Gerry Staunton, Consul General of Ireland spent a couple of days in Denver last month meeting members of the Irish community. He wanted to offer himself as a resource who can be called on to assist with matters concerning the Irish community in Colorado and was open to more frequent visits and contact with this region.Staunton”s visit coincides with a national Irish effort, supported by the Irish Government to reach out to members of Ireland”s Diaspora. September 18-20, The Global Irish Economic Forum was held in Farmleigh House, an estate purchased in 1999 by the Irish Government from the Guinness family, north-west of Dublin’s Phoenix Park.The three-day conference brought together influential members of the global Irish community with records of high achievement in business, culture, as well as a number of individuals with a strong business connection to Ireland. Miche”l Martin, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs said on conference website, www.globalirishforum.ie , “Over the course of the Forum, attendees explored how the Irish, at home and abroad, and those with a strong interest in Ireland, can work together to contribute to our overall efforts at economic renewal and to build new connections between Ireland and our global community.” Although the Forum was closed to general media, many of the attendees have spoken publicly with positive support of the effort and hopes of future benefits. A report on the conference will be given to the Irish Government for its consideration.Gerry Staunton is a native of Westport, Co Mayo, Ireland, he has been a member of the Irish Foreign Service for almost thirty years. He is married to Mary (McDermott) and they have two adult children, Louise and David. He assumed duty as Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States, based in San Francisco, in August of 2008. The Consulate provides assistance to Irish citizens in the Rocky Mountain west to Alaska, Hawaii, Guam & The Marianas. It is a point of help with applying for Irish citizenship, Irish passports and visas, and other services but also a good source of information on many cultural and economic links between Ireland and the United States. www.consulateofirelandsanfrancisco.org
The Francis McPeake School of Music Asks for Your Help: Celebrities and Music Lovers join in campaign to save Legendary Irish Music School in Belfast
(from September 09 Celtic Connection)The McPeake Family started playing music, in Ireland, in 1904. The family were at the forefront of the revival of Irish and folk music throughout the 1950″s and 1960″s. Francis McPeake I penned the folk anthem “Will Ye Go Lassie Go” aka “Wild Mountain Thyme” in the early 1950″s. With such a pedigree, the McPeakes were approached in 1977 to host tin whistle lessons for six weeks, to give the youth of Belfast a cultural alternative to the civil unrest that was a part of everyone”s life in Northern Ireland at that time. An amazing music school grew out of those lessons and thirty-two years later, the McPeakes are still teaching traditional music in Belfast. Throughout these 32 years, the McPeakes have inspired and taught to the highest standard in traditional music and produced the largest number of All-Ireland competitors, champions, and tutors and inspired many, many professional musicians. Currently run by Francis McPeake IV , the school unfortunately is under threat due to lack of funds and as such the “Mosaic of Support” has been created. Dancing legend Michael Flatley has lent his support to the campaign to secure the future of the school. Michael said, “I wish The Francis McPeake School of Music the very best of luck. The music of our heritage is a very important part of our lives; it influences us when we”re young and is invaluable as we get older.”Bill Wolsey, entrepreneur and owner of the most public houses in Ireland”s history, said “The McPeakes have taught all classes and creeds for four generations in Belfast. They have taught through good and bad times, through times of trouble and times of peace. To me The McPeakes represent everything that is good about Ireland.”Along with Michael and Bill other internationally acclaimed celebrities including The Pogues, Moya Brennan, Phil Coulter, Ash, Therapy, Brian Kennedy, and Sir James & Lady Galway, have come together to lead in supporting the future of the world renowned Francis McPeake School of Music by purchasing tiles in the “Mosaic of Support”.”The Mosaic Of Support” campaign calls on local, national and international artists, businesses and music lovers to purchase tiles within an original Mosaic art piece. The Mosaic will contain 3000 individual tiles. Each supporter that purchases a tile (or 2!) will have their logo or name put on the tile. Award Winning, London Designer, Jake Tilson is on board to create the art piece, which when completed will be exhibited to the public and on line on the school”s web site. The cost of one tile is $200 and will help to secure the financial future of the school.Francis McPeake IV is also producing a documentary called “Are ya goin” to McPeakes tonight?” the story of how the Francis McPeake School of Music has changed people, culture and Belfast since 1977 and the resulting social impact of it were to close. It will examine the extraordinary influence the school has had on the lives of the students, how Belfast has been changed through their music and highlight the many professional musicians and friends of the school and the professional traditional musicians the school has produced. The documentary will feature the fundraising journey and the creative development and recording of a musical score called the “Jam Piece”, the concept of which is when a artist, individual or business purchases a tile, they will be asked to record and video tape one note of music, 15 seconds long, which will then be orchestrated into a large piece of music ” “The Jam Piece”.”The Jam Piece” will be mixed by Tom Newman, engineer and producer of “Tubular Bells”, the theme from the Exorcist, forming the signature piece for the documentary. The documentary will have a premier screening in Belfast and we will hopefully get distribution for it here in the US.To become a supporter of the Francis McPeake School of Music simply log onto www.francismcpeake.com or call +44 (0)28 9024 4544 for further details.
