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Celtic Rhythms & The Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles Present \

The Story of Halloween & Celtic Tales of the Supernatural Written by Aedan MacDonnell The Celtic calendar, based on the agricultural and pastoral year, was celebrated with the great festival of Samhain on November 1. The pronunciation of Samhain varies among Celtic countries. In Ireland it’s pronounced sow-in (sow as in the pig), in Wales, soween and in Scotland, sav-en. It was a time of ghostly visitation, divination games, bonfire burning, and post-harvest merrymaking. The Celts’ days began at dusk, the beginning of the dark half of the day. Their new year followed suit, beginning at the twilight of the dark half of the year. We now know it as Halloween, celebrated on October 31. Many of our Halloween ghosts and goblins come from Celtic mythology. Witches, sea creatures, fairies and other winged immortal beings can be found in the unseen places of the Emerald Isle. Even the modern-day devil, with horns and tail, can find roots in the ancient Green Man of the Woods. We invite you to our Samhain celebration with music, song, dance, stories and merrymaking. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite drink, accompanied by a soul cake, and enjoy this year’s “Samhain” 2020 on-line - the COVID edition.


The Cast \

Rebecca Baumann............................................................... Percussion, Fiddle David Burns .................................................................................................... Guitar Padraic Conroy.................................................................. Flute, Guitar, Vocals Marla DuMont............................................... Ceili, Morris & Sword Dances Maddie Eaton ................................................................................................ Fiddle Erin Esses............................................................................................................Cello Robyn Heller ..............................................................................Vocals, Bodhrán Ashleigh Hill....................................................................................Vocals, Guitar Zac Legér...................................................................... Vocals, Bodzouki, Flute Aedan MacDonnell ........... Harp, Accordion, Keyboard, Dance, Vocals John McKenna....................................Button Accordion, Vocals, Bodhrán Ken O’Malley .............................................................................................Narrator Erik Peterson............................................................. Banjo, Mandolin, Vocals Brittany Ramsey..................................................................................Irish Dance Mark Signaigo............................................... Ceili, Morris & Sword Dances Doreen Wiley...........................................................................Vocals, Narration Michael Weisberg...........................................................................................Harp McNulty School of Irish Dance....................................................Irish Dance

The Crew Editor ....................................................................................Aedan MacDonnell Video Live Stream ........................................................................... Peter Aiello Story written by Aedan MacDonnell. Special thanks to Padraic Conroy for writing “Samhaina” and to Alaina Smith and Lora Hnat for proofing the program!


Aedan MacDonnell (Harp, Accordion, Keyboard, Vocals, Step Dance)

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“Samhain” is Aedan’s baby and she has written, produced and directed the show. With Covid shutting down the theatres, this year she is also editing the show. Aedan is an award-winning harper and step dancer, as well as vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Aedan has had the great pleasure of working as Mayim Bialik’s harp coach on “The Big Bang Theory,” has recorded on harp for a few episodes of “Outlander,” and has been a guest musician on several episodes of Paula Poundstone’s “Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone.” She’s a freelance musician and private harp and piano instructor. She also plays with the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles, and in the all female band “Ban Cara.” www.HarpMuse.com

Padraic Conroy (Flute, Vocals, Guitar) Born and raised in Ireland, Padraic Conroy hails from the town of Athlone in County Westmeath where he grew up fishing and playing music (but not necessarily at the same time). A multi-talented performer, he plays guitar, bouzouki, whistles and sings. He has had the pleasure of playing with various artists around Los Angeles and beyond such as: accompanying uillean piper Paddy Keenan in Moscow; performing as a duo alongside Ken O Malley or with the O Malley Friends Crew adding Dean O Leary & Forrest Robinson to bring together a find band of musicians; pairing up on a regular basis with Michael Kelly as the “Dropkick Mickeys” and also the weekly pre covid Wednesday night sessions at Griffins of Kinsale where many of the Samhain musicians met, danced and played the night away.

Erin Esses (Cello) Erin has always had a love for music and has never been without it. She began playing the cello at the age of 9 and graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in music performance. Erin plays in a variety of different settings ranging from the Orange County Symphony, to the classic rock band Led Zepagain, and the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles.

