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Entertainers

2021 Entertainment Line-Up (Subject to Change)

THE BOW TIDES

Featuring Katie Grennan, Jessie Burns, and Ellery Klein, The Bow Tides don’t let any tune sit long without lush harmonies or rocking rhythms. After 14 cumulative years in Gaelic Storm (but never at the same time), these three fiddlers decided a pandemic was as good a time as any to join forces and are thrilled to be performing for the first time in person together at the Pittsburgh Irish Festival!
https://www.facebook.com/TheBowTides

BROTHER ANGUS

As a founding member of the Celtic, Tribal band BROTHER, Angus toured the world, recording fifteen albums and a DVD along the way. You may have seen BROTHER on the hit TV series ‘ER’, or heard their music on the classic Baraka soundtrack. An episode of UPN’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ was written around one of their songs. Often cited as a trailblazer of the indie scene, BROTHER was the only independent band to play The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Visiting Scotland with the band every Spring for the last six years on the wildly successful BRONACH tours, Angus discovered his Celtic heritage in a way he’d never imagined. Finding a fascinating connection between his own wanderings and the Celtic myths and histories, Angus has created a captivating show like no other.

https://brothermusic.com/brother-angus

COLM KEEGAN

Multi-award winning Irish singer Colm Keegan is best known as one of the Principal singers with PBS sensation show, Celtic Thunder. A Dubliner born and bred, Colm may be young but has already achieved an extensive career to date.

Colm graduated from UCD with a BAhons Music and Irish degree, to immediately become a member of the Aontas Choral Ensemble, touring with the Irish global phenomenon Celtic Woman. Having spent a year with the group, completing two European tours, a tour of Asia, the making of ‘Believe’ CD & DVD and a five-month North American tour, Colm audition and was accepted to become a Principal singer in one of the biggest shows Ireland has produced, Celtic Thunder.

With Celtic Thunder, Colm featured on a several Albums and DVDs, reaching Number 1 on the prestigious Billboard’s World Artist of the year. He has toured around some of the biggest stages across America, Canada and Australia, whilst also being invited to perform for a private audience in the Pentagon. http://colmkeegan.com/

DAVID NIHILL

Originally from Dublin, Ireland Dave is an NPR featured storyteller, bestselling author, San Francisco Comedy Competition winner, runner up in the Moth’s largest US Grandslam storytelling competition and the first ever Irish comedian to have a special on Dry Bar Comedy. His work has been featured in Inc, The Huffington Post, Forbes, The Irish Times, TED, The Irish Independent, KQED, and on TV3 and his videos have been viewed over 50 million times.

https://davidnihill.com/comedy

DENNIS DOYLE

Dennis Doyle is a Celtic harpist who has been featured at the Pittsburgh Irish Fest for over twenty years.  His delightful program of traditional Irish harp music, stories, songs, bits of history and jokes have been performed all over North America, Japan and Ireland. Teachers and musicians run in his family which originally hails from County Wicklow, Ireland.

Dennis has produced over ten recordings and has two published books on Celtic and liturgical music.  The most recent recording is Swift River.  In addition to playing on the show stages, he also helps organize and perform in the festival liturgy each year.

Though based in California, Dennis has deep personal roots in Fayette County, Pennsylvania where his grandfather William Doyle worked the mines around Uniontown.  His own father, Mark Doyle, was born in Connellsville before the post-war family exodus to Los Angeles in 1949.

http://english.glendale.cc.ca.us/doyle.a.html

GAELIC STORM

Gaelic Storm is a Celtic band founded in Santa Monica, California in 1996. Their musical output includes pieces from traditional Irish music, Scottish music, and original tunes in both the Celtic and Celtic rock genres.

https://www.gaelicstorm.com/

RORY MAKEM

A seasoned performer with over 30 years on the road, Rory has toured extensively with The Makem Brothers, and the Makem and Spain Brothers and for 17 years played guitar with his father, Tommy Makem. He has played sold-out venues, festivals, and theaters throughout the United States, Canada, England, Scotland and Ireland. At his best on stage, Rory captivates his audiences with charisma, passion for the songs, poetry, history, humor and skilled musicianship. The love of song runs deep in the family. Continuing a legacy handed down from his Grandmother, the legendary source singer Sarah Makem, Rory pulls the songs of the worker, the sailor, the lovers, the fighters and the land from the pages of history and breathes life into them. An adept interpreter of folk songs, he masterfully accompanies himself on guitar, banjo, mandolin or bouzouki.

