Karan Casey, one of the most original and influential voices in Irish music, will perform at the Cultural and Heritage Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, on Saturday, May 22, at 7:30 p.m. Backing Casey will be Caolmhin Vallely on piano, Kate Ellis on cello, and Robbie Overson on guitar. This will be a return trip for Casey, who previously did a show at the ICHC in 2006.
Free pre-concert music will be provided by traditional Irish band Ceol Cairde in Quinlan’s Pub from 6:30-7:15 p.m. The band, which has been performing since 1989 and had its roots in the Milwaukee Irish Fest Summer School, includes two founding members from the North Shore. Flute player Kristina Paris is a resident of Whitefish Bay and fiddle, banjo, octave and mandolin player Harry Seaman lives in Mequon.
Described by the Associated Press as having “ … a voice so beautiful, it’s almost impossible to avoid failing under her spell,” Casey was first introduced to American audiences as lead vocalist of the Irish “supergroup” Solas in the mid-1990s. She had immigrated to New York from Ireland in 1993 to pursue a jazz degree at Brooklyn’s Long Island University and met up with the future members of Solas while attending Irish music sessions.
After almost five years with Solas, Casey embarked on an award-winning solo career in 1999. In concerts across Europe, North American and Japan, she pushes the boundaries of traditional songs and seamlessly mixes them with the contemporary as well as her own compositions. The most recent of her five albums, Ships in the Forest, is a return to more traditional material, including a cover of Joni Mitchell’s antiwar song, “The Fiddle and the Drum,” which reflects Casey’s passion for social justice. Casey says that it is important for her to make every songs she sings her own.
Casey has been involved in performing and recording projects and collaborations with a who’s who of Irish and folk performers, among them the late Liam Clancy, former band mates Seamus Eagan and John Doyle, Peggy Seeger, and Mick Moloney as well as her husband, accordionist Niall Vallely. She is a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion radio show.
Casey’s voice is among the loveliest in folk music and she’s a wonderful interpreter of both contemporary and traditional material. – Boston Globe
Tickets for the show are $19 in advance and $21 the day of concert with discounts for students and groups. To order online, visit www.ichc.net. Tickets may also be ordered by calling (414) 345-8800.
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