Just when you think that you have seen the best that Irish music has to offer, a fresh new show from Ireland is taking the art form to an entirely new level. Celtic Crossroads, a group of young performers who present Irish music like never before, will bring the Emerald Isle to Northeast Texas for an afternoon.
The Whatley Center for the Performing Arts at Northeast Texas Community College will host their show, The Gathering, on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m. This performance of Celtic Crossroads is sponsored by Charlie and Helen Hampton.
The show itself is a fantastical spectacle incorporating seven world-class musicians playing more than 20 instruments on stage. From start to finish you are captivated by a wonderful fusion of musical genres in the Irish music family, such as eastern European Gypsy, North American bluegrass, world classical and jazz, and the various forms of Celtic music from around Europe and the rest of the world.
“Celtic music is incredibly popular right now and Celtic Crossroads is one of the best groups I’ve seen. These young people are fun, energetic and very entertaining. This is a show that everyone in the family will enjoy,” Carolyn Franks, Director of the Whatley Center, said.
The name Celtic Crossroads originates from a time in Ireland when neighboring communities met at the crossroads between towns and
villages to socialize—long before the pub tradition began. With a focus on keeping the tradition of Irish music alive, each performer nurtures this bygone concept, but by virtue of their young age and raw talent, they high kick this tradition into the 21st Century. True high-kicking from some of Ireland’s best-respected Irish dancers also intensifies the pulsating rhythms of the show.
Magical interludes from the haunting uilleann pipes, whistles, low whistles and of course the Irish harp along with some of Ireland’s finest exponents of traditional song transport the listener to that crossroads in Ireland. Tempestuous fiddle playing competes with explosive banjo, intricate mandolin, accordion, mandola and bouzouki and awe-inspiring guitar riffs, while silky flute playing reminds the audience that these fiercely traditional musicians are also classically trained.
Throw in thunderous bodhran rhythms, drumkit, and cajon and the audience finds themselves recklessly and ecstatically stomping along. As the thunder starts to take hold, rhythms beating, Irish dancers defying laws of speed and gravity, musicians swapping instruments before your eyes, building and rising from a slow groove to a climactic, epic and all-encompassing wildness of unadulterated genius, audiences are unable to prevent themselves from jumping to their feet in thunderous ovation.
Tickets to Celtic Crossroads are $30 for adults and $10 for students. Call the Whatley Center box office at 903-434-8181 to book your tickets today. Limited seating may available the day of the event. For more information about this or other upcoming shows, visit www.ntcc.edu/whatley.