by Kirby Lindsay Laney, posted 26 June 2015
On Friday, July 3rd, after strolling the Fremont First Friday Art Walk, journey up the hill to the Fremont Abbey Arts Center for a night of traditional and original music brought here from Ireland, and Scotland, by Colm Keegan and Laura Durrant.
These two celebrated musicians only have time for a brief stop at the Center of the Universe – although time enough to share for an evening of music and culture.
Keegan welcomes this rare opportunity to become better acquainted with the Pacific Northwest, and audiences here. “I don’t think anyone is as excited as Laura and I about this tour,” he observed, just before setting off on this tour of the West Coast of the U.S., “literally traveling halfway around the world to perform songs we’ve written, or covers of songs we love!”
When The Road Leads To Fremont
“This is our first solo tour together,” Keegan said of he and cellist Durrant, “I never thought I’d be able to do this.” Yet, Keegan has already toured much of the world, and performed in some of the most august venues, in his short but successful, career. With Celtic Thunder he’s appeared nearly everywhere already, from Australia to Eastern Europe, including previous appearances in Seattle.
Keegan studied music at the University College Dublin, and performed at the Dublin Feis Ceoil singing competition, with the Palestrina Choir, and at Dublin’s National Concert Hall. He performs with the choir of Celtic Woman, and joined Celtic Thunder, the world-renowned Irish singing group and stage show, in May 2012.
After months of touring with these other groups, Durrant and Keegan have had only about two weeks home, “to see family and friends, and let them know we’re still alive,” Keegan explained, before starting rehearsals and the launch of their tour of the West Coast, starting with the Rocky Mountain Irish Festival in Colorado, Springs in mid-June.
Both have performed frequently in the U.S., but usually on the East Coast, “it’s a bit handier,” Keegan explained, from their home bases of Dublin and Glasgow, Scotland. Still, “Seattle is one of my favorite spots,” Keegan said, “it’s the most similar to home.”
With Celtic Thunder he’s performed at the Paramount, EMP and Hard Rock. Yet, with this solo tour he’ll finally make it all the way to Fremont, and the Abbey Arts Center, and “the kind of venue I love,” he reported. The Abbey, our converted church and community arts venue, reminds Keegan of performing and attending shows during his university days.
Universality & Diversity Of The Music
“It means a lot to both of us,” Keegan said of invites to perform in Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia… “If anyone is looking for something to do the night before the 4th,” he said of the show here, “I don’t think they will be disappointed.”
Certainly, Durrant and Keegan will delight all music fans. The release of their collaboration on ‘The Dance’ last year went to #1 world-wide on iTunes. Yet, they also bring the always popular, authentic Irish music to Fremont.
“Everyone can relate,” Keegan said about the universality of Irish folk music, and its diversity. People can, “sit back, close their eyes, shed a tear, but they can also stand up and dance,” he observed. He’s had shows where four generations of one family attend, with everyone finding something to enjoy. “There is a huge variety,” he observed, “it seems to tick all the boxes of musical tastes.”
So many Irish songs evoke memories for the audience, Keegan acknowledged. Those who share the Irish heritage may remember a father or grandfather singing a song, “and as clichéd as the song is,” Keegan observed, “as you hear it, away from home, you feel it.”
Yet, those who possess not have a drop of Irish blood may also find something familiar in songs shared here by Keegan and Durrant. American bluegrass and folk borrowed liberally from Irish traditions, and with a basis in storytelling, Irish music evokes classic tales and familiar plots.
For Keegan, the chance to perform in Seattle, without Celtic Thunder, is big just because he gets more time to share his music. With Celtic Thunder, Keegan spends the show, “trying to let the people get to know me a bit better.” At their performance on July 3rd, Durrant and Keegan can be, “dedicated to the music that means something to us.”
Ultimately though, for the Fremont audience, Keegan hopes to take us on a journey. “We want to take them out of the Fremont Abbey and put them in an Irish Pub for a little while,” he explained. Purchase tickets to this exceptional experience at FremontAbbey.org, and travel to Ireland for a few hours – the night before celebrating Independence Day!
- Bauckham Shows the Steps from Studio To the Stage
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 26, 2011
- Fremont Abbey Grows Into Its 7th Year
- by Kirby Lindsay, December 26, 2012
- Celebrate The Irish In Fremont
- by Kirby Lindsay, February 25, 2013
©2015 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.