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Charlie’s finely crafted folk is above Parr



Charlie Parr plays Monroe's on Aug 25. His childhood in a Minnesota meat-manufacturing city has left an impression.

If you want to hear music played with craft and passion, check out Charlie Parr’s show in Monroe’s Live on Wednesday, August 24.

Growing up in Austin, Minnesota, songwriter and guitarist Charlie found his ear for roots music by trawling through his father’s record collection.

“It was pretty variable, but there were a few blues records in there,” he says. “Just enough to get me curious about that type of music.”

As a young man in the 1980s, Charlie’s love for the songs of folk singer Spider John Kroener inspired him to move to Minneapolis.

“A friend of mine had told me about seeing Spider John play, and that was all I wanted to do,” Charlie says about a musician who is now 77.

“John is the one musician that I’ve seen live who, more than any other, has informed the way I approach folk songs. I don’t try to play like him, but I admire John’s attitude towards folk songs. He’ll take a folk song and make it his own, and he has a unique way of doing that.”

Charlie is becoming a veteran of the road himself – his biog mentions that he plays 250 shows a year. In fact, he plays more, he says.

“Last year I think I did 263 or something like that. That’s my life, I just want to play. I don’t mind the travelling right now. You’ve got to make hay while the sun shines, so when people ask me to play I usually go ahead and play.”

But the life of troubadour is not as romantic as it sounds. Being a touring musician means Charlie doesn’t get to see his kids, who are nine and 15, as much as he’d like.

“I miss them –  when I’m home I spend as much time as I can with them,” he says. “I’d love to have a garden where I could grow a tomato once in a while, but it’s hard to keep track of that kind of thing.  All the home-body instincts that I naturally have get pushed aside.”

So, is being on the road so much worth it?

“I’m trying to fit those other things in as best I can, we all have to do that I guess,” Charlie says. “When I was young, my dad worked in a packing house and he worked between 10 and 12 hours a day, sometimes six days a week. If I did see him, he’d be so wiped out he’d go to sleep in his chair. I think about that nowadays. When I see my kids, I try to be wide awake and do things they like to do, and be present for them.”

Charlie grew up in the Hormel meat-packing city of Austin, Minnesota, where Spam is still manufactured. Both his parents worked in the meat-packing industry, something that left an impression, as did the fact that the area was largely rural.

For more of tis interview with Charlie Parr see this week’ Tribune here


Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be



Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce.

Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a  blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.

The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.

It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.

Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.

People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.

The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.

The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at

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All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh



Most of the competitions for young musicians will take place this Saturday in Dunmore Community School. All the competitions are open to the public.

Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.

It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.

The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023.  Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.

Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.

Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.

On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.

Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.

For more information on the County Fleadh, go to


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Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday



Pianist Cédric Pescia.

Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.

This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.

This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as  ‘language and movement at the same time’.

Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31.  These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.

■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.

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