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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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cleveland's Cultural Festival

Once again I traveled to the Cleveland Cultural Festival at the Berea Fairgrounds July 24th through July 26th. Another grand time was had by many and for the most part the weather cooperated with the exception of two brief showers Saturday afternoon.

The following pictures are of friends and entertainers from around the country and Ireland.

These two pictures - top is Dermot Henry and bottom is Jimmy Lavin are in the same orchestra! Dermot is, literally, an untapped talent. He can write an excellent song for himself to sing or someone else. He is also an excellent stand-up comic. Many of us have had really good belly laughs with thoughts expressed by Dermot.

Jimmy Lavin, is such a dear, dear man; kind, gentle and a marvelous accordion player!

This picture show us Mary Jo O'Toole from Pittsburgh and Mary Rowley from Philadelphia. Both these women are good friends of mine and they remind me of each other, so I just had to snap them together. Sure they each have their differences, but when I am in the company of only one, she certainly reminds me of the other!

Mary Rowley is the Promoter and Producer of the Irish Festival Cruise that takes place January 23-30, 2010 aboard the MSC Poesia. Departing out of Ft. Lauderdale you will travel the ports of San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola and Nassau. Entertainment for the week includes The Black Family with Shay, Mary and Michael; Johnny McEvoy; The Elders (new this cruise) The Karan Casey Band (another brilliant group!); Ennis; Captain Mackey's Goatskin & String Band comprised of Jimmy Crowley and Mairtin de Cogain (Co. Cork); Tommy Sands; Two Tap Trio; Matt Cunningham's Ceili Band from Galway; Mike Mazur and Shay Clarke.

I have cruised this cruise many times and a grand time is had by all. Call Mary Rowley at 1.800.441.HARP and make a reservation.

Next up here is Joanie Madden of Cherish The Ladies. Joanie is such a marvelous talent; she has done so much to promote women in what was typically a 'man's business'. Along with Cherish The Ladies ten or so recordings, Joanie has recorded on many other recordings; I never tire of hearing her. As a matter of fact Joanie Madden along with Brian Conway, Billy McComiskey and Brendan Dolan just came out with a brand new CD entitled "Pride of New York". It is fabulous! Earl Hitchner has written a couple of excellent reviews in the Irish Echo, http://www.irishecho.com/ out of New York. Soon Joanie and I will do an Interview on this recording. Just beautiful Joanie!!

Above is Tommy Fleming originally from County Sligo now living in County Mayo. Such a brilliant voice! I never tire listening to him. Tommy sings more contemporary songs along with some traditional Irish songs. Tommy is planning a project with PBS that may air in 2010 and surely he will tour in support of this project. I just love his voice and red hair!! Keep up the good work Tommy!!

Saturday afternoon as I was meandering at the Gazebo Stage, the woman above was talking with the Emcee Mike Mazer when I approached them. And the woman says, "I forget your name but I know your face, I am Maura Burns, Batts' wife". Batt and Maura are such delightful folks; Batt is the Seanachie and Maura plays concertina. They have performed in Pittsburgh many times, plus two of their boys worked for a time here.
Years ago when first I began coming to Cleveland I met Batt and Maura; one afternoon a bunch of us went to a local Pub and everyone sat around the circle and did 'the noble call'. Even me!! I recited Joyce Kilmer's 'Trees'. While chatting with Batt and Maura on this Saturday we got talking about that experience; ah, it was grand!

Here is Mary Rowley with my traveling campanion Maureen Strotmeyer. Maureen and I have traveled many roads together enjoying some sort of Irish function.

That is it for now, it takes me forever and a day to post things, so I had better do that before something interrupts.


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