Na Fidleiri, Charleston's renowned Celtic fiddling ensemble, and the Taylor Festival Choir, one of the nation's finest professional choirs, join forces with legendary Irish tradition music Uilleann Piper Cillian Vallely and guitarist/singer-songwriter John Doyle in presenting "Celtic Christmas 2014" at Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting Street, at 7:30pm, Monday, December 15th. The evening's proceedings will be led by co-directors Robert and Mary Taylor.
"A Celtic Christmas" has been a Charleston favorite for more than a decade. It features a delightful mixture of traditional Holiday carols and airs, instrumental jigs and reels with a Celtic flavor, spiritual choral segments, operatic offerings, and storytelling for the entire family. This year, the show will feature a special segment commemorating the 1914 Christmas Eve Armistice between German and English troops on the western front. As always, some selections will stem from the Taylor Festival Choir's award-winning Holiday CD Sing We Now of Christmas, soon to be featured on Sirius XM Radio Holiday Pops for the fifth season in a row, while others will be freshly written for the occasion by composer/arrangers such as Brian Galante and Karen Marrolli.
Tickets can be purchased in advance here, or at the door. Preferred Seating $30 (Limit of 40), General Seating $20 Student Preferred Seating $18, General Student Seating $10
Starting at age 7, Cillian Vallely learned the whistle and uilleann pipes from his parents Brian and Eithne at the Armagh Pipers Club, a group that for more than four decades has fostered the revival of traditional music in the north of Ireland. Since leaving college, he has played professionally and has toured all over North America and Europe in addition to Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia.
Since 1999, he has been a member of the band Lunasa, with whom he has recorded six albums and played at many major festivals including Womad, Glastonbury, Edmonton & Winnipeg Folk Festivals, Lorient Interceltique and The Hollywood Bowl. He has also performed and toured with Riverdance, Natalie Merchant, Tim O Brien & Mary Chapin-Carpenter in "The Crossing," New York-based Whirligig, and the Celtic Jazz Collective with Lewis Nash and Peter Washington. In the past couple of years, he has worked on various collaborations between traditional and classical music, along with his brother Niall and the composer Micheal O'Suilleabhain.
He has recorded on more than 40 albums including Callan Bridge with his brother Niall, On Common Ground with Kevin Crawford and various guest spots with Natalie Merchant, Alan Simon's "Excalibur" project with Fairport Convention and Moody Blues, GAIA with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and Karan Casey. He has recently recorded on two movie soundtracks, Irish Jam and The Golden Boys and played uilleann pipes on the BBC's Flight of the Earls soundtrack.
From a musical family in Dublin, John Doyle's influences include well-known English folk singers Nic Jones, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, and The Watersons; Scottish singers Dick Gaughan and John Martin; and fellow Irishmen Paul Brady and Al O'Donnell as well as his father, Sean Doyle--probably the biggest influence of all. John went on the road as a pro at 16 with the group Chanting House which he formed with Susan McKeown and which eventually included such great players as Seamus Egan, Eileen Ivers, & Donogh Hennessy. John went on to form the highly acclaimed super group, Solas, with Seamus Egan, John Williams, Karan Casey and Winifred Horan which took the folk and Celtic music worlds by storm, in no small part due to John's powerhouse rhythmic guitar style and innovative arrangements. As a member of Solas, John performed to sold-out audiences nationally and internationally as well as appearing on many national TV and radio programs: NBC's The Today Show, various programs for National Public Radio and Public Radio International, A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, E-Town and World Cafe. As part of that critically acclaimed group, he also received three NAIRD awards and a Grammy nomination for the band's self-titled first recording.
After leaving Solas, John has gone on to perform and tour with other greats in the Folk, Celtic and Bluegrass worlds--Eileen Ivers, Tim O'Brien (John was included on Tim's 2006 Grammy-award winning CD, Fiddler's Green), Linda Thompson, Kate Rusby, Cathie Ryan and many others. He has appeared on soundtracks for the feature film, The Brothers McMullan, Soldier, PBS's Out of Ireland and also composed the music for the film Uncle Robert's Footsteps and the play Down the Flats as well as performing on countless recordings as guitarist and/or singer for other notable artists such as Kate Rusby, Linda Thompson, Tim O'Brien, Alison Brown, Seamus Egan, Eileen Ivers, Mick Moloney, Cathal McConnell, Karan Casey and so many others.
In recent years, John has gained major prominence in the Celtic and Folk worlds in duos with Chicago fiddler Liz Carroll (their recording, Double Play received a 2010 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Record); as Karan Casey and John Doyle; as McGoldrick, McCusker and Doyle (with the greats Michael McGoldrick and John McCusker); and as one third of the stella trio The Teetotallers with Martin Hayes and Kevin Crawford. 2008-2010 saw John on the road with the legendary Joan Baez as her music director and guitarist.
With the release of John's most recent solo recording, Shadow and Light (Compass Records) in 2011, his significant talents as songwriter and singer are finally coming to the fore. Impossibly in demand in the studio and on the road, immensely talented and blessed with an acute ear, a wicked sense of rhythm and seemingly endless bag of chops in his playing, composing, performing and producing, John has firmly established himself as one of the most versatile, creative and prolific voices in folk and traditional Irish music.