By Jennifer Dempsey Last month, 14 members of Northern Ireland’s Circus WAVE became part of the Salida Circus family in Chaffee County, Colorado.For two weeks, Circus WAVE members stayed with host families and joined in a circus schedule that included stiltwalking in the July 4th parade, community potlucks dinners, a sold-out show in downtown Salida, camping, hiking, hot springs and a guest appearance at the Colorado Irish Festival in Denver.”It was the most exhausting and exhilarating two weeks of my life,” said Leslie Garrity, a Salida Circus parent and host mother to two teenage girls from Ballymoney.Circus WAVE stems from the WAVE Trauma Centre, a bereavement and counseling service founded in 1991 that works with all persons in Northern Ireland who have been deeply affected by the Troubles (ethno-political conflict). Circus WAVE was started in 1999 as a personal development and confidence-building tool for the young people of WAVE. ”Being a youth worker for WAVE Trauma Centre, I have gotten to know some amazing kids, but kids with very low self-confidence,” said Darren Gribben, a WAVE Youth leader. “When the Colorado trip came along and working with the Salida Circus and the American kids, the WAVE youth suddenly sprang to life and found confidence they never knew they had. I hope that one day this will lead to bigger challenges. All being well, we will return to Colorado to see the new best friends we have made and show off some new circus tricks.”Salida resident Marsha Sherry watched the show created by Salida Circus and Circus WAVE. “Having fun and expressing creativity are primordial and universal,” she said. “Doing it together creates self-esteem and deep bonds that unite our souls and transcend intellectual concepts. My husband and I were enriched and blessed to witness the circus show.” Former Chaffee County AARP president Jerry Knowles said, “As a former administrator on the Apache reservation, it was so fulfilling to see how creative experiences can help kids grow and become self-confidence and optimistic. It was really a celebration of the human spirit to see these young people rise above the bitterness of their pasts and not stay down because of the throes of life. That made my heart go out to them.” Tricia Magee, director of WAVE Youth said, “This trip has had the most amazing outcomes for every single member of our group and for that I can’t thank the Salida Circus families enough. I am in no doubt that this experience will continue to have an impact for years to come.” Circus WAVE’s trip to Salida was made possible by generous donations from the Celtic Connection, Colorado Irish Festival, DC Friends of Ireland and the Law Offices of Rebecca Adelman. For more information about the WAVE Trauma Centre, go to www.wavetraumacentre.org.uk. For more information about the Salida Circus go to www.salidacircus.com
For about one-half of the 15 Annual Colorado Irish Festivals, Tom Radcliffe has been involved. Each year as voids appeared and needs became apparent Tom stepped up to take on more responsibility. His ability to take on added challenges led him to the position of festival chairman. It”s not that he set out to be the chairman of the festival. Long before he met his lovely wife Tina, he met and dated a charming lady that was involved in the festival. While their relationship lasted only weeks she hooked him on being involved in the festival. Tom saw the annual Irish extravaganza as an opportunity to get back into festivals, something that he enjoyed so much in his hometown of Seattle. Tom”s CIF adventure started as a go-fer in the general services area”putting up fencing, building stages, and the glamour part- arranging the portable toilets. He moved on to designing the festival layout, analyzing the power needs and negotiating with contractors. He eventually became the head of General Services. Having conquered General Services, he will coordinate the food and merchandise vendors at the upcoming festival at Clement Park in Littleton, July 10-12.With having accomplished so much with the festival it is hard to believe that Tom has 2 other careers”information technology manager at Pridemark Paramedic Services and owner of Total Web Design. He does own a TV but can not recall the last time he turned it on.Tom answers the question””Why do you participate in the Festival?” “First of all I love the event and I enjoy seeing it get better each year. I work with a group of friendly committed people that give their best. And finally, it is so rewarding at the end of the weekend to see the thousands of guests smiling and enjoying themselves and knowing that I had a small part in creating their happiness.”Kacey O”Connor, CO-President of the Festival, adds” We would be sunk without Tom. He is extremely well-organized, talented and most importantly calm under pressure which is sometimes in short supply with our group.”If you would like to join Tom and the other wonderful people involved in the Colorado Irish Festival please visit the web site www.coloradoirishfestival.org and click on get involved. You will thoroughly enjoy the experience.
It”s no coincidence that the Common Grounds coffee house logo is similar to the Irish Claddagh ring. The logo was developed by Lisa Rogers and family who opened the first Common Grounds (in Highlands neighborhood), in 1992, as a non-smoking alternative to the Denver bar scene. In tune with her Irish heritage, she incorporated the symbolic”hands of friendship” element of the ring with a welcoming cup of coffee. In the middle of her java inspired entrepreneurial pursuits, Lisa worked to get her MBA from University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, and still found the time to stay connected with her “inner green” through Irish set dancing, volunteer for Celtic Events, and squeaked in a side trip to the “Emerald Isle” that lasted four years.It was there, that her affinity for her favorite color began to move in a different direction “Vertical!Ballymaloe is a family run guest house accommodation, restaurant, and cooking school, in large country house on a working farm in east Cork, Ireland. Lisa lived nearby and was inspired by people whom were big proponents of local produce and farm products. When she returned home to Colorado she missed not having farms around, knowing the farmer or the source of quality locally produced food. Lisa wondered about the possibilities for significant food production in her urban Denver ” “do we even know what our own environment is capable of supporting?” is a question she asked.Her answer came last October as she watched an interview of Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc. (GrowingPower.org) “He said things in those thirty seconds that just hit me ” like, we can grow food in the city, we can grow it vertically, and that we can grow jobs.”Lisa gave a brief example of Vertical/Urban Farming and of multistory greenhouse which have been built around the world from Israel to Dubai. “On the south side of your building, up and down, becomes a greenhouse and the rest of your building you have living space…Another way to go vertical is not to plant on the ground, but instead you plant in greenhouses and you use every inch of space ” you have shelves going up as high as you can reach and you have pots hanging down from the walls so you turn a 2000 square foot space into 5000 square feet of growing area.”In addition to helping providing our city with a long term system of producing safe, quality, and accessible foods, Lisa gave an impressive list of potential environmental and life quality benefits that communities can reap by using urban farming techniques:Turning unused vacant lots into attractive, safe urban farms; Improving storm water collection; Composting