FolkWorld Issue 38 03/2009; Live Report by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup

Infected by the Celtic Virus
Irish Nights @ Kammgarn, 20-22 Nov 2008, Schaffhausen

Luka Bloom

Luka Bloom @ FolkWorld: FW#7, #12, #13,
#20, #29, #31, #34, #36, #38

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The Kammgarn is one of the first addresses for Folk and Celtic music in Switzerland. Besides a series of excellent Celtic music events and plenty of more interesting concerts, parties and shows, Roli Fricker, the man who cares for the Celtic branch, regularly organizes the Irish Nights in late autumn. This means three nights of the finest Irish music from the Emerald Isle, featuring emigrated Irish musicians abroad as well as musicians who have been infected by the Celtic virus.

This year the programme was excellent as usual. It started Thursday evening at 8.45 pm with in my opinion Ireland's most brilliant singer/songwriter Luka Bloom. It's the second time I saw him on stage, he's like a good French wine, and he’s getting better with the years. Luka started off with a song dedicated to the newly elected American president Barak Obama. He wishes that Obama holds his promise to stop the insane war in the Middle East. This was not the only politically engaged song he brought forward. Luka entertained the audience with his brilliant guitar playing, his beautiful singing and his great songs.


Icon Sound P Stands for Paddy, Polkas Icon Movie @

After a short break for Roli and his team to prepare the stage, the six charming ladies from Líadan came on stage. Líadan play a stunning mixture of traditional dance sets and songs in English as well as in Irish. The line-up is Síle Denvir on harp, Deirdre Chawke on piano accordion, Valerie Casey and Claire Dolan on fiddle, Olivia McTernen on flute and Elaine Cormican on tin whistle and flute. All six have wonderful voices though personally I was spellbound by harpist Denvir's mesmerizing Irish singing. They are highly talented musicians and I loved the simple arrangements that put the virtuoso choir singing in the foreground.

Friday night began with Shirley Grimes, a lady from Dublin who lives in Switzerland, and her band. Shirley sings and plays the acoustic guitar and she’s accompanied by Joe McHugh (whistles, uilleann pipes), Wolf Zwiauer (bass), Oli Hartung (electric guitars) and Sam Baur (drums, harmonica). Shirley sings mostly self-crafted folk-rock songs and cover versions, so their sound was not very traditional. But the stirring rhythms were a perfect start of the evening and the guys managed to get the crowd going.


Capercaillie @ FolkWorld: FW#3, #8, #12,
#16, #17, #23, #24, #28, #29, #31 #34, #36

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So when Capercaillie came on stage we were all ready to have a great evening with hauntingly beautiful singing and brilliant dance tunes. And that’s what happened! Despite of all the delayed flights and bad roads all eight members of the band came in time to play another brilliant gig for their fans. They played songs from their latest CD “Roses and Tears” as well as some well known Capercaillie classics. It was the first time I heard the hauntingly beautiful “Ailein Duinn” on stage. The tunes included for example “The Rob Roy Reels” or the brilliant “Kepplehall”. After a short time the crowd started to dance and clap hands to the music, the band appreciated it and seemed to accelerate the path. So it ended up in a breathtaking Celtic party and at the end of the evening Karen and the guys came to the CD stand to chat with their fans and sign CDs.

I skipped the third day with the local ensemble Manalive, the Swiss Irish group An Lar and the Irish top band North Cregg because I was invited to an anniversary party in the Met-Bar (mead-bar) in Lenzburg with the German Medieval Celtic Band “Dunkelschön”. But I’m convinced the last day was another unforgettable Irish night. If you ponder about joining next year’s Irish Nights in Schaffhausen, check my report about visiting Schaffhausen. It’s a worthwhile trip to this picturesque little town on the border to Germany (Folk & The City: Schaffhausen).

Photo Credits: (1) Luka Bloom; (2) Liadan; (3) Capercaillie (by Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup).

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 03/2009

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