FEBRUARY 7, 2012
We had a marvelous Burns Supper on Feb 4th. The Celtic Cultural Center's small committee of the Texas Highlanders which includes myself and a couple of other Scottish enthusiasts organized what was the largest and best Burns Supper ever held in Austin. I wanted for a very long time, to be able to present Burns in a way that was true to the life and loves of Robert Burns. It was bawdy, it was irreverent and it was awesome! We had the great pleasure to have a fantastic MC, Kieron Elliott, who kept the audience laughing. Although, I am sure there were a few that fained moral outrage. Those are the same people who never bothered to crack a book on Burns. Oh well, they were warned! Ha!
For the first time, I was able to bring in a mixture of music, that I felt showed the diversity of artists that have drawn from Burns. From the venerable Ed Miller, to the Irish trad playing of Jeff Moore and Chris Buckley's to finally Jeffrey Jones Ragona's amazing tenor voice, I had hoped to show a small spectrum that is the vast range of Burn's influence.
We even had two very notable attendees. The new Austin resident, Robert Plant and Patty Griffin. Plant, according to writers, has been influenced by Celtic tradions for many years.
The food, which is a traditional Scottish fare, was delicious and well served. At the end of the night, there was a great crowd of people that remained to Scottish Country Dance. It was lovely afterward to read all of the wonderful emails from people who truly enjoyed the night.
Unfortunately, the event cost more than it makes, and the Celtic Cultural Center will bear the additional costs (around $1500) that were not covered by the income (tickets/raffle). That is what we are in the business for, so it's not a hard loss.
But, I will have to give good thought to whether we will continue to underwrite the event. It was a massive amount of work for me personally to organize and it falls between the Celtic Christmas and St. Patrick's Day weight of work, making it very difficult. I will reevaluate closer to the end of this year, a long way away. So, will just enjoy the success for the moment.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2011
All hands are on deck, getting ready for the 15th Austin Celtic Festival! Cannot believe it has been 15 years. I am very proud of the accomplishments of this festival. It saddens me greatly sometimes to see what gets presented as "Celtic" these days. But, ACF has carved out a very unique position in the festival machines that gear up around the country. We have truely held on to the idea of preservation. I read in a 1890 book of stories collected from the West Highlands the author advise that he did not expound on the stories he collected. It would be like "gilding a rare old copper coin." I think about that comment when I see our music/dance/stories stolen from the bank of our culture, gilded and presented as something it is not, and more painfully watch as audiences walk away having never gotten the chance to see that shining copper coin in its original and most magnificent state.
Without question, ACF is a place to see and an experience the best elements of our culture. I hope to see you all out there! November 5th and 6th
March 18, 2011
Thanks everyone who came out to St. Patrick's Day Austin! We were overwhelmed by the numbers that showed up, so thank you to everyone for being patient during the hours that Cover 3 reached capacity both indoors and outdoors. We thought we had solved the problem getting a tent and stage outside fit for another 500 people, but we could have used one twice the size.
We will do our best to expand to an even larger area for next year. We had amazing performances and there is no doubt why the event is so popular. The Dave Munnelly Band were incredible and an amazing example of the energetic and very much alive Irish tradition. All of the performers but on stirring performances and the Gaelic League workshops were stuffed with people interested in learning the Irish language! A great day for the Irish indeed!
Feb 19. 2011
Plans are wrapping up for the 10th Annual St. Patrick's Day Austin! We return to Cover 3 on Anderson Lane adding a 2nd tent in the parking lot for an additional stage and more room. Check the website for all the details!
Dec 18. 2010
We are preparing again this year for another successful two nights of music for the Celtic Christmas at the Cathedral. It's really extraordinary the support and love that has developed over the years for this production. It is our 9th year and about 4th or 5th year that we have had two nights. There was some discussion about making it 3 nights this year, because once again there are dozens of people disappointed they did not get tickets. We have sold out faster than ever this year, with both nights selling out by Dec. 3rd. Would have been Dec. 2nd if I had been able to get off work in time to shut down the ticket sales.
It's a quick turn around after the Austin Celtic Festival (that was merely a month ago.) But, it was the best one yet (I know we say that every year). And as hard as I have been working on the Christmas show, St. Patrick's Day is approaching and encroaching on Christmas and we start forming our plans for March.
Never a dull moment for the CCC. :)
Happy Christmas to all of our supporters and friends! We are looking forward to another great year of Celtic culture in 2011.
President, The CCC
Sept 25, 2009
I purchased online and have not recieved my tickets yet.
Please review the online purchasing instructions that advise we do not send out tickets, you simply print out your paypal confirmation email and use that as your ticket at the door.
Which night did I buy tickets for, I don't remember
If your paypal receipt has a code that says CCC-50, then you have Friday tickets, if it says CCC-51 then you have Saturday tickets.