the 30% of the waste stream that is organic waste; Cleaning up soil that is contaminated; Reducing air pollution; Reducing urban cooling energy requirements as a result of adding plants to the environment; Increasing biodiversity (Lisa gave one example: “We grow Tilapia fish, recycling the water to feed the plants. By the time the water circulating through all the plants returns to the fish it is clean and bubbly again making a closed system with really healthy plants and fish.”)Lisa and company have set a goal of 500 urban green houses in Denver over next five years, with them developing into community urban agriculture complex with year-round farm markets, cafes serving the produce grown inside, classrooms and business incubator space, an edible garden open to the public, seasonal festivals bringing together food and people. Not shy about rolling up her sleeves to make her vision happen, she has been busy educating people and locating projecting funding and entrepreneurs. ”We”ve been talking with the City, making presentations, educating the City Council members on what Urban Agriculture and we”re hopeful that the new zoning coming out will allow for much Urban Agriculture.” In these harder financial times, the job creation aspect of urban farming is compelling to many, points out Lisa, “One farmer manages 100 acres right now in agriculture, but if you go into urban agriculture it switches 100 farmers for one acre ” and those are serious jobs,” This can be achieved from the reduction of expenses through the absence of chemical fertilizers, packaging and transportation costs. “For every one dollar spent on produce, 65% goes to transportation, pesticides and fertilizer, and 35% goes to packaging.” With Irish passion rising in her voice she continued, “For 40 years the farming industry has had a loss -every year! And it one of our strongest industries ” What a Joke! It”s not, it”s like Detroit telling us auto making is one are strongest industries, it”s not! This is about the business of farming ” this is about taking all those family farms that have sort of disappeared from America and bring them to the city, because guess what, that”s were they live now. And we have to bring the food to us, because right now we are getting our food from between 2 to 6 thousand miles away. So when you hear that it is only point two percent of our food that we are producing in Colorado that we eat ourselves- point 2 percent that”s really dangerous! During the Swine Flu outcry there were people on the radio saying that people should be stocking-up, that if the U.S. closed its borders to Mexico we would have about 2 days of fresh food in reserve.””Go vertical, get in close and save money!”For more info: www.FeedDenver.com
(Pat McCullough June 09 Celtic Connection)Adding color to Coloradoans lives has been Andrew Toole”s job for almost 15 years.After arriving in America he made his way to Colorado, “I had heard that it was a good environment to live and start a business…At that time, in pre-“Celtic Tiger” Ireland a lot of business prospects were poor.” With a strong work ethic acquired growing up on his families” farm in County Meath, along with a variety of skills that included painting, he founded Denver based painting company, Ireland”s Finest, Inc. in 1995. In time the company became a member of The Painting & Decorating Contractors of America, and earned a Gold Star as member of the Better Business Bureau. “Our reputation has been built on high quality performance and customer satisfaction… we pride ourselves on competitive rates, but at the end of the day it”s all about doing the best job.”A few years back, Andrew came across another business opportunity and in March of 2005 he and business partner Donnie Danesh opened Scruffy Murphy”s (2030 Larimer St) in the Ballpark Neighborhood in Downtown Denver. “It was just another business- it was why not give it a whirl,” explaining his new adventure, “Besides, it”s every Irishmen”s dream to open an Irish Pub in America ,” he added with a wink and a smile. Though Andrew would be first to say that it was a fun project he will also tell you how much hard work that is put into a successful pub. “People might come in and see ya having a pint and a laugh and think that you are on Easy Street, when really they don”t have a clue on how much work and time that you put into a place.” Much of the work and time at Scruffy”s has been taken on by friend (and sometimes fellow teammate on the Denver Gaels hurling team) John Elliott, who recently took over majority ownership. “John is a good spud – he has been doing good work- even managed to get Flogging Molly to do a late night concert at the pub!”Meanwhile, rolling stones gather no moss – Andrew and Donnie opened Ned Kelly”s at 5686 S Sycamore St, in downtown Littleton, a block or so from the new RTD light rail. They took over a historic space which was previously the “Oasis” Bar. It was a small neighborhood gathering spot just off Main Street. That was part of the appeal. “The idea of a small neighborhood pub is what I”m after, like something that you would find in a town or village in Ireland…we added a patio, fireplace, and an authentic Irish feel, so it is still a cozy place.” And the neighborhood supports the new offering, “We are delighted to see the local support and the return of many patrons of the Oasis…They have been here longer than us, and in many ways this pub is as much theirs as ours…we”re just happy to add a little color to their day” Ireland”s Finest 303-512-8777 www.irelandsfinestinc.com [email protected]Scruffy Murphy”s, Denver 303-291-6992 Ned Kelly”s, Littleton 720-283-8717
Take the first step and go to Celtic Tavern Riverside Downs, 2620 W Belleview Ave, Littleton, CO 80123 (303-795-0709) on Saturday May 30th between 9am and Noon. There you will meet the friendly judges and you can give them a sample of what Irish song(s) that you would like to sing. Don”t bring music CD or instrument (that will be later in June), May 30th is application deadline and screening event (no judging, just want to know you”re committed).If you”re the organized type, you can register online now at www.ColoradoIrishFestival.org ” But, make sure that you”re at Celtic Tavern Riverside Downs on Saturday May 30th.Soon after the application/screening event you will be given an option to audition at a metro venue held in June. At your audition you can sing a traditional or contemporary Irish song. You may accompany yourself with and instrument or a CD music track. Bring all of your family and friends because the judges can be swayed by fan noise.Three finalists will be chosen from the auditions. Each of the three finalists will receive a pair of tickets to the new Celtic Women concert at Red Rocks, July 1 or July 2.The Three finalists will each perform on the main stage at the Colorado Irish Festival on Sunday, July 12 where the Festival patrons will help decide who is the best local talent ” and winner of $1,000.00 and Ideal Irish bragging rights! “The whole purpose of the Festival is to build awareness for Irish culture,” says Ciaran Dwyer, co-president of the Festival. “So Idle Irish will be a fun way to do that while showcasing local talent.””Local singers get to perform in front of an audience that may not have heard them previously.” Dwyer noted. “The festival-goers get to check out new talent and vote for their favorites. Who knows, we may even stumble upon the next great Irish ballad singer. At the same time I”m sure we will have a few “Danny Boy” entries who put their name in for a bit of craic.”Contestants must be 18 years of age on or before June, 1st, 2009.To find out more about the Idle Irish competition, including complete rules and registration, visit the Colorado Irish Festival web site: Visit My Site
