Thanks to Aengus and all the staff and volunteers in Kansas City last weekend for doing an excellent job.
There was a tremendous amount of talent this year and it was great to see so many friendly faces. It was run impeccably in all facets and the organizers deserve a big pat on the back (and probably a week off!) The only suggestion I could make is to have more dancing. A self proclaimed dancing fool, I had the opportunity to get out of my seat at a few unofficial showcases and thoroughly enjoyed it. Melisande from Montreal had many of us cutting the rug for their whole set!!
I only got to see a fraction of all the talent, but a few that stuck out for me were:
Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage
Phoebe Hunt & The Gatherers
Special shout out to Neil Pearson in the UK room and Shelly Nordstrom in the ECMA room for once again curating amazing talent. Their rooms are always a big magnet for me.
So much music and so much love, I am already looking forward to next year.
Matt is great singer and interpreter of traditional songs from Newfoundland.
As Brian ODonovan of WBGH Boston said, “It’s increasingly rare to find male traditional singers who are not just good, but GREAT! Matthew is certainly in that truly great category.”
The contemporary pop music world can sound mighty bland, but while only a few of the musicians featured here are famous, each has the potential to shake up the genre formulas of the current scene.
Opening the show, the young Armagh/Derry five-piece Connla made the most of their festival debut with a winningly vivacious, artfully accomplished set, combining classic Irish instrumentation – uilleann pipes, harp, flutes, whistles, bodhran and guitar – with Ciara McCafferty’s potently alluring, intensely emotive vocals. Again, strong original material featured prominently, together with a rhythmic tautness and attack at times reminiscent of Flook – although it was a cover version that earned their last and loudest applause, as they finished off with an unexpectedly effective reworking of Eric Clapton’s Layla, its unmistakable guitar lick rendered instead by Conor Mallon’s pipes.
Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/music-reviews-chris-stout-catriona-mckay-ahlberg-ek-roswall-tryst-connla-1-4346465
Archie Fisher, Jez Lowe and James Keelaghan