Irish American Writers & Artists

April 14, 2013

Ashley Davis Returns to Joe’s Pub

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Please join IAW&A board member Ashley Davis on April 24th for a special evening at Joe’s Pub in NYC.

Irish harper, Cormac De Barra will be with her on this show, as well as a new young talented player from Texas to be introduced on the night of. She plans on doing her “greatest hits” from the her three albums, along with a few sneak peaks from the new album currently being recorded.

Use IAW&A discount code JPTIXA213 when ordering tickets at http://www.joespub.com/component/option,com_shows/task,view/Itemid,40/id,6639

November 15, 2012

After Sandy-related Postponement, “Irish Lark” Returns to Laurie Beechman Theatre

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Singer Mary Deady returns to the West Bank Cafe on Wed., Nov. 28 at 7 pm to take her audience on another musical journey from Ireland to New York through the American Songbook  – songs by Burton Lane, Cole Porter, Alan Jay Lerner, Sondheim, and more.   Her last appearance there drew rave reviews; we recap one of them below.

Mary Deady’s American Songbook at the West Bank Cafe

By Cahir O’Doherty, Posted in IrishCentral.com on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 07:39 AM

Mary Deady

Some singers are so good you can literally hear how much a song means to them as they perform it. It doesn’t happen very often, but it did last week at the West Bank Cafe on 42nd Street as Irish singer Mary Deady unveiled her latest musical journey at the Broadway hotspot.

A familiar face on the Irish scene in the city, it felt as though we were being collectively re-introduced to her since she is perhaps best known for singing Irish music. For many, including myself, this was our first introduction to her as a singer of the American songbook.

Aided by the utterly flawless musicianship of pianist and musical director Jeff Cubeta, Deady’s show From Ireland to America: A Musical Journey In Song was a marvel from the opening number.

It was Deady’s good fortune to be born in Co. Kerry, holy ground for generations of world-class singers and musicians. There she learned to play the harp, and later she left for Dublin for classically trained singing lessons that would eventually take her far from home on the musical journey that was her own life.

Deady chose songs that conveyed the immigrant love (and sometimes secret pining for) the homeland, and this she did as well as I have ever had the good fortune to hear. But the show has wider ambitions than merely relying on all too easy sentiment. Deady has a compelling tale to tell, and that is part of what takes this performance to the next level.

What I did not anticipate was being so moved by the deep connections between her life and the music that she took ownership of, each time from the first note…

To read the rest of this post, please go HERE

Mary Deady
The Irish Lark

From Ireland to America: A Musical Journey in Song
traces Mary’s origins from a small village in County Kerry,
to traveling the world,
finding in time a home in New York City.
Although Mary is known for singing Irish music,
she has yearned to sing from the American Songbook
– from Porter to Sondheim -
where the heart and soul of this journey unfolds.
Mary is accompanied by Jeff Cubeta, Musical Director.
West Bank Cafe, The Laurie Beechman Theatre,
407 West 42nd
Street & 9th
Avenue
Nov. 28th at 7:00 pm
$15 cover
$15 food/beverage minimum
Call 212-695-6909 to reserve

 

September 11, 2012

Judy Collins, in Conversation…

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by Charles Hale

TODAY’S SONG/BOTH SIDES NOW: Performed by JUDY COLLINS and written by JONI MITCHELL

I recently had the opportunity to sit down for an hour with music legend Judy Collins in preparation for a short film I’m  producing for the Irish American Writers & Artists’ Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Benefit. Judy is this year’s recipient of the award. Here are a few highlights from our talk:

Charles: You’ve said that Jo Stafford’s recording of “Barbara Allen” changed your life. How was that?

Judy: I had been playing the piano, performing Mozart, Debussy and singing Rodgers and Hart songs at clubs all over Denver…but I was desperate for new material. My father was a great fan of Jo Stafford so I’d heard her all my life. I was fourteen the morning I heard this extraordinary recording, a gorgeous recording. It was my introduction to folk music, which absolutely did change my life. 

Charles: Your father was blind but he didn’t seem to let it get in his way.

