We are currently soliciting our entertainers for the November, 2020 festival. As the bands are signed, they will be listed.
Below are the bands from last year’s festival – 2019.
The four sisters WILL be back!
The Screaming Orphans are four sisters with the good fortune to have been raised in the magic of Bundoran in County Donegal, Ireland. There is a great tradition of music to be found in Irish homes. Our home was no exception. From we were young, we’ve been singing and playing traditional Irish music, but when we hit our teenage years we knew it was time to start our own pop rock band.
The band has toured the United States and Europe since mid-1990s. In 1997, the band played as Sinéad O’Connor’s opening band and her back-up singers on her Gospel Oak Tour across Europe, America and Canada. In 2001 the band traveled back and forth to New York City to work on music for cartoon pilots with Funny Garbage. They then decided to make New York City their permanent base and started playing Irish festivals, colleges, universities and performing arts centers throughout the US. The Screaming Orphans continue to actively tour throughout the US and Europe.
Although they are known for their pop songs they have never lost touch with their roots and can easily switch from an original pop song into a trad tune or a verse of the Galway Shawl.
Còig is one of Atlantic Canada’s most exciting Celtic traditional groups made up of four accomplished multi-instrumentalists, Chrissy Crowley, Rachel Davis, Darren McMullen, and Jason Roach. With the fiery Celtic high-energy style as its musical core, Còig easily shifts between century-old tunes of past generations to original and upbeat compositions, featuring the band’s range of over a dozen instruments (vocals, fiddles, piano, guitars, banjo, mandolin, viola, bouzouki, whistles, and more). With driving tunes, haunting songs and infectious energy, Còig is an unparalleled music force. The best in trad music, in a non-traditional way. That’s Còig.
Stövchen is a musical brew steeped just right. Meghan Mette (fiddle), David McKindley-Ward (bazouki, guitar), and Marty Frye (flute, whistle) craft an Irish musical sound that draws on their experience playing in the tradition as well as from their own creative tendencies. The trio relies on thoughtful arrangement, a deft touch, and pure joy of the groove to bring new life and personality to a carefully curated selection of dance tunes and songs. The band plays out of their home base in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area.
Egan & McKindley-Ward
David McKindley-Ward (guitar, bouzouki, banjo) cut his teeth playing in the lauded Baltimore/DC Irish music scene. He is now known as a terrific singer and musician, drawing on his lineage of singing seafaring songs, as well as his deep repertoire of Irish/Scottish/English folk ballads and broadsides, bringing his own sound to many of these familiar, and some not so familiar songs. He can be heard in sessions all through the area, as well as accompanying musicians across the Mid-Atlantic.
They will be joined by Laurence Nugent, 3 time All-Ireland Champion on flute.
Pat Egan has performed with the Internationally-known Irish trio, Chulrua for 15 years as guitarist and singer. He is praised for his powerful rhythm playing and his soulful tenor voice. Pat also performs with The Hedge Band, featuring, Billy McComiskey, Donna Long and Laura Byrne, an exciting Irish quartet based in Baltimore, Maryland. Now living in Northern Virginia, Pat plays with Fiddle and Banjo and singer Alex Caton and Jeff Thomas concertina player/maker. He also plays in the Scottish trio: The Sound of Sleat. Pat still teaches guitar and song workshops and has been a regular at the Catskills Irish week in upstate NY and Baltimore Irish Trad Festival in Baltimore, MD.
The ShamRogues have been entertaining crowds all over the East Coast since 2009 with their unique brand of Irish music and dance. From Washington D.C. to Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the famous Irish venues of New York City, the band has attracted fans of all ages and walks of life wherever they travel with their show. Having performed a series of sell out shows in Ireland over the past several years, the band has blasted onto the International scene in a blaze of electric fiddles and banjos.
Formed by banjo player and County Laois native Jim Phelan, the band features Chris Marsheck on Guitar and Vocals, John Durant, Jr on Guitar, Vocals and Whistle, Sarah Stepanik on Fiddle, Gary Peresta on Bass, Evan Phillips on Drums and the World Class Irish Dancing Duo Katie Fox and Katie Whitman.
Not a band to stand around on stage blasting out song after song, The ShamRogues like to involve their audience in a fun, lively evening of songs and stories of Ireland, and God help anyone who forgets to clap along !!!