Michael Kelley (Fiddle) This extremely versatile fiddler’s career has spanned decades. His band, Sligo Rags, played weekly at Disneyland. He also plays regularly with Padraic Conroy as the “Dropkick Mickeys.” www.fiddlin4you.co


Zac Léger (Guitar, Bouzouki, Whistle ) Zac Léger has been touring and playing music professionally for over a decade. He holds numerous medals on various instruments in both the U.S. and Ireland, including an All-Ireland piping medal, one of few Americans to hold this prestigious title. Most recently Zac as guitarist with the Chieftains March 2020 for their farewell tour.

Ken O’Malley (Narrator) Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ken has lived in Los Angeles over thirty years. As he grew up in Dublin’s center, he was immersed in Irish music and was a member of every school choir. He began guitar at age 8, and by 14 was performing regularly in Dublin’s folk clubs. Ken spent a lot of time in Connemara and the Aran Islands and has a fair command of the Gaelic language. He is well known throughout California and many parts of the US as a band leader and solo troubadour. His immense knowledge of Irish culture and history is sought after by universities, and film and television companies. www.kenomalley.com

John McKenna (Vocals, Button Accordion) John is a BIC.... Bronx Irish Catholic born to Irish immigrant parents (Counties Longford and Leitrim). He sings and plays button accordion and bodhrán with the Johnny Come Lately’s most Saturday evenings at The Story Tavern in Burbank. John is also a stage and voice actor.

Erik C. Peterson (banjo, mandolin, vocals) Erik originally hails from the frozen tundra of Fargo, ND but moved to California two years ago. He has played with a number of folkdance, old-time, and Irish bands including Pig’s Eye Landing, the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, The Indiana Old-Time Ambassadors, Ennis Clare, Hogeye Navvy, and Laughing Jack. Aside from playing banjo and mandolin, he also sings shanties and tries to produce music from the concertina. A trained public historian, Erik works from time to time in the museum field.

Doreen Wiley (Vocals, Narration) Singer, dancer and actress, Doreen studied theatre arts at California State University, Long Beach. She has performed in numerous stage productions, and was a prominent performer at the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire and the Dickens Fair in San Francisco. She is currently a member of the Long Beach chorale.


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Brittany Ramsey (Irish Dance) Brittany dances with the Kelly School of Irish Dance, and competes regularly on the Irish Feis circuit. She dances professionally, most recently in the “Irish Christmas” show that tours California.

Marla DuMont (Ceili, Sword, & Morris Dance)

Marla's has been Irish ceili dancing for over ten years Before that, she competed in ballroom dance on the college circuit. In her “day job” she’s a writer for the CBS comedy ❤Bob Abishola

Mark Signaigo (Ceili, Sword, & Morris Dance) Mark stumbled upon Irish dance shortly after graduating from UCLA. He immediately started taking céilí lessons, dancing every chance he had. He caught on so quickly he began teaching advanced céilí classes. Mark also plays fiddle.

Michael Weisberg

(Harp)

Michael has been playing the Celtic harp for three years. He also enjoys arranging and composing. Michael wrote his part in the Haunted Bog.


Ban Cara Band

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Ban Cara is an all female Celtic band, with equal amounts of drive and moxie. Ban Cara, Irish for “female friend” drew standing-room only crowds at their very first appearance at the 2018 Big Irish Fair in Orange County. This dynamic group has a unique blend of traditional and modern Celtic music, with great vocals, lots of energy, original arrangements, and superb instrumentation. consisting of fiddle, guitar, banjolele, harp, percussion, accordion, and keyboards. www.BanCaraBand.com Aedan MacDonnell (harp, keyboards, vocals) Doreen Wiley (Vocals) Ashleigh Hill (Vocals, Guitar) Robyn Heller (Vocals, Bodhran) Madeleine “Maddie” Eaton (Fiddle)