Judy: He had problems with his sight from the time he was born. My father was completely blind by the time he was four, but he had some very effective, powerful tools, such as music, and poetry. And he was always reading to us—in Braille—from some huge books that were stacked up against the walls. He was very involved in the literature of Dylan Thomas, Melville, and Dostoyevsky. 

Charles: There’s a great story of how your mother felt that your father drove a wedge between your mother and you. And then, you and your mother got together and had a rip-roaring drunken lunch and there was a healing. Talk about that.

Judy: My father was more communicative with me than he was with my mother. My mother, who was an amazing, intelligent woman, wrote me a letter when I was nineteen saying my father had been trying to separate us emotionally. So my mother initiated that drunken luncheon where we poured our hearts out. From that point, we talked all the time. We were always as close as could be. We were never separated.

Charles: You seem quite conscious of the idea that memories connect and heal. Your music has an essence of that. Are you conscious of healing when you’re singing and writing?

Judy: Music is a function of the need to remember. It’s a tonic for remembering, it helps us remember, it stimulates memory and the emotions.  When you can tell a story in a new song it’s a new way of looking at something, it expresses something in a way that’d never come out before, so, yes, it is very healing. Music is a part of my mental and emotional health.

Charles: Has your Irish heritage influenced your stories and music?

Judy: Ireland and the Irish have always had in their music a yearning…something that calls to them over the ages…that comes out in Irish singing. I think of Yeats and “The Song of  Wandering Aengus.” It’s a kind of deeply wounded place that needs to be healed by music. The Irish do that all the time for themselves.

Charles: You mentioned that your father read from Melville’s Moby Dick when you were a child. In the opening of the book Melville wrote “I’d get to the sea as soon as I could. It’s my substitute for pistol and ball.” What’s yours?

Judy: It’s music. It’s writing.  It’s art. It’s doing something. My concerts are very healing and serene and yet I’m totally connected. It’s a very important place for me to be. 

Charles: Talk about your involvement in the Vietnam, anti-war movement.

Judy: So much rage and anger. It made no sense, there was no logic to it….We knew we were being lied to….Hadn’t we learned our lesson…everyone had their go at the Vietnamese.  None of this made sense to me. Why were we listening to these people who were lying to us?

And there was much more. Join Judy and me, and many of the IAW&A’s wonderful writers and artists, at the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award event on October 15. For more information on the event, please to go to the Irish American Writers & Artists website.

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July 27, 2012

Sounds of The Salon at the Cell

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 3:34 pm
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Music was featured during Tuesday night’s Salon at The Cell. Brothers Moley and Owen Suillebhain offered a blend of ancient Irish sacred songs with modern pop tunes and mesmerized the audience with a brilliant musical performance. Particularly moving was a Gregorian Latin Chant, “Caminus Ardebat.” Liam O’Connell, the first rap artist to appear at a salon, inspired the audience with his 
pulsating sounds and rhythms and the opening of Charles Hale’s video, Fathers, Sons and Baseball, was set to the American baseball classic, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Singer, songwriter Tara O’Grady opened the show reading from her unpublished memoir Transatlantic Butterflies & the November Moon, a story that takes the reader on a journey across America, where Tara replicated her Waterford Granny’s 1957 road trip in a Chevy Bel Air, searching for the spirit of the immigrant grandmother she never met, as well as the spirit of America during a time of economic uncertainty. She convinced Chevrolet to pay for her symbolic migration. The iconic car company was inspired by her quest to chase not only her Granny’s spirit, but also the spirit of America to find out if the American dream still exists.
Bestselling author, Jeanine Cummins read from her latest book, The Outside Boy, and it was as “gloriously poetic’ as Malachy McCourt claimed. Jeanine promised to come back soon and read from her latest novel, which she is putting the finishing touches on with an eye toward publication in March. Actor Jack O’Connell did double duty, reading witticisms from the twentieth century sports writer, Jimmy Cannon, and reading from playwright Janet Noble’s work in progress.  Janet described her work as a “ghost play” based on the life and death of her brother. And past contributor and wonderful writer, Brendan Connellan, dipped into his novel-in-progress Mr Big Shot and regaled and entertained us with a bizarre tale of a deer being shot, a daughter being hidden and a man wondering how to best remove a carcass from the middle of his flower bed, especially one riddled with bullets.
First time presenter Kathleen Walker read her poem “Forever Family Secrets,” which was just accepted for publication in the New York Irish History Roundtable Journal. Her poem speaks of her journey to find her culture, which began in high school when her English teacher asked her what “Parish” she belonged to. She had no idea. Due to extreme feelings of loss during her early life, she came to realize that she had to put the pieces of her existence together. “Forever Family Secrets” is part of her journey.
Caroline Winterson, actor extraordinaire, joined Honor Molloy in reading “Three Bits From Three Plays.” Caroline and Honor read brief scenes from Maiden Voyages (written by Bronagh Murphy and Honor Molloy), Crackskull Row and Kick. The Cell was a fantastic place to display these snippets as the two wonderful actresses flung their voices to the ceiling, the backwalls and beyond.</d

