THE BOW TIDES
THE FRIEL SISTERS
Anna, Sheila and Clare Friel are traditional musicians born in Glasgow with their family roots firmly entrenched in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Derrynamansher). Being siblings, they achieve a close blend on fiddle, flute and uilleann pipes interspersed with songs sang in unison, many from their family and local repertoire. The Friel Sisters will be performing at the Pittsburgh Irish Festival for the first time!
REAL IRISH COMEDY TOUR
Born and raised in Wexford, it wasn’t until moving to New York that Mick Thomas’s stand-up comedy career was born. A natural performer and insightful writer, in a few short years Mick has blown away one club owner after the next with his honest and genuinely original takes on American society and life as a young and dedicated family man. Mick Thomas entertains audiences regularly all across Long Island and Manhattan, and is swiftly becoming one of the most sought after acts in Clubs and Casinos up and down the East Coast. Mick has performed with the biggest names in comedy including Dom Irrera, Norm Macdonald, Jim Breuer, Carl LaBove, John Pinette, and Greg Giraldo.
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.
Celebrating 13 years together as a band, Celtic-American Roots music “super group”, RUNA, continues to push the boundaries of Irish folk music into the Americana and roots music formats. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music. RUNA will be performing at the Pittsburgh Irish Festival for the first time!
RUNA will be collecting socks at the entertainer merchandise tent during their performances in support of the RUNA‘s Rockin’ Sock Collection. All of the collected socks go to local shelters and organizations supporting families and individuals with housing insecurities and financial difficulties.
It’s hard to imagine a band just coming into their own after 20 years of success, but that’s exactly what makes a true anomaly. This multi-national, Celtic juggernaut grows stronger with each live performance, and as you can imagine, after two decades and over 2000 shows, it is a true force to be reckoned with. With their latest release, Go Climb a Tree, their music has never sounded more representative of themselves as musicians and as live performers.
The band attributes their continued success to their fanatic audience, and it’s a well-diversified crowd for sure. The country-music folks adore the storytelling, the bluegrass-heads love the instrumentals, Celtic fans love their devotion to tradition, and the rockers simply relish the passion they play their instruments with. Each band member, in their own way, expresses a deep gratitude for their fans, but it’s best summed up in the words of Patrick Murphy: “The fans are the ones that have given us this life. We’re here for them.”
On Go Climb a Tree, co-founders of Gaelic Storm, Steve Twigger and Patrick Murphy, along with longtime friend and co-writer Steve Wehmever, are again at the helm of song-writing duties. The album has everything—party drinking songs (“The Beer Song”), patriotic anthems (“Green, White and Orange”), beautiful folk songs (“Monday Morning Girl”), spritely instrumentals “”The Night of Tomfoolery”), perfectly poppy songs (“Shine On”), and even a raucous pirate song (“Shanghai Kelly”). When speaking of the overall concept of the album, Patrick Murphy gives some insight: “With all the craziness and division in the world, we wanted to make an album about ‘contemplative escapism.’ Go Climb a Tree certainly isn’t about dropping out of the conversation, it’s just about taking a short hiatus to recharge the batteries before you take on the world again.”
Gaelic Storm takes a true blue-collar, hard-nose approach to touring, consistently traveling the US and internationally over 200 days a year, forging a unique path in the Celtic music world. “You have to see us live. We are the true working-mans’ band,” says Ryan Lacey, who joined the lineup in 2003. “We still, and most likely always will, tour most of the year, and that’s how we constantly hone our craft.”
The dedication to live shows date all the way back to the mid-1990s, when Gaelic Storm kicked off its career as a pub band in Santa Monica, California. Due to their discovery at the pub, by the end of the decade, the musicians had appeared in the blockbuster film Titanic (where they performed “Irish Party in Third Class”). This laid the groundwork for a career that would eventually find them topping the Billboard World Chart six times, making appearances at mainstream music festivals, and regularly headlining the largest Irish Festivals across the country, all the while gaining a reputation as a genre-bending Irish rock band, whose songs mix Celtic traditions with something uniquely creative.
Looking to the future, Gaelic Storm is excited about what lies ahead. In 2022, they were excited to welcome Natalya Kay, an incredible fiddler hailing from Western Massachusetts, but living now in Music City, Nashville, TN. Natalya’s energy and presence on stage has been a force to be reckoned with.
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.
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.
For 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.
With uilleann pipes, bouzouki, bodhrán, and other instruments you’ve never heard of and can’t pronounce, Bealtaine plays music from Ireland, Scotland, and beyond, bringing together young and old for a good time at the pub, a party, and everywhere else
George White – Bouzouki, Mandocello, Guitar, Vocals
Conor Freeland – Uilleann Pipes, Whistles, Vocals
Bill Buchko – Bodhrán, Cajon
Andy Morrison – Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar, Vocals
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 WITH MAUREEN STOTMEYER
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), Vince Burns (fiddle) and Kathy Fallon (guitar).
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.
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 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 (lap dulcimer/percussion), Jan Hamilton (fiddle), Burr Beard (hammered dulcimer/vocals), Kip Ruefle (bodhran), L.E. McCullough (tinwhistle/flute/harmonica). www.devilishmerry.com
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/
One of Pittsburgh’s best known Irish entertainers! Mark has been a staple, playing at Pittsburgh’s most popular Irish venues for over 20 years. His pleasing and powerful voice allows him to deliver everything, from the most solemn Irish ballad, to the most upbeat Celtic rock song, as well as many favorite humorous tales. Mark’s strong Irish connection, through his wife, and best friend Fiona, has allowed him to travel regularly between Pittsburgh and Sligo. These experiences have given him his unique perspective on Irish music that many Irish American singers do not have. Stop by to catch Mark’s performance. You are sure to walk away with a smile on your face and in your heart.
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
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
The 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
Shovlin 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
Reuniting for one night only! 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