If your idea of “Irish music” consists mainly of sentimental ballads about leaving me saintly ould mither behind on the Ould Sod, think again. The traditional music of the Celts is full of fire, demanding ferocious instrumental dexterity as well as depth of feeling in its performance. As acknowledged masters of the art have aged, died or retired, interest among younger Irish music fans veered off for a while into the boisterous, attitude-heavy realm of “Celtic punk.” But a new generation of traditionalists is coming up, learning at the feet of their elders and honing their chops to carry the torch into the future.
One of these upstarts is vocalist Méabh Begley, who comes with an impressive pedigree: Her father is award-winning singer Seamus Begley and her uncle, accordionist Brendan Begley, has recorded with the likes of the Boys of the Lough and the Chieftains. Right now she’s touring with Téada, one of the hottest younger bands on the Irish trad scene, featuring Oisin Mac Diarmada on fiddle, Damien Stenson on flute and Seán McElwain on banjo and bouzouki. Irish Music Magazine readers voted Téada “Best Traditional Newcomers” in 2003. Since then they’ve recorded five albums, toured internationally from Tel Aviv to Zimbabwe, appeared in a theater piece on William Butler Yeats and collaborated with the African-American string band the Ebony Hillbillies.
To launch their latest US tour, Téada and Méabh Begley will appear at the Towne Crier Café in Beacon this Friday evening, joined by champion step-dancer Samantha Harvey and, for this show only, Connecticut-based Irish accordion master Damien Connolly.
Tickets to hear Téada, Méabh Begley and friends cost $30 in advance, $35 at the door. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. on March 3. To purchase tickets or make dinner reservations, call (845) 855-1300 or visit www.townecrier.com. The Towne Crier is located at 379 Main Street in Beacon.