Billy Barrett followed Hale’s baseball video, a remembrance of pleasant times spent with his father that centered on their love of baseball. Keeping with the baseball theme, Billy was the evening’s “closer.”  “Given the tremendous succession of pure talent that graced the cathedral, closing the show was not an easy task,” Billy said. Billy’s book, Highway Star reeks of the kind of scathing comical gas that makes all great closers…great. With a few selections from the “Punch Line” chapter, he walked to the mound, threw nothing but strikes and calmly retired the side….
It was a great evening and as Owen O’Suillebhain noted, “The Irish American Writers Salon is a hotbed of talent.  A very receptive and generous listening fills the space.”
Well said.
The next salon will be at the Thalia Café on August 7th. For more information on the salons or joining the Irish American Writers and Artists contact Charles R. hale at chashale1@yahoo.com

February 23, 2012

“What at Night!” at Salon at The Cell

As Terry “The Toad” Fields says in the final scene of the film American Grafitti, “Jesus what a night!”  That’s what folks were saying about the Irish American Writers and Artists’ Salon at the Cell on Tuesday night. And speaking of American Grafitti, just as George Lucas included Del Shannon’s “Runaway” in a scene in which Toad is tooling  around in his friend’s ’58 Chevy, Pat Fenton deftly incorporates Shannon’s song into his play Stoopdreamer and Other Windsor Terrace Stories


And what a treat is was to have actor Jack O’Connell, who has appeared in a recurring part as the character Stanich in the TV series Blue Bloods, read from Fenton’sStoopdreamer.

Stoopdreamer revisits a lost part of Irish working-class Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, and some of the characters who lived in it before Robert Moses drove the Prospect Expressway through the very heart of it in 1953, and divided it forever.  A terrific reading by O’Connell of Fenton’s slice of Brooklyn life. 

Pat Hanrahan began the evening reading from his novel in progress.  The story is set in a small Irish town early this century. The main characters are an elderly man living in a nursing home who came home after years in England,  a local man, whose wife threw him out around the time his mother died and a young woman who runs a family business and was affected directly by 9/11. Listening to Pat you had the feeling this was going to be a special evening.  

Singer/songwriter Ashley Davis, a cofounder of the IAW&A, accompanied by two musicians, harpist Cormac De Barra and violinist Megan Hurt, beautifully performed two songs, “Wild Mountainside” and “These Winter Days” from her latest album Songs of the Celtic Winter. The warm sound of Hurt’s fiddle beautifully rounded out Ashley’s tunes.  

Kathleen Frazier read from Silkie Girl, historical fiction inspired by her grandmother and the countless Irish girls who ventured to America to work as domestic servants.  Through their efforts they sponsored countless others to join them on these shores.

Kathleen announced that her personal essay on sleepwalking will appear in the memoir section of the March/April issue of Psychology Today.  Her coverage of the 2011 Norman Mailer Gala, “A Gala Raises the Question: Are You an Activist?” will appear in the spring issue (March) of the quarterly magazine, Avalon.

