Lately the Mr. and I have been getting into Celtic music. I think this is in part in response to the sameness of current popular music and partly because we are simply partial to music that doesn't blast our eardrums and consists of more than someone playing three chords on a guitar and a screeching vocalist. It doesn't hurt that I have a few drops of Irish blood floating around in my veins too. ;)
Some of our current favorites:
Cherish The Ladies
Gaelic Storm may be the most popular Irish Pop band you've never heard. If the name does sound vaguely familiar, it could be because the group had a role in the movie Titanic. They've had various personnel changes in the eight years of the band's existence, but hearing the CDs from previous years and recent ones, performances haven't suffered much from one incarnation to the next. Trust me, these guys and the gal fiddle player have groupies! I never expected bagpipes (Peter Purvis) to sound so ethereal, never having heard them played in anything but funeral processions or the classic "Amazing Grace". Jesse Burns is also one of the most amazing fiddle players you will ever hear. Gaelic Storm has a concert DVD out and you can do far, far worse for a evening's entertainment. However be forewarned that this is secular music and some of the songs and humor are a bit off color.
Finvarra's Wren is composed of a family (and friends) of very talented musician/singers. Allison Perkins is yet another outstanding fiddle player and her 17 year old brother Asher is no slouch on the button accordian and concertina. Both have won Celtic music competitions here in the U.S. and have performed well in European competitions as well. Siobhan McKinney who occasionally accompanies the group on the harp is also a competition winner. Jim Perkins and his wife Cheryl are the main singers for the group and their voices blend beautifully. Terrance McKinney is also very accomplished on uillean pipes, a close cousin of the bagpipes. Again this is a secular band and some of the songs are a bit baudy in nature, but fairly typical of a somewhat more traditional Irish band. Jim and Cheryl are also very personable off stage as well as on. Cheryl generously spent a good bit of time talking "mountain dulcimer" with my husband after the recent concert, as they share a common passion for the unique instrument
I'll be adding more to this entry later.