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2018 Regional Performers

5 Second Rule

5 Second Rule

Dallas-based 5 Second Rule has kept toes tapping since 2008 with clever, lively mash-ups of traditional Irish dance tunes, classic rock and other styles. They return to NTIF for the 8th straight year to delight audiences with their big acoustic sound and unique variety. Members include Michelle Feldman on fiddle, David Lovrien (piano, whistles, sax), Paul Dryer (guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica) and Rick Holt (bodhran & drums). All four members also enjoy teaching as a part of North Texas' vibrant Irish music educational programs.

BEHAN

BEHAN

BEHAN is all about family – family by blood and family by friendship. Anyone who has heard BEHAN has become an honorary member of their family. From the grandparents to the youngest grandchild, they have always encouraged audiences to join in and share their music (the boys need help with the lyrics sometimes). BEHAN includes brothers Barney, Michael, and Joe Behan with brother-in-law Joe Morris and lifelong friend Rusty George.

BEHAN’s influences include The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, The Irish Rovers, Irish Rogues, Bing Crosby and Daddy Behan’s predilection to inundate their young ears with jigs, reels and barn dances from old 78’s. Somehow, the punk music scene, liturgical music and the Arlington Drum and Bugle Corp are factors. Combine these influences with sibling rivalry and a Guinness or two and there’s bound to be a raucous time. BEHAN – Gaelic for fun.

Beyond the Pale

Beyond the Pale

Beyond The Pale is a high-energy quartet performing Americana/Celtic/Roots Music. Beyond The Pale has been performing at festivals and concert venues since 2001 and delivers a wild ride with stunning harmonies and dazzling instrumental flare. The band effortlessly spins out fiery instrumentals, humorous and haunting songs and culturally rich stories from a variety of musical traditions.

Expect the unexpected as Beyond The Pale cooks up a tasty acoustic stew on fiddle, flute, hammered dulcimer, accordion, guitar, mandolins, bodhran, whistle, concertina and saxophone. From Celtic to Cajun…Beatles to Bluegrass …Euro Swing to Texas Swing and more; discover your roots and expand your borders with this highly versatile, never-a-dull moment band!

Beyond The Pale has recorded six CD’s.

Celjun

Celjun

Traditional Cajun and Irish culture have more in common than one might think. Among these commonalities are a profound love for dance, music, late nights and drinking.

Tony Davoren, a native of County Wicklow, Ireland, first came to Louisiana to visit friends, and discovered these similarities immediately. Tony honed his craft as a Bouzouki accompanist and Ballad singer in the early 1990’s playing sessions in some of the legendary music pubs of Dublin before setting sail with the Irish Cultural Phenom, Riverdance. He toured with the original Riverdance The Show for 6 years as a soloist and performer and reveled in meeting and discovering various music cultures and musicians. In September of 2003, Tony and his wife moved to Cajun Country permanently, and Tony started a jam session, where tunes and traditions were swapped weekly.

He met Fiddler Mitch Reed from Beausoleil & Balfa Toujours and young Baton Rouge Protégé, Pete Dawson who was making a name for himself as an up and coming whistle and Flute player. Eventually, these jam sessions became Celjun, a group of folks who recognize the likenesses and celebrate the differences between Celtic and Cajun music. CELJUN was formed featuring Tony Davoren (Bouzouki, Guitar, Vocals), Pete Dawson (Flute, Whistles, Vocals) and Mitch Reed (Fiddle, Bass), all representatives of different diasporas, come together and play a rowdy mix of Cajun waltzes and two-steps; Irish jigs, reels and ballads; and a few old-time tunes for good measure.

Emerald Accent

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Haley Richardson with Don Penzien

Haley Richardson with Don Penzien

Having played countless tunes together over the years in a variety of settings both on and off stage, Haley and Don first joined forces as a duo in early 2017.