Maura Mulligan, a salon regular, whose memoir Call of the Lark will be published on May 10th, read a humorous passage of her early dancing days in Mayo.  In a solo competition at her first feis, held in the middle of a field, her shoe went flying into the air and landed on the judge’s desk. He disqualified her. A beady -eyed man, the locals called him “the ferret.” Because it was customary to bow to the judge, her mother reminded her with a wag of her finger: “Now, don’t you forget to bow to the ferret.”  An exquisite reading from a very talented writer. 

Mark Donnelly followed with a stirring reading of the opening scene of his new play, Mother Jones, the Irish immigrant who played an important role as a union organizer in the American Labor Movement during the early decades of the 20th Century.  John Kearns announced that his play, In the Wilderness, a story of a South Bronx high school will be part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in June (six dates TBA). John also read a poem called, “Valentine Avenue.   And Kevin Holohan, author of the highly acclaimed novel, The Brothers’ Lot, read a short story which captures a mother’s unconditional love for a grown-up, messed-up child that the rest of the world and even she may not entirely like. 

Mary Lou Quinlan performed a scene from her play The God Box, currently in workshop in NYC. The play is part of a multi-media project linked to her upcoming book, also called The God Box. Mary Lu lovingly shared her mother’s gift of faith, love and letting go. The God Box will be released on April 17, 2012.

Novelist Gavin Corbett followed Kevin with a selection of poems that touched on a variety of topics including the recent deaths of Steve Jobs and Whitney Houston, late-evening cricket, and the divine qualities of French bulldogs. Using techniques such as non-rhymes and non-sequiturs, Gavin had us all staring at our feet in bewilderment, when we weren’t rolling on the floor with laughter. One of the funniest readings I’ve heard in years.

Billy Barrett kept it cranking with an edgy reading from his memoir in progress, ‘Highway Star.  “They honeymooned in New York, took in Lenny Bruce and affected a blue-note cool that flew through the roofs of their B-52’s into nights full of gazing the stars. Jack Jones and Bobby Darin poured out of the hi-fi like Perfect Manhattans being dumped on the slats of Toots Shor’s. What a gas! The whole world was looking in…. “ Riveting writing, great presentation.

Michelle Woods announced that her book Censoring Translation: Censorship, Theatre and the Politics of Censorship Translation will be out in April.  She ended the evening with an excellent reading from a novel in progress, called Right. 

Great, great night!
The next salon will be at the Thalia Café, located at Symphony Space,  on 95th and Broadway. The salons begin at 7PM. For more information about the salons and joining the Irish American Writers and Artists, contact Charles Hale @ chashale1@yahoo.com

February 15, 2012

NYC Debut for Ashley Davis’ “Songs of the Celtic Winter”

Filed under: Events,Music,Theater — by johnleemedia @ 5:01 pm
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…with a discount for IAW&A members!

NYC Debut : Songs of the Celtic Winter at Joe’s Pub, Feb 23

Ashley Davis began writing and collecting for Songs of the Celtic Winter two years ago when she wrapped up her sophomore effort, Down by the Sea in Ireland. She had the idea that she wanted to write and collect music from the Celtic regions for the four seasons of the year starting with winter. The result is Songs of the Celtic Winter, a hauntingly beautiful collection of songs that range from medieval 9th century old Irish poetry set to music, to Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne.”

Davis recorded this album in New York, Lawrence, KS, and San Francisco and now will perform numbers from the CD atJoe’s Pub (New York, NY) on February 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm .

The album is laden with harp, mandola and a range of acoustic instruments and vocal layers that creates and sound that is becoming Davis’ signature.

“I took the aspects that I liked from my first album which was more middle eastern leaning at times, and then aspects from my 2nd album which was entirely recorded in Ireland and thus Irish leaning and melded those aspects together to create a sound that I believe will be forever more my signature sound. I truly found myself as an artist and settled down into this album and feel at home within this music,” Davis said.