Can we switch nights?
Unfortunately, we cannot switch your ticket date. You will need to purchase additional tickets for the night you would like to attend.
Are tickets refundable
No, we are not able to refund tickets.
How do we get to the Cathedral?
St. Mary's Cathedral is located at 203 E. 10th St. The nearest cross street is Brazos. It is located in downtown Austin, not far from the Capital. You can take I35 to 10th street and travel west on 10th St to Brazos. It is next to the Fox 7 News Studio and is a large Gothic-style Cathedral.
Will we be assured a seat?
Seating begins at 7pm this year. The Cathedral holds 500 seated people. We are selling 500 tickets. After 8pm we will open the door to non ticket holders to fill up no show seats and for standing room only areas. If you have purchased a ticket, you should be able to be seated provided you arrive by 8pm. After 8pm we cannot guarantee seating. You will be considered a no show. Also, when being seated please respect any seats that are reserved. These seats are reserved for volunteers or performers. It might seem as if no one is going to sit there, but that is because they are working right until the very beginning of the program.
Where do we park?
Parking is on the street. You do not have to pay the parking meters after 6pm downtown. There will be plenty of street parking since the majority of businesses will be closed at that hour. Parking is available in the PECU lot, after 6 p.m., on the NE corner of
San Jacinto and 10th streets. There are handicap parking spaces in the alley behind the Cathedral, the alley is between 9th and 10th streets and entered from Brazos
street. The show has sold out every year, so the later you arrive the harder it will be to find parking.
Is there handicap access?
There is a handicap ramp entrance to the left of the main entrance of the church. Handicap seating can be arranged in advance by calling 512-472-4540. You can be seated at the back of the church or the front.
Where are the restrooms?
There are no restrooms in the main Cathedral. The restrooms are located in Rectory Building, next to the Cathedral Church, and in the Donahue Center, which is behind the Church. It might be difficult to get up during the performance. We do advise that you visit the restroom before the program begins and during the intermission. The first half of the show will last approximately one hour and the second half approximately 50 minutes. If you must leave during the performance please try to exit quietly. The large double doors to the rear of the Church make a very loud noise when closed.
Can I bring my children?
Yes, you can. However, there are no discount tickets for children. We do not recommend that you bring children under 10 years of age. If you bring an infant, please use the cry room located just inside the main entrance of the Church in the Cathedral. The Cathedral is built to carry and amplify sounds, the sounds of a restless child or crying baby will be much louder than you may anticipate. In addition, the Cathedral will be full to capacity, you may find it difficult to remove yourself and your child during the performance. Because the program is being recorded, the music director may wait until a crying or disruptive child is settled before continuing to the next selection.
I have other questions, who do I contact?
You can contact Jeffrey Jones Ragona at 472-4540. Or you can email Donnelle at email@example.com.
January 20, 2009
The Celtic Cultural Center is proud to undertake the process of commissioning Celtic music videos from an up and coming young talent named Eric Power. You may have seen Eric in and around the Austin Celtic Festival or at other CCC events where he was working as one of our videographers/photographers. He is also an accomplished director and creator of wonderful animation videos. We are pleased to present the first of three videos being commissioned by the CCC.
The Prodigals - Whiskey Alysum. Enjoy the video. You can see a larger, HD version of the video at Vimeo's website. http://vimeo.com/2898430
Celtic Christmas at the Cathedral Audience Accolades
Austin 360 reader's review:
From the moment we walked into that beautiful, gothic Cathedral that is St. Mary's we were inspired. The evening started with a sweet, melodic Scottish fiddle tune played with majesty by Chris Buckley. It helped settle the audience into a lovely night which included the gregarious storytelling of Mairtin De Cogain from Cork Ireland and the rambunctious accordion playing of Gregory Grene from Cavan Ireland. The mix of traditional music players pulled together by the production was inspired. All the musicians from Bouzouki to Bodhran (Irish drum) played with an infectious love for the music and it's rare to see performers of their caliber all together and most importantly see how thrilled "they" were to be together on stage. Grene hit a highlight with a pristine, acapella ballad called Cluan Meala. It was simply fierce, as was his accordion playing on the delightful "Austin Tunes." Nice that our city still inspires great tunes. There was some amplification problems early own, and a couple of Cogain's stories were lost to those in the back of the Church but by the second half it was corrected, just in time to hear him tell a lovely tale about the fairy folk of Crow Hill and a little boy in search of a story he can call his own. Cogain also proved to be an accomplished singer with a wonderful and full bodied performance of the song, "Christmas Day." Ed Miller, an Austin fav, found a new audience that responded with absolute glee when he finished a song called "On the Very First Christmas" (in which he roused the entire audience into singing along) and Caledonia (which got the Scotsman a call back for a second bow). Throughout the evening, the resident chorus, The Schola Cantorum, proved they are without a doubt one of the best in town. Song after magnificent song was sent forth from the chorus across the pews and by the time they closed the show with the Celtic classic, "Parting Glass" the audience jumped to a well deserved standing ovation for all involved. - Tess Rosilie
I'd like to personally thank you for all the great work you've done in organizing the Celtic Christmas. My wife and I moved to Austin last yr and met you at one of the Celtic fairs and you gave us the info for the emailing list for tkts. Both last yr and this yr the concerts were highlights of the Christmas season for us. The music and performances move me unlike anything else we see all year. We greatly appreciate your efforts.