McNulty School of Irish Dance The McNulty School of Irish Dance Los Angeles opened in 2013 under the direction of Erin Scott-Haines, T.C.R.G., who began dancing with the McNulty School of Irish Dance in 1986. The McNulty School offers classes for all ages and experience levels, including teen and adult beginners, and "boys only" classes in many locations. Dancers begin learning in the Irish step dancing in soft shoes, and then progress to heavy shoe dances over time. Students will not only learn solo dances like the jigs and hornpipes, but also team, or "Ceili" dances, which help students develop lifelong friendships, leadership, and teambuilding skills. www.IrishDancingLosAngeles.com


Most of the music in “Samhain” is either traditional music from the Celtic regions, or original music written by a cast member (with a couple of exceptions). Here’s a run down of the music in the 2020 on-line show:  Les Poules huppées (Crested Hens), composed in 1893 by Gilles Chabenat (under

opening credits), a French Bourrée and a favorite in sessions  The Sadness of Life (under opening narration play by Aedan MacDonnell), written by

J. Scott Skinner (1843-1927) Scottish fiddler and composer  Samhaina, written by Padraic Conroy  Samhainn Saunter, written by Michael Kelly (used for the ceili dance with Mark and

Marla in Act II and played by Michael Kelly),  Tralee Trembles (used for the ceili dance with Mark and Marla in Act I, and music

taken from a 2016 concert with the then Samhain band of Chris Loken, John Somers, Johnny McKenna, Zac Léger, myself and Peter Romano, RIP), traditional Irish Jig  A Soulin’, traditional English Folk Song, arrangement by Ban Cara band  Grim King of the Ghosts, English circa 1729  Soldier’s Exile (under Trowie story, played by Rebecca Baumann), traditional Shetland

Slow Air  The Devil’s Courtship, traditional Scottish Song  Devil and the Farmer’s Wife, traditional—various versions in Ireland and Scotland  The Shadow Reel, written by Michael Kelly (used with fiddle/tap duel),  Devil Went to Dublin, take on Charlie Daniels’ Devil Went Down to Georgia  Maggie in the Woods (music for the sword dance, music taken from the 2019

Samhain show), traditional Irish polka  Samhain Night, written by Aedan MacDonnell  Raven’s Flight, written and played by Aedan MacDonnell  The Red Crow, written by Mairead ni Mhaonaigh of the Irish band Altan (played

under the narration before the Three Ravens by Aedan MacDonnell)  Three Ravens, traditional English ballad  Twa Corbies, traditional Scotland  Molly Malone, traditional Irish song  Haunted Bog, Halloween take on a traditional Irish children’s song The Rattlin’ Bog.

Words by Aedan MacDonnell  Step It Out Mary, traditional Irish song, arrangement by Ban Cara band  Caledonia, written by Dougie McLean  The Dunes, written by Shane MacGowan (of the Pogues), show arrangement

by Johnny McKenna


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Longsword The dance with swords is called “longsword” and comes from northern England and the Shetland islands. The swords we use were made specially for this dance style and are made of inflexible steel with wooden hilts, complete with a sharp tip. In our 2014 show blood was drawn during the dance. Fortunately the audience thought it was part of the show. The dancer is fine … now, and still with the show.

Step Dance The percussive dance Aedan performs is Ottawa Valley step dance. This dance style has its roots in Ireland and Scotland. Step dancing is considered a form of music and often replaces other forms of percussion. In contrast to modern Irish dance, Ottawa Valley dancers incorporate arm movements in their choreography.

Modern Irish Dance Brittany dances the traditional modern Irish hard and soft shoe dances made popular in 1994 by Riverdance. Irish Stepdance, as a modern form, is descended directly from Irish old-style (sean nos) step dance. There are several different forms of stepdance in Ireland, but the style most familiar to the public is the Munster, or southern form, which has been formalized by An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha—the Irish Dancing Commission.

Ceili Dance A ceili (pronounced kay-lee) is a traditional Irish gathering for fun, fellowship, and laughs (or craic as the Irish might say). Traditional ceili dances were social dances enjoyed at house parties and corner road gatherings in the rural country side.

Border Morris The dance with sticks is called Morris dance, which has been around at least 500 years. To be more specific, the style of Morris dance in the show is called “Border Morris,” one of several styles of Morris dance. The Border Morris dances were mainly performed in the winter by farm laborers and fishermen as a means of earning a little extra money when work was scarce. In addition, there appears to have been an understanding that a certain amount of misrule was customarily allowed on certain occasions.


