Category Archives: Events

Bangor Celtic Crossroads and Launchpad presents The Gothard Sisters Live at the Bangor Arts Exchange (they come in three’s)

The Celtic world is a far cry from the commercial availability splashed all over as far as the eye can see. It is a world placed in a most special genre, full of stories, legends, and folklore (perhaps even a few outrageous embellishments within some of those stories). And yet, those are the very tales in which we flock to hear, enriching an experience of honesty and musicianship. The Gothard Sisters were no exception to this rule. They fully encased the path on which they’ve taken. Their entertaining flair and delightful combination of musical instruments engaged an ever changing combination of sound and song. It was a wondrous sight to see siblings so given to their art and each other and it was very evident in their selections for the evening. Their latest album “Midnight Sun” and its title cut told us a truthful tale of the bright star not fully at rest at its dwindling time of the night. “Against the Grain” and its sorted explanation left us to look forward to the song rather than its humorous and complex analysis (only kidding). The evening followed up with additional songs of love, sailors, and fantasies. And of course the percussive wars between varied drums and their quick hearted pounding. This sisterly triumvirate of talent was a Celtic success.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

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Bangor Celtic Crossroads Presents Irish Harper Grainne Hambly and Scottish Harper William Jackson at The Bangor Arts Exchange

The evening was a well anticipated one. The chatter about the Harpers grew as some of the crowd wondered if they would play together or separately. Would it have been a case of dueling harps so to speak or could the cultures be intertwined and joined at the strings? There were numbers spent well in a solo effort on both shores as well as a well balanced marriage of the two ends of the isle joining in a most harmonious and melodic grace. The stories never cease to amaze. First of all, who would ever think that an instrumental could be a simple spark of an untold or a variably very told story which seems to be the case for every song. In a life lesson on the same subject it seems that some of the tunes are also tweaked by the artist who plays them at the time, adding and even subtracting bits and pieces of the the tune at their artistic discretion. The titles needed to be adjusted as well depending on the message the composer wished to express at the time. The musical endeavors were superior and masterfully performed. Clarity of the instrument had most certainly drawn the audiences attention due to the delicate nature of the instrument. Included within the musical parameters were the beloved concertina, the whistle, and the ever present bouzouki. They blended well as friendly accompaniment to the featured harp. The traditional aspect was never ignored, ever loved, and most of all respected by both musician and appreciator for hundreds of years past and to come.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Bangor Celtic Crossroads and Bangor Arts Exchange Present “Ben Miller and Anita MacDonald”

As the early evening progressed, the beautiful upstairs venue welcomed the avid Celtic followers of such a genre either to their seats or the quickly filling concession stand all ready for an evening of Scottish and Gaelic influence. The band consisted of Scottish Border pipes, which were not of typical origin, powered by a bellows rather than mouth, two alternately tuned fiddles, and last but not least, the acoustic guitar. This amazing collaboration fueled the stage from the powerhouse regions of such lands with the traditional stomping, to the delicately arranged and near melancholy melodies. Typically, the guitar remains as a rhythm instrument in the Celtic world, but the chains of restraint were broken last night as lead guitar melodies spewed out in a wildly organized manner. The bands speaker, Ben Miller, is apparently quite the knowledgeable historian in matters of the Celtic background stories behind the songs they play which is quite refreshing really since many of the numbers are instrumental in nature and the musical voice does not reveal either the sadness, oppression, or happiness hidden within the musical notes. Anita MacDonald devoured her fiddles with organized abandon. Her quick witted fingers not only kept the pace but superseded in accuracy and speed. Her  lively Irish stepdancing not only pleased the crowd, but was very true to form. The music is touching, rambunctious, and and sweet as portrayed on their new CD, “A Day at the Lake” where many of the styles witnessed are ever present and finely recorded. A wonderful evening of Celtic collusion. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

