Preview of NY Trad Fest 2014
New York Trad Fest 2014 will feature some of the great artists featured at last year’s inaugural concert, plus some new faces. This year, there will be two evening concerts, one at Connolly’s Club 45 on Saturday and another at the Irish Arts Center on Sunday. More events and more performers to be announced. Stay tuned!
Highlights From Last Year
The 2013 inaugural New York Trad Fest was a massively successful celebration of locally based traditional music talent in the Big Apple. Trad Fest was the brainchild of Brooklyn-born fiddler Tony DeMarco, whose long experience in both Irish and American folk styles guided his inspired selection of the artists who performed at the centerpiece of the festival, a marathon Saturday night concert on October 19 at Connolly’s Klub 45 just off Times Square. An overflow crowd packed the room, and the club’s tiny “green room” was even more crowded with performers waiting to take their turn on stage.
The Irish contingent included fiddlers Brian Conway, Eileen Ivers, Mattie Mancuso, Dylan Foley, Maeve Flanagan and Jayne Pomplas; banjo and mandolin genius Mick Moloney; flute and tin whistle goddess Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies fame; uilleann pipers Jerry O’Sullivan, Ivan Goff and Cillian Vallely (from trad supergroup Lúnasa); button accordion virtuosi James Keane, Dan Gurney and John Nolan; keyboard standout Brendan Dolan; bodhrán player extraordinaire Anna Colliton; in-demand guitarist Allan Murray and the popular singing Corkman Donie Carroll.
The American stylists were a bit outgunned but made up in talent for what they lacked in numbers. Fiddler Alan Kaufman and clawhammer banjoist Mark Horowitz contributed high-class “old-timey” songs and tunes. And the bluegrass chops of Kenny Kosek (fiddle), Tony Trischka (banjo) and Andy Statman (mandolin) would be hard to match on any stage, anywhere. Fiddler Lisa Gutkin of the Klezmatics led a set of klezmer (old-time Eastern European Jewish trad) to add another flavor to the Trad Fest musical stew.
Irish and North American percussive dance styles were well represented by modern Irish step dance great Donnie Golden; sean-nós (old-style) revivalists Kieran Jordan and Siobhán Butler; Appalachian specialist Megan Downes and the young Ottawa Valley stylist Bram Pomplas.
Beyond the six-hour Saturday concert smorgasbord, Trad Fest included a stimulating Saturday lecture panel led by Prof. Mick Moloney at New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House. And Trad Fest performers beefed up the already impressive talent that gathers each week at the regular sessions led by Tony DeMarco at the 11th Street Bar and guitarist/bouzouki player Eamon O’Leary at the Brass Monkey on opposite sides of Greenwich Village.
As the audience departed Klub 45 after six hours of superb traditional music making, anticipation was already building for this year’s edition, which promises to be bigger and better still.
Trad Fest is a very welcome addition to New York’s cultural calendar. There are too many talented musicians playing Irish music for it not to have a wider audience. People like Tony Demarco, Eileen Ivers, Donny Golden and Joanie Madden, just to name a few. Bringing the audience in and letting them hear the music in its traditional setting is the ideal exposure to Irish culture.
Keeping it real, local, raw and natural – brilliant. - Michael Flatley
Watch this space for more information as Tony, aka “the Tradfather,” assembles the lineup for Trad Fest 2014, which will take place the weekend of Saturday, October 18 through Sunday, October 19.
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