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Brought to you by

Celtic Rhythms was created by Aedan MacDonnell. Her love of Celtic music and dance inspired her to create events and shows centered around the Celtic world, bringing you music and dance from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Brittany and England. We offer concerts, dances, and dance and music instruction. If you’re looking for a Celtic musician or group or band for an event, we can refer you to some of LA’s finest. www.Celtic-Rhythms.com ~ 818.939.4313 ~ celticrhythms22@gmail.com


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Brought to you by The Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles The Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles was founded in 1981 after the first Scottish Fiddle Competition held in Southern California. The competitors all had so much fun playing, that, led by Colin Gordon, they combined forces to create the first Strathspey and Reel Society in the United States. Common in Scotland, Strathspey and Reel Societies are made up of amateur and professional musicians who play Scottish traditional fiddle music. Jan Tappan became Music Director in 1989 when the Gordons left Los Angeles for Northern California. The musical tradition of America has many connections with Scotland and Ireland. There is a great heritage of Scottish fiddle music dating back to the seventeenth century, and many of these early tunes have found their way into the American folk fiddle repertoire. Scottish tunes began to appear in North America with the early migrations of Scots to the New World. The Scottish influence on American fiddle music accelerated at the time of the Highland Clearances when Scots, forced from their lands in the highlands of Scotland, migrated to Canada and the southern United States. Trace the source of the American fiddle tune Devil's Dream, for example, and you'll find the Scottish De'il

Amang the Tailors. Join Us! We welcome musicians playing fiddle, cello, guitar, harp and other stringed instruments, piano and percussion. We play for concerts, Scottish games and gatherings, Celtic fairs and many other events! Write to info@scottishfiddlers.org


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Back in 2011 I came up with the idea of a Celtic Halloween theatrical production. With the help and good will of my very talented musician, dancer and actor friends my vision became a reality without a budget of any sort. The first show was at the Burbank Moose Lodge, then we moved around to various places. We eventually found a generous sponsor in Marshall Financial Management, and in 2018 were able to finally end up where we belong—at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood—a real theatre. (For the full story on our venue adventures, check out the Irish Arts & Entertainment October issue.) The past nine years we’ve seen the same faces in our audience (you know who you are and we love you!) and every year we see new faces. When COVID hit, around June I realized the possibility of a live show was probably not realistic, so I started thinking about a virtual show. “Thinking” being the operative word. Writing, producing and directing the live show is a lot of work, but the final performances are a lot of fun and worth the time and effort. I adore each and every member of the cast and crew and feel grateful and very lucky that they have just as much fun and keep returning each year to perform and help run the show. Some of them I only get to see once a year, and some I get to play music with every week. Well, I used to until mid-March. So when the real realization hit me upside the head that a live show wasn’t going to happen I started figuring out how to do this virtually. The show has a lot of fans, and since pretty much everything has been canceled, I decided I couldn’t let our fans down and wanted to put something out there. I have learned so much about video editing and sound recording, and know I have at least ten times that much to still learn. I can’t express how grateful I am to all my musician and dancer friends who agreed to help make this happen. I’m also very thankful to the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles for co-sponsoring the show and providing their wonderful Scottish music before many of the live shows and helping to spread the word; to Marshall Financial Management for their years of continued support; to the McNulty School of Irish Dance for bringing their talented dancers in for the pre-show the past two years, and putting together videos for the on-line version of “Samhain”; to Wingwalker Brewing for allowing me to video tape the fiddle-percussion segment; and finally to the Celtic Arts Center where I met so many of my musician and dancer friends.

To everyone


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If you enjoyed the show, please consider helping us out with a donation. We’re not picky, we take any amount!

Paypal.me/celticrhythms

Profile for Irish Arts & Entertainment

Samhain, A Celtic Halloween Program Book  

A celebration of Samhain. TENTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY Presented Online by Celtic-Rhythms.com

Samhain, A Celtic Halloween Program Book  

A celebration of Samhain. TENTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY Presented Online by Celtic-Rhythms.com