00-4:00pm on bodhran, fiddle, guitar, flute & whistle Thursday Aug 27 (Cara + 2duos): private lessons and workshops Private lessons available from 10am - 9pm on bodhran, fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, vocals, flute & whistle Thursday workshop schedule (note: for fiddle, flute, guitar,and whistle, two teachers are available and the workshops will be divided into two skill levels where necessary) 4:30-5:45pm fiddle 4:30-5:45pm flute 6:00-7:15pm guitar 6:00-7:15pm bodhran 7:30-8:45 pm whistle All events will be held at Rountree Hall on The University of Arizona campus. Band biographies: CARA tour world wide with their unique interpretation of Celtic music. They are rooted in traditional music and song, but their own exciting compositions have received wide critical acclaim. While the two female lead singers are surely a hallmark of the band, the quality standard for instrumentals and arrangements is equally high. Cara combine their mastery of vocals, piano, fiddle, flute, guitar, bodhrán, uilleann pipes, accordion and concertina with a dry-witted and very entertaining stage presence. For more about CARA, check out the band's websites at and 2duos consists of four well renowned and successful musicians from Europe - two from Scotland and two from Germany - all with a passion for Irish, Scottish and German folk music. Demonstrating that the musical culture and heritage of their home countries does indeed have lots in common, 2duos have been wowing both audiences and critics alike with their unique blend of German, Irish and Scottish tunes since their formation in December 2006. For more about 2duos, check out their websites at and Instructor biographies: Patricia Clark is studying for a BA in Irish music and Dance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick. She taught at numerous festivals around Europe like Cambridge Folk Festival and Sidmouth Folk Week in the UK, Le Bono in France and many more. She also is a sought after teacher for masterclasses by musicians visiting Ireland. Toured with several international artists such as Altan, At First Light, Gráda and The Outside Track. Patricia plays fiddle and piano Aaron Jones was voted 'Instrumentalist of the Year' at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2005 and is also a member of award winning Scottish band 'Old Blind Dogs' - winners of 'Folk Band of the Year' at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2004 and 2007. He is in great demand as both an accompanist and a singer and continues to work with some of the biggest names in traditional music. He is also a founding partner in traditional music resource, which launched in 2002. As well being a Committee Member for the Musicians Union of Scotland and Northern Ireland he is also an official accompanist at the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Awards. Aaron sings and plays bouzouki and guitar. Claire Mann has established herself as one of the leading performers and teachers of traditional Irish fiddle and flute. She has toured extensively worldwide with bands Tabache, Croabh Rua, The New Shoes, Tom McConville and Christy O'Leary and is also a tutor of traditional music on the renowned RSAMD and Newcastle University folk degree courses. Claire sings and plays flute, fiddle, and whistle. Claus Steinort started playing the Irish Flute in 1989. He has been touring and recording with several bands, including Dereelium, Steampacket and Cara. Claus has spent a lot of time in Ireland in the 90s, including a semester in Dublin, where he studied applied languages. Claus has a diploma degree in applied languages (technical translation). He has taught Irish flute playing since 1996 at various occasions, mainly for the Uilleann Pipes Society of Germany, at Wimborne Folk Festival (UK) and various Folk Weeks across Germany. He also started playing the Uilleann Pipes in 2004 and is a master of ornamentation and interpreting a tune. He also plays and teaches tin whistle. Juergen Treyz was classically trained on the piano and graduated in Jazz Guitar at the MGI Munich. He also got involved with medieval music as well as folk music from all over Europe. He combines his knowledge of harmonic structure with a sure taste in styles and is one of the most distinctive guitar players and arrangers in Celtic Music today. He also works as a composer for audio books, TV series, theatre plays and movies. He runs his own recording studio named artes Musikproduktion and produced a vast amount of CDs, both with his own music and as a producer for various bands. Rolf Wagels started playing bodhrán in 1993 and was rated among the best bodhrán players of continental europe. He teaches all over Germany and is a member of the highly praised trad irish bands Cara, DeReelium and Steampacket. In June 2005, he was the first non-irish teacher at the renowned Bodhrán Summerschool "Craiceann" on Inis Oirr (Aran Islands) and was asked to return every year since. His style is a mixture of traditional pulse orientated playing and the more extroverted top end style. Webpage: and Gudrun Walther was classically trained on the fiddle, but picked up folk music also from a very young age and combines the two styles in her fiddling. She studied in master classes with many internationally known fiddlers from Ireland, France, Germany and Scandinavia, and makes her living as a touring musician since 14 years. Gudrun is also a popular teacher for fiddle as well as for ensemble playing and arranging.

British Sea Power soundtrack to the Man of Aran

Clip of band British Sea Power playing their soundtrack to the Man of Aran at the Tan Hill Festival 2008

BSP Soundtrack Man Of Aran

British Sea Power
British Sea Power will soon soundtrack a movie I discovered in a university documentary film class about an island that's since become one of my favourite places in the world.