At 15 years of age, Haley already has earned her place among the world’s top Irish fiddlers! She’s received top honors in competitions in the US and internationally including multiple All Ireland championships. In addition to being a dynamic solo performer, Haley has performed with many of today’s top Irish musicians (e.g., Altan, Liz Carroll, Cherish the Ladies, The Chieftains, Dervish, Gailfean, Paddy Keenan, Pride of New York), and is a regular member of The John Whelan Band and Green Fields of America. Haley's debut CD, Heart on a String, was released in 2015, and in 2017 Haley produced Music for Mercy, a compilation CD to benefit the Mercy Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.

Don has long been a top-flight performer of Irish traditional music. Recognized for his reserved backing style, Don’s dexterous work on DADGAD-tuned guitar provides solid, driving rhythms to traditional tunes as well as perceptive and sensitive accompaniments to songs and airs. In addition to performing with Haley, he often is on the road with Gailfean, The Máirtín de Cógáin Project, and others.

Irish Rogues

Irish Rogues

The Irish Rogues have been recognized as “Dallas’ Premier Irish Pub Band” for over thirty-five years. Originally formed by John Hodgins, accordionist from County Offaly, the band has performed continuously, entertaining crowds at pubs and festivals with their infectious style, good humor and raw energy that is the Irish pub tradition.

The Irish Rogues began their career in 1981 at the famous Nick Farley’s Lounge, Dallas’ first Irish pub and fondly referred to by patrons as the “old NFL”. The band continues to perform regularly at Dallas’ renowned Trinity Hall and McKinney’s favorite, The Celt. Members have been featured performers at the annual North Texas Irish Festival since it's inception in 1982. The band plays a rich collection of favorite sing-a-longs and ballads with brilliant instrumentals. Their instrumentation include fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, tenor banjo, mandolin, five string banjo and accordion. Three part harmonies reflect the beauty of the music while retaining that rough edge of the Irish pub. While much of their music pre-dates the turn of the century, the songs are widely known and loved wherever Irish music and culture are celebrated.

The Irish Rogues are: Earnie Taft, David Sparks and Steve Harrison.

Jigsaw

Jigsaw

For nearly three decades, the trio JIGSAW has been one of Texas’ most prominent traditional Irish music ensembles. Instrumentally, JIGSAW is talent rich, blending a large variety of instruments and vocal harmonies. Kevin Alewine plays flute, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, whistle, bodhran and sings. Peggy Fleming plays fiddle and is the lead vocalist of the group while husband Ken plays tenor banjo, button accordion, Anglo concertina, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, whistle and also sings. As the name implies, JIGSAW interlocks multiple talents to present traditional Irish music in its most authentic form.

In addition to their music, JIGSAW’s members have been leaders in the promotion of Celtic music in the region. Ken and Peggy Fleming are co-founders of both the North Texas Irish Festival and the Southwest Celtic Music Association (SCMA) of which Ken was the original director and president respectively. Ken also founded the Traditional Irish Music Education Society (TIMES) and is the founder/director of the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat. Kevin was a former director of the North Texas Irish Festival and a former president of SCMA. Both Peggy and Kevin were also former editors of SCMA’s Ceili newsletter.

LessMore & Too Much Time

LessMore & Too Much Time

LessMore & Too Much Time features Rodger Harrison on guitar, Kathleen Jackson driving the rhythm on ‘Fred’, a 1934 Kay upright bass, Randy Christian adding a splash of harmonica, accordion and percussion, plus dynamic vocals by all three. Their sound revolves around the tales their songs tell, occasionally borrowing from other genres, yet never venturing too far from their Celtic roots, ‘AmeriCelticana’ and then some!

All veterans of the North Texas Celtic music scene, they show a particular fondness for the humorous and upbeat that draws them to pub songs both old and new. Rockin' and rowdy at the local pub or coaxing a concert audience to its feet, LessMore & Too Much Time are an adventure you don't want to miss. An eclectic mix of influences has carved a groove the band slips into snugly, and whether it's Celtic music with a Texas twist or Texas music with a Celtic twist, you'll find toes tapping and hands clapping.

Michael William Harrison

Michael William Harrison

Michael William Harrison takes the stage with a fine selection of traditional and modern songs from Ireland, Scotland, Canada and America - all with a connection to the old country.