Davis has been profiled on The Today Show, named one of the Irish Echo newspaper’s “Top 40 Irish Under 40,” performed original music on film soundtracks and has lectured at U.S. colleges and universities. Expanding the definition of traditional Irish music, Ashley has attracted fans and admirers among the larger musical community. Influential American composer Philip Glass said, “Ashley Davis is a young woman with a beautiful voice and as much musicality as anyone could wish for…she writes and sings with a confidence way beyond her years.”

Davis has toured in “Lord of the Dance” as the vocal soloist, has worked with Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains and has toured with Moya Brennan of Clannad, while developing her own solo and recording career, selling out shows internationally and in her adopted hometown of New York City and now Lawrence, KS.

Ashley has created a special discount code for IAWA members to use for a discount on ticket purchase. Follow this link to the ticket purchase page Joe’s Pub and enter  jptixa2  at check out!

December 14, 2011

Songs of the Celtic Winter–from Celtic Music Artist Ashley Davis

Filed under: Music,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 5:33 pm
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A HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL ALBUM FOR THE WINTER SEASON
IAW&A Board member Ashley Davis began writing and collecting for Songs of the Celtic Winter two years ago when she wrapped up her sophomore effort, Down by the Sea in Ireland. She had the idea that she wanted to write and collect music from the Celtic regions for the four seasons of the year starting with winter. The result is Songs of the Celtic Winter, a hauntingly beautiful collection of songs that range from medieval 9th century old Irish poetry set to music, to Robert Burns’ “Auld Lang Syne”. Davis recorded this album in New York, Lawrence, KS, and San Francisco to draw from their various musical communities. The album is laden with harp, mandola and a range of acoustic instruments and vocal layers that creates and sound that is becoming Davis’ signature.
“I took the aspects that I liked from my first album which was more middle eastern leaning at times, and then aspects from my 2nd album which was entirely recorded in Ireland and thus Irish leaning and melded those aspects together to create a sound that I believe will be forever more my signature sound. I truly found myself as an artist and settled down into this album and feel at home within this music,” Davis said
Davis has been profiled on The Today Show, performed original music on film soundtracks and has lectured at U.S. colleges and universities.  Expanding the definition of traditional Irish music, Ashley has attracted fans and admirers among the larger musical community.  Influential American composer Philip Glass said, “Ashley Davis is a young woman with a beautiful voice and as much musicality as anyone could wish for…she writes and sings with a confidence way beyond her years.”
Davis has toured in “Lord of the Dance” as the vocal soloist, has worked with Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains and has toured with Moya Brennan of Clannad, while developing her own solo and recording career, selling out shows internationally and in her adopted hometown of New York City and now Lawrence, KS.
Davis is doing official release concerts in both of her hometowns of New York and Lawrence, KS. There will be dates in between those dates to be announced on her website.
Upcoming Release Shows:The Lied Center of Kansas University (Lawrence, KS), December 21, 2011 7:30 pm Joe’s Pub (New York, NY) February 23, 20127:30 pm  *Check in with Ashley’s website as dates are being added.
EMAIL
WEB
Hear Tracks At:

November 10, 2011

“Salon at The Cell” added to IAW&A Monthly Calendar

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 6:27 pm
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Due to the popularity of the Irish American Writers and Artists’ Salons, which are held the first Tuesday of each month at the Thalia Café at Symphony Space and West 95th Street, we are adding an additional venue to showcase that talent of IAW&A members.

On Tuesday, November 15 an additional IAW&A’s Salon will be coming to The Cell Theatre, located at 338 West 23rd Street.  The Cell a “Twenty First Century Salon, is a place where artists can “mine the mind, pierce the heart, and awaken the soul…a place for artists to incubate and present new work.” It is exactly that spirit that the IAW&A’s Salon has attempted to capture and why we are happy to add the “Salon at The Cel”l to our monthly schedule along with the “First Tuesday Thalia Salon.”

The IAW&A Salon, the brainchild of Malachy McCourt, allows IAW&A members the opportunity to present in the medium of their choice. Do you have a recently published book you’d like to read from? Working on a new song you’d like to try out in front of an audience? Would you like to work out a scene from a play you’ve written, tell a story, read a passage from a novel in progress or hone your comedic skills? At an IAW&A Salon you’ll have ten minutes in front of a supportive audience to do just that.