SCREAMING ORPHANS

Screaming Orphans, an all-sister band from Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland, are one of the most sought-after Celtic bands with a powerful, award-winning sound combining their original melodic pop songs with a unique take on traditional Irish music and song. The band first came to prominence when Sinéad O’Connor asked them to tour with her as her back up vocalists and opening act.

The band is renowned for their trademark spine-tingling four-part harmony which led them to many collaborations with artists such as Sinéad O’Connor, Joni Mitchell, The Chieftains, Baaba Maal, the Afro Celt Sound system, Eileen Ivers and Martin Furey.

Screaming Orphans’ 2019 pop album, Life in a Carnival, produced by internationally distinguished producer John Reynolds, charted No. 24 in the iTunes Pop Music charts (U.S.), No. 7 in the Billboard World Albums charts, No. 1 in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts (IE), and No. 3 in the overall iTunes music charts (IE). The new album follows 2017’s critically acclaimed folk album Taproom which also charted at the top of iTunes and Billboard charts and was voted Folk/Pop/Rock Album of The Year.

As of this year, the band has released 14 albums of both original pop and Folk/Irish music.

http://www.screamingorphans.com

SEAN FINNERTY

After 21 years of growing up in Longford, Ireland, Sean Finnerty decided to move stateside where a series of mature decisions that he failed to make led him to stand-up comedy. Recently he was rewarded for his efforts as he became the first ever Irish comedian to perform on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (2019). Spending his first number of years in comedy based out of Orlando, Sean was selected for Comedy Central’s Up Next competition (2013).
A breakout year in 2015 saw Sean make his television debut as co-host of Season 9 of Fireball Run on Amazon Prime as well as being to selected to perform at the Boston Comedy Festival.
In 2016 Sean moved to New York where he quickly became known as one to watch, performing at famous venues such as The Comedy Cellar, Gotham Comedy Club, Carolines on Broadway, The Stand and The Friars Club. Recently, he has also performed at several festivals including Laugh Your Asheville Off (2017)  Edinburgh Fringe (2018) and Electric Picnic (2018), along with making it to the semi finals of the nationwide talent search Stand Up NBC. A keen eye for detail Sean has also developed a reputation as a roaster and in December 2019 he became the number 1 ranked roast comic in New York City.
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=803143786984324

WE BANJO 3

Debuting in the U.S. in 2012, We Banjo 3 has since emerged as fast-rising touring darlings in the country that two of the members now call home. The Galway, Ireland, and Nashville-based quartet––comprised of two sets of brothers, Enda & Fergal Scahill and Martin & David Howley––continually push musical boundaries while maintaining an unwavering devotion to the essential audience experience. WB3 seamlessly converge the shared and varied traditions of Americana, Bluegrass, and Celtic music with pop-sensible songcraft to create a truly unique and gratifying signature sound. Brilliantly commanded instruments––banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and percussion––effortlessly elevate lead singer David Howley’s propulsive voice. Live on stage, their songs carry the listener along until, at the perfect moment, the band crescendos into catchy choruses with pitch perfect harmonies. We Banjo 3 deliver their music with such palpable rapport, stunning precision, and infectious energy, it’s impossible to pigeonhole what kind of listener might suddenly consider themselves a WB3 fan. With recent stunning performances at such broad ranging festivals Merlefest, BottleRock, Summercamp, ROMP, Wintergrass and others, enthusiasts of almost every genre of music are taking notice. https://www.webanjo3.com/home

