November 11, 2014, BY Kathryn Kopchik

Christmas from Ireland Dec. 4: Lúnasa and special guest Karan Casey Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center.

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University will present Christmas from Ireland with Lúnasa and special guest Karan Casey, on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center. They will present a wealth of songs, tunes, poetry, and tales from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Galicia.

The performance is sponsored, in part, by Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate. There will be a post-show reception with the artists in the Weis Center Lobby.

Lúnasa is composed of Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass), Ed Boyd (guitar), Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistle) and Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles).

Internationally acknowledged as the finest traditional Irish instrumental outfit of recent times, Lúnasa have sold more than quarter of a million albums. Their recordings have been hailed as some of the best and most important world music albums anywhere.

They have performed more than 2,000 shows across 36 countries since the band formed in 1997, appearing at internationally renowned venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, National Concert Hall (Dublin), Sydney Opera House and Moscow International House of Music. They have been invited to appear at the White House. This year the group will tour 13 U.S. cities — three on the East Coast and 10 in the Southwest.

Of the band, legendary Irish fiddler Kevin Burke says, "Maintaining the unique, intimate qualities of a musical tradition while at the same time meeting and fulfilling the demands of the contemporary music world is a difficult juxtaposition to achieve, yet Lúnasa have managed to accomplish exactly that." Billboard magazine says, "Anyone who listens can't help but find them contagious."

The all-instrumental quintet  is noted for double bass and guitar-driven rhythms, original compositions mixed with material from Celtic regions such as Brittany, Galicia and Asturias, and a surprising focus on slower melodies involving three-part harmonies played on the traditional pipes, fiddle and flute. 

The individual members are in increasing demand across the globe for touring and recording work. Hutchinson toured Europe with his old band mates, The Waterboys; Vallely collaborated with Bruce Springsteen on his 2014 release High Hopes — the album went straight in at #1 on the album charts across the world; Crawford toured with Martin Hayes and John Doyle as The Teetotalers; Boyd has toured with Flook and Cara Dillon; and Smyth transforms back to being Dr. Smyth and his medical profession between Lúnasa tours.

Karan CaseyJoining Lúnasa will be Irish vocalist Karan Casey, critically acclaimed from Japan to America as one of Ireland's greatest singers. The Wall Street Journal has described her as one of the true glories of Irish music today.

Casey's career has spanned 20 years from early days as a jazz performer in George's Bistro in Dublin to New York with the band Solas to her now established solo career; she has sold over half a million albums. She has toured constantly throughout North America, Europe and Japan.

Recent years have seen her appearing with Folk legends James Taylor, Liam Clancy, Peggy Seeger, Mick Moloney and the Dubliners and Imelda May as well as performances with Solas, Lúnasa, Tim O'Brien and Capercaillie's Karen Matheson and collaborations with pianist/composer Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and with Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot's.
 
Winner of awards for Best Folk Album and Best Folk Female from Irish Music Magazine, Casey has been nominated for the BBC Folk Awards and the Danish Grammys. She was a key member of Paul Winter's Grammy Award-winning Celtic Solstice.

She has appeared at festivals in Europe and the U.S. such as WOMAD USA, the Cambridge Folk Festival, Celtic Connections, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Festival Cornouaille, Festival Interceltique Lorient, Milwaukee Irishfest and Merlefest as well as many prestigious venues including the Kennedy Center, New York's Symphony Space, Grand Ole Opry, the Hollywood Bowl, Dublin's National Concert Hall, the Cathedral of St John the Divine, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and many others.

She has made many TV and radio appearances on both sides of the Atlantic and has been a frequent guest on nationally syndicated radio and TV shows such as Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage.

Tickets for the performance are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62+, $15 for youth 18 and under, $15 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $15 for non-Bucknell students and $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2).

Tickets can be purchased online at www.bucknell.edu/BoxOffice or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information about this performance, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by email at lisa.leighton@bucknell.edu.

The next event in the Weis Center's 2014-15 Series is a free Family Matinee on Saturday, Dec. 6. Parallel Exit presents the production "Exit Stage Left", a family discovery/physical theatre group inspired by the films of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin at 1 p.m. in the Weis Center. Attendees are asked to bring a canned food item for donation to Union County Children and Youth Services.

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to www.bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or www.facebook.com/WeisCenter

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