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Arts and Entertainment

The sound of ‘music in the air,’ and the sight of ‘feet on the floor’

By Bill Whelan, special to the BIR, March 6, 2012

It seems like yesterday that Moya Doherty and I sat down in the chill winter of 1993 in a small café on Dublin’s Baggot Street to discuss the germ of an idea that was to become Riverdance. Little did we dream that by 2012, this small germ would have sprouted into a two-hour show that would be seen by 22 million people around the world. Now it is making its return visit to Boston, where Riverdance has previously performed on seven very happy occasions. Read more

Fiddler Conway learned his music ‘pure’ – Sligo style

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, February 2, 2012

Brian Conway makes no bones about it: He understands that his particular tutelage in the Irish music tradition was a profoundly rare thing, and he feels very fortunate as a result.
“I think that, in my upbringing, I definitely got the music pure,” says Conway, who will bring his widely admired fiddle-playing talents to the Boston area later this month. Read more

Conner’s passions: Perform, preserve Great American Music

By by R.J.Donovan, special to the BIR, February 2, 2012

Baritone, pianist, and conductor Bradford Conner is on a mission. He sincerely hopes you’ll love great American music as much as he does. One conversation proves he has a devotion and an insight for it that few others possess.
Classically trained, Brad and partner Benjamin Sears have become the “go-to” guys in terms of impeccable musical research. Together they helped found the critically acclaimed American Classics, “devoted solely to the performance of American music, giving voice to forgotten gems and newly discovered musical treasures.” Read more

Letting the younger set know the feeling when a house party turns into a session

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, January 17, 2012

It seemed like most any typical all-ages holiday gathering, and in many ways, it was.
A Christmas tree stood in the corner of the living room, right by the entry to the dining room. Christmas decorations graced the fireplace mantel and other parts of the house, and an assortment of various treats, including Christmas cookies, was laid out on the dining room table. Read more

Appraising the ‘Jig’ documentary: entertaining; but context is an issue

By Sean, special to the BIR, January 17, 2012

By Sean Smith
Special to the BIR
It’s not just Irish dance aficionados and child development experts who can find grist for conversation in “Jig.” Add classical philosophers to the list, too.
Sue Bourne’s documentary on Irish competitive dancing, released early last year and now available on DVD, touches, albeit somewhat indirectly, on universal questions about perseverance in pursuit of an elusive goal. When is it all too much? Why endure the sacrifices when the returns, at least in material terms, are virtually non-existent? Read more

JFK’s Presidential Library and Museum captures history while remembering a life

By R.J. Donovan, special to the BIR, January 17, 2012

Nestled on 10 acres of waterfront property along Dorchester’s Columbia Point, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum faces the sea, an apt location given JFK’s love of the ocean. If you’ve never visited the Museum, now’s a perfect time to absorb the rich history that awaits within its halls. And if you’ve stopped by in the past, new exhibits beckon. Read more

Somerville dancer will be kicking high for the holidays

By R.J. Donovan, special to the BIR, December 5, 2011

Rockette Courtney Grassia performs in ‘Radio City Christmas Spectacular’

When The Radio City Rockettes light up the stage at The Wang Theatre all this month with their new “Radio City Christmas Spectacular,” there’ll be a Boston-area native front and center. Courtney Grassia, born in Medford and a resident of Somerville when she’s not on tour, has been dancing as a Rockette since 2006. Having trained at the Donna Miceli Dance Center in Lowell, she has been seen locally in such Reagle Music Theatre shows as “Hello, Dolly!,” “No, No Nanette” (with Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie) and “La Cage aux Folles,” among others. A magna cum laude graduate with a BFA in Dance from the University of Arizona, Courtney also traveled half way around the world to perform at Tokyo Disneyland.
We spoke recently by phone about her work and her return to Boston. This marks her second season at The Wang with the Radio City holiday show. Read more

New voices, new sounds added to the mix for Christmas Celtic Sojourn

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, December 5, 2011

Northern Irish traditional singer Len Graham, Boston-area fiddle band Halali, and cross-genre Canadian singer Ruth Moody of The Wailin’ Jennys join the cast for the ninth annual “Christmas Celtic Sojourn,” the popular holiday-themed showcase of music, dance, songs, and stories in the Celtic tradition that kicks off a four-city tour Dec. 9 before its customary run at Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theatre December 16-18. Read more

Back in Davis Square: The Burren's 'Backroom' series

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, November 14, 2011

One of Greater Boston's most popular Irish pubs, The Burren in Somerville's Davis Square, has relaunched its "Backroom" series of concerts featuring top-notch Irish/Celtic performers from the Boston area and elsewhere. Read more

Doug Lamey's heart, like his music, are sited firmly in Cape Breton now

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, November 14, 2011

On one recent early autumn evening, a severe rainstorm with winds of up to 70 mph battered the 150-year-old house in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, that Boston-area fiddler Doug Lamey now calls home. In a couple of months, the rain will be replaced by an even more generous helping of snow, ushering in what is likely to be a long, cold winter – one that in comparison will make Massachusetts resemble a Caribbean idyll.

And for Lamey, there's no place he'd rather be. Read more