at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center,
(29 January 2005)
I have attended several concerts at the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center in the last few years. This one gets my vote as being one of the best that I've seen to date. Danu is always a pleasure to listen to, and this occasion was no different. This dynamic group from Ireland had my feet tapping and my hands clapping through, pretty much, the entire show.
Not only is this a band full of stellar musicians, but also comedians. If I wasn't tapping my toes to tunes, I was laughing at their jokes (about the football game that was faintly coming through the sound system for half of the concert). Their bodhran player, Donnchadh Gough, could not be with them (because of a new little addition to his family), so they brought along some puppet friends. One puppet was a very old lady, named Peggy, who could dance like you would not believe. As one of the band members said, she taught the audience "where Riverdance came from." Another puppet was a baby, who showed off by playing the accordion. It was very funny.
I was very pleased with the band's addition of vocalist Muireen Nic Arnhlaoibh. She has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. She wowed the crowd over and over again with gorgeous renditions of several songs. My personal favorite was "Follow On" by Paul Brady. It sent chills up my spine. Just when I thought the concert couldn't get any better, it did.
The concert was loaded with fantastic tunes, including reels, jigs, polkas and barn dances. My favorite set of tunes was one of the last sets of the evening. It began with some jigs that were played by Donal and Eamon on guitar and bouzouki. Then, Oisin took the spotlight by playing a rousing reel on the fiddle. After that, Brendan played a fantastic rendition of "Jean's Reel" on the accordion. This led to another upbeat reel by flute player, Tom, and then it was Muireen's turn to blow everyone away on whistle. The set ended with everyone playing "The Contradiction." The audience exploded into applause when it was over.
I am looking forward to attending this band's concerts at Milwaukee Irish Fest in August. I would highly recommend going to check out Danu if you ever have the chance. They will blow you away.