Arcady: Celtic Series Features One of Ireland Newest Groups

From Tulsa World

Celtic music will fill the John H. Williams Theater when Arcady, one of Ireland's newest and finest, performs as part of the Performing Art Center Trust's Celtic Series on Thursday evening.

Arcady combines enthusiasm with virtuoso skills and brings to its music a commitment to the best in both traditional and contemporary Celtic sound.

When bodhran master Johnny McDonagh left the band De Dannan in 1988, he was recognized for helping establish the bodhran as a rhythm instrument of power and grace, and he spearheaded a movement to include the seldom-used drum in any Celtic ensemble of note.

He decided to found a new group to reflect the freshness of his early days with De Dannan and looked for exciting young musicians to fill the bill.

All-Ireland fiddle champion Brendan Larissey fit the picture, as did keyboardist Patsy Broderick, whose ability to match the lead instruments note for note lent a new dimension to Arcady's sound.

The addition of Breton guitarist-flutist-vocalist Nicolas Quemenar reflected McDonagh's desire to incorporate other cultures into the musical melange. Frances Black proved the perfect vocalist for these musicians, with her earthy, plaintive voice and penchant for mixing traditional and contemporary material.

McDonagh finished off the mix by inviting his old friend from the De Dannan days, accordionist Jackie Daly, to join the group. The bouyancy and spark of Daly's playing, and his high profile history with groups like Patrick Street, Reel Union and Buttons and Bows have been tremendous assets to Arcady.

Joining Arcady on its current tour is acclaimed instrumentalist Gerry O'Connor, whose debut album "Time to Time" has garnered rave reviews.

With a first album, "After the Ball ...," in hand, a second album in preparation for late 1992 and major tours scheduled for the U.S., Europe and Great Britain, the future looks promising for Ireland's freshest new band, Arcady.

The Celtic Series will continue on March 19 with Andy Stewart and Manus Lunny and will conclude on May 22 with Pipe Dream.