Kilmaine Saints is a band formed on good whiskey and bad intentions. The brainchild of two members of a Harrisburg Pipe & Drum band, this side project was originally created with the sole intent of getting them free beer at St Patrick’s Day shows in the Central PA area (and might I add – mission accomplished). After incorporating the help of fellow members from the pipe band and other notable musicians from the area, they soon realized they were in for one hell of a ride. Since 2009 they have continued to pound through blistering, high-energy live sets that keep people singing along, stomping their feet, lifting their pints and shouting for more. With several hundred shows at venues and festivals up and down the East Coast, 5 critically acclaimed releases under their belts, national and international airplay, and an ever-expanding and extremely loyal fan base, it’s no wonder the world is starting to stand up and take notice. In short, the Kilmaine Saints are equal parts Irish swagger, Scottish pride, and whiskey. This explosive Celtic rock band from central PA will steal your heart, your spirit, and your pint when you’re not looking.
Liam and Mickey Spain are second generation singer / songwriters from the mill town of Manchester, NH. They grew up in a household steeped in folk music and musicians. Their father, Mike Spain, was a well known folk singer performing Irish and American Folk songs throughout the New England area. Liam and Mickey began performing as a duo in the early 1990’s. Liam and Mickey joined forces with Shane, Conor and Rory and began touring as The Makem and Spain Brothers. In 2013, the lineup, again, was reduced by one, leaving Liam, Mickey and Rory to perform as Makem and Spain. Liam and Mickey have now returned to performing as a duo, concentrating on original compositions as well as traditional and contemporary folk songs.
Poehemia is thrilled to make its debut at the 2019 Maryland Irish Festival. Shaped by the rocking traditions of Baltimore and the thriving music scene in Glasgow, Poehemia has performed hundreds of high-energy electric and acoustic shows at pubs, wineries, weddings, breweries, festivals, and special events throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Join the lads as they bring their unique, top shelf selection of the absolute best in Traditional Irish, Celtic Rock and Celtic-inspired originals to this year’s festival. Slainte!
Brendan’s Voyage, The Band, was formed in the early 90’s with Brian Gaffney from Tralee, and Fergus Kennedy and Steve Morris who are both from Strabane.
Together, their style runs the gambit from classic rock and roll to country, to traditional Irish music. Brian’s guitar and crooning vocals, Fergus’s accomplished run of the keyboards and Steve’s unsurpassed fiddle, guitar and vocals have made them a much sought-after band for concerts, festivals and major events all around America for many years. Brendan’s Voyage is sure to bring any crowd to its feet as audience members revel in their diversity and lively performances.
The Bog Band is a talented group of young musicians with a passion for traditional Irish music and dance. The group began some fifteen years ago at the Washington Waldorf School, where director Mitch Fanning taught violin. Most of the members are middle/high school students living in the Greater Washington D.C. area. Though they are young, they are remarkably talented and accomplished musicians. Many members have competed and placed at a variety of local and regional traditional Irish music competitions.
Over the years and even now, fiddles remain the focus, but the band has also featured a variety of other traditional Irish instruments including guitar, bouzouki, bodhran (drum), concertina, flute, Uilleann pipes, tin whistle, banjo, button accordion and piano.
In addition, the Bog Band has also helped raise tens of thousands of dollars by concertizing for charities and public interest groups, most notably for Child Justice, a child-advocacy organization, The Father McKenna Center, a homeless shelter in DC, and the Washington Ireland Program, a cultural exchange and leadership development program based in Washington, DC.
Dublin 5 has taken the Celtic music scene by storm thanks to an eclectic mix of traditional roots and blazing instrumentals with an amped up rock twist. Their musicianship and show is nothing short of high octane. Their fan base is continually expanding and covers people of all ages from all walks of life. The name Dublin 5 is the region in Ireland where Ray Murphy, lead singer in the band, grew up as a child.
Dublin 5 has performed at The Milwaukee Irish Festival, The Syracuse Irish Festival, The Oshkosh Irish Festival, The Maryland Irish Festival, The Celtic Classic, The Celtic Fling, The Dayton Ohio Irish Festival, The Annapolis Irish Festival,The Maryland Renaissance Festival, FEDEX Field, Southern Maryland Celtic Festival, Raven’s Stadium, USNA Stadium and Shamrock Fest Washington, D.C.
Dublin 5 are fronted by Ray Murphy (lead guitar) from Dublin, Ireland and backed by Jenn Belle (fiddle), Gary Hewitt (bass), Jim Martin, (percussion), and drummer Kevin Shook. They are sure to keep you on edge until the final track has been played!
