2009 Celtic Festival Performers - Bios

Charlie Zahm

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Scotland the Brave
Farewell to Nova Scotia
Minstrel Boy
Ye Jacobites by Name

Charlie Zahm Trio

Charlie Zahm is a Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival favorite, and this year as a special treat Charlie is accompanied by Tad Marks (fiddle) and Mark Sullivan (percussion). Since 1992, Charlie has recorded twenty-two CDs of Celtic Maritime and American Music. As comfortable on stage as before an outdoor crowd, Charlie is a consummate Celtic entertainer with hundreds of songs in his repertoire.

His most recent CDs include Recent Journeys, his third all original album; The Immortal Memory: A Tribute to Scottish Poet Robert Burns; and Charlie Zahm, Best of the Early Years by Request!, a collection of songs from his early, unavailable CDs plus previously unreleased recordings.

One of the few entertainers to sing live with Scotland's famed "Black Watch," Charlie is one of the most sought after Celtic entertainers on the East Coast. This summer don't miss it when he once again takes us from swells on the high seas and to the gentle breezes of warm summer nights with his ballads, melodies and wonderful baritone voice.

For more information, visit www.charliezahm.com.

Cady Finlayson and Vita Tanga

ListenListen to a sample of Cady Finlayson Band*: Scottish Reel
Live Show Heavy Metal

Cady Finlayson Band

Called "one of America's top Celtic fiddlers" by New Age Voice magazine and "bursting with pure and natural talent" by HotIndieNews.com, Cady Finlayson offers a spirited Irish music show with a global twist. Cady's music blends traditional Irish tunes with worldbeat rhythms and American folk, creating a signature sound that appeals to a variety of audiences. "I love to bring Irish music to people who might not normally hear it," she says.

Cady has performed in 33 U.S. states, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Ireland, including venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Slainte Irish Festival, Hofstra University Irish Festival, Palace on the Green, and Breezy Point National Park.

Reviewers have described her playing as "highly melodic" (Dirty Linen); "gorgeous fiddle playing" (MP3s Music Magazine); "a remarkable talent" (Michael Allison); and "fresh and interesting" (AMG). Alternatives says Cady "sizzles on the fiddle" and Chaos Realm says she has "a fire others don't have."

Cady says, "The first time I heard Irish music it was one of those really powerful connections. I had to play it." She studied Irish fiddling with NY-Sligo fiddler Brian Conway and then traveled to Limerick, Ireland as the winner of the President's Award Scholarship. At the Blas International Summer School, she learned from some of Ireland's greatest fiddlers and studied Irish history, culture, dance, and language.

Her background includes a Master of Music from Mannes College of Music in New York City. Cady has released three fiddle CDs: Irish Coffee (2007), Harp and Shamrock (2004), and Shines Like Silver (2002). Radio DJs have described her music as "smartly spirited and soul-filled" (WRNZ) and "head and shoulders above her peers" (3WBC, Australia). Her music is also featured in Irish baseball film, The Emerald Diamond (2006), and her playing has been heard on soundtracks including film Random Acts (2006), Snakes and Ladders (1997), as well as CDs for Pierce Turner and The Police Pipes and Drums of Bergen County. Cady's songwriting made her a two-time finalist for the International Acoustic Music Awards and her Irish Coffee CD was nominated for Best Celtic CD of 2007 by the NAR Lifestyle Awards.

Cady will be performing with her New York City based band which includes Dublin-born singer Marina Meyler, French guitarist Vita Tanga and Ireland's own Shane O'Sullivan on percussion.

For more information, visit www.cadyfinlaysonfiddle.com/.

Burning Bridget Cleary

ListenListen to a sample of Burning Bridget Cleary*: Saucy Sailor
The Shearin's No for You

Burning Bridget Cleary

Burning Bridget Cleary took form on St. Patty's day of '06 when Genevieve Gillespie joined forces with the father-daughter duo, Lou and Rose Baldino. The combination sparks a blaze of Celtic sound that is perceived way beyond the sum of its parts!

The girls front the band with their fiery fiddles, bringing a lively flair of youthful intensity and exuberance to traditional tunes. Lou's guitar bestows the dynamic rhythm and bass end, tastefully embellished with distinctive chording. Weaving in some choice vocal numbers and building the energy with some spirited stepdancing, Burning Bridget Cleary has wowed packed audiences at the Scottish-Irish Fest in Green Lane (2006 and 2007), the Celtic Classic (2006 and 2007), the 2007 Celtic Winter Classic, the Mayfair Festival of the Arts (2008), the Spring Gulch Folk Festival (2008), the Shawnee Mountain Celtic Fest (2008) and many more popular venues.

Rose and Genna met five years ago at Granny McCarthy's Irish music sessions in Bethlehem PA—both have been first-place trophy winners in the Celtic Classic fiddle competitions. Their debut CD, Catharsis, was released in September, 2006. Their new CD, Everything is Alright, was released November 25, 2008.

For more information, visit www.burningbridgetcleary.com/.

