“We raised $2K for Children”s Hospital…for the research of “SIDS”, said owner Andrew Toole, “We raised the money by silent auction with items donated by Natures Way, Pepsi Centre and Scruffy”s putting up two round trip tickets to Ireland.” Big Paddy, Kinetics & 66 Days provided entertainment. (photo by Donnie Danesh)
With fiddle in hand, she will drop into the Conor O”Neill”s Sunday night session in Boulder to play and visit with friends. “The folks there have been so supportive and kind,” she said about her fellow session players, “really generous with their excitement for me.” She will also teach fiddle lessons when she is home to her students with flexible schedules. “I really love to teach and get people excited about such a joyous music ” I think there are a lot of people out there that like the variety and spontaneity of the traditional Irish music ” it”s a great outlet for young and old”.Passionate about Irish traditional music, Jessie”s first instruction was in classical violin which she played for ten years as a child in Suffolk, England. For the past 15 years or so Jessie has been focusing on Irish trad but she has also been introduced to some of it”s cousins. “I”ve been influenced by American music like Old Time and Bluegrass as well because I”ve been living out in Colorado and played that a fair bit as well.”So going from trad to the bigger sound of GS, what kind of adjustments did you need to make?
”You have to do an adjustment with how you play ” like in a lot of kinds of music, if you”re the melody player people will follow you ” if you want to pick the pace of the tune up or slow it down you do and the guitarist will follow you. But when you”re in a more contemporary group with a drum kit you have to fit ” you can”t just say “gee, I think I”ll speed it up now” because you would just get out of time with everyone. The group is set by the drum and guitar and you have to fit. Fitting into that rhythm has probably been the hardest challenge for me… it continues to be a really fun challenge. I get to explore rhythm in a way that I”ve never done before ” I”m backing up the songs as well as playing melody”You have a wireless fiddle that allows you to interact freely with band members and audience. How have you adjusted to this physical movement aspect on stage?
”Yes, if I moved around like that in a trad setting I would take everyone out,” she said with a laugh, adding, “Pretty much of the job description is to be really energetic and just really have a great time playing on stage ” and we honestly are- its the highlight of every day to get on stage and play ” we spend all day getting -driving there, arranging it ” then you finally get up there and play. I get really filled with energy when I”m up on stage, and the tunes are so catchy that I just can”t stand still.”So how did you get plucked out of comfortable Colorado to tour the world with GS?
”I put my Myspace page(website) together and started shooting-off “friend requests” (one way musicians cross promote on each others sites) to just all sorts of people including Gaelic Storm.” A day or two later Jessie got and email from their Nashville management office requesting that she give them a call and arrange to fly out to the East coast to audition the next week. “He sent me a bunch of cds-and I tried to learn about six albums in one week-which backfired” she laughed recalling the information overload. “But I did the audition with them and it went well and they were all really nice…Ellery Klein (their fiddle player at the time) with her pregnant tummy was very nice and helpful. They gave me-kind of like a trial period where I went out on tour for about a week apprenticing with her – so we would be both on stage and she showed me the ropes.Once we worked out that I wanted to be there and they wanted me there than Ellery left when she was about 5 months pregnant – so I became their full time fiddle player.”Now that you have been touring for a half a year or so do you feel like a bona fide member of the band?
”Now it feels like I have been doing it forever” she said with a laugh, then resumed on a more serious note, “I think it is so much about how personalities get on ” its no use being an amazing musician if there is a big personality riff of people ” the chemistry of the band is more important. It”s sooo great, we really, really like each other and watch out for each other.”So as the only female in the band are they protective of you?
”Actually they are- they definitely keep an eye on me ” they”ve let me know that if there was ever any trouble, all I had to do was whistle and they would be there with their boxing gloves on.”Is there any downside to being the only female in the band?