Over the years, with NTIF as his “home” stage, Michael has performed at Celtic festivals around the country. Be it a rousing tale of the sea or a gentle finger-picked ballad – there is a song for everyone.

Come hear and enjoy.

North Texas Caledonian Pipes & Drums

North Texas Caledonian Pipes & Drums

The North Texas Caledonian Pipes and Drums is an award-winning competition bagpipe and percussion band. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the music and culture of Scotland. The band can be heard at festivals and other performances around North Texas as well as at highland games and competitions across the country where they proudly represent the North of Texas area.

The NTCPD has an ongoing student program for pipers and drummers, and encourages those interested in lessons or for auditioning for the band to contact us at pipes@ntcpd.com or drums@ntcpd.com.

The NTCPD is also available for hire for weddings, funerals, company functions, or any occasion (solo piper, mini band, full band). For more information, please visit our booth in the Automobile Building

Piper Jones Band

Piper Jones Band

The Piper Jones Band is made up of three friends who met in Texas and played extensively in the Texas Celtic music scene starting in the mid-90's. EJ Jones on pipes, Frances Cunningham on bouzouki, and Wolf Loescher on percussion spent many years playing in separate bands and they now work together playing festivals all across the country. NTIF is a homecoming for them where they can bring their expertise in Scottish piping, Irish, Breton, and Appalachian tunes and songs, with Inter-Celtic World percussion. The three play their music with a joyful abandon and power that comes from many years experience.

EJ, Frances, and Wolf recorded a CD together entitled Crossing the Sabine in 2016 in Austin Tx, the sequel to the 2015 release, The Wandering Stars, which was played on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock program as well as the BBC's Pipeline program. Frances Cunningham’s first solo CD Alcinoe was released in late 2016 and the band has just completed the final chapter in the Crossing the Sabine series entitled Revel Grove, an album of festival dance music dedicated to the band’s patrons.

Plunk Murray

Plunk Murray

Founded in 2013 with the intention of making fun pub music and even more fun pub friends, Plunk Murray strives at each and every performance to take you to that place where everyone is your friend with a combination of high energy, traditional and modern Irish and Celtic music.

Comprised of a group of incredibly talented multi-instrumentalists, Plunk Murray boasts decades of professional music experience and is proud to garner a reputation as a professional group both on and off the stage. We made a break into the local festival scene by playing The Steampunk November Festival in 2016 and the AKON opening Ball in the summer of 2017 as well as many local pubs and St. Paddy’s day venues.

Plunk Murray has recently gone back to the studio to record their first full length CD “Gypises, Fools, Pirates, and Tools” due out in early 2018. Created as a follow up to their self-titled EP, this CD will have a mix of original, rambunctious, compositions as well as special arrangements of well-known pub songs and traditional tunes played on fiddle, accordion, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bodhran, drums and Lord knows what else.

Rathmore

Rathmore

Since their highly anticipated debut in early 2017, Dallas-based Rathmore has quickly established themselves as a Celtic rock band that audiences of all ages can enjoy. The band’s contemporary take on traditional Celtic tunes is one of the many ways they create a family friendly soundscape, combining time honored music tradition with their original take on the genre.

Band members Mike Urness (guitar), Matt Willis (bagpipes), Gary Thorne (bass), Matt Thompson (drums) and Katrina Kratzer (fiddle) bring their combined years of talent, expertise and passion to create new sounds using beloved traditional tunes. Helping to showcase their talents is the irresistible charm of such tunes as “Molly Malone” and “The Ferryman” which can be found on their newly released 5-song EP, Mooncoin.

As former members of The Killdares, Willis, Thorne, and Urness are well known fixtures in the Celtic music community and have brought a devoted following, even as Rathmore has just begun to make its mark. With the addition of Thompson and Kratzer, Rathmore’s quintessential sound encourages their fans to sing and dance along to their high energy and creativity while taking part in the chemistry the band so obviously enjoys on and off stage.

