Kansas City Irish Fest features more than 30 of the world’s top Irish performers from 5 different countries. You’re going to be busy. Here is an introduction to your 2013 Kansas City Irish Fest entertainment so you can start planning your weekend. View Schedule
Take some reggae, fuse it with traditional Irish music, add in rock and folk and put it all through a grounded working class worldly aware yet caring consciousness, and you’re some bit of the way there in describing Damien Demspey’s music. For Dempsey, people and place are King. His voice is Dublin yet wholly distinctive, almost clichéd to say it, but he is part of a rich bloodline of Irish singers from Luke Kelly to Ronnie Drew, Christy Moore to Andy Irvine. Their kin outside Ireland are Springsteen and Guthrie, Dylan and Marley. Damien Dempsey is quite simply and unequivocally himself: Damo. Damo has many famous fans, including Sinéad O’Connor, Christy Moore & Shane MacGowan; has had a #1 album in Ireland; and has won 4 Irish Meteor Awards. We’re privileged that he’s coming back to Kansas City Irish Fest for a second year.
Call it home field advantage. These hometown boys generate enough energy on Irish Fest’s stages to lower our light bill. Known for their “‘Arse Kickin’ music from the heartland,” the Elders have established themselves throughout the U.S. and Ireland for their electrifying live performance and their crowd participation. Their music is great Celtic rock ‘n’ roll with touches of bluegrass and country. The lyrics tell us stories of Irish history, tales of exile, of oppression and lessons in friendship.
We Banjo 3
We Banjo 3 is a four-piece band (yeah, go figure) from Galway, Ireland. The members of the group are two sets of brothers, Enda Scahill and Fergal Scahill, and Martin Howley and David Howley. And yes, three members of the two sets of brothers who make up the four guys who comprise We Banjo 3 play tenor banjo. Also fiddle. Mandolin. Guitar. Bodhran. Vocals. Between them, they’ve earned multiple All Ireland championships. And, they combine Irish music with Old-Time American, Ragtime and Bluegrass with a virtuosity, mastery and joy seldom seen.
The Step Crew
Welcome to The StepCrew, an unbelievable new show which brings together three styles of exhilarating dance forms – Ottawa Valley stepdance, Irish stepdance, and Tap. With virtuosic dancers and musicians from the likes of The Chieftains, Cherish The Ladies, and Bowfire, this cast of outstanding talent takes you on a dance journey as champions in their respective art forms show audiences the amazing similarities and differences between these three captivating styles. As if dancing weren’t enough, The StepCrew boasts three world-class fiddlers backed by an amazing five-piece ensemble comprised of some of the most talented and respected musicians in the Celtic music scene today.
David Munnelly & Mick Conneely
Dave and Mick are master musicians no doubt about it, they have the credentials: the track record, the bands, albums and collaborations, but here you get more than just great musicianship, you get a dialogue, a conversation happening now, not parroted lines from some slickly rehearsed ensemble, that is the real excitement here. Cleary they have practice long and hard, there are gaps and stops and changes of rhythm, which the boys hit spot on, but you’d be forgiven if you thought they’d just walked into the pub and played straight of the cuff.
Skerryvore first formed on the tiny lsle of Tiree off Scotland’s west coast in 2005 over a shared love of music: everything from traditional to rock and iazz. It was this mix of musical styles and sounds that set the path for the band’s 2005 debut album, ‘West Coast Life.’ The more the fledgling band experimented with fusing together this mix of musical styles, the more their signature sound evolved. But it was with the release of self-titled third album, ‘Skerryvore’, that the band found themselves catapulted into the musical limelight winning a string of prestigious awards, including SNMA Record of the Year 2011 and STMA Live Act of the Year 2011, and garnering much critical acclaim: “Skerryvore are the most promising young band in Scotland today”
Belfast-born uilleann piper John McSherry and Detroit natives Tyler Duncan and Michael Shimmin have been dreaming of .the olllam. for the last decade. With a name inspired by the king’s own ollam bards of Irish lore, the trio wanted an ensemble that naturally represented their combined experience in a multiplicity of styles. Calling their music neo-acoustic Celtic post-rock, simplicity is key for the trio. They wanted their musical ideas to mature organically in a controlled environment, rather than produce anything contrived or over-composed. It is their collective sense for arrangement — Duncan (uilleann pipes, whistles, guitar, Rhodes) and Shimmin (drums and percussion) both hold degrees in jazz performance, and the legendary McSherry (uilleann pipes and whistles) has performed and written with a wide variety of artists,and is one of the founding members of Lunasa.
The Clumsy Lovers
The Clumsy Lovers have brought their mix of fiddle and banjo-fuelled, bluegrassified Celtic rock to North American audiences for over a decade. With more than 2500 performances under their belts, their high-energy shows have worn out dance floors and created a loyal following in 49 states and across their homeland of Canada.
Whiskey of the Damned
The Whiskey of the Damned is a five piece Celtic influenced rock group put together by Ireland native Eoin McCarthy. Located in Milwaukee WI, The Whiskey of the Damned are a fast rising group of talented musicians dedicated to playing high energy, raucous concerts filled with an unmistakable mixture of American and Irish rock. Described as a mix of The pogues, Dropkick Murphy’s, and Flogging Molly you do not want to miss this act perform live.
Chance the Arms
Info coming soon!
Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Seamus Kennedy has been entertaining audiences all over the United States for almost four decades. Kennedy’s ability to combine a total command of the music with humor makes him unique in the industry. His strong interactive entertainment skills and his participation with his audiences have helped him create an exceptionally loyal fan base everywhere he goes. He’s incredibly talented and fun!
