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One hundred thousand welcomes to you to my official blog of all things Irish from me, Diane Byrnes, host of the Echoes of Erin radio show on WEDO Radio 810AM.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Milwaukee Irish Fest 2007 - Sunday

Today is the final day of the Milwaukee Irish Fest. Although it rained most of the day, first a soft rain, then at times more blustry. But now, aren't we wash n'wear? What is a bit of rain with so much brilliant talent about the place!

The first group I saw today is Blarney out of Milwaukee, with Chuck Ward, Dennis Murphy and Kevin Stapleton. These fellows do a really fine job with the ballads and other traditional tunes. I have enjoyed them since first attending Irish Fest in 1986.

Enroute to watching some of the shows, I ran into my good friend Kevin Walsh from New York at the Aer Lingus Stage.

Then I came across other old friends from Chicago, Rita Emmett and her husband Bruce Karder. Rita is a character! She is also an Author, "The Procrastinator's Handbook" that has been translated into 32 languages throughout the world. She is a great gal and you can't help but to have a great chuckle with her. Check out her website: www.RitaEmmett.com; you just might want to purchase her book.

Here is Barry Stapleton, whom I have also known for many years. Barry is the Curator of the Ward Music Archives along with many other responsibilities with Irish Fest.

Cherish The Ladies had a brilliant show Sunday night; it was a 'Reunion' with Cathie Ryan, Aoife Clancy, Donna Long, Donny Golden and with Joanie Madden at the helm, they were outstanding. Plus Joe Madden on button box sat in for a couple of tunes. Joanie is 'Cherish'; she is so funny and has such great rapport with her audience. Talk about a character; that's Joanie! She is just adorable and has been very successful in assemblying such great talent.

This shot we see Joanie playing flute and six dancers.

Here is Donny Golden, still dancing after all these years and he is still brilliant; I love watching him dance. Joanie was so funny in her introduction of Donny Golden; it's a good thing they are such good friends!!

Eddi Reader performed all weekend at the festival; here she jumped in with a song and got out just as quickly to set up for her show over at the Celtic Roots Stage. I heard so many wonderful thoughts on her performances. This guest spot with CTL was the only time I heard Eddi live; and it was lovely.

After the show I was fortunate to catch Joanie and Donny!

Here is another good buddy from Cleveland, Ohio - Roger Weist. Roger is very active with the AOH plus he has broadcast his own Irish radio program for many years. A great guy! He just loved seeing Cathie Ryan, so of course, I had to snap them!

Cathie Ryan is a marvelous singer with a good sense of humor as well!

After Cherish The Ladies show I caught Roisin Dillon and Mirella Murray before they ran off to hear Eddi Reader. Again marvelously talented women!!

A real special treat for me was to see Maureen Doherty, in from County Longford, and playing flute with CTL. Maureen was one of the original women in CTL. She fell in love, got married, had babies and they all moved to Ireland. She is happy as a lark and looks wonderful! Here she is with John Murphy from Philadelphia; another long time friend of mine.

Later in the evening I heard Beoga out of County Antrim. I have aired their CD which is so exciting and full of energy; I really wanted to hear them at the festival. I was delighted. This first shot is Niamh Dunne on fiddle and vocals - beautiful! Eamon Murray is a superb Bodhran player - he had the drum singing!
This shot has Liam Bradley at Piano and Sean Og Graham on Button Accordion and Guitar - both excellent.
This last picture is Damian McKee on Button Accordion - another very talented musician and Eamon Murray on Bodhran. Eamon had a good few jokes for the audience.

I thought Beoga was really good and entertaining; they have a ways to go, but I think they have what it takes to succeed in the music business.

Here we are at the end of the evening, the end of the festival for 2007. I went off to the 'Scattering' but did not take pictures due to the rain. Joanie Madden led the troupe in reels and jigs and all the dancers 'reeled the stage' until Brian O'Cuinneagain performed his brilliant sean-nos dancing.

Tom Sweeney led the 'sing-song' with the songs of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers. Tom informed us that all week end long, no one sang 'Four Green Fields', Tommy Makem's song. He told us that each time Tommy Makem sang the song, he prefaced it with a poem. He then said he would recite the poem and Rory Makem would sing 'Four Green Fields'. Oh my, what a job he did! He made his Father proud! It was a very emotional moment for so many folks, both on stage and in the audience.

I sincerely hope Shane, Conor and Rory Makem incorporate 'Four Green Fields' in to their repertoire of songs; who better to sing the song, then the sons of the maker?

Well it is the very end of the night and time to enjoy the fire works! Here are a few pictures.

Until next time...


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