23 November 2015

Lee Valley String Band, Stargazers in concert for Médecins Sans Frontières, 10 Dec. 2015

The Lee Valley String Band: (l-r) Mick Daly, Brendan Butler, Mick
O'Brien, Hal O'Neill (photo: Eddie Hennessy)

Thanks to Tina Darb of the Triskel Christchurch Arts Centre in Cork city for the news that a fund-raising concert for Médecins Sans Frontières will be held there on Thursday 10 December 2015, with a double bill compered by Philip King of RTÉ's ‘Other voices’ and RTÉ Radio One's ‘The south wind blows’.

The Lee Valley String Band, Ireland's longest-lived bluegrass and old-time group, perform to huge audiences annually through their regular gigs with the Lee Sessions (Facebook). Formed in 1968 by the late Chris Twomey and the Toner brothers, Niall and Colm, the LVSB have been through several permutations in their forty-seven (and counting) years, and now comprise Mick O'Brien (guitar, vocals), Brendan Butler (mandolin, vocals), Mick Daly (banjo, vocals), and Hal O'Neill (fiddle).

Some of their highlights to date include hosting their own TV show from Cork Opera House; appearing at the prestigious Tønder Festival in Denmark; and making three classic recordings, the EP At last (mid 1980s) and the CDs Cornerboys (1998) and Prolific or what (2008), both of which were produced by the legendary Jim Rooney.

The Stargazers made their debut on RTÉ TV in 1983 and have since appeared regularly on all major RTÉ radio and TV shows and travelled widely abroad with their close harmony renditions of Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Randy Newman, and others, and the instrumental style of string swing on guitars and bass. Founder members Johnny 'Fang' Murphy and Chris Ahern are joined by arranger Ursula O’Sullivan (bass, vocals). Their new single Paper moon should be released in Jan. 2016.

There will be a reception at 7.30 p.m. before the concert (8.00 p.m.). Tickets are €20, available from the Centre online or by 'phone (021 4272022). The evening is also a farewell event for Michael O’Connell who has been on the board of the Centre for over thirty years, including several as its chairman.

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