”Not really, they have had a girl in the band for the last ten years, so in a way they treat me like one of the guys. Though they do tease me all the time ” lucky I grew up in a big family of 7 brothers and sisters. , I do beeline to other female musicians I meet on the road and immediately start talking about things that I wouldn”t normally talk about with my girlfriends -like hair, make-up and clothes.”What! the lads won”t chat fashion with you?
”No, but you would be surprised how much time they spend on their hair ” much more than me!” She said with a laugh, assuring me that none of the lads were in earshot.GS spends close to 200 days on the road, how are you managing all the time on the road ” the tour bus, hotels?
”It”s a unique work situation where you virtually live with your co-workers and bosses and you depend on each other for company-you create music together, you do business as a team – a lot of our time goes into merchandise “selling and accounting. When were on the tour bus, its is a big vehicle and you can get space on it you know ” you learn quickly how important to have a really could set of headphones-and a good computer-and I-pod so you have the option to be in your own world as you travel. I”m so glad cell phones were invented because I can stay in touch with friends back home, and of course email is really key. We don”t sleep on the bus we stay in hotels all the time ” it would be a lot harder if we had to sleep on the bus.”Is there a shower? ”Yes “but it is occupied by beer crates.”So the all the travel is not draining?”Mostly I”ve woke up every morning excited to see what”s coming next- but every now again you just want to go home-you just want your mommy you know. You just want some good healthy home cooked food and the same bed and a place where you can be by yourself every now and again. But that happens rarely- and I think that you have to be kind of an adventurous kind of person who likes to be in new places and see new things all of the time.”What has been your most memorable gig so far?”I heard about Milwaukee for decades ” about being such an amazing festival ” and to actually get to play there was like a dream come true for sure.Friday night played in front of upwards to 10,000 people…as far back as you could see was a sea of people ” it was a little daunting to be up there with legends of Irish music all over the place ” and thousands and thousands of people. The energy was phenomenal “really incredible!Saturday the rain came. Waking up on Saturday morning and seeing sheets of rain coming down wondering yet again if it would be another festival wash-out which happened a lot this summer. But, the Saturday concert was turned out to be incredible. The band said that it was the best show that they have done in ten years ” since they had been together. It was definitely the most fun that I”ve ever had on stage ” just because everyone kind of teamed together-the audience was out in the wet and cold, and we were up there knowing that we had to cheer them up and give them something to dance about and get warm again ” We ended up stage surfing on the front of the stage on our stomachs in front of all of those people ” this band is all about giving people a really good time – making people feel really glad that they”re at the gig and have them leave with big smiles on their faces.”Jessie will be having a couple of homecoming of sorts – November 1st when she returns to Colorado with Gaelic Storm, and November 9th when she and the band will be in concert in New Mexico where her mom grew up and many relatives live.An Evening with Gaelic Storm, Thursday, November 1st, 7:30 pm Show, 6:30pm Doors. All Ages Show (Under 16 must be accompanied by parent w/ticket)/GA. Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood CO. Tickets: $15.00 Advance $20.00 DOS. Advance tickets at Denver Folklore Center, Kereen O”Connors and at: www.gothictheatre.com or call 303-777-0502An Evening with Gaelic Storm, Friday, November 9th, 8:00pm Show, 7:00pm Doors, ALL AGES SHOW/GA, The Historic El Rey Theater, 622 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM. Tickets $10 kids & students w/school I.D., $15 Advance $20 DOS. Advance tickets available at Encore Music, Bookworks, All Zone location, 1.866.I.GetTix or GetTix.net.In Colorado call 303-777-0502.
The event raised $7,000 for the Denver Fire Fighters Burn Foundation. “Another great day of golf for a great cause” according to Steven Annis, tournament director. The 5th annual tournament will take place Monday June 23, 2008. Pictured above is John Nallen presenting the check at the Denver Fire Dept. station #6. John Nallen and family from CO, Mayo Ireland own Nallen”s Irish Pub in downtown Denver and have also recently opened O”Shea”s Tavern & Grill in the Denver Tech Center.
