1:00-2:15 Ceol Cairde
2:30-3:45 Blackthorn Folly
4:00-5:45 Derek Byrne
This group of Milwaukee area musicians has been performing traditional Irish music since the spring of 1989. Ceol Cairde has its roots in the 1988 Irish Fest Summer School, a week of classes held the week before Irish Fest. Classes are taught in Irish music, dance, language, and theater, as well as other Irish cultural activities for all ages.
Deciding one week a year of Irish music was not enough, they began playing in each other’s living rooms, learning more and more tunes. With the windows open during one summer day, a passer-by heard the delightful sounds of jigs and reels and asked the group to perform at their wedding.
Milwaukee Irish Fest, Holiday Folk Fair, the Canadian Carrousel of Nations, and many other special events followed that special wedding performance. Ceol Cairde members share the energy and spirit of the traditional Irish music they enjoy so much. The irresistible blending of their instruments provides the unique sound that is the “Music of Friends.”
Blackthorn Folly is a five piece traditionally inspired band from the Milwaukee area. We play traditional Celtic tunes, pub songs, American standards, and even some pop music with high energy and a ground stomping tempo. Our highest priority is entertaining crowds through great music and audience participation.
Blackthorn Folly was formed in 2012 to perform on St. Patrick’s Day at a couple of the local pubs in Milwaukee. After the overwhelmingly positive response from the audience, they decided to continue to perform and create a serious band. Since they started, Blackthorn folly has continued to perform regularly in pubs around the Milwaukee area. Additionally, they have performed at Irish cultural festivals including the Milwaukee, New Dublin, and Oshkosh Irish fests.
The band was originally founded by Christopher Chan (bouzouki/banjo/vocals) after getting a chance offer to perform at a local pub. He was immediately joined by Christian Tomsey (vocals/fiddle), Joe McElroy (flute), Jacob Davida (fiddle/vocals), and David Wojnowski (bodhrán). Jacob has since moved on to other opportunities, but still performs with the band as a guest artist on a regular basis. In late 2014, the band was joined by Josh Gratz (tenor banjo/mandolin).
In August of 2017 the band suffered a major loss when Christian Tomsey tragically passed away. Though the band was devastated they were determined to continue providing the same fun and entertainment that they always had. Christopher Chan stepped up to the role of lead vocals to fill the void.
In December of 2017, Joe McElroy received an opportunity too good to pass up. This required him to leave the state, so he was unable to continue his role in the band. After much searching, the band hired Chris Wieber to fill the job of flute in February of 2018.
Towards the end of 2018, Chris Wieber had some incredible opportunities to further his life and career, but like Joe, it required him to move out of state. After much searching, Molly Noyes (Flute/Whistle/Pipes) and Heather Lewin (Fiddle) joined the group to fill the missing parts and elevated the music to new levels.
The band continues to perform and plans to always keep going
Paddygrass plays kickass Celtic Bluegrass and Gospel. Over the last 10 years we have assembled a collective of Wisconsin's best Irish Musicians. We love to get together in various combinations of trios or quartets. Some shows feature dancers from Milwaukee Irish Dance Company Paddygrass shows are spontaneous, special guests arrive and become part of the magic. No matter how many times you see us there is always something new to discover! Whatever happens, our music will move you to sing, dance, drink and forget all else.
Derek Byrne - Lead Vocals, Banjo, Hand Percussion, Harmonica
Randy Foat - Drums
Randy Gosa - Guitar, Mandola
Rory Modlinski - Banjo, Guitar, Bass and Mandolin
Peter Carlson - Guitar and Vocals
Dan Johnston - Guitar
Molly Noyes - Flute and Pipes
Sara Fritchen - Flute and Saxophone
Leah Redding - Fiddle
Olivia Langby - Fiddle
Steve Kendziora - Bass
Jon Baade - Bass, Ukulele
Members at large:
James Reilly - Flute
Karen Reilly - Fiddle, Vocals
Ethan King - Accordion and Bass
TJ Hull - Fiddle, Viola, Cello, Tin Whistle, Vocals
Amanda Carretta Hull - Bodhran, Tin Whistle, Vocals
Heather Lewin - Fiddle and Vocals
Chris Chan - Bouzouki
Chara Fedke - Cajon, Djembe
Marina Ari Matson
I left Ireland at the age of 21 and toured the world with Riverdance as a singer and musician for 6 years. I met my wife Carrie backstage in Milwaukee. After a 3 year long distance love, we settled here and I've been a feature of the Irish Scene since 2001. I write songs inspired by the love of my wife and children and my love for Ireland.