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Imperial Bar’s ‘Gonzo Theatre’ to host great shows during Fleadh 2011

Cavan’s popular Imperial Bar will be hosting a series of major events and concerts as the All-Ireland Fleadh comes back to the county town this year, in both its upstairs ‘Gonzo Theatre’ and its state-of-the-art ‘Vision Nite Club’.

The Imperial has been supporting the tradition and encouraging Cavan’s young players of the future throughout the year with its well-attended weekly Sunday sessions featuring members of the local Comhaltas youth branch, so it comes as no surprise that the venue will be hosting some of the top attractions in Fleadh 2011.
Among the great acts to play in the Gonzo Theatre over the main Fleadh weekend will be the masterful Fermanagh flute player Laurence Nugent, who teams up with renowned guitarist Eamon McElholm, and Dublin singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell, whose show along with Shetland band Kollifirbolli, English folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Moon and flute-playing legend Seamus Tansey — the latter two being among the more colourful figures on the music scene — should provide plenty sparks!
A Saturday evening memorial concert in honour of the Haitian earthquake victim Andrew Grene, led by Andrew’s twin brother Gregory, of well-known US band The Prodigals, should provide some poignant high points, while another tribute, this time in honour of the late great Galway and Clare musicians Raymond Roland and PJ Crotty will see the veteran band Le Chéile bring a taste of the vibrant Irish trad music scene in east London to life at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Cavan.

LAURENCE NUGENT AND EAMON McELHOLM — Imperial’s Late Nyah Club, Gonzo Theatre, 11pm Thursday 18th August.

Two of Irish music’s recognised master musicians, Laurence Nugent and Eamon McElholm team up for what will be a mighty Late Nyah Club Fleadh 2011 show in the Gonzo on Thursday 18th August.
Described by the Anchorage Daily News as “a brilliant flute and whistle player with near cult status”, Laurence Nugent carries on a great tradition of virtuoso playing on both sides of the Atlantic. As a well-established performer and recording artist on the Celtic music circuit, Laurence has performed with scores of top musicians including The Chieftains, Shane McGowan and Van Morrison.
He has been a featured performer at major Irish music festivals in America, Ireland and Europe, and he has toured extensively in those areas as well as in Canada and Japan. His playing has been heard extensively on radio in both the US and Ireland.
His CDs Laurence Nugent, Two For Two, and The Windy Gap on Shanachie Records have met with critical acclaim, and some of the greats of Irish music have joined him on these recordings, including fiddle legends Kevin Burke and Liz Carroll, and guitarist Arty McGlynn. He also appears on the Shanachie recording Celtic Tapestry along with top bands like Solas, De Dannan, Clannad and Planxty.
Laurence Nugent comes from the little village of Lack in County Fermanagh, an area steeped in the traditional arts of music, singing and storytelling. His father Sean Nugent was an All-Ireland fiddle champion and leader of the Pride of Erin Ceili Band, one of the top Irish dance bands of its day.
Like many young musicians of his generation, Laurence entered regional and national competitions held under the auspices Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. He took first prize in junior competitions three times in the late ’80s, before going on to win the senior All-Ireland Championships in 1994 and 1995.
Since moving to Chicago in 1992, Laurence has played a large part in the local scene as an anchor and resource for traditional Irish music in that area.
Guitar and keyboards specialist Eamon McElholm, a member of the revered band Solas, was brought up playing all types of music from Irish traditional to rock and classical, and so when it came to writing his own material he had plenty of influences in the melting pot.
The Co Tyrone man worked for a long time with well-known Irish band ‘Stockton’s Wing’ as singer, songwriter and guitarist, and toured throughout America and Europe with people like Cathal Hayden, Dezi Donnelly and Mike McGoldrick before going on to join top US-based Irish trad band Solas.
The holder of a first class honours degree in Popular Music and Recording from University College Salford and a Performing Rights Society/John Lennon Songwriters Award, Eamon has written not only songs, but numerous instrumental pieces that have been recorded by many Irish groups and artists.
Admission to this not to be missed show is free.