The competition was to see who could pour the perfect pint of Murphy’s stout, at stake was a trip to Ireland to visit the Murphy’s Brewery in Cork. Contestants were judged in 10 different categories and the top three contestants were: First Place Winner, Pat Balai from The”Celtic Tavern; First Runner Up, Julia Farkas The Irish Snug; Second Runner Up, Brendan”Dorney from the Irish Rover.
The Colorado Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar player”s tune was one of 25 songs picked from thousands submitted from around the world by a panel of well-known music industry professionals such as Peter Gabriel, Wynonna, Cindi Lauper, David Grisman, and Patti Loveless.Among the list of the 25 winners sharing Jerry”s prestigious award include such world class songwriters as Kris Kristoferson, John Gorka, Sam Bush, and Gregg Brown. Jerry said that he was “pleased and proud” of his award and “honored to be in such company.”Songs from his Jerry”s first CD, KEEPSAKE have been played on National Public Radio and were included in a PBS documentary Song of Our Children. He recently completed an engagement as the featured musician for Imagination Makers Theater Company, performing at two elementary schools a day, Monday through Friday, for a period of three months, presenting a children”s play about an Irish family coming to America.Jerry also performs solo for children in the Denver Schools and described these appearances in his monthly newsletter, “I present a great deal of historical as well as musical information and often spend as much time answering questions as playing music. I”m glad to see schools presenting a variety of music and culture to children who otherwise would have very limited exposure.”Jerry”s internationally recognized arrangements of Irish, Scottish and Appalachian music on fingerstyle guitar have been described as “heart warming” and “uplifting”.In concert, the warm and accessible performer brings traditional Celtic tunes alive by sharing the history, humor and legends behind the music.Keepsake and Bring Down the Storm are now available at the Denver Folklore Center, Twist & Shout, Amazon.com or at any of Jerry”s performances. For more information about his schedule, bookings, lessons, or ordering CDs check out website www.jerrybarlow.com or call 303/756-4418.
The five young ladies (Kristian Cowden, Clare Barrett, Emily Barrett, Gwenllian Kern-Allely and Maggie Thulson) are under the direction of Mrs. Barbara Allen of the Denver School of the Arts.The presentation was entitled “The Misnomer of An Gorta Mor (Great Famine)” and told the story of how the Famine was a man-made disaster that cost the lives of over 1 Million Irish and forced an unknown number of Irish to emigrate from their country with the beginnings of the great Irish Diaspora. Land owners in Ireland were growing food but it was being shipped overseas to other parts of the empire as a “money crop”. The potato (native to South America) had been introduced into Ireland by the English to feed the masses. With the blight on the potato, the Irish (dispossessed of their land) were left to fend for themselves. The visitors gave the young ladies a rousing ovation after the presentation, and watched as AOH Michael Collins Div. 1 President Patrick F. Sullivan and Treasurer Michael Regan gave the ladies an additional Special Cash Award from AOH National. Ken Hannon LarsonCultural CoordinatorColorado Irish Festival
National History Day is a nation wide history competition for students from 6th through 12th grade. The purpose of the competition is to create projects such as documentaries, display boards, plays, or papers relating to a different theme chosen each year. This year”s theme was “Triumph and Tragedy” and topics are chosen to illustrate this theme. Students must compete in three different competitions regional, state competition, and finally the national competition. Every year students from all over the country gather at the University of Maryland in College Park for the National History Day competition. After five days of extreme pressure, students gather in the indoor stadium for the awards ceremony. The top three projects in every category are awarded medals, but in addition to those are several special prizes awarded to excellence in projects relating to a certain category. The Irish award is one of these special awards given to two projects in the Junior and Senior divisions, awarded by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. This year the award in the senior division was won by: Clare Barrett, Emily Barrett, Kristian Cowden, Gwenllian Kern-Allely, and Maggie Thulson for their senior group