Friday, March 1, 2024

Jocelyn Pettit and Ellen Gira to Perform at MCTA

Frostburg’s Mountain City Traditional Arts will host Jocelyn Pettit & Ellen Gira on Wednesday March 13th at 7pm. 

If Ellen Gira’s name seems familiar, that’s because she’s the granddaughter of Catherine Gira, who served as FSU’s President for many years.

From the West Coast of Canada, Jocelyn Pettit is a vibrant fiddle player, stepdancer, and singer.  With grace and passion, she has delighted audiences and ignited stages across Canada and worldwide, appeared on national television and radio, and released three multi-award-nominated albums.

From the East Coast of the USA, Ellen Gira is an accomplished cellist who has performed throughout North America and the UK.  She has collaborated and recorded with numerous acclaimed traditional musicians and is currently pursuing a PhD in Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Joining forces in Glasgow in 2018, Pettit and Gira were already two well-established musicians, who found together a kindred musical spirit. With Petit on fiddle and Gira on cello, they push boundaries between traditional and contemporary genres to create a powerfully uplifting and soulful performance. Complementing instrumental talent with vocal harmonies and lively step dancing, they perform a high-energy repertoire from Scotland, Ireland, North America, and Scandinavia. FolkWorld Magazine calls them “A dazzling duo!”. 

Located at 25 E. Main Street, Frostburg, Mountain City Traditional Arts is a program of Frostburg State University and a founding member of Maryland’s Folklife Network. It receives support from the Maryland Traditions Program of the State Arts Council. For more information call 301-687-8040. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Traditional Irish Music with Seán Gavin and Colm Gannon

Seán Gavin and Colm Gannon

Thursday, February 15  7 PM

Frostburg’s Mountain City Traditional Arts will host acclaimed Irish musicians Seán Gavin & Colm Gannon on Thursday, February 15th at 7 pm. 

Seán Gavin, is one of the most highly regarded Irish musicians of his generation. Master uilleann piper and flute player, he is the first and only musician born outside Ireland to win the prestigious Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal. Among his many accomplishments, he was Musical Director for the PBS program, “I am Ireland,” and for the long running Atlantic Steps. 

Colm Gannon is a talented accordion player, having won All Ireland on button accordion in 1994. He’s toured extensively with some of Ireland’s top bands including Riverdance, Dervish, and DeDannan; and has developed a strong expertise on the history of Irish Music, particularly that of Connemara. 

Together, the two will provide a powerful and educational performance.

$15 Suggested Donation at the Door. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

MCTA and World Artists Experiences Presents "A History of Polish Women"

Frostburg’s Mountain City Traditional Arts, 25 E. Main Street, in partnership with World Artists Experiences will present a program on A History of Polish Women with Diplomat Katarzyna Rybka-Iwanska on Thursday, December 7 at 7 pm.

Rybka-Iwańska is a career diplomat and the head of public and cultural diplomacy at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, D.C.  She is an expert in strategic planning, especially in public and cultural diplomacy, as well as in educational, digital projects, and in promoting women’s stories. Katarzyna has repeatedly conducted workshops for educators, as well as delivered guest lectures and lessons on the subject of women's contributions to the history of Poland.

“Poland, its history, and its present can be portrayed in various ways,” said Rybka-Iwanska. “Personally, I find the most captivating approach is to narrate the story of my country through the remarkable women who have shaped it.”

This presentation will explore the stories of Polish women on the forefront of history- from Maria Skłodowska-Curie, the greatest female scientist in history, to Wanda Rutkiewicz, the fearless Himalayan climber; from Maria Siemionow, the author of the world's first nearly total face transplant, to the first Polish female parliamentarians; from Irena Sendler, the Polish nurse who saved hundreds of children from the Warsaw Ghetto, to Wisława Szymborska, the Polish poet beloved worldwide.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

 The Jeremiahs Return to Frostburg’s Mountain City Traditional Arts, Sunday, Nov. 5

Frostburg State University’s Mountain City Traditional Arts will present the Jeremiahs on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m. at 25 E. Main St. in Frostburg. The live entertainment is open to the public through general admission with a suggested donation of $15. 

Calling their music folk-traditional with an urban twist, the band has rapidly built a solid reputation in Ireland and beyond. They shape their sound with Dubliner Joe Gibney’s vocals, joined by vocalist Niamh Varian-Barry on fiddle, Julien Bruneteau from Brittany on whistle and flutes and Dublin-based James Ryan on guitar and bouzouki. They have travelled extensively, with a wonderful mixture of newly composed songs and tunes in the folk genre and a well-selected catalogue of older folk songs. 

A talented singer and songwriter with a melting pot of influences, Gibney, with his instantly recognizable timbre, offers a diverse repertoire of songs, from rousing sea shanties to emotional traditional songs of hardship, love and loss. 

Former lead singer of American supergroup “Solas” and multi-instrumentalist Varian-Barry is a musician and composer from Cork City with a unique and individual style. She has a reputation as an exceptional communicator of the arts. Her powerful vocals have been praised worldwide and she is a trained viola and fiddle player. 

Bruneteau hails from Bordeaux in France and began playing the flute at age 11. While studying jazz at the Conservatoire of Agen and attending the prestigious Didier Lockwood school in Paris, he immersed himself in the works of great artists such as Chris Potter, Stéphane Guillaume and Benoît Sourisse. Bruneteau is a flute player of great sensitivity with an amazing ability to improvise. 

Accompanist Ryan has amassed a wealth of experience, having already performed in more than 14 countries. He draws on a wide a range of influences from different genres and traditions, which is evident is his unique percussive backing style. An established teacher, Ryan is also an experienced sound engineer. 

MCTA is a program of FSU and a founding member of Maryland’s Folklife Network. It receives support from the Maryland Traditions Program of the State Arts Council. 