The event is meant to be low-keyed and that’s exactly what it is, a group of artists gathered to support one another in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

While you must be a member to present, the proceedings are free and open to all.

For more information on the Salon or joining the IAW&A contact Charles Hale chashale1@yahoo.com

October 28, 2011

Leon Fleisher Performs with Irish Chamber Orchestra Oct.31 Alice Tully Hall Lincoln Center

Filed under: Music — by johnleemedia @ 11:42 pm
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Monday October 31 8 pm   

Alice Tully Hall Lincoln Center

Tickets:  Lincoln Center web site

Concert Program:
Haydn: Symphony No. 96 in D Major, HOB I:96 (“The Miracle”)
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto (Left Hand), No. 4, Op. 53
Ó Suilleabhain: Termo?n
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, Op. 92
The Irish Chamber Orchestra has gained a reputation as a vibrant, refreshing, and influential force on the classical and contemporary music scene, excelling in a large range of repertoire from the baroque to modern day masterpieces. Leon Fleisher returns to the Lincoln Center and joins the orchestra, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto (Left Hand) No. 4, Opus 53, a work for which he has set the standard.  The ICO’s program includes Termon,  a specially commissioned work by Irish composer Michael O Suilleabhain  to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, along with Beethoven’s popular Symphony No. 7, described by Wagner as “the apotheosis of the dance” (its cinematic, second movement recently featured in the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film, ‘The King’s Speech’)and Haydn’s Miracle Symphony No. 96.

This concert is part of an eight-city U.S. tour Fleisher performs with the Irish Chamber Orchestra (ICO) and is a cornerstone of Culture Ireland’s year-long program, Imagine Ireland: A Year of Irish Arts in America 2011.  The tour marks the first time the full 38-member Irish Chamber Orchestra appears in America, and offers a unique chance to hear ‘Termo?n’ set amongst some of the outstanding works of the classical music repertoire. ‘Termo?n’ is derivative of the Irish An Tearmann, meaning ‘place of sanctuary’ and is an expression of solidarity with those who suffered as a result of the 9/11 attacks and of the deep, rich and unbreakable bond between Ireland and America. The work for Uilleann Pipes and Strings will be performed by Pádraic Keane, this year’s recipient of the Gradam Ceoil TG4 Music Award – Young Musician of the Year. Commissioned by the American Ireland Fund, ‘Termo?n’ had its world premiere on September 11, 2011 at a special event organized by the U.S. Embassy, Dublin.

About Leon Fleisher
Pianist, conductor, and mentor Leon Fleisher is unanimously regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. When his career was interrupted in 1965 due to a neurological affliction disabling his right hand, Fleisher continued his career, focusing on repertoire for left hand and forging a renewed life in music. He has since returned to two-handed playing, as documented in Nathaniel Kahn’s 2006 Oscar- and Emmy-nominated documentary Two Hands.  Fleisher’s memoir, My Nine Lives, has received superlative endorsements from leading artists and critics and will be released in paperback on November 1, 2011 (Anchor Books, an imprint of Knopf-Doubleday). http://www.leonfleisher.com

About the ICO
Working with Artistic Partner Jörg Widmann, the Limerick-based Irish Chamber Orchestra is a world-class ensemble and one of the Ireland’s foremost cultural ambassadors. They have built a reputation for the highest level of musical excellence and are a fresh and vibrant force on the international music scene. The ICO has toured China (Singapore), Australia, and over 10 countries throughout Europe. The Sunday Business Post asserts that the ICO “can match the finest of small orchestra in the world for imaginative andvigorous performances, [and] bristles with attitude.” http://www.irishchamberorchestra.info

About Imagine Ireland
Imagine Ireland is Culture Ireland’s year of Irish arts in America. Featuring over 500 events across more than 40 states, the year-long season features theatre, music, film, literature, visual events, dance and architecture. Culture Ireland is the national agency for promoting Irish arts abroad.  http://www.imagineireland.ie

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