performance on the Irish Potato Famine entitled “The Misnomer of An Gorta Mor” (The Great Hunger in Gaelic). The work on this project spanned ten months. All students attend Denver School of the Arts and are under the direction of Mrs. Barbara Allen. After critiquing many projects pertaining to Irish history or Irish American history, three members of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Tom Conway, Mike McCormack, and David A. Ring awarded the group a $1500 prize. In addition to being awarded the Irish award, this project received 7th place (out of 90 performance groups) in the nation in the senior group performance category. There were about 2,000 participants in this years NHD competition. The keynote speaker was Award winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns.(Students to be honored at Colorado Irish Festival)
U2 Tribute Concert w/Under A Blood Red Sky and special guest comedian Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald Friday July 13
“UNDER A BLOOD RED SKY” is a classic U2 tribute band out of Denver Colorado. All members have been longtime original artists in and around Denver who have been brought together by a strong love of U2 music. They recreated the legendary 1983 “Live at Red Rocks” concert which they debuted on New Years Eve 2006 at a sold out show at the Paramount Theatre in Denver. They have since expanded their show to include a full catalog of songs from there early albums Boy, October, War, Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree. According to the band, “Our goal is to form a community of U2 fans that we can entertain by bringing back all the old classic U2 songs and put them back on stage where U2 fans can relive the early songs that made them U2 fans to begin with.” Opening the concert will be comedian, veterinarian, star of Animal Planet”s “Emergency Vets,” and former bouncer to the Rolling Stones, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald.The festival grounds will not be open entirely until Saturday and Sunday July 14 & 15 ” However, refreshments will be available for the Friday U2 tribute Concert.U2 Tribute Concert w/Under A Blood Red Sky and special guest comedian Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald Friday July 13, 2007, 6:30 pm Doors .Clement Park, S. Pierce St. at Bowles Ave., Littleton,$5 at www.coloradoirishfestival.com Free Parking!
As a child growing up in Canada, Loreena trained in classical piano and voice and she also learned to dance in the highland style. During a brief period studying at the University of Manitoba, she frequented the folk clubs of Winnipeg, which helped to hone her skills as a performer and strengthen her love of traditional music. After relocating to Stratford, Ontario, she eventually began capturing her haunting, high voice on recordings, at first releasing cassettes on her own label, Quinlan Road. By 1989, Loreena broke through with Parallel Dreams, and by the early 1990’s, with the release of her fourth album, The Visit, she achieved the kind of acclaim that has followed her ever since, selling hundreds of thousands of copies, and earning the first of her many Juno awards, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy, as did McKennitt’s next recording, The Mask and Mirror, in 1994.Ms.McKennitt’s latest CD, her seventh, An Ancient Muse, continues her long term exploration of the international sounds that influenced the traditional songs of Ireland and Scotland. As typified by the multi-million selling hit The Mummer’s Dancer, from The Mask and the Mirror, the music on her latest album is infused with sounds more usually associated with Mediterranean cultures like Turkey, Greece, and Spain, as well as the distinctive flavors of Scandinavia. This record is a little like equipping yourself with a Eurail card, she said of her new CD, It’s like saying, I don’t know where I’m going on this trip. I’m just going to get on board the train, and allow each encounter to lead to the next.This musical travelogue has already garnered sales of over 500,000 copies, no doubt boosted in large measure by her excellent PBS television special, “Nights from the Alhambra.” Viewers of that program saw for themselves some of the exotic instrumentation Loreena features on An Ancient Muse, such as the zither-like kanoun from Arabia, the Persian lute called an oud, the Norwegian resonating Hardanger fiddle, and the Swedish hurdy-gurdy contraption known as the nyckelharpa. The new CD reaffirms Loreena McKennitt place as one of the great creative forces in Celtic music today, with an encompassing sense of grandeur and history and one of the clearest voices ever heard.