ABBOTS CROSS

Abbots Cross is a Celtic music duo made up of Alan Booth and Mike Clancy. The combination of Alan Booth’s rich vocals and Mike Clancy’s jazz background makes for an exciting musical experience. Their influences range from The Wolfe Tones to John Coltrane. Booth and Clancy’s set list includes traditional and modern Celtic music as well as original instrumentals combined with jigs and reels inspired by Brian Finnegan and Michael McGoldrick. Over the past couple of years, Abbots Cross has been featured at The Three Rivers Arts Festival, The Pittsburgh Irish Festival, and The West Moreland Arts and Heritage Festival. In October, 2016, Alan and Mike debuted their Celtic Christmas CD, “Christmas Visions,” at the very popular Christmas In The Woods Festival, in Ohio. This instrumental CD features traditional jigs and reels paired with Christmas classics. http://www.abbotscross.com/

ALAN IRVINE

entertainers_15_1878481691For years, Alan’s ghost stories and humorous tales kept everyone huddled close to the campfire. In time, his repertoire of stories grew to include folktales and legends, as well as his own fantasy tales. He moved north to Pittsburgh in 1984, and continued to expand his repertoire and to hone his craft. In addition to performing, Alan teaches workshops and classes on storytelling. In 1988, he help found the storytelling group StorySwap, and has often served as its president. He has produced numerous storytelling shows, and was the chair of the 2006 National Storytellers Conference. Alan has numerous recordings, several of which have won Storytelling World and NAPPA awards. www.alanirvine.com

BASTARD BEARDED IRISHMEN

Pittsburgh-based Bastard Bearded Irishmen is one of the most entertaining and energetic live shows around. Their sound is an original, ferocious blend of traditional and contemporary Celtic music, mixed with punk, gypsy and high-energy rock n’ roll. https://bastardbeardedirishmen.com/

 

BELL SCHOOL OF IRISH DANCE

At the Bell School, Irish dancing is their passion and they are very serious about it. Since their inception in 1999, it has been their mission to inspire the same passion for Irish dancing in each and every one of their students. They do this through an uncompromising commitment to excellence in the instruction they provide, their relentless drive to succeed in competition, and by fostering an environment that is positive, encouraging, and welcoming to all regardless of age or skill level. http://www.bellschool.com

THE PITTSBURGH IRISH FESTIVAL CEILI BAND WITH JIM GUAY

The Pittsburgh Irish Festival Ceili Band are several Pittsburgh-based fellow travelers who play for Irish ceili dancing. This year’s group consist of: Bruce Molyneaux (mandolin and banjo), Richard Withers (flute and tin whistle), Molly Thompson (fiddle) and Mike Byrnes (guitar).

Jim Guay has been dancing for 18 years. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Ceili Club Dance Ensemble, a position he has had for the last 10 years. Over the years he has instructed and called at various monthly ceilis and on occasion Tuesday nights at the Harp & Fiddle.

This year we will have several caller-assistants to aide newbies, the ambivalent and the shy to give ceili dancing a go.

Ceili on! Learn more.

BURKE CONROY SCHOOL OF IRISH DANCE

The Burke Conroy School of Irish Dance was originally founded by the world-renowned Theresa “Tessie” Burke, ADCRG. Tessie followed in the footsteps of her Irish-born father, Thomas Scott, who in 1942 opened the first Irish step dance school in Cleveland, Ohio, and began her own charter school in Cleveland in 1958 after studying in Dublin, Ireland, with master teachers.  In 1966, she opened a second school in Youngstown, Ohio, and at the invitation of the Board of Directors of the Irish Centre of Pittsburgh, began accepting students for classes at the Irish Centre in 1971. In 2006, the Pittsburgh location was renamed the “Burke Conroy School of Irish Dance” in recognition of sisters Mary and Laura Conroy’s dedication to teaching and their personal commitment to preserving the legacy founded by Tessie Burke nearly 60 years ago.

