Ir­ish sound has strings at­tached

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WHAT’S ON -

ELTIC Woman fid­dler Mairead Nes­bitt prom­ises a feast for the ears and eyes when the Ir­ish group (pic­tured) heads to Aus­tralia in Jan­uary. You’ve been with the group since it be­gan and have seen newer mem­bers re­place oth­ers. How does that change the dy­namic?

It does change things, but more from a per­sonal point of view rather than in per­for­mance. I think Celtic Woman is so well-known now that fans know our blend (of mu­sic and voices) and that’s the most im­por­tant thing, to main­tain that no mat­ter who’s in the band. I think it’s nice to have new mem­bers be­cause it in­jects a fresh­ness into the show as well.

From a prac­ti­cal point of view it ob­vi­ously does in­volve more re­hears­ing and of course more get­ting used to peo­ple from a per­sonal point of view be­cause we do tour 10 months a year so there is more to get used to off stage. With the band and dancers, there are a lot of you. How many peo­ple on tour and what can we ex­pect on your sec­ond Aussie tour?

It dif­fers from tour to tour but on big­ger tours there’d be around 40 peo­ple with about 15-20 peo­ple on stage. We’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to com­ing back. We’ve loads of friends and fans there and we do get a lot of sup­port so we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. So with our shows we have four soloists of course, and about three so­los each. And it is a feast for the ears, but for the eyes also. It’s very vis­ual. We have a fan­tas­tic band with drum­mers, a choir, pipers and a fan­tas­tic Ir­ish dancer, Craig Ashurst, who is ac­tu­ally a na­tive of Aus­tralia. You’re the Celtic Woman fid­dler, but you’re also a vi­olin­ist. What’s the dif­fer­ence?

It is the same in­stru­ment but it’s about how you play it. Nigel Kennedy, who is an amaz­ing clas­si­cal vi­olin­ist calls it a fid­dle. But I did some work for Dis­ney a few years ago (sound­track to the film Tinker Bell And The Lost Trea­sure) and be­cause I en­com­pass the Celtic fid­dler style and the clas­si­cal vi­olin style, they came up with the term Celtic vi­olin­ist, so I’ve stolen that. Ir­ish cul­ture has an ex­tra­or­di­nary reach, and Ir­ish-de­scended peo­ple em­brace it gen­er­a­tions af­ter leav­ing. Why is that?

Ir­ish cul­ture is very strong. It’s handed down and even if peo­ple are away from Ire­land for a few gen­er­a­tions. There are some amaz­ing mu­si­cians but they hap­pen to come from Amer­ica, from Aus­tralia. I think it’s be­cause our her­itage is handed down so com­pletely; we are a lit­tle is­land and the weather is so bad so much of the time that we have a cul­ture of the in­doors. Our lit­er­a­ture, our mu­sic, our danc­ing, all the arts are very strong. Our melodies are pow­er­ful and the sto­ry­telling in the songs that are handed down are very pow­er­ful and I think peo­ple like to hold on to that sense of iden­tity.

Celtic Woman play the Bris­bane En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre on Jan­uary 12.

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