Maine Celtic Celebration lines 'em up

May 09, 2014
Open the Door for Three promises to bring road-tested, audience-approved, high-octane, fist-in-glove, laughing-out-loud Irish music to the 2014 Maine Celtic Celebration.

Belfast — The eighth annual Maine Celtic Celebration is set for the weekend of July 18 through 20 at the Belfast Common and Steamboat Landing. A family-oriented celebration of the rich Celtic heritage, culture and hospitality found along the coast of Maine, the Maine Celtic Celebration features performances and activities for everyone — music, dancing, athletic competitions and games, as well as food and craft vendors.

This year’s musical lineup continues the Celebration’s history of presenting local and international performers offering a mix of traditional and modern Celtic music and dancing. Open the Door for Three, a trio consisting of fiddler extraordinaire Liz Knowles, piper Kieran O’Hare and singer Pat Broaders, is a mostly new addition to the Celebration (Broaders has appeared in the past). And although the trio is brand new, its members are mainstays of the Irish music scene, having distinguished themselves over the last two decades by playing with “Riverdance,” Cherish the Ladies, Secret Garden, Anúna, Celtic Legends and the New York Pops.

Folk Ragoût is another new sound for this year.  This duet of Leslie Anne Harrison on flute and Frédéric Pouille on guitar will bring music inspired by an Irish traditional touch, focusing particularly on their French Breton and French Canadian heritage. The French-American pair has been enjoying critical acclaim since the release of their 2011 self-titled album.

Four fifths of Còig (Scots Gaelic for “five”) have been to the Celtic Celebration before. This electrifying band consists of great soloists who are all major players on the Cape Breton traditional music scene. Colin Grant returns for a third year, along with Darren McMullen and Jason Roach, all members of Sprag Session. They are joined by fiddlers Chrissy Crowley and Rachel Davis, who round out this powerhouse quintet.

Michael Black, of Dublin's world renowned Black Family, will be a familiar favorite from the past two years. His music is rooted in a generations old family tradition of singing. With a repertoire that draws from contemporary, as well as traditional and music hall sources, Black’s performances are always entertaining and not to be missed. This year, he will be joined by Chris Brinn on piano accordion.

Other confirmed performers include Ryan McGiver and Cillian Vallely, Stanley and Grimm, William Coulter and Brian Finnegan, The High Ground, Velocipede, The Galley Rats, Chuck Donnelly and Emma Walsh and Heather Morris' Celtic Dance Company. In addition to performing, several of the musicians will offer workshops for Celebration attendees. Jam sessions will open and close each day of workshops. For complete schedule information as it becomes available, keep checking mainecelticcelebration.com.

The entire weekend of music, games, food, and fun is brought to the Midcoast by the all-volunteer work of the Maine Celtic Celebration Committee. It takes all year and more than $40,000 to present the event, and it could not be done without the support of sponsors and donors. For information on becoming a sponsor of the 2014 Maine Celtic Celebration, call 338-2692 or email info@mainecelticcelebration.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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