www.burkeconroy.com

CORNED BEEF AND CURRY

The Corned Beef and Curry Band is the premier Irish party band out of Pittsburgh, PA. They have an uncanny ability to engage an audience and capture their imagination. They always put the “festive” in “festivals”, you and your friends will have “the best time ever”. You will leave feeling that the Pittsburgh Irish Festival was a great event and we guarantee you will return next year… with more friends in tow. Although their core is Irish music from pure Celtic to rock, they also have an amazing portfolio of songs from the 60’s to current. Be prepared to sing and clap along to tunes you know and love! CBCB is a trio consisting of John McCann, lead singer and acoustic guitar; Bob Banerjee, harmonies, fiddle, and mandolin; and Brad “Hamish” Dindak on percussion, pipes, and the famous washboard. http://cornedbeefandcurry.com/

COUNTY MAYO

County Mayo is one of the premiere Irish Bands in Northeast Ohio and Northwest PA and has been pleasing audiences for over 30 years. Their performances are lively, engaging and feature a high level of audience participation. The band specializes in Irish ballads but their song bag includes plenty of Scottish, Australian, and Canadian songs as well as familiar Irish-American favorites and American folk tunes. County Mayo was formed in the early 1980’s and is named for the county in the West of Ireland where two of the members have roots. The musicians entertain at festivals, pubs, concerts, conventions, schools, parties and family events including Irish weddings and wakes. http://www.countymayoirishband.com

DEVILISH MERRY

Devilish Merry fuses improvisation with traditional and contemporary forms of Appalachian and Celtic music. The band has created a dynamic, layered, and driving brand of music that bridges cultural roots and produces a totally unique sound. Current members include, Sue Powers, banjo, vocals Jeff Berman on lap dulcimer, percussion, Jan Hamilton on fiddle , Burr Beard on hammer dulcimer & vocals and Kip Ruefle on bodhran. https://www.facebook.com/pg/Devilish-Merry

DONNIE IRISH

DonnieIrish-at-Harp-Donnie Irish is a band from the Pittsburgh area and they play a mix of Traditional Celtic Rock, Irish, Scottish, and American cover tunes. They also play a wide variety of cover tunes and put some much needed drive behind some fantastic traditional Irish ballads.

THE LOW KINGS

The Low Kings are a Pittsburgh-based band playing Irish & Scottish music all over town. Our #1 goal is to entertain, bring energy and make sure the audience has fun. At the festival, you’ll be able to sing along and dance to your favorite modern and traditional Irish & Scottish tunes. If you want to find us day of, just follow the sound of the bagpipes! facebook.com/thelowkings

MACDONALD PIPE BAND

One of the oldest active bands in the region, Macdonald Pipe Band’s mission is to further the Scottish arts by promoting the study and performance of its music. They are a modern, competitive pipe band with a keen eye towards the future but mindful of their forebears and the traditions that shaped them. http://macdonaldpipeband.net/

MARK GUISER

One of Pittsburgh’s best known Irish singers! Mark has been a staple in the Pittsburgh Irish music scene for 20+ years. His pleasing and powerful voice allows him to deliver everything from the most solemn Irish ballad to the most upbeat Celtic rock songs to please the crowd in front of him.

MIKE FLAHERTY

Mike Flaherty, Folk Singer and Balladeer is from Pittsburgh’s South Hills. His influences include The Irish Tenors, Tommy Makem, The Dubliners, and the music of Celtic Thunder. His interpretations of “Danny Boy”, “Grace”, and “Galway Girl” have been fan-favorites wherever he performs. www.facebook.com/mplflaherty

MIKE GALLAGHER

Known primarily for performing Irish and Scottish folk, native Pittsburgher Mike Gallagher has been a constant musical presence throughout the tri-state area. Mike also specializes in contemporary acoustic music and performs a number of original selections, backing his clear tenor voice with sensitivity and versatility on the 12-string guitar. His original works draw on the influences of American roots music and Celtic traditions. Master of the Irish ballad as well as haunting love songs, Mike has established himself as an entertainer who brings emotion, humor and spirit to every performance. www.mike-gallagher.com/

