Performance to combine Irish, American sounds


submitted photo

Renown band is respected for producing traditional celtic sounds. Lúnasa members are: Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass), Ed Boyd (guitar), Colin Farrell (fiddle and whistles), and Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles).

Mercury Bowen, Staff Reporter

Collaboration between Lúnasa, a renowned Irish band, with Tim O’Brien, an American musician, will combine both cultural sounds at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

Trevor Hutchinson, bass player and founding member of Lúnasa, said that he thinks Lúnasa’s music is very easy listening and is a good introduction to Irish music for those who have not heard it before.

Hutchinson laughed and said that his favorite song changes from day to day. In general he said his preference would be the slower material.

“It’s not all jigs and wriggles,” Hutchinson said, “There are some nice slow tunes as well.”

Lúnasa is an all-instrumental group featuring a wide variety of instruments including double bass played by Trevor Hutchinson, flutes, low whistles and tin whistles played by Kevin Crawford, guitar played by Ed Boyd, fiddle and low whistle played by Seán Smyth, and uilleann pipes and low whistles played by Cillian Vallely.

Hutchinson also said that one of the main things Lúnasa is looking forward to with this tour is their collaboration with Tim O’Brien. O’Brien first came to Lúnasa’s attention when he produced his 1999 album The Crossing. Many of the band members went to see him, and some have worked with him on separate occasions since then.

It was for this reason that Lúnasa

“It’s really evocative, it’s kind of exotic to the American ears in a way,” vocalist Tim O’Brien said, “and yet it’s very familiar.”

reached out to O’Brien as a featured vocalist for the tour.

This collaboration between Tim O’Brien and Lúnasa promises to be a different departure for them, as each has their own style.

“It’s a more bluegrass side of things,” Hutchinson said of O’Brien’s music.

O’Brien plays the mandolin, guitar, and fiddle as well as being a singer and a songwriter on different occasions. His music style ranges from folk, bluegrass, country, rock, and jazz.

“It’s kind of what they’d call Americana these days,” O’Brien said of his music.

O’Brien became interested in music at a young age, learning guitar and playing piano with his sister. He has now been involved with music for over 40 years.

Having performed in many places, O’Brien said he loves the feeling of interacting with the other musicians and with the audience while performing.

“When you interact with other people there’s a lot of things you can do to shake things up,” O’Brien said, “There’s a lot of give and take.”

The collaboration is not without challenges however. O’Brien said that there was a good bit of work involved stylistically.

With these things in mind, the groups choose the material to be performed based on what is good for the collaboration while still leaving the pure elements of each side.

“It’s a real communal experience with the band as well as with the  audience,” O’Brien said.

The venue of both Lúnasa’s and Tim O’Brien’s music is important to the quality of their shows. Hutchinson said that he supposes Lúnasa does more performing in America than in Ireland for this reason.

“There’s a really nice series of concerts in America in the performing arts centers, which is something we don’t have in quite the same way at home,” Hutchinson said, “it suits our music well I think.”

O’Brien said that many traditional Irish groups do tours in March because people like to remember their Irish heritage near St. Patrick’s Day.

O’Brien said that he thinks the mood will be high and the music spirited and heartfelt as this will be a reunion of old friends. The performance at the Doudna is the first stop on the Lúnasa featuring Tim O’Brien tour, and Hutchinson said that they are really looking forward to the show.

“[We] hope we have a good show,” Hutchinson said, “and that everyone goes home happy.”

Tickets for the show will be $15 for the general public, $12 for Eastern employees and senior citizens, and $7 for students.

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].