CELTIC AIRWAVES OF THE ROCKIES Spotlight: KWMV”s Jim Remington ” The Celtic Voice of the Wet Mountain Valley
(from December 08 Celtic Connection newspaper)For our 3rd installment of “Celtic Airwaves of the Rockies” we travel down to south central Colorado to the town of Westcliffe, home of KWMV 95.9 FM “Voice of the Wet Mountain Valley”, and Jim Remington, the stations host of Celtic and Beyond which airs 7-9PM every Monday. Jim had just returned home from trout fishing on the Grape creek that runs through his ranch where he has lived with his wife Loretta for the past 12 years. As we spoke, he was watching the sunset over the Sangre De Cristos (Spanish for “Blood of Christ”) as it cast the rays of colors across the valley toward the Wet Mountains.Our conversation was to be an interview. But I only had to ask one question.An entertaining hour of stories later, I knew that I had just touched the surface of the wealth of knowledge of a man who has listened, played, and loved Celtic Music for the past 30 years ” and had that I had enough material to fill half the paper!PM “Hi Jim ” tell us about yourself, Celtic music, and your radio show?”Prior to calling Westcliffe home, Jim lived outside Boulder Colorado where he lived since 1987. You could not be involved in the Colorado Celtic scene without seeing Jim at a music session playing the fiddle, or more recently the tin whistle. And you would be hard pressed to find a traditional music concert come to Colorado and not see Jim in the seats. His musical journey began where he grew up in the New England area.It was around 1976-77 that Jim realized that he was in a real need of a vacation.While recording an album in Miami Florida at the same studio that Eric Clapton did “Layla”, the songs chorus echoed his situation, “Let’s make the best of the situation -Before I finally go insane -Please don’t say we’ll never find a way-And tell me all my love’s in vain.”He was in the middle of a contract dispute and disillusioned with his profession of choice. “I was totally sick of the music business. I had been doing a lot of singer-songwriter bar playing in New England area ” the Newport area ” Providence ” all around southern New England and Boston area. Then a friend told me that he was going to Ireland to listen to Irish music and asked me to come along. I was thinking like the Clancy Brothers, because that was my experience with Irish music in 1978. I was in a totally different music genera and never the twain shall meet” They did go to Ireland in the summer of 78 were Jim would come face to face with his destiny. Arriving at a music festival in Wexford they entered a big tent were he saw a band that he had never heard of before, playing music like nothing he had ever known. The conversion happened in seconds. ”Hearing the Bothy Band was truly a musical epiphany – I had studied jazz in school at Berkeley up in Boston so I had a jazz background and also studied classical guitar, to me they had rolled it all into one and added the energy of rock-n-roll.” They spent the following three weeks in Ireland traveling to were the traditional music was, starting in Kerry than up through Clare and Sligo. ”When I came back I was the biggest nut, just so enthusiastic. Got myself a fiddle and Tony DeMarco”s “Trip to Sligo” book and went at it.”Jim sought out the limited Celtic music scene in the New England area and found that Seamus Connoly was doing a session outside of Boston about 1979. That same year he formed the Greencastle Band. “I formed a band with some friends who kind”a got into Irish music the way I had ” we were really the blind leading the blind ” we ended up getting the Planxty and DeDannon records and learning tunes.”Ironically, in time the band opened for DeDannon, Kevin Burke & M”che”l “‘Domhnailland others musical hero”s. “We actually got to be one of the better bands in the area”, as he recalled with joy seeing people getting connected to the music. “I would watch people in the audience, people who really weren”t sure what we were going to do, and when we were right-on people just absolutely took it in, and loved it and wanted to know where to get the music – We sold lots of records at concerts because there were no record stores that carried Celtic music other then in New York and Boston.”The band went on the New England Council for the Arts Touring Program.For eight years they did a lot of demonstration at schools, showing the history and function of the different instruments. In 1986 Greencastle disbanded, having left their legacy with the release of two albums. A retrospect was release just last year by the Arts council of music that the band recorded back in the 80″s when they were one of the very few east coast Irish bands playing.The passion never waned as Jim continued to play and took every opportunity to learn Irish fiddle and guitar styles from master players. He also studied fiddle and tin whistle at the Willy Clancy School of Traditional Music in County Clare, Ireland. ”When I was in Ireland for Willie Week, one of my fiddle teachers told the class, 7 years of listening, 7 years of practicing, 7 years of playing, then you are a musician.”The more Jim learned the more nuances he discovered. “When I started playing I didn”t realize what I was getting into, it”s just one of those forms of music where the more you scratch it the more there is.”He recalled one of the first lessons that he had with famous Irish fiddler Kevin Burke. “He had taught me rolls and ornamentation, and I asked him how do you know when to put them in and his reply was, “the tune will tell you”. That was the most mystifying thing that anyone has told me about music ” at Berkeley and jazz school you learn scales and it”s pretty straight forward, so I just didn”t have a clue. Four or five years later I finally understood it – until you know the tune you don”t know where to put the ornaments, now it is second nature.”After 20 years playing fiddle, Jim put the fiddle away in 1998 because of a wrist injury and inflammation of the carpal tunnel. “I went a couple of years and it was driving me nuts not being able to play and forgetting all of these hundreds of tunes. Finally my wife gave me a penny whistle and I thought “god, the pennywhistle, I don”t know ” you know after playing the fiddle you think of the pennywhistle as a kids instrument. But it has allowed me to get back playing the tunes but doesn”t bother my wrists.”Musicians in the traditional music genre share an accessibility and common philosophy of openness and support that Jim has often appreciated.”You know how they are, once you meet Kevin Burke than you meet Andy Irvine than you meet Donal Lunny – its this inner circle and once you meet a couple of them then you meet an become friends with all of them.” He did not just meet new friends, but mentors who are always willing to help. “It is certainly one of the things that I love about this music – as a general rule, people are so encouraging when you find out that you play.”He gave an example about a time when Liam O”Flynn, famed Planxty piper, learned that Jim was taking up the penny whistle and launched into a dissertation about the different brands of penny whistles. “He wanted to make sure that I was playing a good brand,” Chuckled Jim, “Here is Liam O”Flynn, a true legend in this whole thing, other then Willy Clancy and Seamus Ennis ” Liam O”Flynn, Paddy Keenan, Cillian Vallely and a couple of those guys are at the hierarchy of this thing – and here is Liam making sure that I have a good whistle!”Jim has collected between 750 ” 800 tunes and songs over the years and archived them in a computer base. For the past 1 years the titles have been at the heart of his Celtic and Beyond show. The soul