For more information, call 301-687-8040. 

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-3035 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Traditional Irish Music with Ivan Goff, Brenda Castles, Liz Hanley, and Jefferson Hamer

Mountain City Traditional Arts presents Traditional Irish Music on Wednesday, November 1 at 7 pm. The performance features some of the tradition’s most in demand musicians including Brenda Castles on Concertina, Liz Hanley on Fiddle and Song, Ivan Goff on Uilleann Pipes and Flute, and Jefferson Hammer, on Guitar and Song. Independently, each musician has a stellar reputation in Irish music. Collectively, they bring to the stage a powerhouse performance. 

Ivan Goff is from Dublin and is a member of Irish traditional band Danú. He has performed/toured worldwide in duets and ensembles with many household names of Irish music including Iarla Ó Lionáird, Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh, Martin Hayes, John Doyle, Eileen Ivers, Cormac Breatnach, Dervish, and Lúnasa. With credits that range from film and theater to appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Ivan has also performed in Broadway productions such as Sting's The Last Ship, Come From Away, and Riverdance. Ivan has a PhD in music from NYU and MAs in music from UCD and Queens, Belfast.

Brenda Castles is from Co. Meath and learned concertina from Mícheál Ó'Raghallaigh. She has two solo albums of Irish music on concertina and performed regularly with Mick Moloney's Green Fields of America collective. She has recently performed solo concerts for the Consairtín festival in Ennis, Temple Bar TradFest, Meath Beo and the Pipers Club in Dublin. This year Brenda has produced a short film called 'Plight of the Bumble Bee' for which she composed a traditionally inspired soundtrack.

Jefferson Hamer is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter from Brooklyn, New York. He has toured and recorded albums with Anais Mitchell (Child Ballads, winner of a BBC2 Folk Award), Sarah Jarosz (as guitarist and harmony singer on her Grammy-nominated Blue Heron Suite), and Session Americana. The Murphy Beds, his long-running traditional folk duo with Eamon O’Leary, has released two self-produced albums, about which the Huffington Post wrote, “[the album] bears repeated listening from start to finish, with ten beautiful, crystalline songs.” His original songs and lead guitar work are featured on Alameda, an acoustic and electric collaboration with bassist Jeff Picker and drummer John Fatum, featuring special guests from the NYC folk community and beyond.

Liz Hanley is a Brooklyn based fiddle player, violinist, singer and performer across many genres. Vents Magazine states “Liz Hanley is a singer with the sort of crystal-clear, instantly ingratiating voice that has always been a hallmark of progressive folk-rock” and Irish Music Magazine write “Liz Hanley has that uncanny knack and the distinctive voice to reawaken our interest in the familiar…” Hanley has toured globally with the late great Dr. Mick Moloney and The Green Fields of America, the pop-infused prog-folk-rock band Frogbelly And Symphony and symphonic rock band Emanuel and the Fear. Hanley’s debut album of songs and tunes in the Irish tradition "The Ecstasy of St Cecilia" was hailed a “gentle work of beauty” by FolkWorld.

Located at 25 E. Main Street, Frostburg, Mountain City Traditional Arts is a program of Frostburg State University and a founding member of Maryland’s Folklife Network. It receives support from the Maryland Traditions Program of the State Arts Council. For more information call 301-687-8040. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Irish Duo Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne at MCTA

Frostburg’s Mountain City Traditional Arts, presents Irish Folk Duo Niamh Parsons and Graham Dunne on Sunday, October 15, at 4 pm. With a penchant for Irish ballads, Niamh Parsons is considered one of the most distinctive voices in Irish music. Paired with Dublin native Graham Dunne, a versatile guitarist and expert accompannist, their performances are simultaneously haunting, heartwarming, and sublime. 

Described in the Boston Herald as both emotionally haunting and tonally as clear as crystal, Parsons albums have been ‘must-have’ collector’s items for any lover of songs and singing and many consider her one of the best. With 9 Albums to her name, Parsons has gathered a body of songs from many sources, both traditional and modern songwriters.

Growing up in Dublin, Parson’s music-loving parents brought herself and her sister to the local folk club in The Old Shieling Hotel in Raheny, where the young girls were exposed to songs and singing from the likes of The Johnstons, Emmet Spiceland, Sweeney’s Men, Dolly McMahon, Danny Doyle and many of the other musicians and singers that were playing in Folk clubs at that time. ‘My father was a great singer, and on long journeys the family used to sing in the car – I don’t remember a time in my life when I was not singing – I love songs.’

Parsons developed this love into a passion for collecting songs. She is always on the lookout for songs that speak to her – listening to new albums, scouring the Traditional Music Archives in Dublin, sharing notes with a network of friends and other singers. Once she discovers a song she likes, Niamh views herself as the vehicle for the music. ‘For me the song is more important than listening to my voice’, she says. ‘I consider myself more a songstress than a singer – a carrier of tradition.’

 Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1974, Graham Dunne is a multi-talented and versatile musician.  Graham spent a great number of years living in County Clare and while there, was very much involved in the Irish Traditional music scene, having had the pleasure of accompanying a vast array of wonderfully talented local musicians during that time. Dunne and Parsons have a long-standing musical collaboration, having toured together since 1999.

Dunne  is also a musician of eclectic taste, and his musical explorations have seen him dabble in Jazz, Flamenco and Indian music, even going so far as to study tabla for a time, which he now plays at sessions regularly in Dublin. This eclecticism has led to the accumulation of a vast repertoire of material,

Located at 25 E. Main Street, Frostburg, Mountain City Traditional Arts is a program of Frostburg State University and a founding member of Maryland’s Folklife Network. It receives support from the Maryland Traditions Program of the State Arts Council. For more information call 301-687-8040.