New York-native Jerry O’Sullivan is considered by many to be one of America’s foremost uilleann pipers. Famous for both his technical mastery and emotional expression on the pipes, O’Sullivan is also accomplished tin whistle, low whistle, Highland bagpipe and Scottish small pipe player. O’Sullivan has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe and has even brought the music of the pipes to Middle East and Asia. O’Sullivan has always been in high demand for the US festival circuit, and continues to be a talented ambassador of the Irish uilleann (elbow) pipes.
Zan McLeod started his career in the early ‘70s playing southern rock on his guitar. His ﬁrst forays into the Irish music scene started back in 1979, when he and North Carolina singer/ songwriter Mike Cross visited Nashville during a tour from their Chapel Hill home base. In Nashville, they met Triona NiDhomnaill of the legendary Bothy Band. That introduction led Triona and Zan to form the innovative and groundbreaking band Touchstone. Together they recorded and toured for 5 years, and Touchstone’s The New Land won the NAIRD award for best Indie album of 1981.
Zan won the Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Grant in 2012 and he continues to teach, record, and play music around the country from his Washington, DC area home.
Jim Eagan grew up in Baltimore’s renowned Irish traditional music scene. In the late 1990s, Jim spent several years as a member of the John Whelan Band and toured Ireland, Europe, Canada, and the U.S. For the past fifteen years, Jim has been a member of O’Malley’s March, led by former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. In 2012 Jim was invited to play at the White House with the band. Jim is also a member of the Old Bay Ceili Band. Jim plays regularly in and around Baltimore with many of the other distinguished musicians that are in the area. He leads a weekly Irish Jam session at Cafe Hon and at Racer’s Café.
Laurence Nugent, “One of Irish music’s recognized master musicians,”-Irish Music Magazine.
Laurence is a virtuoso All-Ireland winning champion of the flute and tin whistle from county Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, an area of Northern Ireland that is steeped in the traditional arts of music, singing and storytelling. Nugent is a name long associated with fine traditional music in Fermanagh. Laurence’s father, the late Sean Nugent, a teacher and composer was at the helm of the All-Ireland winning “The Pride of Erin Ceili Band”.
Laurence is a well established performer on the Celtic music scene, he has toured throughout the U.S, Europe, and Japan over the last two decades. He has been a featured performer at major Irish festivals including: Milwaukee Irish Fest, San Francisco Irish Fest, the Glen Echo Festival in Washington, DC, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Willie Clancy Summer School in Ireland, the East Durham Trad Fest, and teaching at the Annual Catskills Irish Arts Week.The three CDs Laurence recorded for the Shanachie record label introduced Laurence to an American audience and met with critical acclaim on both sides of the ocean. For the past 25 years Laurence has lived in Chicago, moving there after living in Philadelphia and New York City.
“At its best, traditional Irish music alternately soothes the soul and inflames one’s passion, and few musicians do both as effortlessly as Nugent does.”-Dan Keening, The Chicago Tribune.
Joanna Clare, native to Syracuse, NY, is an eight-time All-Ireland qualifier. She has been studying classical violin and folk style fiddling since she was three and began lessons with Sligo fiddle master Brian Conway at age 11. As well as a fiddler, she is also a singer, Irish dancer, and award-winning Irish music composer. She enjoys performing with the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, various Irish musicians, and singer songwriters Duke Paul and Quinn Etoll. She teaches fiddle privately and helps teach a children’s pick-up band at multiple folk festivals run by the Philadelphia Folk Songs Society. Currently, she lives in Baltimore and is a biomaterials science and engineering major and music minor at Johns Hopkins University.
Brendan Pelan, Singer and Guitarist, was born in Belfast Ireland. Seven years ago, he began playing as a solo performer in the Washington, DC and Baltimore area. This is truly where he is the most comfortable and enjoys bringing both Irish traditional and popular acoustic music to his audience. His musical interests span from the Wolfe Tones, Clancy Brothers, Christy Moore, and Furey Brothers to The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, The Drifters, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Roy Orbison.
His goal of playing Irish music full time has been realized and has had the privilege of performing for some of the best Irish organizations and venues in the area. Over the past three years, he’s been invited to perform at the Maryland Irish Festival, and in 2006 and 2007, has played several venues in Derry, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland.