Reel Treble

Reel Treble

The friendship of these young talented musicians and dancers started through their passion for playing traditional up-tempo tunes from Irish, Scottish and Old Time music. A great mix of Celtic and Americana foot tapping tunes!

They are: Antonio Santiago on tenor banjo, mandolin, tenor guitar & acoustic guitar, Arthur Hatch on button accordion, flute & whistle, Elijah Vuong on bass, Jordan Merritt on fiddle, and Sam Hatch on acoustic guitar & harmonica.

They are also excited to have the Irish dance duo, The Guinn Girls, Mattie & Moira, Preliminary Championship Dancers join them!

Antonio was one of the first youth Midwest Fleadh Champions from Texas to compete on tenor banjo & mandolin at the All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo & Ennis, Ireland.

They have performed throughout Texas and Louisiana at venues & events including, The State Fair of Texas, The Cowtown Scottish Society, The Tartan Festival, The Sherman Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games, Celtic Bayou Festival, North Texas Irish Festival, McKinney Celtic Music Festival, Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival, Tyler Scottish Festival & Highland Games.

A Big THANK YOU to their teachers & mentors. They would not be the musicians & dancers they are today. Daniel Mehalko, Gordon McLeod, Paul Dryer, Clare Cason, Ken Fleming, and Shandon O’Regan Irish Dance Academy.

Sarah Copus

Sarah Copus

Sarah Copus is an award-winning, Billboard charting singer/songwriter and harpist. She has been performing and recording for over 7 years with her parent's platinum selling band, 2002, and more recently as a solo artist. For a musician under 16, she has had some extraordinary success: two albums hit the Billboard charts that feature her as lead singer, radio airplay across hundreds of stations worldwide, and a Best Vocal Album award at the Zone Music Reporter Awards Show in 2015. Her 2017 album “Moorland Winds” was accepted into the first round voting for the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

Her first recordings in the Irish language appear on the album “Winter Air” in 2013 when she was only 9 years old. Sarah has also been featured as a soloist at concerts with major touring artists like Celtic Woman and The Irish Tenors. In July 2016, she sang a duet with Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder during his performance in Dallas. She has also performed as an opening act for Irish musical sensations, Téada at their “Irish Christmas in America” tour.

Sarah is an active member in the Texas Celtic music scene, performing at venues including: Allen Civic Auditorium, North Texas Irish Festival, Trinity Hall, The Celt, Sherwood Forest Faire, Poor David’s Pub, Lone Star Wine Cellars, Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games, and The Sherman Celtic Festival. Sarah sings in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Italian, Welsh, and English.

Seamus Stout

Seamus Stout

Seamus Stout has been delighting fans for almost 20 years with their unique brand of upbeat Celtic music. They play traditional Irish and Scottish music in a lively, driving style that weaves a tapestry from pub sing-alongs, session tunes, traditional ballads and even some modern Celtic classics. This recipe of high energy traditional Celtic music should please both traditionalists and lovers of contemporary Celtic rock. Regulars of the pub music scene in North Texas, they also can be found at Irish and Scottish festivals in and around the Texas area.

Here’s what fans said on CDBaby.com…
“Upbeat Irish tunes that make you want to sing along and tap your foot.”
“Seamus Stout never lets you down. Great music, great guys. If you get a chance to see them live don't miss them.”

LondonCelticPunks.com says, “Musically it’s straight up Celtic music, well played and with a ****load of gusto. Again it’s purely acoustic but kicking up a real racket.

Enjoying Seamus Stout will make you raise your pint and clap your hands – just hopefully not at the same time!

Skeleton McKee

Skeleton McKee

Skeleton McKee brings the best of rock and rollicking Celtic roots/folk/rock, pub songs, and a wee bit of trad, blues and country. This band will give you a performance that keeps your toes tapping and your hands clapping with a dose of humor on the side. This band has made a big impact on the DFW Celtic music scene, with Celtic infused entertainment featuring great vocal harmonies, precision instrumentation and intricate rhythms. Skeleton McKee comprises jovial, experienced musicians who combine impressively diverse backgrounds to deliver the cream of the Celtic tradition. Once you experience a live show, you’ll know why their slogan is “All For Fun and Fun For All!”