“Childsplay” Live at The Gracie Theatre

 Along comes a battalion of twenty one wonderful musicians placed together in a rolling menagerie of singing, virtuosity, and instrumental expertise. The magnificent compilation of musicians joined together from all different portions of musical experience stemming from the Boston Pops, the Colorado Philharmonic, and with John Williams are all influenced by Irish, Scottish, and Appalachian fiddle traditions. The amazing brainchild of Bob Child and his hand made fiddle masterpieces extends itself to a huge onstage show where the fullness of sound knows no bounds. Their new and sixth CD “As the Crow Flies” is reminiscent of the aforementioned influences and a whole lot more. Such an intense format sparks a wide circle of improvisation as per all of the mastery this band of minstrels in the gallery. This melodic event takes place at the prestigious Gracie Theatre  on Friday November 17th t 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased by calling…

207-941-7888 or online GRACIETHEATRE.COM

See you there…and bring your stomping shoes.

 

Bangor Celtic Crossroads Presents “BARRULE” live at the Hammond Street Congregational Church (from the wee isle of Man)

   I asked this talented triumvirate what Barrule meant, and without hesitation a tale had begun to spin, much like during their wonderful performance, adding humor and bits of stories both of their experiences here in the states as well as back home. And as we all know, this portion of the world is duly noted for its colorful legends and folklore. It seems Barrule is a mythical place on the isle of man located in the Irish sea where a sea god exists which may sway its will upon anything within its path. This legend still holds true today. These boys came together a few years ago and veered in and out of other bands yet continued to play together. Keeping a most fresh approach to their art, they adopted many various styles of music and holding on to what could be gleaned into their triumphant trio. Each of them play many instruments which incorporates their accumulation of township tastes. In as much as different towns have different dialects, the music styles become somewhat territorial in nature, only to be melded into other styles and variations which creates new flavors as part of the freshness musicians seek after. The album “Manannan’s Cloak” is an amazing compilation of these aforementioned styles and hidden virtuosity one will pick up on who holds an ear for multi-notation (or just fast fingers.) They filled the walls of the church with foot stomping as well as tenderness ranging from fast numbers to ballads from home. This is a very well rounded band which can flee in any direction and keep you within its wide range of musical circles. A great event.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Ruaile Buaile Live at Next Generation Theatre (there’s a new style in town)

  Celtic roots have long since held a most traditional foothold in the known world as a mythical and ancestral style of music. It leaned heavily upon its Irish lore for stories of old and family customs. These ideas have most certainly been upheld through the years and have shaped what we’ve come to know as Celtic music. That is until four young lads known as Ruaile Buaile (rhymes with Julia Julia) came onto the scene and have changed all that. Their perspective with regard and respect for the style, which shines through, has been altered to fit everyone’s need for a most diversified musical style. Incorporating rock, folk, traditional, in heavier and lighter numbers have opened up the world to a whole new technique with a Celtic flair. With this new concept, many more can enjoy this wave of music reaching an even wider audience hitting on contemporary as well as classics. They are definitely a live band that perform with precision, playing with all they’ve got to give. Their personal influences shine through their songs with a healthy dose of improvisation and jamming. Their new album “Commotion” is a grand example of how these personal influences have driven the band to incorporate a live energy within their studio recordings. The Celtic rules have now been broken with due honor and vivacious power. 

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

The Glenn Miller Orchestra Live at the Gracie Theatre (get “In The Mood”)

   In remembrance of days past, our nostalgic memories are forever stirred by times, moments, and places that send us reeling back to days of youth, happiness, and wonder. That day is once again upon us. On August 1st at the Gracie Theater in Bangor Maine at 7 P.M., you can hear the very sounds of one of the most legendary bands in the history of music perform their unique one of a kind jazz experience with you live onstage with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. These never forgotten tunes will remind you of how the nights were danced away in concert waiting for you to enjoy. Hear the great classics and vocal accompaniment on the unforgettable “Moonlight Serenade, Little Brown Jug, A String of Pearls, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Pennsylvania 6-5000, In the Mood, At Last” and more. An evening that will send your spirit soaring as it did before.

Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets, http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event2959200 or call 1-800-838-3006. Reserved seating starting at only $25.00. See you AUGUST 1ST, 7P.M.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Glenn Miller Photo Courtesy of The Glenn Miller Orchestra Management