Brilliant Show! by Maid of Orleans
Our entire family attended the Celtic Christmas and are still raving about it days later. We did miss out on one of the stories because we were in the back pews but the mic problem seemed to get fixed quickly. We especially loved hearing Ed Miller in the Cathedral. The audience clapped after he sang a lovely Scottish ballad so loudly that he had to get up and take a second bow. The same with Martin Cogain, the storyteller, after watching him before the broom dance- thunderous applause.
The Schola was breathtaking in every song and we just were thrilled to see Gregory Grene back in Austin. We love seeing him every year at the Austin Celtic Festival and his passion and love for the music really shown through once again at the Cathedral. Finally, how wonderful to hear such gifted musicians and such time honored music at Christmas time. Definately, not for the "jingle bells" and "Santa Claus is coming to Town" set, but if you still believe Jesus is the Reason for the Season, this was the place to be!
Celtic Storm Christmas Show
Celtic Storm on 91.7FM will be hosting two hours of Celtic Christmas music every Monday from 9am to 11am until Christmas.
Review of Gregory Grene's New CD - FLIPSIDES
Grab Entertainment 2008
12 Tracks, 42 min 38 seconds
Gregory Grene has been the primary writer, lead singer and accordion player with the Prodigals over twelve years and six CD’s. Through his work with the band, he has written some of contemporary Irish music’s most compelling lyrics and keen observations, and his songs and tunes have been both critically acclaimed and covered by other artists. Even so, Grene’s new solo album FlipSides not only constitutes a departure in its more acoustic tonality, it dramatically establishes his individual standing as a major artist on the scene.
The first track, “Work’s Too Bloody Hard,” is an adaptation of a Cajun song, “Travailler, C’est Trop Dur.” Starting with a sly nod to the roots of the music, the first verse is in the original French (Grene is a fluent speaker), run through a Victrola filter. The song then swiftly morphs into an exuberant track that is a harbinger of all that is to come. It rejuvenates into a fresh and sparkling composition with brilliantly adapted lyrics and wonderful added touches such as Tony Cedras’ trumpet. Mr. Cedras is a multi-instrumentalist from Paul Simon’s band, and his contribution is both unexpected and charming.
From there the album goes from strength to strength. The second track, “Whiskey Asylum,” is, as Grene says, “a song about alcohol, but not a drinking song.” Indeed, it features melancholy, profound, and poetic writing that can stand comfortably shoulder to shoulder with that of Shane MacGowan, Ewan MacColl and other acknowledged giants of the tradition. It bears that definitive quality, the sense that when he writes for himself, he writes for us all.
The album as a whole is cohesive yet highly eclectic. Grene is an accomplished producer, and his imaginative, deft production plays a significant role in broadening FlipSides’ range. Two tracks in particular, “Camera” and “Crazy,” stand out in the individuality of their sound.
The former shares with other tracks on the album poetic and moving lyrics, and a wistful melody line that is identifiably a Grene composition, but the instrumentation, by the Bulgarian pianist Mario Grigorov, sets it apart in its eloquent simplicity.
On “Crazy,” conversely, the effect is achieved through multiple layers, starting with an extraordinary doubled bass line played by Grene’s Prodigal bandmate Ed Kollar. Incrementally the track adds two guitar lines, vocal harmonies and cello, and the lead vocal soars and loops over an accompaniment that reinforces rather than interfering with the stark, haunting lyrics.
The album falls into multiple segments, or “flipsides”, from original pieces to interpretations of standards, and from songs to instrumentals. Among the standards, outstanding tracks include “Liverpool Lou,” with an evocative last verse appended to Dominic Behan’s classic song, and “Cluan Meala,” a stunning, stripped-down interpretation featuring accordion and low-whistle harmonies.
The instrumental compositions are first-class, and their performances are tight and virtuosic, featuring not only supple, powerful accordion from Grene, but a stellar lineup of contributing musicians including John Doyle, whose guitar and mandola are superlative throughout, Joanie Madden on flute and whistle, Mattie Mancuso on fiddle, as well as Grene’s Prodigals bandmates, and others of a uniformly high level.