Members of the band include: Marj Troyer (mandolin, banjo, electric guitar, vocals); Betsy Cummings (piano accordion, bodhran, vocals); Jeff Christian (acoustic guitar, harmonica, saxophone, vocals); Patrick McGuire (electric bass, vocals); Trae Hamilton (drums, percussion).

Sombati

Sombati

Fort Worth based Sombati specializes in traditional and modern music from Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Americas. Celtic music can be found in all of these regions, and this music infuses much of our repertoire – from traditional Irish and Scottish tunes, delightful waltzes and ballads from the Celtic regions of northern Spain, Celtic influenced music from Appalachia and Eastern Europe, to a few unique concoctions of our own.

Since our debut performance at Fort Worth's Rose Marine Theater in 2012, we have released two full-length CDs ("No Passport Required" & "Curiosities"), and have come to make repeat appearances at local house concerts, restaurants, and music festivals including Fort Worth Arts Goggle, Denton Art and Jazz Fest, and the Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival in Glen Rose. 2018 marks our debut appearance at the North Texas Irish Festival.

Sombati is: - Belinda Daughtry - hurdy-gurdy, mountain dulcimer, clarinets, and kantele - Deborah Titus - flutes, whistles, growler, and voice - Steve Mixon - mandolin, octave mandolin, mandocello, accordion, guitar, and voice - Garry Brunson - percussion allsorts - Eric Covington - electric upright bass, guitars, tuba, and voice.

String Theory

String Theory

String Theory is a Celtic folk band that specializes in high energy Irish trad tunes and songs. Recently ranked one of the top 4 Irish Bands in Texas by the Dallas Observer, the band features Jesse Ramirez on guitar and mandolin, D/FW fiddle legend Linda Relph, Nathan Kennedy on fiddle, Bill Zauner on upright bass, and Matt Cook on vocals, octave mandolin and bodhran.

The band premiered in 2015 with performances at The Celt and Trinity Hall and has since had over 60 shows between those two pubs. In 2015 they were selected to open for Celtic Thunder’s Emmet Cahill. They performed at NTIF in 2016 and 2017, Irishfest Atlanta in 2016, the 2015 O’Flaherty Retreat, the 2017 and upcoming 2018 McKinney Celtic Music Festival, 2017 and 2018 Sherman Celtic Festival and 2018 Irving Canal Fest. The band was the headline performer at the 2016 and 2017 City of Allen’s Shamrock Shindig St. Patrick’s festival. They also have an active Celtic wedding and private party schedule.

Therese Honey

Therese Honey

Therese Honey’s childhood fascination with the harp blossomed into an exciting and successful career as a full-time harpist, recording artist and teacher.

She has performed as solo harpist with the Chieftains, has been featured at the Chicago Irish Festival, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, the annual Carolan Festival in Keadue, Co. Roscommon, in addition to NTIF, O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat, the San Antonio Highland Games, and the Sherwood Celtic Music Festival. She is a two time first-place winner of the Gulf Coast Celtic Harp Competition.

A Waterbug recording artist, Ms. Honey has released five solo recordings and has published several books of harp arrangements of traditional music.

Her recent recording, “Summer End”, received rave reviews. Chris Spector, writing in the Midwest Record, said, "This solo Celtic harpist, whose chops have taken her all the way to performances with The Chieftains, gets so into the music you feel this is harp music like you’ve never heard it. Honey goes well above and beyond making this more of an experience than a record. Honey could single handedly usher in a new era of contemporary acoustic music that does not need any flag waving genre banners to herald the arrival. Killer stuff throughout.”

The Here and Now

The Here and Now

The Here and Now is Texas' newest and most exciting contemporary Irish music band. They are a four piece ensemble based primarily out of Austin, TX. The band’s members include Niamh Fahy on fiddle and vocals, Chris Buckley on fiddle, Rob Forkner on Bodhran, and Joseph Carmichael on guitar and vocals.

