Music

Irish Music Everywhere

St. Patrick need not apply

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In a lot of places, Irish music is a sound heard only on St. Patrick’s Day. In such locales, finding Irish music played live—even on St. Patrick’s Day—is difficult to impossible.

In this region, every day is St. Patrick’s Day.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it is true that if one wants to find oneself awash in the sweet sounds of the Emerald Isle, one need not search too hard or travel very far. Bellingham hosts a weekly Irish night (at a place called Greene’s, natch) and the downtown core is overtaken once a year for the Bellingham Irish Festival—an event that has nothing whatsoever to do with a certain saint and his much-ballyhooed day. For those living slightly farther south, Mount Vernon boasts the Celtic Arts Foundation, which is both a multimillion-dollar venue as well as a nonprofit organization that awards thousands of dollars in scholarships and grants every year to help encourage and preserve Celtic culture through the arts.

Even for a place on a constant quest to explore all forms of Irish music, one night, show or festival at a time, the upcoming concert calendar is an embarrassment of riches. Call it coincidence, maybe it’s the luck of the Irish—these are gifts better enjoyed than analyzed.

The first stop on our Irish show-going odyssey is Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre, where Lunasa will make an appearance on the historic stage for a Fri., March 1 concert. The band takes its name from the Celtic harvest festival Lughnasadh, which takes its name from Lugh, which is not a fancy Irish way of spelling “Lou,” but an Irish god. Evidently, when he wasn’t wielding his unstoppable fiery spear and swinging around his sword dubbed the “answerer” or inventing horse-racing (Irish mythology is so badass), Lugh was a patron of the arts, as every refined Irish god should be. I cannot speak to Lunasa’s abilities with spears and swords, but they’ve got enviable talents when it comes to the fiddle (i.e. champion fiddler Sean Smyth), flute (as played by Kevin Crawford), pipes (Cillian Vallely, who, among other things, recently recorded with Bruce Springsteen), bass (courtesy of original Waterboy Trevor Hutchinson), and more. That’s a whole bunch of impressive musical resumes on one stage together, which is likely how Lunasa came to be dubbed the “hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet.” They’re currently on a west coast tour before journeying to parts farther east, so catch them while you can. I feel confident it’s what Lugh would want. Where: 712 S. First St. Cost: $20-$35 Info: http://www.lincolntheatre.org

When I said we’re on a constant quest to explore all forms of Irish music, I meant the traditional forms and structures we’re familiar with as well as the kind of music made by Vancouver’s Reid Jamieson. He recently traveled to County Cork in Ireland to record his latest album, and emerged with something called Me Daza, which either means “most excellent” or “I’m dying,” depending on who you ask. Jamieson collaborated on the album with his wife and longtime musical co-conspirator Carolyn Victoria Mill, and together they crafted songs about Ireland’s abortion referendum, coping with mental illness and other weighty topics. The dynamic duo will play Fri., March 1 at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, and if you buy your tickets in advance, you’ll get a free download of Me Daza. Where: 1314 Harris Ave. Cost: $20 Info: http://www.firehouseperformingartscenter.com

I don’t know what possessed the talented trio who hails from Ennis in County Clare to name their musical project Socks in the Frying Pan, but they did and now they’re stuck with their stranger-than-most moniker. They don’t seem to mind, however, as it suits their quirky offbeat style and ever-present sense of humor. But don’t be fooled by guitarist Aodan Coyne’s jokes or the sibling rivalry of brothers Shane and Fiachra Hayes (on accordion, and fiddle and banjo, respectively), they are highly skilled, award-winning Irish music-makers who have become noteworthy as much for their nimble and fast-moving fingers as they have for their charismatic stage presence. They’ll bring the entire lively and engaging package to Mount Vernon for a Fri., March 1 show at McIntyre Hall. Where: 2501 E. College Way Cost: $25-$35 Info: http://www.mcintyrehall.org

The last stop on our Irish musical tour is the aforementioned Celtic Arts Foundation’s Littlefield Celtic Center in Mount Vernon. Should you find yourself there on Sun., March 3, you will bear witness to Daymark, a trio comprised of Will Woodson (flute, uilleann pipes), Dan Foster (fiddle), and Eric McDonald (guitar, vocals). Daymark’s members hail from England, Scotland, and the United States, but thanks to extensive study, travel and immersion, their sound is Irish to the core. They play the songs of Irish dance halls of the 1920s and 1930s, of the Northern England immigrant pubs, of the Donegal country fiddlers, but filter it through their own more modern musical sensibilities. And, of course, they would not be Irish musicians worth their weight in four-leaf clovers if they didn’t play fast, furious and with great heart. Where: 1124 Cleveland Ave. Cost: $20-$25 Info: http://www.celticarts.org

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Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Regional High School Art Show

8:00am|Northwest Educational Service District

Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Imagine Convergence on Orcas Island

12:00pm|Rosario Resort

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Dig Deep

3:00pm|Deming Library

Happy Hour Thursdays

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Pub Run

6:00pm|Stone's Throw Brewery

Ancient Beauty

6:30pm|Deming Library

Native American Flute Workshop

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Cross-Country Bicycling Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure

7:00pm|Meridian High School

Wild Mercy

7:00pm|Village Books

Dyo Festival Plays

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Bellingham Puppetry and Mask Festival

7:30pm|Alternative Library

Asleep at the Wheel

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Asleep at the Wheel

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Trove Web
Tomorrow
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Regional High School Art Show

8:00am|Northwest Educational Service District

Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

Imagine Convergence on Orcas Island

12:00pm|Rosario Resort

Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure

7:00pm|Meridian High School

Dyo Festival Plays

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Bellingham Puppetry and Mask Festival

7:30pm|Alternative Library

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

SICBA Home & Garden Show

11:00am|Skagit County Fairgrounds

World Water Day Beach Cleanup

12:00pm|Squalicum Beach

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Barry Lopez and Horizon

7:00pm|Village Books

Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

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7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

The Pageturners

7:30pm|ACT Annex

Tarnation, Ryan Stiles

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

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Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Birding Adventures

9:00am|Skagit Valley

Imagine Convergence on Orcas Island

12:00pm|Rosario Resort

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure

7:00pm|Meridian High School

Dyo Festival Plays

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Bellingham Puppetry and Mask Festival

7:30pm|Alternative Library

SICBA Home & Garden Show

11:00am|Skagit County Fairgrounds

Tarnation, Ryan Stiles

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Pageturners

7:30pm|ACT Annex

Honeywagon Runs

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Pancake Breakfast

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WNPS Field Trip

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Native Plant Sale

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NSEA Work Party

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9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Nordic Roots Seminar

9:00am|United Methodist Church

Spring Studio Seconds Sale

10:00am|Blue Water Pottery

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Youth Ag Day

10:00am|Skagit Farmers Supply

Quilt Museum Annex Open House

10:00am|Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum

Skagit Beer Week

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Dahlias Made Easy

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Free My Heart

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Forest Bathing

1:00pm|Rockport State Park

A Family Immigration Story

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Fidalgo and Mount Baker Youth Symphonies

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PechuKucha Night

5:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Cheese Classes

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Giovanni & the Camino of St. Francis

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Manouche NW Concert Series

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Contra Dance with the Alphabeats

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Gabriel and Rebecca Manalac

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Skagit Symphony's Masterpiece Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

see our complete calendar »

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