MASTERS IN COLLABORATION,  moderated by Mick Moloney, is  the most exciting and exhilerating program the Irish Arts Center runs.  Previous excursions include pairings of Sarah Siskind and Paul Brady; John Doyle and Andy Irvine; Gregory Harrington and Martin Hayes; and Athena Tergis and Bill Whelan.  Now we have Joanie Madden and Séamus Begley–and you can hear both of them, and IAC’s Artistic Director Aidan Connolly, discuss what they expect on this week’s podcast!

On Wednesday, April 13, Mick (who came up with the series concept)  interviews the two artists, letting us in on their background and showing us how the week is going.  Tickets are free, but you’ve got to reserve!  The concerts will be at the weekend.  All of them will be great, but as Aidan said on the podcast, there’s something special about that first night when nobody, including the artists, really knows what to expect.   Reserve Conversation tix with Jen, or call 212-757-3318 ext. 202.  Admission to the concerts is $35; call 212-868-4444 or go to SmartTix.

  Is there anyone interested in trad in NYC that doesn’t know Joanie?  If you haven’t met the virtuosos flutist/whistle player and leader of Cherish the Ladies, yet now’s your chance– she’s written a letter inviting you all!  (Read it after the jump!) I interviewed Joanie about her album with her late father Joe Madden, A Galway Afternoon, for Irish Music Magazine).  And to see Kerry accodrionist and Sean Nós singer Séamus Begley is a treat not to be missed (watch him singing “The Parting Glass,” one of my all time faves, after the jump!).  The two of them are both funny and fierce and outgoing.  And I hear there will be some set dancers– because this music is dance music, and to understand it you have to see it, too.

The week is a glorious artist-centered program– yes, there are concerts at the end of it, but the point is the collaboration itself.  That’s rare in these “show me the money” days.  This collaboration was Joanie Madden’s idea– she’s in awe of the Kerry accordionist and Sean Nós singer;  he in turn dismisses what he does as “simple,” calling her a maestro.  Both performers have big big energies and Séamus says that if Joanie sings half as well as she talks there’ll be some fine singing (hey, I’ve heard her on Cherish The Ladies’ last Christmas album, A Star in the East, which I also reviewed for Irish Music Magazine, and she has a fine, pitch-perfect and sweet voice).

Heck, during APAP in January (that’s the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, a yearly conference where performers showcase their wares), Joanie wandered in to the Session at 11th street and her energy and humor was so infectious that playwright Deirdre Kinahan tapped me on the arm and said “who’s that, I love her.”   Joanie didn’t even play that night, deferring to the Danús and the Battlefield Bands and Chris Tihle and Alasdair Fraser and all the other visiting guest stars.  I’ve never seen Séamus but am very eager to after talking with him last week, and after watching some youtube video… )

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