UM Irish Concert Series Begins in February in Missoula, Butte

January 07, 2015

MISSOULA Traditional Irish music and song will take the stage at the University of Montana in Missoula and at Montana Tech of UM in Butte this February and March.

UM’s Irish Studies Program and the UM School of Music, in partnership with the Friends of Irish Studies, will present “A Springtime of Irish Music and Song” Feb. 6-7, Feb. 20-21, March 6-7 and March 20-21.

“This series brings to Montana the most well-known custodians of Ireland’s music and song tradition,” UM Irish Studies Program Director Traolach Ó Ríordáin said. “As in previous years, our visitors come from those families who passed on the tradition from generation to generation.”

The concert series is part of the Traditional Music and Song of Ireland music course at UM that will be taught by Éilis Keegan during the spring semester. Keegan is an accomplished musician, a champion Irish fiddler and a Fulbright Irish Language Teaching Assistant at UM. 

The course she will teach originally was designed by UM Music Professor Patrick Williams, but modified by Keegan to include instruction in the tin whistle. Learning the tin whistle will introduce students to the fundamentals of Irish traditional music. Students who either play melodic instruments or sing also are encouraged to take the course.

Students will get the chance to play with visiting musicians, including button accordion player Danny O’Mahony; concertina, flute player and sean-nós singer Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin; Irish fiddle player James Kelly; and lead vocalist of Irish rock band The Hothouse Flowers, Liam Ó Maonlaí. The guest artists will talk about their relationship to the traditional Irish sound, play for the class and hold workshops open to the students and the public.

The inclusion of the community in these workshops is central to the Irish Studies Program’s long-term objective of building closer cultural ties between Montana and Ireland.

The series includes four performances at the UM Music Recital Hall in Missoula and the Montana Tech Library and Auditorium in Butte. All performances are from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The schedule follows:

Button Accordion – Danny O’Mahony

  • Friday, Feb. 6, Montana Tech Library and Auditorium – Butte
  • Saturday, Feb. 7, UM Music Recital Hall – Missoula

Flute, Concertina and Song – Eoghan  Ó Ceannabháin

  • Friday, Feb. 20, Montana Tech Library and Auditorium – Butte 
  • Saturday, Feb. 21, UM Music Recital Hall – Missoula 

Fiddle – James Kelly

  • Friday, March 6, Montana Tech Library and Auditorium – Butte 
  • Saturday, March 7, UM Music Recital Hall – Missoula 

Whistle, Bodhran and Song – Liam Ó Maonlaí

  • Friday, March 20, Montana Tech Library and Auditorium – Butte
  • Saturday, March 21, UM Music Recital Hall – Missoula

Tickets to each performance cost $15 for general admission or $10 for Friends of Irish Studies members. A ticket to all four performances may be purchased for $45. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.friendsofirishstudies.com/; at Rockin’ Rudy’s in Missoula; and at Cavanaugh’s County Celtic or Granite Mountain Bank in Butte.

For more information call Ó Ríordáin at 406-544-0311, email traolach.oriordain@mso.umt.edu or friendsofirishstudies@gmail.com.

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Contact: Traolach Ó Ríordáin, director, UM Irish Studies Program, 406-544-0311, traolach.oriordain@mso.umt.edu.