PITTSBURGH CEILI CLUB

entertainers_77_2754233369The Pittsburgh Ceili Club is celebrating 25 years of promoting Irish culture through music and dance. The Dance Ensemble of the club was formed in 1991 to perform for various community groups, at various cultural events and at regional facilities. Our program consists of various social dances from Ireland, including “set” dances, “ceili” or figure dances and two hand dances. We strive to give our audiences a “taste” of Ireland by including stories about the dances and having fun. Those dancing are dedicated volunteers who give of their time and talent to practice and perform. The Pittsburgh Ceili Club holds monthly “Ceilis” from October through May and hold dance instructions every Tuesday prior to a ceili at Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle. More information about the Pittsburgh Ceili Club can be found on our website: www.pittsburghceiliclub.org.

PITTSBURGH POLICE EMERALD SOCIETY PIPES AND DRUMS

The Pittsburgh Police Pipes and Drums was formed in April 2001 after realizing there was a need for a fitting tribute for those in the law enforcement community who have paid the supreme sacrifice. The band has been honored to participate in many funeral services to honor public safety workers in and around the City of Pittsburgh. http://www.policebagpipes.com

SEAN PATRICK REGAN

Sean Patrick Regan is a third-generation piper. A student of his father, Patrick Regan, Sean completed a degree in Music Education (Summa Cum Laude) with the Bagpipe and Percussion as dual primary instrumental focuses at Edinboro
University of Pennsylvania. He is the professor of bagpiping at his Alma Mater in addition to teaching privately.

Sean has been at the top of American solo bagpipe competition for many years, and is a former world solo piping champion, having been the highest-placing competitor in the 2012 World Online Piping and Drumming Championships.
He has competed with bands at the Midwest, North American, Canadian, European, and World Pipe Band championships, and led the first Novice Juvenile pipe band from the United States ever to qualify to compete in the final round at the Worlds.

Sean is featured as a soloist and ensemble member on several albums, including “A Band Transformed”(2006), by Steel Thistle Pipes & Drums, “Début”(2011), by The Great Lakes Pipe Band, “An Afternoon on the Pipes”(in post-production), by himself, “Chimera X”(2013), through Edinboro University, “That’s Too Bad”(2018), with Apologetix, and most recently “25… and LIVE!”(2019), with The Rogues. Additionally, Sean is published in “The Voice,” the quarterly publication of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, as a correspondent with several articles on bagpipe education. Sean is sponsored in part by Lindsey Bagpipes Company, Lone Star Piper, and the Saint Andrew’s Society of Pittsburgh. www.sprbagpiper.com

SHOVLIN ACADEMY OF IRISH DANCE

entertainers_75_602615211Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance offers solo and figure dancing instruction to students ages 5 and up. Participation in the academy provides each student with the opportunity to grow physically and mentally in a supportive environment while developing an appreciation for Irish music and dance. http://www.shovlinacademy.com

WEEKEND AT BLARNEY’S

Weekend at Blarney’s is an acoustic pub rock duo formed in 2014 by Brad Wagner and Pat Reilly. Influenced by the Pogues, the Dubliners, the Clancy Brothers and the Dropkick Murphy’s, Brad and Pat have combined to spread foot stomping, hand clapping, sing along fun throughout the pubs of Western PA. In addition to playing the pubs, they have made several appearances on KDKA Radio and have played in Market Square for the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade in both 2015 and 2016. http://www.bradwagnerbarfly.com/

THE WILD GEESE

This Pittsburgh-based group takes the old-school Irish pub feel and morphs it into an electrifying feel-good kitchen party. They astound genre-mixed audiences with their exciting live shows driven by waves of contagious stage energy, unforgettable original & traditional tunes, and mouth-watering five part harmonies. www.thewildgeeseband.com

*Entertainment line-up subject to change

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