Coyote Run

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Queen of Argyll
Finnean's Dance

Coyote Run

Originally formed in 1999, Coyote Run has changed significantly from its Celtic Folk roots, evolving into one of the hottest bands on the Celtic Rock circuit today. Blending traditional tunes with rich, literate lyrics, compelling melodies and rock, jazz and flamenco instrumental hooks, this band weaves a tapestry unlike any other out there. Their lyrics and music take the audience on a journey that is at once heart stopping and foot stomping. Tears, laughter, clapping and spontaneous dancing are regular features of a Coyote Run concert.

Our instrumentation begins with musical elements familiar to fans of Celtic music, i.e. wailing bagpipes, dancing whistles, and intricately woven accordion lines, but then includes the tribal growl of the didgeridoo and the backbeat of the djembe, all couched and supported by world class jazz/rock bass, and electric and flamenco guitar. But none of this would work at all, were it not for the symphonic, nuanced and incredibly powerful rock drumming that surrounds, supports and drives all of the music. All of this musical power and richness wraps around our acclaimed lyrics. Founder David Doersch was a professor of Theatre for over 20 years when he began writing the music that brought this band together. His love of poetry, drama and myth has served as the focal point for this wildly unique band.

Well versed in the dynamic of Celtic and Folk festivals, where a band is called upon to perform multiple times throughout the day in rotation with other acts, Coyote Run has performed for literally hundreds of thousands of appreciative audience members.

Our stage shows are tailor-made for the demands of each festival, and we share stage graciously and enthusiastically with the other artists, often inviting them to join us for our finale. It is quite typical at festivals for the stage shows to last no more than 30-40 minutes. Coyote Run has developed a strong reputation for punctuality and a sharp, funny stage show that keeps the audience engaged, laughing and looking forward to the next act.

"Imagine Jethro Tull on Broadway and you start to get the picture." — Sam McDonald, Music Editor, Daily Press, Norfolk, VA

For more information, visit www.coyoterun.com and www.reverbnation.com/coyoterunband.

George Casey

George Casey

George Casey was born in a remote seaside village on the west coast of Ireland legendary for its storytelling. Growing up in a large family, George saw humor everywhere and honed his skills as a comic at the expense of his brothers and sisters.

In 1970, George immigrated to the US and earned his citizenship. With his wife of 21 years and two children, he now calls Branson, Missouri home.

For over 30 years, George has been entertaining audiences all over the US with his self-deprecating humor and clean jokes and stories. Some of the acts George has opened for and toured with include Rosemary Clooney, The Osmond Brothers, Ray Price, Three Dog Night, Brooklyn Bridge, Donald OíConnor and Bobby Vinton. George performed with Bobby Vinton as his Special Guest Comedy Star in Vintonís Blue Velvet Theatre in Branson, Missouri until its close in 2002. He has performed at Caesarís Palace, The Sahara, and is a regular act at The Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

For more information, visit www.georgecasey.com.

Jug o' Punch

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Jug o'Punch:
Brennan On the Moor

Jug o'Punch

Legendary Celtic performers and Central Massachusetts favorite, the Jug o' Punch has been entertaining audiences in Massachusetts and beyond for nearly 40 years! Their residency at The Old Timer Restaurant in Clinton is legendary. They have played at festivals, in pubs, on television and radio and in one particularly memorable instance, under a tin roof while hail was pelting down! Though band members and repertoire have changed over the years, 'The Jug o' Punch' has always delivered a rollicking good time, including a great performance at last year's Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival under the Pavilion in the Celtic Nations Pub.

Current Members:
Jim McCrohon: banjo, bass pedals, harmonica, tin whistle, bodhran, vocals
Eamon Marshall: button accordion, vocals
Barry Sullivan: guitars, tenor banjo, vocals
Eddie Biggins: guitar, vocals

For more information, visit Jug o' Punch MySpace page and www.reverbnation.com/thejugopunch.

The Gray School of Irish Dance

Worcester Kiltie BandThe Gray School of Irish Dance brings over 30 years of teaching dance to children from all over Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. Offering classes in Danbury, Newtown, and Niantic, Connecticut, their student body is made up of both children and adults of all ages and levels. They offer both recreational dance classes for fun and exercise, and competitive classes for those who wish to dance competitively on the local, national and international levels. The Gray School dancers include 2008 New England Champions Kaela Gray Milewski, Hali Thorne, Kelly McCourt and Bridget Cunningham, and Gray School dancers have won numerous competitions over the past decade.

For more information, visit www.grayschool.com.

The Worcester Kiltie Band

Worcester Kiltie BandThe Worcester Kiltie Band competes in Grades IV and V, performs at festivals and parades, and still finds time to be active members of the Worcester County community where it lives, works and plays. From parades and funerals to concerts and memorials, the band members take their participation seriously and strive to teach others how to reach the same level of excellence. Professional instruction in the Great Highland Bagpipe, the Scottish Drum and drumming is offered to to individuals. Catch them at the Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival where they will be opening and closing the festival in Highland style.

For more information, visit www.wkpb.com.

* Note: if the sound file doesn't play automatically when clicked, you may download the sound clips here. Just right click and save to your PC and then play.

Cady Finlayson: Scottish Reel
Charlie Zahm: Bonnie Ship the Diamond
Coyote Run: Queen of Argyll