Irish Fest

Unbound

Many people attend Milwaukee’s Irish Fest for the music. And there’s certainly a lot of it. But music isn’t Ireland’s only rich heritage — it has a long and complex history with food.

If you’ve been to the country recently, you know there's a lot more food than the stereotypical potatoes and soda bread. But the history of famine and enforced shortages mixed with a deep appreciation of the land, the waters, and their bounty makes the history of food in Ireland a compelling one.

Connla Infuses Traditional Irish Music With Their Own Sound

Aug 15, 2019
Alesandra Tejeda

Connla, a young band whose members hail from Armagh and Derry in Northern Ireland, combines traditional Irish music with rock and jazz influences. While its instrumentation is a pretty standard set up for an Irish band, the compositions and arrangements reflect its wide-ranging musical influences. The group came to Lake Effect's Studio C to perform ahead of appearances at Irish Fest this weekend.

Bonnie North

Hearing, and seeing, guitar virtuoso and composer Shane Hennessy is magical. It’s technique, sure. He has it in spades. But his music goes well beyond playing lots of notes fast. It's in turns lyrical, polyrhythmic, and always full of melody. Plus, the sheer joy he exudes while playing is infectious.

Ben Binversie

The Canadian band The Stanfields don’t fit into any one musical mould. They’re hard driving rock 'n' roll, they’re a bit rootsy, and they also draw on the Scots and Irish fiddle traditions of their Nova Scotian home.

"You know, there’s a lot of stuff we’re doing now that we weren’t ready to play [before], because...we’ve evolved," says Jon Landry. "And we’ve evolved together in these last three years in ways that I never would have imagined when I think back to the times we were throwing chairs at each other."

Ben Binversie

Canadian musician Shreem is Jay Andrews, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and now based in Toronto. He's in Milwaukee to perform at Irish Fest all weekend. Shreem uses traditional Cape Breton fiddle tunes is his music, but his mix of very traditional fiddle tunes, hip hop, overdubs, and house is unique in the world of Celtic music.

Seo Linn Promotes Irish Language Through Music

Aug 15, 2018
Lauren Sigfusson

The five piece Irish band Seo Linn has a distinctive style that combines the traditional sense of Irish music along with the new. Performing and writing music in English and Irish, Seo Linn sometimes switches languages in mid-song. The group's original songs, Irish covers of pop tunes and high energy stage show has catapulted them from barely being a band to headlining shows internationally.

silepost.com

Stories and storytelling flourish in Ireland and Irish descendants scattered around the world, like Irish/American author Sheila Post.

Post’s newest novel, Your Own Ones, uses her family’s Irish heritage by telling the journey of Canadian/Irish wild salmon conservationist Áine O’Connor. In the book, O’Connor travels to the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, and discovers a 1,000-year-old family tradition of protecting the land and sea, as well as a hidden family history.

Brave Giant Makes US Debut at Milwaukee's Irish Fest

Aug 18, 2017
Bonnie North

Of all the ethnic festivals that take place in Milwaukee over the summer, one of the best for music is Irish Fest. The music runs the gamut from the most traditional of fiddle tunes to Celtic tinged rock, and many of the bands playing there see scores of fans on their feet, passionately singing and dancing along with the music.

Mitch Teich

You might not recognize the name Aoife Scott immediately, but if you know anything about the Irish musical tradition of the past 30 years, you might recognize something about her voice. Scott is the daughter of Frances Black and niece of Mary Black - both internationally known singers.

Penguin Random House

The country of Ireland has inspired countless songs, poems, books, and many other creative reflections. For author Kathleen Anne Kenney, her affinity for Ireland grew stronger after visiting the lands that inspired her novel – Girl on the Leeside.

There’s a lot of talk about the violence that affects urban America: drive-by shootings, carjackings, and other crime that continue to affect the fabric of this country. But very little of that violence has the sectarian underpinnings of the time known as “The Troubles,” which plagued the Northern Ireland city of Belfast for three decades starting in 1969.

Bonnie North

The special focus of this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest is the Celtic World Showcase. Bands from Scotland, Ireland, The Isle of Man, Wales, the US and Canada are keeping their Celtic traditions alive while pushing their musical boundaries.

The Orkney Islands are part of Scotland, but with a history that includes time as part of Denmark, they have their own distinct traditions. And in the midst of that tradition are the Wrigley Sisters.

Ten Strings and a Goat Skin: Canadian Folk Fusion

Aug 19, 2016
Bonnie North

Irish Fest offers traditional Irish music, dancing and food, but there are also innovative bands hailing from all around the world. This year's Celtic World Showcase features some of them.

The young, bilingual trio Ten Strings and a Goat Skin originated in Prince Edward Island in Canada's eastern provinces. The traditional music scene there sips from a rich musical soup that draws on Scots, Irish, English, and French influences. Ten Strings takes it even further.

Photo courtesy of Ellen Alden

Before one fateful trip to her attic, writer Ellen Alden knew next-to-nothing about the life of her ancestors, save for the fact that her red hair was a throwback to her family's life in Ireland. 

However things changed rapidly after Alden found nineteen old letters in a leather box written by her great-great-grandfather Florence Burke to his family during the Civil War.

Scottish Band Skerryvore's 'Happy to be Home'

Aug 19, 2016
Bonnie North

Irish Fest is underway along Milwaukee’s lakefront.  Tens of thousands of people will pass through the Summerfest Grounds turnstiles to take in both contemporary and traditional Celtic music.  And although it’s the largest Irish festival in North America, it actually features acts from all seven Celtic nations, plus Canada and the United States.

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