It was a beautiful evening, by all accounts. In fact, there was hardly a dry seat in the house by the time James Reilly stopped singing. The Minister for Health rounded off his day hosting fellow European health ministers in Dublin Castle on Monday night with an electrifying performance of Raglan Road. imageProof, perhaps, that the Department of Foreign Affairs is getting the full value out of that controversial stock of wine used for buttering up visiting bigwigs. But there is a reason why Calamity James burst into song, and it had nothing to do with the wine – it was expected of him. The health honchos gathered in Dublin for a meeting hosted by Reilly as part of Ireland’s EU presidency. According to a well-placed source, “a tradition has evolved” whereby the host health minister is expected to sing to his guests at the end of their session. Apparently the Cypriot minister for health delivered an impassioned interpretation of a poignant folk song during the last presidency, so James had a hard act to follow. After their deliberations (obesity and the scourge of tobacco among the topics), the ministers and the commissioner for health, along with attendant advisers and Eurocrats, repaired to St Patrick’s Hall for dinner. But before as much as a bread roll was nibbled, a fine broth of a boy emerged from the shadows and wound his way around the tables until he reached the stage, beating lumps out of a bodhrán as he went. Then a violinist appeared and he fiddled around the hall until he too found the platform. There was, of course, dancing. “And,” marvelled our informant, who doesn’t get out much, “there was a harpist going up the stairs.” But she was actually sitting on the landing. Eventually, things settled down and a ballad group called The Dublin Ramblers played during the meal. Song sheets were distributed in case some of the continentals wanted to warble along. They were delighted. Soon it was coffee time and Minister Reilly padded up to the platform to say a few words. Then, all of a sudden, he turned quiet and mournful. Having duly composed himself, Dicey launched into an emotional rendition of Raglan Road. Well.
DUNSHAUGHLIN DRUMMER IS 'PITCH PERFECT' Riverdance percussionist Ian McTigue from Dunshaughlin featured as a special guest on 'Pitch Perfect' on TG4. Good Company Productions filmed 'Pitch Perfect' for TG4 as an eight-part series, which began on the 7th November last year. The series selected singers from local GAA Clubs all over Ireland to form a choir that went on to perform centre stage at Croke Park singing the songs of the opposing teams for the All Ireland Football Final on the third Sunday of September. The two mentors on the series were soprano, Niamh Murray and composer and former musical director with Riverdance Colm O Foghlú. They will be shown travelling the length and breadth of Ireland to find the best selection of altos, sopranos, basses and tenors and train the 30 voices over a tough eight week period. Filming for the series was in locations such as Maynooth College, the Gaiety Theatre and the National Concert Hall. Notable guests on the series include Anuna, Colm Wilkinson, Barber Shop Quartet, Four in a Bar, rock band Stand, and Ian McTigue. See Original Article Here
Ian McTigue in the Pittsburg Press - Riverdance Remains Impressive Riverdance came storming back to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, featuring high-energy dancing in an evening of varied, commercially savvy, entertainment. The recorded voice of Liam Neeson sets the "life's journey" framework for the show, while the opening "Reel Around the Sun" number establishes the stylistic foundation. The propulsive rhythms of percussive Irish step dancing are hard to resist. The dancers' upper bodies are immobile, but the impact of their feet and legs is enhanced by the sounds they produce that function as a percussion section playing with the band's drum set. Solos, duets and ensemble numbers often include an appealing communal quality, including a double round dance with a duet in the center surrounded by two concentric rings of performers. "Trading Taps" is one of the show's highlights, in which two dancers offering urban-flavored tap dancing with hip-hop arm movements are met by a trio of Irish dancers who don't use their arms. Their competition includes trying each others' style, but when the Irish dancers turn on the speed, the other dancers join with them and use much less arm movement. The show's numbers that build to a powerful climax use a variety of means to increase excitement. Sometimes it's bringing the full ensemble in for high-tempo dancing. Other times the tempo itself increases. In "Trading Taps" it is the increasing speed and complexity of the fill between the main beats that ends up driving the excitement. And with taps on, the audience doesn't miss a thing. Musical solos permeate the show, from an appealingly pure-toned Irish soprano to a fervent baritone solo. The choral selections were less impressive because of their cliched arrangements, including harmonization. Pat Mangan was a stellar fiddler throughout the show and in his solo. Percussionist Ian McTigue created a world of sounds in his solo on bodhran -- an open back frame drum. The touring show used sophisticated lighting to create scenes, such as sunrise, and highlight the dancing, but when intense pure white lights were shined at the audience it was best to not look at the stage. While there were a few sections of the show at the Benedum Center, Downtown, which were unpersuasive, Riverdance is a show that pours it on and is ultimately irresistible. See Original Article Here