From Belfast to Wheat Ridge Stephen McCabe Brings Irish Specialties and Hospitality to Edwards Meats
Edwards Meats opened in Wheat Ridge in1961 next to Abner”s Garden Center. In 1966 both Abner”s and Edwards moved to their current location. They have been a family-run business for three generations. “My grandfather started it, my dad took it over from him, and I”m working on it.” said Darin Edwards who runs most of the day-to-day operations. When answering how the market stood the test of time, Darin explained, “We have always focused on personalized service” pointing with pride to his friendly staff willing to help customers with anything from dinner ideas to cooking tips. “We also have added store space and services, including a smoke house, and continue to add to our line of products.” A specialty grocery and deli with prepared foods make for a convenient one-stop shopping market for meals, parties, and special events. They even have charcoal and wood chips for the barbeque ” 18 different kinds!First-time customers to Edwards Meats should plan some extra time to absorb all that it has to offer. Not that the market is overwhelming in size, it”s easily negotiable, but it is packed with loads of familiar and exotic products. There are all kinds of steaks, roasts and beef ” from ground to Rocky Mountain Oysters (bull bollucks) – pork, poultry, Colorado lamb, veal, fresh fish & seafood, buffalo and wild game ” cut fresh or smoked to your liking. There are probably close to fifty (no, I didn”t count) kinds of homemade sausages ” fresh or smoked. How about a turduckin (turkey stuffed with Creole stuffing, a boneless duck, and a boneless chicken?) Included in the most recent products category at Edwards are the Irish specialty meats developed by meat cutter and former native of Belfast, Stephen McCabe. Stephen has been cutting meat for the past five years, and over the course has introduced popular items including Back Bacon, Irish Pork-n-Leek Sausage, Breakfast Bangers, Guinness Sausage and Irish Black & White Pudding, to name a few.Stephen was not originally hired to develop Irish products. “I hired him specifically because he”s about one of the only meat cutters that knows as much as I do” Darin answered bluntly, adding, “He”s great, he can do everything in this place that I can do ” which is pretty amazing ” I”ve been here 20 years, and I”ve never seen anyone come in here and run all of the equipment that we have and do all of the different things that we do ” and know how to do it! As the story goes, Darin brought Stephen in for a two week trial as a meat cutter. After a day or two working at the market the duely-impressed Darin offered Stephen a full-time job. Stephen laughs when he recalled the job try-out. “I had to impress them, the very first number I called was Edwards Meats ” the other eight I called weren”t hiring!Darin and staff were not only impressed with Stephen”s exceptional meat cutting skills, but his customer service skills tracked right in line with the their philosophy. “We get great feedback from customers who return asking, “where”s that Irish guy, he really helped me””. But as far as Stephen was concerned, “it was just the way I was brought up over there ” just leave what I”m doing and go out and talk to people ” treat people like a human being not as a dollar sign.” His meat-cutting skills and work ethic are all part of a job that Stephen really enjoys, “They have accepted me with open arms and I love working for them ” they”re just a great bunch of guys ” a real family-run business.”Both Stephen”s meat-cutting skills and work ethic were developed in Belfast. He grew up in the Catholic financially-depressed Falls Road neighborhood ” ground zero for activities involving “The Troubles” that ignited the underlying hatred between Republican and Unionist sentiments in the later half of last century. If it wasn”t for a couple of twists of fate and strong advice from an older brother, Stephen may have never seen the light of a Colorado day.Stephen left school at the age of 14, a very vulnerable age in a dangerous place and time. He and some of his neighborhood friends took advantage of a work program offered through the Christian Brothers secondary school, Gort na Mona (The Fields of Turf.)The program tried to keep kids off the street, so as not to be recruited into the activities of “The Troubles” ” which meant in Stephen”s neighborhood, a high percentage of getting jail time, or losing life. Luckily, his fate was sealed by a coin toss from one of the Christian Brothers. “It was a toss-up between me and another guy to get a job between a meat market