The Brighton, England band plan to record a soundtrack to director Robert Flaherty's 1934 film, Man Of Aran, after they finish their current tour with a show in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday.

The award-winning but controversial documentary depicts the harsh life led by the residents who fish and farm on the desolate and hostile but beautiful Aran Islands, off the western coast of Ireland near Galway.

Flaherty's estate is apparently interested in releasing Man Of Aran on DVD with British Sea Power's soundtrack.

British Sea Power members Hamilton (real name Neil Wilkinson) and Abi Fry will soon leave Brighton to live on another rugged island, Scotland's Isle Of Skye, where perhaps they'll locate Donald's troosers that Andy Stewart was trying to find.

British Sea Power previewed part of their Man Of Aran soundtrack at the Tan Hill Festival in August. Here's the footage:

Part one:

Part two:

Appalachian roots - Sarah McQuaid's new release

Sarah McQuaid  has traveled a journey from magazine editor to folk musician. Born in Madrid, raised in Chicago and holding dual Irish and American citizenship, the singer/guitarist and songwriter lived in Ireland from 1994 to 2007. She has since moved with her husband and two children to the home formerly occupied by her parents near Penzance, Cornwall.
She has released a striking album that reveals her true American roots. I Won't Go Home 'Til Morning, is the long-awaited follow-up to her acclaimed debut album When Two Lovers Meet, and marks a distinct change of focus. Whereas her first album was a feast of Irish music, this is an enchanting celebration of old-time Appalachian folk, with Sarah's arrangements punctuated by her own fine compositions and a cover of Bobbie Gentry's classic Ode to Billie Joe. She returned to Trevor Hutchinson's Marguerite Studios in Dublin, where her debut album had been recorded some ten years previously, to make the new album with Gerry O'Beirne once again in the producer's seat.

Here is an intriguing article she wrote in July for a"Roads Taken and Not Taken" series.

Roads Taken & Not Taken - Sarah (Allen) McQuaid '87

From magazine editor to folk musician living in Cornwall, England, find out about Sarah's journey -- including a performance on "The View". Our latest first-person account of life after graduation.

Virtually every important decision I've taken in my life has come about more or less by accident, and the decision to attend Haverford was no exception.

I'd already visited several colleges as a prospective student, feeling increasingly lost, invisible and uneasy. Not so at Haverford: there, people bent over backwards to make me feel welcome. One particularly friendly and enthusiastic group of freshmen practically frog-marched me into Paul Desjardins' Philosophy 101 class, and when I came out again an hour later, I was determined not only to go to Haverford but to major in philosophy.

Which I did, and it's a decision I've never regretted. What I do regret is that I didn't take my studies further. Dick Bernstein had even offered to help me expand my senior thesis into a book, and to this day I'm still kicking myself for letting such an incredible opportunity slip by; of all the stupid things I've done in my life, that's the one I'd most like to undo.

But I was young and foolish, as the song goes, and all I wanted was to get out of academia and into the "real world". I'd met a woman at a party who told me that she was leaving her job at a music shop in Philadelphia. Her soon-to-be-former boss was there, too - did I want to meet him?

So it was that I spent the next seven years working in Vintage Instruments, an Aladdin's cave of a place that sold fine violins and other old and rare instrument: 18th century flutes, Martin and Gibson guitars, theremins and sousaphones, nyckelharpas and chittarones.

I'd spent my junior year abroad at the University of Strasbourg, struggling though French translations of Hegel and Wittgenstein while singing and playing guitar with an Irish band whose members I'd met at, you guessed it, a party.

The banjo player in that band became my first husband, and while the marriage eventually foundered, my love affair with folk and traditional music didn't. By the time Noel and I split up, we'd moved to Ireland. I took Irish citizenship and stayed there for thirteen years.

I spent eleven of those years working as a magazine editor, a job I fell into by accident and eventually left when I couldn't stand it any more. I decided to try playing music for a living - and to my utter astonishment, it's been more successful than I could ever have envisaged.

Last year, I moved with my husband Feargal (another Irishman!) and our two children to Cornwall, in the southwest of England. My mother had died three years previously, and my stepfather, unable to manage on his own, made us an offer we couldn't refuse whereby he would renovate an outbuilding into a cottage for himself and hand the main house over to us.

We're living in a beautiful place, just a few miles from Land's End, and now I'm very excited about a new project I'm working on with another singer/songwriter I've met locally. I still play a guitar I bought from Vintage Instruments while working there, the payments coming out of my wages each month. My experience as a journalist comes in handy for writing press releases and newsletters, and philosophy continues to dominate my thinking and my reading.

So in a way it all makes sense...but there was no master plan, and still isn't. I've no idea what the next ten or twenty years will bring. The one thing I'm certain of is that whatever it is, it's the last thing I could imagine at the moment.

Sarah McQuaid '87 lives with her husband and two children in Cornwall, in the southwest of England.