Open the Door for Three
Though the trio is brand new, its members are mainstays of the Irish music scene. These three have distinguished themselves over the last two decades, having played with Riverdance, Cherish the Ladies, Secret Garden, Anúna, Celtic Legends, and The New York Pops, as well as mainstream pop-artists Don Henley, Paula Cole, Bonnie Raitt, and Josh Groban. Their debut release “Open the Door for Three” is a culmination of years on the road, comprised of unearthed tunes, new arrangements of great songs, homages to the musicians and bands they grew up listening to, and the signature sound of a trio of good friends playing great music together.
A guitarist and singer from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ian today shares Irish wit and his striking voice with American audiences. “Americans say I speak with a thick brogue,” Ian deadpans. “But I don’t hear a thick accent. In Ireland, brogues are just shoes.” Besides humor, Ian’s shows share pub spirit and conjure images of Ireland. Blending traditional Irish songs—everything from “Back Home in Derry” to “My Wild Irish Rose”—with contemporary music—from the Beatles to U2—Ian reminds audiences that “the only thing better than singing is more singing.” Still, Ian quips, “I don’t jig, and I don’t have Irish curls. Well, not anymore.”
Kansas City based Irish folk singer, Bob Reeder, entertains audiences with humor, toasts, limericks, audience sing-alongs and discussions of current affairs. Armed with a banjo, a 12-string guitar and whatever else he decides to bring along, the Irish-American regularly gives listeners a reason to bust a jig.
This folk-pop band from Dublin blends electronically-programmed beats and classical instruments, such as the viola, the glockenspiel, the Wurlitzer and the Hammond organ, with the more conventional guitar, bass and piano for a haunting and melodic sound that with honest, observational lyrics.
Eddie Delahunt & Friends
Not long after wandering musician Eddie Delahunt mustered out of the Irish Merchant Marine, he caught the big immigration wave to America. Delahunt, celebrating his 22nd year in America this year, knew nary a soul when he arrived with rucksack in hand and guitar over his shoulder. But the natives were starving for new and younger sounds from the country of their grandparents. Delahunt’s workingman concoction of traditional Irish ballads, energized guitar riffs, and original lyrics and tunes has made him an adopted native son in Kansas City and local Irish music legend.
Raised on the plains of Kansas, Ashley Davis is a musician whose songs are as much a product of the natural beauty found in her childhood environment, as they are the bluegrass, folk and classic country sounds that surrounded her in her youth. Through her many travels and experiences, Ashley has grown into a true artist, whose influences live in ancient Celtic lore, American folk music, and the love and magic that has painted her life.
Rattle and Hum
Rattle and Hum are, quite simply, THE PREMIER U2 Tribute. Placing a priority on accurately delivering the SOUND of U2 over the “look” of Ireland’s greatest export, Rattle and Hum are the U2 tribute most dedicated to making you feel as if you are experiencing the real U2 in concert. Rattle and Hum KC have been performing since 2006 and are comprised of some of Kansas City’s most talented musicians: Mike Jackson belting out vocals true to Bono’s while playing rhythm guitar on select songs; Tony Trevino’s meticulous attention to detail in replicating The Edge’s guitar; Gary Bertoncin’s backbeat on drums; and Pat Ross’ driving bass. The band are relentless in playing the songs true to the originals with passion and energy, and always win over any crowd they play in front of.
Flannigan’s Right Hook
What makes Flannigan’s Right Hook different from most other Irish-rock bands? Three best friends playing music they love, not just rock, not just Trad Irish, not just anything really. They really love to do it all. Flannigan’s Right Hook is a Celtic/Rock band formed in Kansas City on New Year’s Eve, 2006. Originally formed for a one time show to play the old W. J. McBride’s in Overland Park, the boys felt a calling with the Irish culture and music. Quickly they gained a following as they played increasingly frequent shows in the KC area. They have played over 600 shows in the last five years, including shows throughout the Midwest from Dallas to Chicago, western Kansas to St. Louis and many towns and cities in between. Flannigan’s Right Hook consists of Cameron Russell on lead vocals, guitar and harmonica, Shane Borth on fiddle, mandolin and vocals and Michael Cochran on drums and vocals. Up-beat energetic music and tight harmonies have given them a unique sound and their blend of almost every style of music makes them accessible to many different music-lovers. They also look they’re having a great time on stage, which is exactly the way it should be.
Ceili at the Crossroads
Ceili at the Crossroads is rooted in traditional Irish dancing but is not afraid to play with form and add a dash of whimsy here and there—though it will look familiar, this is not your typical Irish dance performance. Through rigorous training and innovative choreography, we strive to provide audiences with a performance that will have them clapping their hands, stomping their feet and wishing they could do it, too!
The O’Riada-McCarty-Manning Academy of Irish Dance
The O’Riada-McCarty-Manning Academy offers a wide range of competitive and recreational classes for children and adults of all levels in both Kansas City, Missouri and our new location in Lawrence Kansas. In addition to participating at local, regional, and international competitions with great success, O’Riada-McCarty-Manning dancers enjoy having many opportunities to perform throughout the city.
The Driscoll School of Irish Dance
As Kansas City’s newest Irish dance school, The Driscoll School brings traditional steps combined with fresh, modern choreography to the stage. Dancers of all ages and abilities are invited to enjoy Irish dance in a fun and positive class environment. Whether on the big stage, in the Children’s Area or dancing alongside their favorite musicians, the Driscoll Dancers can be seen throughout the festival weekend doing what they do best - having a great time!