and supermarket ” I called heads and ended up working in a meat shop called Billy Larkeys”” for which he was initially paid about a pound a week. “If I could shake his hand I”d shake his hand ” he did me two good things, he got me a trade that I could carry into the new world and a second chance of life.” For the next 20 years Stephen went on to work and learn his trade at a number of meat markets around Belfast. He even tried out at a few higher paying jobs in the Protestant markets but on threats of his life “learned to work in my comfort zone.”Stephen also brought up the name of his oldest brother Tony McCabe for whose passing the family just celebrated the second anniversary. Having spent time in jail for activities with the troubles, Tony gave advice to Stephen and his other four brothers to keep away from the gangs and groups involved in the strife. He told them that they would become just like a lighter ” once your flame went out you would be disposable. “My brother Tony was like a Shephard”s star that would lead you in the right direction ” he got me to the clean, and straight, and narrow and I”ve come through life with not too many points against me.”In the year 2000, the decision to move to America came sudden and absolute. Stephen was living in Belfast with his wife Darlene, who was originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, and their Belfast-born baby girl Ciara. One night they heard a commotion in front of their house; they opened their door to find a gunman motion them back inside and on the floor. A short time later shots rang out as two men in the neighborhood were shot.As soon as she could, Darlene left with the baby for Colorado. Stephen started an 11-month paperwork process to get his “Green Card” and followed his family to Colorado. Stephen and Darlene have since added 2 more girls, Breanna and Kaleigh, to their Wheat Ridge home. Much of their leisure time is spent with the Denver Gaels.Stephen has seemed to have found a comfort zone in his new home. He still has friends and family in Belfast and speaks about them with fondness. He does not talk bitter about “the Troubles” and just chalks it up to “the unfortunate history of Ireland”. Along with the so-many others, he has fingers crossed and hands held in prayer as the new power-sharing Executive took place last month inside Stormont Assembly in Belfast. It is hoped that the Executive, which includes former adversarial Republican and Unionist parties, will make a giant step toward a lasting peace and equality in Northern Ireland. As much as he is proud of his roots, Stephen is grateful for his “new life”. “I thank all of the people I have met in America who have not done me wrong ” and if I get a chance I will do them right.” So stop down to the Colorado landmark Edwards Meats and ask for “that Irish guy” and let him do you right.Edwards Meats, 12280 W. 44th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, Colorado (I-70 and 1 block East of Ward Road; Exit 266) OPEN 7 DAYS Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Information online at www.edwards-meats.com Order by phone, 303-422-4397.
Slevin plays her guitar and sings for the patients at The Children”s Hospital almost every week, is active with Habitat for Humanity, and spearheads her office”s annual Coats for Colorado drive to benefit the homeless in the metro Denver area, among other charitable endeavors. “I am honored to be recognized as Humanitarian of the Year” said Slevin, “I am grateful that my parents are excellent examples of how important it is to try to make a difference in people”s lives, and how wonderful it is to give to your community”. Slevin added that playing her guitar for the young patients at the Children”s Hospital is particularly rewarding. “I recently played for a downs syndrome child who had been deaf from birth the day after he had surgery to restore his hearing. It was the first music he ever heard”.Slevin also contributes time to the annual Miracle on 19th Street fundraiser for the homeless, and is an annual participation with Race for the Cure. She enjoys snowboarding. biking, hiking, golf, and occasionally can be seen playing a fairly mean bohdran at Irish music sessions.
In fact, it could be said that this modest ring directly led Mike from obscurity to fame and helped him achieve his creative destiny.”The story of this ring forms the cornerstone of Leonard”s best selling book, “The Ride of Our Lives ” Roadside Lessons of an American Family”. Published in 2006, the best-selling, critically acclaimed memoir”s paperback edition will be released next month, just in time for Father”s Day.