of the show comes from years of hearing the legends play and soaking up their stories and history connected by the music.”When I do my radio show I play a couple of instrumental sets and a couple of vocal sets,than I”ll talk about the music or about the performers and try to provide some insight andpersonal stories, that”s something I can bring in as a player and fan – If I”ve been a fan of any music it”s been Irish music.” His knowledge of the music and the musicians help Jim customize shows for his listeners. He knows first hand that some of the traditional music needs a developed ear. ”The first time I heard uilleann pipes I thought it sounded like a traffic jam ” now I can”t get enough of the piping. So I”m careful to play to the best level of music that I can, but not a level that would turn people of who were not familiar with the music.In Westcliffe you are walking a fine line as to how much that people can listen to of the “pure drop” as they say. There are some savvy listeners that stream and a few locals who know what”s going on with Celtic music, but most of the time it”s people who have just listened to a bluegrass or Cajun show ” so I ease people into it. I find that arrangements, for example Karen Casey, the Bothy Band, Christie Moore, Luka Bloom or even a Emmylou Harris version of Barbara Allen that she did in the movie “The Songcatcher”work well to for new listeners.There is also a big mutual admiration between folk artists and Celtic music artists and Jim likes to make that connection for his listeners. “Andy Irvine, big fascination with Woody Guthrie, so I play Andy Irvine doing Woody Guthrie or play Planxty doing Si Kahn”s Aragon Mills or Norman Blake”s Billy Gray song.”His spectrum of traditional music runs from Planxty and the Bothy Band to the new young bands like Danu, Teada, Beoga. etc. and his show has been getting good feedback from his listening community. “I”ve been playing the two sides of the coin fairly well and the show is popular with good donations and subscriberships.”For the past two years Jim has been involved with the Spanish Peaks Celtic Music Festival held at the end of September 45 minutes away in the Huerfano County towns of La Vita, Walsenburg, Chuchara, and Gardener. The festival was started by Barbara and Jack Yule who moved into the area from Scotland. He said that he bonded instantly to the Yules and is enthusiastic about the festival. “I would love to see their festival develop into the “Willy Week” of the Rocky Mountains. I think their mission and goal is to bring more than just concerts, but also bring in a lot of educational components and opportunities. They”re on the right track and getting good local support. But they need more than the local community, because there”s just not the numbers.”He hopes to see more people, particularly musicians, come from up and down the Rockies as they hear reports about the quality players and enjoyable location.”The trad players can be a little fickle ” if you offer them a world-class playerand it”s not their favorite some just won”t come.” Said with a tone of dismay from a man who travels many miles weekly to Denver to teach music, and who would not hesitate to drive 3 hours to see a high caliber player teach a class or perform live.”I feel blessed that I”ve been exposed to this music – one of the greatest joys in my life, other then catching my 22 inch rainbow trout, is listening to live music- it could be one person or Lunasa going at it ” you just feel fortunate that you have been at the right place at the right time.”As it were he traveled to Ireland a few years ago to attend a Planxty reunion concert.”Flights were only $420 to Dublin ” to see Planxty -how could I pass that up!Pat McCulloughKWMV 95.9fm Celtic and Beyond – Hosted by Jim RemingtonMonday 7:00 to 9:00 PM – Streaming on web at www.kwmv.org Email Jim at [email protected] or leave a message at 719-783-0987.
Only 132 Irish applicants were chosen last year mainly because so few people knew how to apply for it.The application period ends noon on Dec 1 but applicants are advised to apply now as the online system has been prone to crashes in the closing days.People who were born in Ireland and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply whereas people who were born in Britain are not eligible.Applications must be made at www.dvlottery.state.govThis is the ONLY official site. The program is free (if a website asks you for money it is not the official website.)Interested applicants can also visit their local TD, Senator or councillor’s office for help applying.
(Editors note: In the next couple of months The Celtic Connection will spotlight the bellwethers of the reels and roots music heard up and down the Rocky Mountains. These men and women donate not only their time “on air”, but also the many hours needed to prepare each show. Perpetuating traditions of excellence through their love of music they bring to you a variety of music, from dusting off a long lost golden oldie to introducing you to new contemporary sounds. The series begins with Karl Kumli who hosts the Seolta Gael show on KGNU out of Boulder, Colorado. By day Karl is an attorney at Dietze and Davis, P.C. His practice emphasizes primarily public utility law and water law. He currently is President-Elect of the Boulder County Bar Association and involved with way too many more groups and associations for a mere mortal. On top of it all he is a family man. We asked Karl if he preferred to by interviewed or he could submit his own words.People who know Karl know that he does not lack the gift of the gab. He says he is not Irish ” you be the judge…
Best, Pat M.)Alright Pat, in keeping with the political season, I”d like to make the painful disclosures first. Genetically speaking, I”m not Irish. Not Scottish either. Nor Welsh, Manx, Breton, or Galician. I was born Italian and Swiss, but raised as a very traditional Irish Catholic (my first school was Incarnate Word Academy).In 1962 my family was living in a small apartment. Jack Kennedy was at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I was attending St. Rose Elementary School. And my dad had fallen headlong into the folk music revolution that was sweeping the country. At our place, the old 33-and-a-third rpm LPs were constantly played on a scratchy phonograph. I remember four of them in particular. The first was a multi-record set called “Folk Songs and Minstrelsy,” which featured Tommy Makem singing, “The Cobbler.” Its infectious chorus was just the sort of lilting that is easily memorized by a six year old, oblivious to the ghoulish subject matter of the song. The second was the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem album “Hearty and Hellish.” I knew every song on that album by heart before I entered second grade at St. Rose.St. Rose was just about the epitome of a parochial school of the day. The pastor was Fr. Patrick Mulligan; the associate was Fr. Jerome Dooley and the nuns (Sisters of St. Joseph of Newark) were strict devotees of the penguin school of fashion design. To my six year old ears it seemed every priest or nun I”d ever met was from Ireland. And in those days the Catholic liturgy was still in Latin. I made the obvious connection at that time that people who spoke with a brogue must have done so because they were clergy and had a “Latin accent.” St. Rose had three major holidays: Christmas, Easter and St. Patrick”s Day. All the kids from first grade on learned some sort of a simple reel or set dance as part of the St. Patrick”s Day festivities, which were held in the school gym under Fr. Mulligan”s watchful eye.Fast forward to the early 1970s. We had a young priest at our parish named Simon Twomey. Fr. Simon is a big Kerryman from Killarney. And