Brian O’Donovan’s A Celtic Sojourn has entertained and enlightened radio audiences since 1986. For the last 16 years, the Christmas-time live version of the show has drawn on Celtic, Pagan, and Christian traditions to celebrate the music of the season. First launched in 2003, A Christmas Celtic Sojourn reflects the compelling and diverse offerings of the weekly and national radio programs.
With a spectacular line up of top-level musicians, singers, and dancers from around the Celtic world, the 2019 iteration of the show promises to once again be a favorite regional Christmas offering.
Music: Music director and multi-instrumentalist, Seamus Egan returns and filling the role as assistant music director again will be pianist/harpist Maeve Gilchrist. Long-time band member, Chico Huff will with his distinct bass. Owen Marshall makes his third appearance on Guitar/Bouzouki/Harmonium. And Christmas would not be so for us without the cello gravitas of Natalie Haas. Making his debut in the house band this year will be Nashville based percussionist Jordan Perlson. Two generations of extraordinary Irish fiddlers will match up for the first time on stage when Liz Carroll comes back to us for the first time in over 10 years and gets together with young Haley Richardson who was with us in 2017. And we are beyond excited to announce that after many years of our pursuing his services, Olov Johansson of the super Scandinavian group Väsen will be joining us on that unique and most Swedish of instruments, the Nyckelharpa.
Singing: We are thrilled that young Scottish phenom, Siobhan Miller will be one of our featured singers this year. Siobhan won the 2018 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Traditional Track, and was also nominated for Folk Singer of the Year. She is the only ever three-time winner of Scots Singer of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards.
Siobhan will be joined on stage by Newfoundlander, Matthew Byrne, and there is much anticipation for what collaborations they might conjure. Matthew has performed with us on Celtic presentations in the past, and most recently was in concert with his brother as part of our Burren Backroom Series. These wonderful voices will combine with host Brian O’Donovan, his wife Lindsay, and Gilchrist, and will bring particularly strong harmony singing to this year’s show, along with of course, individual performances throughout.
Dancing: Our dance program is still in development, but as is the established tradition, the kids from The Harney Academy of Irish Dance from Walpole will definitely return with their special brand of Christmas joy. Stay tuned for more on that.
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 seventeenth straight year, this promises to be one of the most exciting A Christmas Celtic Sojourn presentations yet.
For more information go to www.wgbh.org/celtic.
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