Imperial’s Late Nyah Club Gonzo Theatre, midnight Friday 19th August
The Late Nyah Club in the Imperial Bar’s upstairs Gonzo Theatre will be one of the hot spots throughout Fleadh 2011, and the music will be hot enough at midnight on Friday 19th August, as the Fleadh really gets going, when the exciting new Dublin folk and traditional singer Daoirí Farrell gets his bouzouki out and launches into a great show that will include contributions from the intriguing English folk singer Tim Moon, the fiery flute maestro Seamus Tansey, and the beautiful Astryd and Kaela Jamieson of the group Kollifirbolli from the Shetland Islands.
Daoirí Farrell is a singer and bouzouki, guitar and banjo player from Dublin whose debut album The First Turn turned many heads when it was released last year to well-earned acclaim.
His songs, some better known than others, some older than others, and some with the bawdy humour that characterises many of the old ballads, are inspired by legendary performers like Andy Irvine, Christy Moore and the late Frank Harte. But Daoirí puts his own very personalised stamp on every song — with more than a touch of the authentic “nyah” in his voice!
Playing traditional Irish music since the age of 15, he took up the singing three years ago, and since then has already made his mark at festivals and events around Europe and at home, sharing stages with top performers like Martin Hayes, Dervish, Flook, Mairtin O’Connor, Eleanor Shanley, Kila and others.
Tim Moon from England’s Yorkshire moors is a somewhat enigmatic figure in folk music. Playing almost every instrument ever heard of — and some that nobody’s heard of! — he is a versatile songwriter and performer who has been treating folk clubs and even rock venues to his wide repertoire of songs since the late ’70s.
Tim has played the world famous Glastonbury Festival twice and worked all sizes of venues from small clubs to arenas. He plays about 100 instruments of all shapes and sizes, though, whether he’ll have them all in Cavan we don’t know yet!  Be sure to check out the Tim half of ‘Moon the Lune’ at the Gonzo!
The controversial and colourful Seamus Tansey is one of the foremost and finest flute players in the pure tradition of his native Sligo. He came to prominence after winning the all-Ireland title on the instrument in 1965, and featured on a Seán Ó Riada Fleadh Cheoil broadcast on national radio that same year.
During the 1970s he recorded many albums for different labels, but virtually disappeared from the scene between then and the late 1990s, when he re-emerged to record two new albums including an acclaimed duet with fiddler Jim McKillop in 1998. It was entitled To Hell with the Begrudgers — in true Tansey fashion!
His 2001 recording, Words and Music: The Phantom Shadows of a Connaught Firelight has to be seen (and experienced) to be believed, while his assessment of fellow Sligo musicians in the books The Bardic Apostles of Innisfree (parts one and two) in recent years could hardly be described as the most diplomatic writings ever put to paper!
But whether they like him or loath him (and there are many in both camps) few trad music followers will disagree that Tansey is a master of the flute. Check it out in Cavan this summer.
Guido Plueschke was born in Hamburg in 1968. He is in great demand as a teacher of the Irish drum bodhrán on which he is proficient since 1990. Since 1996 he has been communicating his extensive knowledge as well as his passion for music in countless workshops all over Europe to all those who are interested, of any age and on any level of accomplishment.  Playing the bodhrán not being enough, he has also studied its history and development and in 2004 has made this the subject of his master’s thesis at the University of Lueneburg. Without any doubt he is one of a very few players who feel as much at home with the theory as with the actual playing. Besides bodhrán he also plays a mean mandolin, tenor banjo, Irish bouzouki and guitar.
Astryd and Kaela Jamieson of the Shetland Islands band Kollifirbolli will be serving up some wonderful sounds on fiddle and concertina respectively, accompanied by Guido Plüschke from Germany, a master of the bodhran. Formed with Mary Rutherford in 2007, Kollifirbolli take their name from a Shetland word for “topsy-turvy” or “head-over-heels”, and over the last few years they have turned their native islands head over heels, playing at various festivals and on live radio broadcasts and other events.
Kaela (18) was Shetland’s Traditional Young Fiddler in 2007, while 21-year-old concertina player Astryd is also a keen and highly trained classical pianist. The girls will be launching their new EP, The Loveliest New Version of a Favourite Style at the midnight Late Nyah Club show in the Gonzo with Daoirí, Tim, Guido and Seamus on Friday 19th August. (Tickets €10, see below for details.)

