Brian O’Donovan’s A Celtic Sojourn has entertained and enlightened radio audiences since 1986. Now celebrating a decade and a half of holiday performances, the Christmas-time live version of the show draws on Celtic, Pagan, and Christian traditions to celebrate the music of the season. A Christmas Celtic Sojourn reflects the compelling and diverse offerings of the weekly national radio program plus the excitement of a live show featuring the Celtic world’s best performers. The 2018 iteration of the show promises once again to be one of the chestnuts of the region’s Christmas offerings.
Music: Music director and multi-instrumentalist, Seamus Egan returns as well as assistant music director singer/pianist/harpist Maeve Gilchrist. Long-time collaborators Ben Wittman and Chico Huff return with percussion and bass respectively. Owen Marshall makes his second appearance on guitar/bouzouki/harmonium. And Christmas would not be so without the cello gravitas of Natalie Haas. Making their debut on this year’s program will be concertina player extraordinaire, Brenda Castles from Co. Meath in Ireland, and the outstanding folk string quartet, The Fretless from Canada.
Singing: We are absolutely thrilled that young Scottish phenom, Hannah Rarity will be our featured singer this year. Hannah was named Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year by the BBC in February and announced Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival. Her new CD Neath the Gloaming Star was released in September. The four-part vocal harmony group Windborne made a huge impact last year, so much in fact, that we have asked them back. These wonderful voices combined with host Brian O’Donovan, his wife Lindsay, and Gilchrist, and Castles (who both also sing!), will bring particularly strong harmony singing to this year’s show, along with individual performances throughout.
Dancing: Kevin Doyle has been once again been named our dance director for 2018. Kevin received a National Fellowship from the N.E.A in 2012 and has regularly performed with the A Christmas Celtic Sojourn. Kevin is currently in Ireland scouting dancers to join us in December, but of course, as is the tradition, the kids from The Harney Academy of Irish Dance from Walpole will return with their special brand of Christmas joy.
Some more musicians will be added. And then…there are the surprises! There are always surprises at Christmas!
Artistically directed again by Paula Plum for the sixteenth straight year, this promises to be one of the most exciting A Christmas Celtic Sojourn presentations yet.
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