In Ireland, families, friends, and neighbors gathered in kitchens in years past to celebrate with music, stories, songs, and, if the room was big enough, dancing. On Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m., “Christmas from Ireland” will bring back those times in the Coolidge Theatre at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main St. in Wellsboro.
Lúnasa, “the hottest Irish group on the planet,” according to the Irish Echo, will be on stage. Joining them on their “Christmas from Ireland” tour across the United States is vocalist Ashley Davis, an internationally recognized recording artist and songwriter and longtime friend of the band. Together, they will perform spirited vocal and instrumental music, evocative airs, and songs both unknown and familiar.
With six CDs under her belt, including two that are seasonal, Davis brings a wide repertoire of Celtic and original songs, tempered by the influence of her birthplace, the Kansas plains and the country music traditions borne of America’s Appalachian Mountains. Her 2019 CD, “Burning Down” embraces the electronic compositions of her rebellious youth.
Lúnasa is composed of flautist, whistle player, and lead man/comic Kevin Crawford, piper and whistle player Cillian Vallely, fiddler and whistle player Colin Farrell, Trevor Hutchinson on upright bass, and guitarist Patrick Doocey.
The all-instrumental quintet is noted for double bass and guitar-driven rhythms, original compositions mixed with material from Celtic regions such as Brittany, Galicia, and Asturias, and slower melodies involving three-part harmonies played on the traditional pipes, fiddle, and flute. Their most recent CD, “Cas” features guest vocalists for the first time.
Since forming in 1996, Lúnasa has performed over 2000 concerts, and achieved a worldwide reputation as a different breed of Irish traditional music group – one with the repertoire of lifelong traditional musicians, the intricate harmonies of a jazz combo, and the energy of a rock band.
Also performing with Lúnasa and Davis will be American stepdancer and choreographer Cara Butler doing Irish stepdancing. She dances with the Chieftains whenever this traditional Irish band comes to North America and is also a principal dancer with The Step Crew, a percussive dance company that traces Irish stepdancing from its roots in Ireland to North America.
Admission is $30 and $25 for seniors 65 and older. For tickets, call (570) 724-6220 or visit www.deanecenter.com.