Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A little bit of Ireland comes to Memphis

Whenever Public Television has its fundraiser, they pull out all the stops to try to get people to donate. The group that they highlight who is my favorite is Celtic Woman. The group brought its Songs From the Heart tour to Memphis Monday and Tuesday nights.

I saw the Tuesday show and it didn't disappoint. Their voices were amazing and they had a nice selection of traditional Celtic tunes and contemporary music. The choreography was uber-tight right down to the arm movements of the back-up singers. The group related well to the audience. They mentioned that they came to Memphis on their first U.S. tour and have come back each year since. Naturally, the crowd loved hearing that. The staging/lighting was awesome. They had two drummers and the percussion was strong.

The group played for one hour, took a 25 minute intermission, then played for another hour. The individual members took turns being in the spotlight. A typical song would start out with one singer by herself, then a second would come onstage and take over the singing. Then the third would appear and join in.

Celtic Woman had a fiddler who was terrific (see image below). She played with the singers, but had the spotlight to herself on some numbers. Two words: high energy.

On one song, a bagpiper came from out of the audience playing "Amazing Grace." He moved to the stage and the singers joined him. The crowd went wild. The audience also liked "You Raise Me Up" and "Danny Boy."

The Celtic Woman group consists of three singers, a fiddler, six back-up singers (three male, three female), two drummers, a pianist, a bag piper, and a three-man band that played various instruments. One of the founders of the group was David Downes, a former music director for Riverdance. His concept was to appeal to the American taste for Celtic music under the structure of an all-women group. You can read what Wikipedia says here.

Above: Whether she's called a violinist or a fiddler doesn't change the fact that Mairead Nesbitt was a crowd favorite. Attractive, bouncy and talented -- what's not to like?

Above: The Orpheum Theater, located at the corner of Main Street and Beale, hosts Broadway shows, concerts and films. It seats only 2500, and, consequently, there's not a bad seat in the house.

Images by MOJO and taken with my P&S.


  1. I avoid PBS during their drives. All those crystal waving, diet touting, investing, personal growth in one gurus make me PO'd.

    Our local PBS station has grown by starting local news. I am certain now they have more money than brains.

    That bottom shot with a minor crop is a real hummer. Drool!

  2. That's a show I'd like to see. I always enjoy watching them on TV and on youtube.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. If you like traditional Irish music you should check out this group. They're a community based local traditional Irish music group that dance, tell stories, play music and sing songs.