Individually they are all highly experienced, accomplished and award winning musicians. Each member is well versed in a range of styles, but they have a shared passion for Traditional Irish music. The Here and Now’s passion for Irish music and playing together is evident in the tightness and energy of their sound, which comes through in droves during their live performances.

Coming off of a highly successful 2017, which saw tours headlining summer concert and artists series, playing to packed house concert audiences, and along with the upcoming release of their 2nd album, The Here and Now have quickly become a force in the genres of World and Traditional Irish music.

The Jig Is Up

The Jig Is Up

Houston's premier traditional Irish band, The Jig Is Up!, has performed at festivals and venues across Texas and the Southeast and has been broadcast nationally on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock and across across Ireland on Kieran Hanrahan’s RTE's Ceili House.

The band plays innovative arrangements of traditional tunes and chooses songs from both the Irish and American repertoire. Robert Shaddox, with his clear tenor voice, is the band's main vocalist and a skilled bodhrán player. Matt Lewis' skilled guitar sparks the dance tunes and adds lyrical beauty to the ballads he and Robert sing. Diehl Moran's inventive fiddle and banjo provide grace and drive to the music. Larry Mallette is the featured flute and whistle player and resident composer. Kendall Rogers's keyboards bring a new sound, adding to the drive and beauty of Matt's guitar.

Whether playing flute tunes from Sligo and Roscommon, fiddle tunes from Clare, or polkas and slides from Cork and Kerry, The Jig is Up! will set your feet tapping.

The Selkie Girls

The Selkie Girls

The Selkie Girls have firmly established themselves as one of the premier folk music acts in the southern United States. The band (Alli Johnson, Jaycie Skidmore, Dave Ervin, Joel Black, Martin McCall, and Linda Mudd) have performed at the most sought-after events throughout the south, with featured performances at the North Texas Irish Festival, Austin Celtic Festival, Texas Scottish Festival, the Kimbell Art Museum, and premier local pubs as well. The Selkie Girls offer a unique perspective on Celtic and folk music built upon lush vocal harmonies and dynamic instrumental arrangements. The band’s repertoire includes ancient laments, contemporary ballads, traditional Irish tunes, Scottish Gaelic folk sung in the native tongue, and foot-stomping jigs and reels.

The Selkie Girls have recently released their third CD, Pirate Queen, which focuses on strong women in history, like Grace O'Malley and Princess Louise. All three albums have received rave reviews (from fans and press alike) and have been selling steadily at live shows and online via iTunes and Amazon, with numerous tracks receiving airplay on stations throughout the world.

Threadneedle St.

Threadneedle St.

The North Texas-based musicians of Threadneedle St have been together for 20 years, delivering strong traditional instrumental music from all the Celtic nations with a driving pulse that makes it ideal for dancing.

Whistle player Peggy Turner, fiddler Melina Shaffer, percussionist Jim Brunke and guitarist Bobby Bush have appeared at many venues in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, and at large national festivals such as the Chicago Celtic Festival and the Dublin Irish Festival.

In addition the members have been with the North Texas Irish Festival from its beginning. The band has produced two well-received CDs, Having a Tune and Underground.

Vintage Wildflowers

Vintage Wildflowers

Acclaimed for their instrumental prowess, onstage charm and soulful vocals, Vintage Wildflowers has developed an enthusiastic legion of fans with their vibrant Celtic, folk and bluegrass blend. Their music reflects the lives and backgrounds of these three women, melding the trio’s wide-ranging musical interests with their Celtic music obsession.

With the release of their three albums and their performances on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and on the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, they’ve earned national acclaim and a growing reputation for creating music that is respectful of tradition yet distinctly their own.

Vintage Wildflowers are: Abby Bozarth – fiddle, guitar, accordion, harmony vocals; Audrey McSperitt Schmidt – lead vocals, guitar, bass, Irish flute/whistle; Dana Fitzgerald Maher – Celtic harp, piano, harmony vocals, Irish whistle.

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