We are planning and inviting a new list of entertainers for the November, 2017 festival. As they become confirmed, the performers will be listed below.
The groups below performed at the 2016 Maryland Irish Festival.
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.
Known for their captivating sound and engaging stage presence, Burning Bridget Cleary is currently one of the hottest young acts on the Celtic and folk music circuits. Band-leader Rose Baldino drives this band, delivering a dynamic blend of charisma, crackerjack fiddle work, and tightly woven harmonies. The front of the band is shared with some of the best fiddle talent on the East Coast. Currently featured is Amy Beshara, a multi-talented musician from the the NYC Scottish trad scene. The driving rhythm and bass end is supplied by Lou Baldino on guitar and Peter Trezzi on percussion.
Burning Bridget Cleary has earned a reputation for presenting high-spirited Celtic music at festivals, concerts, and music series all over the eastern half of the U.S., including a 2011 tour to Ireland.
Derek Warfield is one of the great Irish ballad singers but he’s also much more – a founding member and long-serving front man of the legendary Wolfe Tones, a charismatic all-round performer, a historian, retriever and writer of songs and a man who cares passionately for the Irish song tradition.
He continues to be kept busy performing throughout Europe and in North America. In 44 years on the road, he’s enjoyed many highlights, performing at venues which include the likes of Carnegie Hall in New York and the Royal Albert Hall in London. There have been countless best-selling albums, number 1 hits and television and radio appearances along the way.
And the story continues with Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfe Tones. “I’m really excited about the future with these really brilliant young musicians,” he says. “It’s like a new beginning. They are each superb instrumentalists and singers so they can bring a new dimension to what we offer in the recording studio and on live on stage.
Over the course of nearly 1,200 shows since they formed as a Celtic band in 2006, The Gothard Sisters – who are truly sisters – have become internationally recognized as multi-instrumentalist Celtic-influenced folk musicians, songwriters, and performers from the Pacific Northwest, USA. Regularly performing more than 120 shows a year, the Gothard Sisters have built a loyal following by connecting with audiences in a lively, entertaining and touching way. In 2013, the Irish Music Awards presented the Gothard Sisters with Best New Irish Artist, and they were awarded with Album of the Year for Celtic Radio in 2011 for their album Story Girl. In addition to their musical endeavors, each of the sisters are highly trained in competitive Irish dance, bringing the heart-pounding rhythms of Ireland to their live shows for a dynamic surprise to keep the audience at the edge of their seats.
The Moxie Strings is the electrifying combination of fiddler, Diana Ladio, and cellist, Alison Lynn. With their feel-good melodies and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms, these girls have put a fresh, enticing spin on Celtic and Americana music. Though rooted in tradition, The Moxie Strings offer listeners the unique opportunity to experience two of the world’s best-known instruments and oldest genres through a young, progressive lens. Diana and Alison often join forces with dynamic drummer and world percussionist, Fritz McGirr, to create a high-energy trio proven to captivate any audience. The Moxie Strings’ ear-catching originals and dance-worthy, traditional tunes have quickly made it one of Michigan’s most promising and well-loved instrumental acts.
For nearly 20 years, Blackwater has been performing their high-energy brand of Celtic music to audiences across North America from sessions and pubs to concert halls and festival stages. Formed in 1996, the group has released several albums, appeared on multiple compilations and brought their inspired love of their shared musical heritage to an ever growing fan base. The band’s members have a rich tradition in Celtic, Folk, Classical and Contemporary Music and have successfully merged those individual influences into a unique and dynamic sound.
Striking vocal harmonies, intricate fiddle styles, multi-instrumental talent and a penchant for compelling rhythms lend the group its unmistakable take on the traditional. Original compositions, innovative arrangements and an all embracing passion for fun freshen the mix for a show that has been described as “Sheer Ceili Aerobics!”
The trio was initially formed as a pick-up band for the 2015 St. Pat’s Season, but quickly realized that their combination of musical styles was worth pursuing as a more permanent venture. Enjoying quick success, the group was booked at all of the regional festivals, and within six months they were headlining a tour of England and Ireland. The band’s first album – ‘Higher Notes & Anecdotes‘ – was released in September of 2015, and was embraced as a “genre-bending blend of traditional Celtic and American folk music”. Currently based out of Pennsylvania, USA, Poor Man’s Gambit is actively booking performances at Irish and Scottish festivals in the U.S. and Europe, as well as house concerts, weddings, and listening clubs.
The Brandywine Harp Orchestra is the only continuous playing harp orchestra in the United States, founded in 2000 by Scottish National Harp Champion, Janet Witman. The ensemble of eleven harpers will be presenting 2 sets of Irish harp music, including traditional jigs, reels, airs and the music of Turlough O’Carolan and Janet Harbison of the Irish Harp Orchestra.
Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been entertaining audiences all over the United States for almost four decades. An accomplished guitarist with a ready wit and a vast store of songs, he travels the country performing for thousands of people each year. With a thorough knowledge of the traditional and contemporary songs of Ireland and Scotland, he is equally proficient with American music, whether it be folk, country, bluegrass or a little Western Swing. A thirty-seven-year veteran of the Irish/Celtic festival circuit, he was first influenced by the legendary Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, and from them he learned the importance of not only being a solid musician and singer, but also of being an all-round entertainer.
Seamus is at home in venues ranging from intimate house-concerts and folk-clubs to concert halls and festivals; from Alaska to Florida, from Maryland to California, he makes folks laugh, sing and forget their cares for a while. Kennedy’s ability to combine a total command of the music with humor makes him unique in the industry. His strong interactive entertainment skills and his participation with his audiences have helped him create an exceptionally loyal fan base everywhere he goes.
Formed in 2006, Dublin 5 (formerly the Rovers) have 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. Fronted by Dublin native Ray Murphy and backed by Jenn Bell (fiddle), Gary Hewitt (bass), Jim Martin (percussion) and drummer Kevin Shook, they are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat, if not up dancing in the aisle!
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 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, 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 two years in a row 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 Adam Wyatt on Vocals and Bodhran, Sarah Stepanik on Fiddle, Chris Marsheck on Guitar, Gary Peresta on Bass, Evan Phillips on Drums and World Irish Dancing Finalists 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!
The Kilmaine Saints were first conceived in 2009 by a few members of the Lochiel Emerald Society Pipes and Drums as a means to play bagpipes year round and acquire free beer and pub food. Although the idea of a band was mostly for fun, it quickly became clear that the music scene around them was lacking, and they knew just what it needed. A short time later, the Saints rounded out their crew with a singer from County Mayo, a brilliant fiddler, and an upbeat guitarist, and began pounding through blistering, high-energy live sets that have kept people wanting more. With their love of superior music and complimentary beer, the Kilmaine Saints and their Guinness-soaked hearts have been storming the North East, playing hundreds of shows from small-town pubs to large stage events. In addition to being the go-to band for the Philly chapter of the Dropkick Murphy charity fund (The Claddagh Fund), they have many large Irish festivals under their belt, including Pipes in the Valley, Celtic Fling, ShamrockFest, Annapolis Irish Festival and the Wildwood Irish Weekend.
Brendan Pelan, Singer and Guitarist, 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 my 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. My goal of playing Irish music full time has been realized and I have the privilege of performing for some of the best Irish organizations and restaurants in the area. Over the past three years, I’ve been invited to perform at the Maryland Irish Festival, and in 2006 and 2007, I played several venues in Derry, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland. To close, 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.