“It is a privilege to be able to play my music and to meet such marvelous people and friends along the way. I receive instant gratification when the audience sings along with me or I receive feedback for a song that I played having special meaning for someone.” – Brendan
Peter Brice sings old songs in a traditional style and plays Irish traditional music on the button accordion. A native Annapolitan and an exponent of Baltimore, Maryland’s Irish traditional music community, Peter’s work blends singing and musicianship with musicology and history, humor and colorful design, and a vision for traditional culture as a foundation for an intellectual life. He is the founder and director of the New Century American Irish-Arts Company, a production house for traditional arts projects. He is a two time recipient of the Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award, and holds a BA in Irish Traditional Music and Dance fromt he University of Limerick.
Jonathon Srour, 31, capped a successful competitive Irish dance career with a top 5 finish at the World Championships and also won the North American Senior Belt Championship 3 times, tying the all-time record. This competition is open to all men and women in North America, aged 17 and over. He has toured the world with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames, Magic of the Dance, and Echoes of Ireland including the countries of Taiwan, Israel, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. During the summers of 2010 and 2012, he performed in the Busch Gardens show, Celtic Fyre, ranked among the best amusement park shows in the country. He spent time in New York as a pivotal member of the Brooklyn-based fusion dance septet, Hammerstep, which received unprecedented reviews on NBC’s America’s
Got Talent, leading to a viral Youtube video that garnered 200,000 hits within 10 days. In addition to the Catskills Irish Arts Week, Jonathon has been an in-demand instructor
at the Boxwood Festival in Nova Scotia and his percussive feet can be heard on flutist Laura Byrne’s sophomore album, “Lucky Day.” Seeking to effectively and uniquely give back to the dance community, he is currently a Podiatric Surgery resident at Georgetown University Hospital. Jonathon is also an avid piano and wooden flute player, having qualified for the All-Ireland Fleadh several times and has performed with the John Whelan Band, Tony DeMarco, and Mother’s Pride with Gabriel Donohue, Marian Makins, and Haley Richardson.
Alice Laffan is an 18-year-old Irish girl with a huge passion for music. She began singing at the age of thirteen, and has been performing around the Irish mid-lands ever since. Her music is eclectic and features elements from many different genres, including Traditional Irish and Country tunes as well as pop.
The ShamrockRs are a Virginia family of Irish step dancers who, as competition soloists and ceili dancers, are National and World qualifier dancers. For many years, the ShamrockRs have performed their unique, family, cultural show with a modern twist for both American and Irish audiences! Clap along to the fun musical beats as the ShamrockRs “rock” the house! The ShamrockRs and their custom shows were profiled in the February/March 2019 issue of the World’s ONLY Irish dance magazine, Irish Dancing & Culture. The ShamrockRs have trained with the lead dancers (male and female) of the world-wide infamous show, “Riverdance” for the past three summers.
Born and raised in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Melissa Hagy grew up performing across the northeast in her family band, the “Celtic Martins.” More recently, she has expanded her musical endeavors, teaching fiddle and guitar lessons as well as teaching and participating in a variety of workshops and festivals. Additionally, Melissa and her two sisters established their own band called, “The Martin Sisters Band,” who specialize in Western swing.
Christy Martin has been playing music for over 15 years. She has toured the country with her family’s band, the Celtic Martins, for many years, and more recently with the Martin Sisters Band. Christy is also a champion Irish dancer, and has had the honor of competing several times at the Mid-Atlantic regional championships. Christy enjoys teaching music and Irish dance lessons, and has recently been able to fulfill a dream in co-founding a band, the Keystone Fiddlers, made up of hers and her sister’s music students.
Chris Norman & Andy Thurston
Chris Norman’s influential work as performer, composer, recording artist, teacher and flutemaker has earned him worldwide recognition. His distinctive flute playing has appeared on more than 40 recordings and can be heard featured on numerous Hollywood soundtracks. Chris is founder and director of the Boxwood Festivals and Workshops taking place for the past 24 years in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the USA, inspiring thousands of musicians of all ages. As a flute maker, he brings to bear a discernment forged over a 30-year career to make world-class flutes for traditional, baroque and renaissance music.
To present the pure, pleasing & provocative sounds of traditional Celtic music. With Mary-Kate Lee’s haunting and ethereal harp, Melissa Hagy’s prowess on fiddle and Cushla Srour welding the sounds together tinkling the keys of the piano or trilling tunes on her whistle, you will be transported into the heart of the Emerald Isle.
CAS (To play) CEOL ( Music)