All in all, an extraordinary album, one that truly makes a new mark on the world of Irish music. Gregory Grene site: www.gregorygrene.com
Reviewed by Donnelle McKaskle
Great night at the Cactus Cafe and a wonderful afternoon at the Walsh Ranch on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who made the Irish Summer Night at the Cactus Cafe a big hit. Here is video of Jeff Moore singing Patsy McCann for those of you who missed the show. Jeff found this song in a collection of songs sung by Joe Heaney.
Here Jeff is joined by James Hamilton for the song, the Death of Queen Jane.
04/11/06 The CCC Encourages Support for Scottish Theatre Group 7:84
The CCC and RenATC sent a letter of support for 7:84 Theatre group in Scotland.
While considering the 2007 Season for RenATC, we looked at works by renowned Scottish playwright John McGrath.
"In 1971 McGrath set up 7:84 and so began a company that was to become something of a legend. Scottish history and life was to be its mainstay and, although it shortly split into two companies, one in England and one in Scotland, it was the Scottish company that made the greatest impact. Its subjects were history (The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil), politics ( the Scottish National Party) and social problems (alcoholism). 7:84 England folded in 1984, having lost its grant from the Arts Council (too political!), and McGrath left the Scottish company in 1988 because of fundmental disagreements with the Scottish Arts Council."
After writing to 7:84 in the hope of finding a rare McGrath screenplay, the CCC was informed that the Scottish company had just had its funding cut by the Scottish Arts Council and 7:84 seemed doomed.
From the 7:84 website:
"The Scottish Arts Council confirmed on Wed 1st March they are cutting all funding for 7:84 Theatre Company. 33 years old and after having produced dozens of plays and employing hundreds of Scottish actors, 7:84 is now facing closure in August 2006."
Lorella Loftus, Director of RenATC, sent the following letter of support to the Scottish Arts Council Director, Graham Berry, and his response is below. Attached is my letter to the Scottish Parliament. To join the support and sign the petition visit the 7:84 webpage at www.784theatre.com
Dear Mr. Berry:
I am writing to you in response to the cutting of
funding for 7:84 Theatre Company by the Scottish
I am very saddened by this and would like to state
my support for 7:84 Theatre Company.
Although I have been living in Texas for the past
seven years (I am originally from Glasgow), I have
seen many 7:84 productions in Scotland.
These productions have been consistently stimulating
and entertaining as well as unerringly reflecting the
society that we live in.
By cutting funding to this vital organization, the
Scottish Arts Council is destroying a long standing
I strongly urge the Scottish Arts Council to
reconsider the case of funding for 7:84 Theatre Company.
Producing Artistic Director
Renaissance Theatre Company
at the Celtic Cultural Center of Texas
Dear lorella loftus,
Many thanks for your interest in our work.
There are many exciting touring theatre companies in
Scotland just now.
Our resources are limited and unable to stretch to
supporting all of them. Our belief is that the work of 7/84 in recent
years has not been as high quality as some other companies and we have to make the best use of what money we have.
It is always difficult to reduce or remove funding
from a long standing organisation, however, I believe that 7/84 does have
Graham Berry | Chief Executive
Scottish Arts Council
12 Manor Place Edinburgh EH3 7DD Scotland UK
To Whom it May Concern
As Director of the Celtic Cultural Center of Texas we want to share our concern for the removal of funding from the 7:84 Theatre Company.
We understand how very difficult it is to juggle the worlds of art and politics. For organizations like the CCC of Texas we are just now reaching out beyond the world of "safe" cultural elements like music and dance and beginning to expose US audiences to the forms of Scottish or Irish culture that are much more relevant: politics and religion.
The 7:84 Theatre Company and the works of playwrights like John McGrath are instrumental in guiding organizations such as ours out of the fog of Tartan Parades, Bagpipes and the Tin Box view of Scotland and her people.
Please consider the great influence this company has had around the world and its earnest pledge to reflect the voices and lives of the Scottish people.
If you cannot restore all funding to the 7:84, please consider some funding so that time can be given for the company to seek other avenues of support.
Celtic Cultural Center of Texs
St. Patrick's Day Throwdown 2006
It's back for its fourth year. We are so very excited to be able to bring James Keane to Austin to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with us. We never expected to be able to land such a notable leader of Irish traditional music, but I guess it is "the luck of the Irish." Get the full schedule on our events page and look for more notables like Uncle Earl, Beausoleil and The Weary Boys. This is our biggest fundraiser every year for the Celtic Cultural Center so please come out and support a "real Irish celebration!" No leprechauns or green beer at this party. Just the best Irish traditional music and dance in town!