back in the day he was wicked-cool. It was Simon who turned me on to the Chieftains, the Dubliners and the Wolfe Tones. With that music ringing in my ears I left for college in 1974. And at that point I began to get more serious about my infatuation with Celtic music. I took a year of Irish Gaelic. I learned a little bit of step dancing and set dancing. I began frequenting the bars and halls where the music was played. And then I got into radio.Beginning in 1975 I was hired as a summer replacement DJ for a small network of radio stations in Washington State. There I did everything from pulling a six hour air shift, to commercial production, to reading news, to emptying the trash (as the last guy out of the station at night when we went off the air at night). I played some country, some top 40 and most of all, rock “n” roll. It was heaven.Fast forward again to St. Patrick”s Day 1982. I”d just moved to Boulder and called the local public radio station, the blessed KGNU, wondering whether they”d be playing Celtic music on March 17th. No, I was told, they didn”t have anyone who was familiar with the genre. My own Celtic record collection (this was still before CDs or MTV) had grown beyond a few dozen by this point. I offered to come in and do a show. ”Probably not,” I was informed. After all, “you”d have to have a radio license [still a requirement in those days] to pull an air shift.””But I do have a license,” I replied.And twenty-six years later, it”s still happening. The show has grown and changed right along with the station. It is now part of a World Music series on KGNU called Musica Mundi. I seldom play vinyl anymore ” though the thought of an all-vinyl show is really beginning to take shape in my head. We do lots more live music than in the old days, as KGNU”s new studios are wonderful for that kind of live on-air concert. And we have amazing live show engineers in Fergus Stone and George Figgs. We still do every show live on the air, but the program is also webcast, and is available via podcast for two weeks after it airs.The playlist? Widely varied ” or at least I want it to be. We try to play music from all over ” the Seven Nations and all their progeny ” the Celtic Diaspora (the States, Canada, Australia, Germany and beyond). We try to mix trad (both vocal and instrumental) with Celtic rock, or the rock and jazz influenced stuff. “Within the Celtic continuum, you might hear a range from the good old Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners and Clannad to Flogging Molly, The Dropkick Murphys and Black 47. “Plethyn, Robin Huw Bowen, Dervish, Lunasa, Capercaillie, Old Blind Dogs, Silly Wizard, Poor Clares, Altan, Cherish the Ladies, Great Big Sea, Natalie McMaster, The Chieftains, The Elders and many more make appearances as well. “Guests appear regularly, both via phone and in studio, where the list has ranged from The Chieftains (Paddy Moloney and Matt Molloy), Kevin Burke, to local favorites Colcannon and Skean Dubh.Pat McCullough has even gotten me to abandon my original prejudice against “Danny Boy,” which I thought had become maudlin and overplayed. Of course, the fact that Pat”s incredibly talented wife, Tanya, has taught our girls to sing may have had a little to do with that, as well. In addition to the girls who”ve danced and sung, the eldest of our boys returned last year from a semester of study in Ireland, where he took courses in both the Irish language and traditional Irish music at the University of Limerick. So the Celtic knotwork continues.
I would, however, point out that Switzerland has its own Celtic history. From about 500 B.C. to A.D. 400, several Celtic tribes, especially the Helvetians, were settled in Switzerland. So perhaps I”ve spoken unadvisedly, and am genetically Celtic after all. (Listen to Karl Kumli the first Wednesday of the month, 7-8pm, on KGNU 88.5 fm in Boulder or 1390 am Denver or online at www.kgnu.org)
Since 2000 the Denver based non-profit organization has sent over 154,000 toys to kids in 60 countries. It was that year that Marlin Dorhout and friend Ben Perri traveled to Nicaragua to work with Habitat for Humanity. The director of HH asked the two men if they would bring some toys for the kids. “We didn”t want to bring battery-operated toys,” said Dorhout, “so Ben designed these wooden cars and I had the woodworking skills and tools to make them.” When Dorhout arrived in Nicaragua he handed out 120 of his handmade wooden toys. “I became the most popular person in the village,” he said, recalling the overwhelming response that came from the happy children. “After that, I knew what I wanted to do.”Upon returning home to Denver, Dorhout officially founded the Toys for God”s Kids. He recruited a group of World War II veterans to help cut, assemble, and sand the wooden pieces and more recently has also been working with nursing homes and retirement centers to work on some of the toys. Dorhout spoke highly and often about the volunteers, “They all care about other human beings, especially children…when they see photos of those kids they feel so good about what they”re doing.”Not only is Toys for God”s Kids made up entirely of volunteers, it has no budget. Much of the wood used for the toys is scrap lumber donated by Stairs Inc. in Louisville and Masterpiece Stairs in Denver. Worldwide distribution is through relief organizations, church groups, airline pilots, soldiers ” virtually anyone or group who wants to pack a box or suitcase of the wooden treasures. Last month Dorhout was contacted by Carl Piazza of Pentagon Cargo of the Rockies who offered to ship 1260 toys to kids in the Philippines ” this month he will ship another 1800 to arrive in time for the holidays.Photos and thank-you notes are often sent to Toys for God”s Kids from around the globe by grateful social workers, children and parents – and once he even got a phone call. “The call came from Mexico – I had a hard time understanding the guy, but his daughter came home with a toy with our phone number stamped on the bottom, and he was so grateful he called to say thanks.””The feedback illustrates how little these kids have, but also how important toys are to kids,” he added as he pointed out the more obvious comparison for the need of food, clothing and medicine, “Toys make them feel special, and they can also help kids develop planning, problem-solving, and social skills.”Toys for God”s Kids goal is “to place a toy in the hand of every needy child”, and Dorhout and Co. sends toys to all parts of the world regardless of religion or political strife or differences. He gave an example of the almost 7,000 toys sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to date.”We never hold a child responsible for some silly idea their parents or leaders have,” Dorhout said with a slight smile and twinkle in his eyes, then continued in a more serious tone. “We don”t proselytize, there are volunteers who help that are not religious at all, but they”re wonderful people.” He said that he believes in God, and that the name of the organization had brought more support than obstacles. “I”m not one of zealots that say, “If you don”t believe in God you don”t count.” I have been taught that everyone is God”s child.”Dorhout, a retiree from Gates Rubber Company, spends many hours a week working to bring joy to children whom he most likely will never meet. “This is good for me too, I”m staying too busy to get bitter,” he said with a laugh. “I”m having a lot of fun, and every one of us feels very proud to be making these toys. We call ourselves the “smile makers”.”If you are interested in Toys for God”s Kids and would like to help in some way email Toys for God’s Kids or call 303-733-2284. More information is also on the internet at Toys For God’s Kids.
