From the Irish Heartland
Ireland meets Scotland this week on Mountain Home Music.
The concert on Saturday, July 13, will feature Nuala Kennedy, from Northern Ireland, and Billy Jackson, from Scotland.
Kennedy is a singer, flutist and classically trained pianist. She grew up in Dundalk, County Louth, on the east coast of Ireland, a musical area steeped in mythology and with long historical links to Scotland. She began playing traditional music at the age of 7, when her father introduced her to her first whistle teacher. She’s been learning ever since.
At the age of 18, she moved to Scotland to study art at Edinburgh College of Art. Captivated immediately by Edinburgh’s traditional music session scene, her instrumental prowess deepened, and her repertoire expanded to include both Scottish and Irish tunes. Her debut solo album, “The New Shoes,” was named BBC Radio Scotland’s “Traditional Album of the Year” in 2008.
About Nuala Kennedy, The Irish Times said her music is “…Fresh, zesty, and magical.”
Jackson has been at the forefront of Scottish traditional music for nearly 30 years. In addition to his stature as one of the leading harpers and multi-instrumentalists in Scotland, Jackson has gained an international reputation as a composer. His “Land of Light” won the international competition in 1999 as the new song for Scotland, announced on the eve of that Parliament convening for the first time in 300 years.
Jackson was a founding member and creative tour de force of Ossian in 1976, which became one of Scotland’s best-loved traditional bands. The band, whose music influenced a generation of musicians, extensively toured the United States and Europe. Besides harp, he also plays tin-whistle, bouzouki and piano.
About Jackson, Iain Macinnes, from BBC’s Pipeline Program, said, “He’s got the best ear of anyone I’ve ever come across, and he has total command of the Scottish traditional idiom.”
Pianist Laurie Nicholson and MHM host Joe Shannon (hammer dulcimer, concertina and harmonica) will also share a few Irish and Scottish tunes.
The concert, “From the Irish Heartland,” will take place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, which is located at 170 Councill St. in downtown Boone (behind Earth Fare). Starting time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Student tickets are $10, and children’s tickets cost $5.
Tickets may be purchased at Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s General Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Kudzu Music in Boone and at Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop, both in the Martin House on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets may also be purchased online though the Mountain Home Music website, http://www.mountainhomemusic.com. For more information, visit the website or call (828) 964-3392.
The purpose of Mountain Home Music is to honor the music and the musicians of the Appalachian region.
Mountain Home Music is affiliated with the Blue Ridge Music Trails, a project of the North Carolina Arts Council.