American Bluegrass band, Special Consensus, is embarking on their 10th tour through Ireland after beginning bi-annual tours of the country in the early 1990s. Bandleader Greg Cahill was exposed to traditional Irish music at a young age from his Grandfather, whose family came to America from the region between Killarney and Cork. Cahill believes that they are so well received because of the close similarities in instrumentation between traditional Irish music and bluegrass music.“Bluegrass music is very well received in Ireland because it seems those people feel it is a bit of their music coming back to them. They brought their music to America and we have integrated many of their tunes and melodies into our traditional music. We are then bringing those melodies back to them with our slight timing differences with slightly different instrumentation.”
These similarities have led to Cahill lending his talents on the American banjo to many Irish music recording sessions throughout the years. Through this interaction with Irish musicians, the band has been able to add Irish songs to their repertoire. The Special Consensus have included several Irish songs on their recordings including a medley of two songs taught by Mel Cory (from Lurgan) and Josie’s Reel written by Niall Toner (the Niall Toner Band) which will be included on their new release, Trail of Aching Hearts, that will be commercially available on April 17th.
Ireland’s exposure to bluegrass music isn’t limited to touring American bands. International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) members Richard and Carol Hawkins, who reside in the Dublin area, have started the Bluegrass Ireland newsletter (bluegrassireland.150m.com) and have created the Bluegrass Ireland Blog (bluegrassireland.blogspot.com). These websites help keep the people of Ireland informed about bluegrass news and events in Ireland as well as in Europe and the USA.
Special Consensus’ tour includes appearances on the Allen Simpson Show on the BBC January 10th at 3:00 PM and The Frank Mitchell Show on U105FM on January 11th at 11:00 AM.
Special Consensus’ tour dates include:
1/10/2007 The Allen Simpson Show – BBC 3:00 PM Belfast, N Ireland
1/11/2007 Errigle Inn - Belfast, N. Ireland
1/11/2007 The Frank Mitchell Show – U105 FM 11:00 AM
1/12/2007 Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre - Naul, Ireland
1/13/2007 Winter Weekend Festival - Sixmilebridge, Ireland
1/14/2007 St. John's Art Centre - Listowel, Ireland
1/15/2007 Arts Center - Kilworth, Ireland
1/16/2007 McDaids - Middleton, Ireland
1/17/2007 Mount Zion House - Lurgan, N. Ireland
1/24/2007 Bronte Centre - Rathfrailand, N. Ireland
1/25/2007 Barry's Pub – Grange Co., Ireland
1/26/2007 Marketplace Arts Centre - Armagh, N. Ireland
1/27/2007 Carlton Abbey Hotel - Athy, Ireland
1/28/2007 Colfer's - Carrig-On-Bannow, Ireland.