Irish American Writers & Artists

March 27, 2010

SPOTLIGHT ON: Geraldine Hughes in Belfast Blues

Filed under: Theater — by tjenglish @ 8:45 pm

Actress GERALDINE HUGHES, born and raised in West Belfast, has been making a name for herself in Hollywood movies and on television. In 2008, she appeared alongside Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa and also alongside Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. The most startling example of her talent, however, is the one-woman show, BELFAST BLUES, currently playing at the Barrow Street Theater (27 Barrow Street) in Manhattan. Described as “one wee girl’s story about family, war, Jesus, and Hollywood, BELFAST BLUES is a true story told from Hughes’ perspective as a little girl coming of age in the war-torn Belfast of the 1980s. Playwright and performer Hughes depicts over 20 characters in the multi-award-winning performance, which has played to rave reviews in Chicago, Los Angles, London and New York.” Do not miss the opportunity to see an up-and-coming star in her tour ‘d force one woman show. Remaining performance are:

March 29 and April 5, 12, 19, 26th. All shows at 8 pm.

For ticket information call 212-868-4444,

or visit the Barrow St. Theater Box Office.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR IAW&A MEMBERS: The performance of Belfast Blues on April 12, 2010 is a special night for IAW&A members. Use the five-letter code ‘IRISH’ at the Barrow Street Theater Box Office and you will receive a special discount courtesy of Geraldine Hughes.

March 2, 2010

SPOTLIGHT ON: Ashley Davis

Filed under: Music — by tjenglish @ 6:34 pm

Singer ASHLEY DAVISĀ  (a co-founder of IAW&A) brings her distinctive style of Celtic music to the New York area for St. Patrick’s Day, in two shows. If you have not yet experienced Ashley’s ethereal vocals and whimsical storytelling on stage, now is the time to do so. You will be spellbound…

WHERE: Joe’s Pub, Manhattan

WHEN: March 16, 7:30 pm

TICKETS: Call 212- 967-9555 or on the web at

WHERE: Towne Crier, Pawling, NY

WHEN: March 17, 7:30 pm

TICKETS: Call 845-855-1300 or on the web at

March 1, 2010

NY Daily News

Filed under: Events — by tjenglish @ 10:10 pm


The Haitian rara band Brother High Full Tempo at the "Relief  for Haiti" concert and fundraiser at Connolly's pub.

Zalcman for News

The Haitian rara band Brother High Full Tempo at the “Relief for Haiti” concert and fundraiser at Connolly’s pub.

As Wilgainson Toussaint played horn for Brother High Full Tempo at Klub 45 above Connolly’s Pub in Times Square last week, he did so with a heavy heart.

The 18-piece Haitian rara band was one of more than a dozen groups that played a special benefit Wednesday night to raise funds for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Toussaint, 34, an unemployed livery cabdriver from Brooklyn, lost two cousins, three uncles, two aunts, countless friends and Milan Jeune – the mother of his 8-year-old son, Mike – all of whom lived in Port-au-Prince.

“I love my music, but my heart is torn when I think about my son being alone and losing family members,” he said after the band had played a rousing instrumental.

An estimated 400 people attended the fund-raiser, dubbed Relief for Haiti: Island People Supporting Island People, organized by a the nonprofit Irish American Writers and Artists Inc.

The crowd applauded loudly when Ireland‘s minister for labor affairs, Dara Calleaoy – in New York to promote his country – announced the Irish government would donate $50,000 to the effort. A group of Texas entrepreneurs pledged a matching $50,000 donation.

When the night was over, the benefit had raised $107,000.

“When disaster strikes, island people are made vulnerable by the very thing that makes them unique. Surrounded by water, they become dependent on the outside world for basic supplies,” said T.J. English, an author and co-founder of Irish American Writers and Artists Inc.

“Few people know this better than the Irish,” he said. “The earthquake that struck Haiti last month is on a scale equivalent to the Great Famine in Ireland.”

Singer-guitarist Ashley Davis of Manhattan, who performed at the fund-raiser, said: “I think it is an extraordinary cause with talented people from different communities bonding in a heartwarming appeal. I am a true believer in if you can help, then you should rally around those who need help.”

Concern Worldwide, a Dublin-based humanitarian relief agency, will manage the money – including $7,000 donated by individuals – collected Wednesday night at Connolly’s. The funds are earmarked to send food and water and help improve sanitation in the earthquake-ravaged area.

Concern Worldwide CEO Tom Arnold, who visited Haiti five days after the killer quake, said: “Sanitation is critical, and we plan to send 160 tons of food in the next few weeks.”

That’s some comfort to Toussaint and others, who know that the situation in Haiti remains desperate.

“I call my son every two days,” Toussaint said. “The last time I spoke to him he said: ‘Daddy, I’m hungry. I’m dying. Come and get me.’ He misses his mother.”

He says he makes little money with the band and has sent only $50 to his son.

“That is all I can afford,” he said. “I want to go back and get my son. But it is not easy. I can’t just go there and take him. I have to pay for tickets and fill out documents.”

Band member/manager Claude Jean, 49, has three sisters and their families living in tents on a street in Croix-des-Bouquets.

He plans to go back in March to help them.

“I send them as much money as I can, and when I go back, I will take more money,” said Jean, a super in a Manhattan building.

“It took me five days to contact them after the earthquake. I was upset. I couldn’t sleep. I was crying.”

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