ANDREW GRENE TRIBUTE CONCERT — Imperial’s Nyah Club Gonzo Theatre, 4pm Saturday 20th August.

The Gonzo will be busy again on Saturday evening when a specially poignant tribute concert in memory of Haitian earthquake victim Andrew Grene will be led by Andrew’s twin brother Gregory, the Cavan-raised founder of internationally known Celtic rock group The Prodigals. Gregory will be joined by lifelong friends from the Cavan area and by Padraig Allen, Darren Maloney and Alex Grene, the son of the late Andrew (and a music major from the University of Chicago) in what is sure to be a poignant and memorable show with plenty of great music.
The Grene twins grew up on a small farm outside of Belturbet, Co Cavan. Their later paths led through Chicago, Trinity College Dublin and New York, where Gregory founded the Prodigals, and Andrew joined the United Nations.  Andrew worked in the Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and played a major role in brokering the peaceful independence of East Timor.
His final posting was in Haiti, where he served for three years as a senior advisor in the UN’s Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti.  He was due to return to New York on St Patrick’s Day, 2010, but was tragically lost in the Port-au-Prince earthquake on 12th January.
Andrew, who was named one of the Cavan People of the Year 2010 by the local paper, The Anglo-Celt, was laid to rest in Belturbet at a funeral attended by designates of the President of Ireland, the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who later dedicated the Andrew Grene Conflict Resolution Scholarship in his name. (Tickets €10, see below for details.)

Imperial’s Late Nyah Club Gonzo Theatre, midnight Friday 19th August.

The long and strong tradition of Irish music in East London will be celebrated in the Gonzo Theatre on Sunday 21st August when UK-based veterans Le Chéile play a tribute concert in memory of two great musicians of the 20th century.
Both Raymond Roland, the East Galway accordion-player who was a very important figure on the London Irish music scene from the 1950s to the ’80s, and PJ Crotty, the legendary Clare flute player had recorded and played with Le Chéile in the band’s heyday.
Le Chéile were formed when musicians who played regularly in The White Hart, Fulham Broadway in the early 1970s came together. The 1960s and ’70s were golden years for traditional Irish music in London, when musicians played before packed audiences and sparked a revival that went on to spread back home and around the globe.
Le Chéile were to become the cult trad Irish group of ’70s London, producing some of the most memorable recordings of the time. The surviving original band members — master fiddler Danny Meehan, Liam Farrell (banjo), John Roe (piano) and Kevin Boyle (guitar) —reformed in 2006 alongside new recruits, flautist Paul Gallagher and box-player Andy Martyn.
And if anyone thought these guys might have lost some energy and enthusiasm through the passing of time, a quick listen to their 2008 recording, Out of the West (their first since 1977) would soon knock that notion on the head!
Their shows guarantee an exciting new “big band” mix of back to basics traditional Irish music from Donegal and Galway, with a few songs thrown in to complete the package.
East Galway accordionist Raymond Roland, a session regular at the White Hart in Fulham and a founder member of Le Chéile, was regarded as a hugely important and influential figure on the London Irish music scene, all the way through from the 1950s to the ’80s.
The flowing, west Clare style of Lahinch-based flute-player PJ Crotty was also familiar to session goers in London during the 1970s, bringing an authentic taste of the pure drop to many who enjoyed the sounds of the old home in the heart of the city.
The tribute concert featuring many of their old friends in Le Chéile at the Late Nyah Club in the Gonzo is sure to provide a memorable night’s music, bristling with echoes of the west coast of Ireland and the heady days of the Irish scene in London. (Tickets €10, see below for details.)

Tickets for all the Imperial Vision Nite Club and Gonzo Theatre shows can be had at the door if not sold out, but book early with Multisound, Cavan, tel (049) 4361312 to avoid disappointment!

Permalink - Posted: August 9, 2011 at 10:03 am