(Editors note: Last month The Celtic Connection began a series to spotlight the bellwethers of the reels and roots music heard up and down the Rocky Mountains. These men and women donate not only their time “on air”, but also the many hours needed to prepare each show. Perpetuating traditions of excellence through their love of music they bring to you a variety of music, from dusting off a long lost golden oldie to introducing you to new contemporary sounds.) In October, we introduced many of our readers to Karl Kumli who hosts the Seolta Gael show on KGNU out of Boulder, Colorado. This month we are spotlighting Cindy Reich who you can hear hosting the Long Acre show on KRFC 88.9 FM in Fort Collins or online at www.krffmc.org every Monday 1-3pm. She”s on Critter Patter on Thursdays and often on the Live at Lunch show.If Karl is King of Colorado”s Celtic airwaves then Cindy is without a doubt the Queen. Both have an impressive tenure on radio dating back to the 80″s. Like Karl, Cindy did not get her love of Celtic music genetically. Her ethnic make-up is primarily Native American, which she celebrates regularly, and German (she doesn”t drink beer or eat Wiener Schnitzel?). She contributes monthly to The Celtic Connection as reviewer of live and recorded music, as well as periodic interviewer for features. Her reviews and interviews have been printed in magazines here and abroad (Irish Music Magazine, Living Tradition, etc), and published in Irish newspapers around the country. Her paid job is working with horses ” judging, breeding, or teaching at a university. Because of her busy horse-judging schedule of late that takes her out of town, we did this interview through an exchange of emails. Best, Pat M.)CC: Cindy, it probably is safe to say that your two main loves/interests are horses and music. We will get into music ” but first tell us about you involvement with horses (background, judging, etc).I grew up on a family horse farm.” My mom raised Arabian horses and I have always been around them. I showed for over 30 years ” equitation, Western, English, etc.” I got started judging when I was 9 years old and in 4-H.” I judged sheep, cattle and pigs.” It taught me how to evaluate an animal”s structure.” I was in 4-H for 10 years and from there, judged for Colorado State University on both the horse and livestock judging teams. I really liked judging, so applied for my USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) card as soon as I was eligible at age 21.” I won”t tell you my age now, but I”ve had my card for several decades!!” Since they can”t get rid of me, they send me off to judge in exotic places like Brazil, Uruguay and Australia.” I have had no argument with that.CC: So how did you get turned-on to Celtic music? I got hooked on Celtic music when I heard Christy Moore on the radio in Colorado in the late 70’s.” It stopped me in my tracks (Ride On) and I went to the phone and called the station and asked who it was that was singing. About two weeks later I heard another song (Sonny’s Dream)”by the same guy and it was fabulous. I then started to look for music by Christy which was very hard to come by in those days.” I stumbled across Planxty because Christy was in it, which was a good way to start. Prior to that, I couldn’t have pointed out Ireland on a map, and other than the fact that they have great horses, I couldn’t have told you anything about the country.” Because of my intense interest in the music, I ended up living over there for a number of years and have been going over yearly for 21 years. CC: When/How Long/Why did you live in Ireland?In the late 80″s I quit my job, sold all my stuff and tried to go over there and live”Bad idea. There was a reason everyone was coming over HERE to get jobs!!Got smarter and went to do a Master”s in animal reproduction at University College Dublin in 1995.”I lived in Celbridge, County Kildare for a couple of years.” Also, in 1992 I was working at a horse farm and living in Belgium. My mom came over to visit. She had always wanted to visit Ireland, so off we went, after touring Scotland for a week. Well, my mom ended up with a detached retina on her first day in Dublin and had to have surgery at the Mater Hospital.” She couldn”t leave Ireland for 6 weeks because they had to inject an air bubble into her eye.” Was quite an experience for her staying in the public ward at the Mater. All the ladies in her room got her hooked on the Late Late Show. She became quite a fan of Gay Byrne!CC: You”ve made some good friends in the music business over the years ” hopefully you won”t alienate any of them with this answer ” can you list your top ten live music concerts/experiences?This was a great question ” really brought back great memories trying to decide!!” Sure I can”t do a top twenty???Christy Moore ” Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, 1986 ” The Midas ClubFirst time I got to hear Christy Moore live. Kieran Goss was the opener. There is a great story to this night for another time. However, my first introduction to the music on Irish soil.Jimmy Mac Carthy – Mother Redcap”s, Liberties, Dublin” mid 90″s?Jimmy sat with a guitar and sang for over 2 1/2 hours. Nearly every song he sang was one he had written. One of the most extraordinary nights at a gig ever.Concert for Frankie ” various ” Olympia, DublinAn emotional night of music to celebrate the life and music of Frankie Kennedy after his death from cancer.” Over three hours of music from fellow Altan members, Christy Moore, Luka Bloom, Paul Brady, Mary Black, Donal Lunny, Clannad, Sharon Shannon, Liam O”Maonlai, and on and on.” Everyone then moved on to the Harcourt Hotel for an amazing session.” I left reluctantly at 6 am to go to school.Planxty ” Vicar St. Dublin ” 2004I never got a chance to see Planxty when they originally played, although I had every album.”The chance to see them play 30 years on was magic. Raised the hair on the back of my neck.” I have never seen anything like the ovation they received when they entered the hall and it only got better from there. St. Brigid”s Night, St. Brigid”s Cathedral Kildare town ” 1996(?)Wondrous night of music with Sinead O”Connor, Noirin Ni Rian, Luka Bloom, Christy Moore, Conor Byrne, Liam O”Maonlai, Jimmy Higgins, and many more. “Afterwards a mighty session with many of the above until about 4 am at a local down the street.Hughes” Pub ” behind the Four Courts in Dublin.Spent many an amazing evening there just listening to the musicians that showed up. Could be local, could be superstars. Just fabulous music.” Might have Kevin Glackin on fiddle, Brendan Begley on accordion, Conor Byrne on flute..Bewley”s, Grafton Street, Dublin Christy”s sister Eilish ran a folk club on the 3rd floor of Bewley”s for about a year or so in the mid-90″s. It only seated about 50 people and there was no mic. Saw one of the best gigs I”ve ever seen Christy Moore do there ” Unplugged!Ditto for Glen Hansard who did a completely acoustic gig. Leaving the crowd singing the chorus from “Revelate”, he gently laid his guitar down on the floor and walked out through the audience and out the door, while we all continued singing. Stunning.Harcourt Hotel, Dublin ” 1995-1997The Harcourt used to have great gigs every week on Mondays. They would do “Banjo Night” where it was all banjos with the likes of Gerry O”Connor and Eamonn Coyne and Barney MacKenna and others all playing banjo at the same time. Sounds disastrous, but twas brilliant!”There was “Fiddle Night” and “Flute Night”, etc.”Dunlewey, Co. Donegal ” Frankie Kennedy Winter School One year it snowed like crazy. Took me and a friend 6 hrs do drive from Dublin to Letterkenny. And then two more hours on to Dunlewy where we hiked through the snow to the Leisure Center on moonlit night.” Liam O” Maonlai entranced the hardy crowd who made it with harp, keyboard, voice, whistle and stories. The wind howled outside and the branches of the trees were bent double.” A true seanachie on the night.Armstrong Hall, Colorado Springs ” Christy Moore” 1990 Christy”s first and only appearance in Colorado.” Extraordinary gig. For all but ex-pats it was their first “Christy” experience. I had many seasoned gig goers tell me it was the greatest gig they ever heard”Tommy Peoples ” Lafayette, Colorado A very rare appearance by Tommy in Colorado. The hall was completely silent as Tommy played and the music wrapped everyone in a cloud of wonder on the night. Going-away gig ” Ferryman pub, Dublin docks After finishing my degree at UCD, I was returning to Colorado. A few friends organized a farewell session” Conor Byrne, Eilish Moore, Luka Bloom, Glen Hansard, Liam O”Maonlai and others played a magnificent session with other pub goers joining in until the wee hours of the morning. Made it very hard to get on a plane and leave such a place.Hill of Allen, County Kildar.The path up the Hill of Allen was lit by burning tapers at 6am on a cold February morning. As the sun rose, Luka Bloom and others serenaded the group of people at the top before heading out on a ten-mile famine walk.” An instance where you really understood the connection between song and place.That”s more than ten, but if I don”t stop now, it will be the top fifty!” I also want to note that while a lot of these gigs contained “names” in the industry, there were hundreds of phenomenal sessions and gigs I went to with extraordinary musicians and singers who remain nameless but were every bit as phenomenal as the better-known musicians.CC: Wow, some great memories Cindy, and we know that you have hundreds more. We”ll have to expound in future issues of The Celtic Connection ” or maybe you should just write a book!CC: You have seen many live shows ” name a few bands that you have not seen live that are on your “to do” list?For sure, Damien Dempsey, Roisin Elsafty, Karine Polwart, Lau, Beoga.CC: What has been playing on your CD of late?Stuff I have to review for a certain paper I know in Denver!” The work never stops. However, I”m really looking forward to the new Guggenheim Grotto!CC: How did you become a DJ on the radio?I sort of fell into radio by complaining!” I was living in C.Springs and they had a Celtic show on KRCC every Saturday and Sunday evening.” Obviously, some d.j. who really wanted to do a rock show got stuck with the Celtic show.” It used to make me mental, because she would announce the wrong names for tunes played and mispronounce the names of songs and groups. The one that put me over the top was when she announced a song by “Boys of the Low-ugh” (Boys of the Lough, pronounced “lock”). When I went in to pay my membership premium during fundraising, I complained about the person, because she obviously didn’t care about the music and was not doing it any favors.” “Can you do better”? was the reply.” “We have a volunteer training class coming up”.” I replied that I had never done it before, but I couldn’t possibly do worse than the person doing it at the time.” I got the job. Sure, why wouldn’t I?” It was a volunteer position. When I took a paying job on a ranch near Westcliffe, I used to drive over the mountain”every weekend to do the show and even did a number of Ft. Collins/Colorado Springs runs to do the show.”CC: So how long have you been doing the radio gig?I’ve been doing a radio show weekly on a regular basis for 11 years (Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins). Have done it off and on for another 10 ” I started in 1987 at KRCC in Colorado Springs. Did a live weather report for Radio Kerry in Killarney and did an on-air try out for a pirate station in Dublin ” they wanted to hire me, but I didn’t have a reliable way to get there when I was living in Ireland. No car and couldn’t get bus for the late night shift… I”ve been presenting “The Long Acre” show now for 5 1/2 years on KRFC (Fort Collins) That”s www.krfcfm.org at 1-3pm for everyone reading this, although I”d never use this forum to advertise my show””.CC: I detect a smiley face with a wink! You are welcome to flog your great show on KRFC anytime ” folks would be wise to check it out.CC: You”ve had a slew of special guests on your shows, can you give us a taste?Guests that have been on the shows over the years, either live or via phone ” Christy Moore, Luka Bloom, Niamh Parsons, Liam O’Maonlai, Glen Hansard, Damien Dempsey, Martin Hayes, PJ Curtis, Nicolas Carolan (curator of Irish Traditional Music archive), Susan McKeown, Phil Coulter, Tommy Peoples, Hothouse Flowers, Solas, Altan, Gerry O’Beirne, Colcannon, The Elders, Paddy Maloney and Kevin Conneff of the Chieftains.. etc., etc., etc. CC: Having heard their music, and maybe seeing them live in concert, have any of the guests surprised you when you have gotten together for a chat?Most of them have been amazingly well behaved!” No, actually, many of these people have become friends from my time in Ireland, so we enjoy a chat on or off the record!I was most surprised to get Tommy Peoples on..he is very shy and it was a big effort for him to talk on the air. I was very grateful to him for that. The wonderful thing about these musicians is that they are so willing.” I have never been turned down when I”ve asked someone.” Something that people may not know about me is that I am really shy (yes, really).” The hardest thing I do is get up the courage to ask artists I don”t know for interviews. I always feel like I”m imposing.” But to their credit they say yes.” I try to do an interview that is different from what they would usually do.” I try to come up with interesting questions and I always do my homework.CC: Are you a closet musician?” Do you sing in the shower?” I play instruments in the shower!” I used to sing in choir as kid. I love to sing to songs…just not when anyone is listening. The nice thing in Ireland and Scotland is that everyone sings at gigs, so I join in, too!” You can listen for me on Luka Bloom”s “Amsterdam” CD.” The whole thing was recorded at the Carre Theatre in Amsterdam ” audience as well.” Hmm”must add to Top Ten list ” Luka Bloom at Carre Theatre!I have been known to beat on goats and used to play hammered dulcimer before trading it for a harp that I never got”maybe it”s for the best.CC: Rumor has it that the pay on radio is not that great ” why do you do it? Cause I would hope to touch someone like I was touched when I heard Christy for the first time on my local radio station in Colorado! PM