SINGING OLD IRISH SONGS AND SEA SHANTIES
"A very fine ballad singer with a great sense of drama and pace" - The Herald (Scotland)
"Without doubt a formidable bearer of tradition... a particularly fine exponent of strong, unaccompanied singing... [and] a serious curator and collector of music" - Ethnomusicology (USA)
"A folksinger's folksinger" - Time Out (New York)
"Milner's singing has that edge you want in Irish music" - Sing Out (USA)
"A song lover and researcher of really meticulous thoroughness" - The World of Hibernica (Ireland)
"The star of each song is the story, and with this traditional style of narrative singing, that’s exactly where the emphasis should be" - The Yearbook of Traditional Song (ICTM-UNESCO)
UPCOMING AND RECENT EVENTS
Tuesday, 19 September. NEW YORK CITY. Irish American Artists & Writers Salon. Cell Theater, 328 West 23rd Street, Manhattan. With Bonnie Milner. 7 PM.
Sunday, 1 October. NEW YORK CITY. Maritime and Folk Music Session. John Street Church, 44 John Street Street, Manhattan. With The New York Packet. 2-4 PM.
Friday, 27 October. CROSS MILLS, RI. Cross Mills Library. With Bonnie Milner. 7-8 PM.
Sunday, 5 November. NEW YORK CITY. Maritime and Folk Music Session. John Street Church, 44 John Street Street, Manhattan. With The New York Packet. 2-4 PM.
Sunday, 3 December. NEW YORK CITY. Maritime and Folk Music Session. John Street Church, 44 John Street Street, Manhattan. With The New York Packet. 2-4 PM.
Thursday, 22 March. BELFAST, NI. Sunflower Folk Club. Sunflower Public House, 65 Union Street, Belfast BT1. With Bonnie Milner. 9-11 PM.
Wednesday, 18 April. NEW YORK CITY. Sunnyside Singers Club. Aubergine Cafe, 49-22 Skillman Avenue, Woodside, Queens. With Bonnie Milner. 8-11 PM.
Friday, 11 May. LONDON, UK. Musical Traditions Club. The King and Queen Public House, 1 Foley Street, London W1. With Bonnie Milner. 8-11 PM.
Wednesday, 16 May. BIRMINGHAM, UK. Barber Institute of Fine Art. University of Birmingham. With Bonnie Milner. 5:30 PM.
Friday, 18 May. BIRMINGHAM, UK. Black Diamond Folk Club. The Lamp Tavern, 157 Barfield Street, Birmingham B5. With Bonnie Milner.
Thursday - Sunday, 7-10 June. MYSTIC, CT. Mystic Seaport "Sea Music Festival." Concerts and workshops.
Friday, 13 July. CROSS MILLS, RI. Cross Mills Library. With Bonnie Milner. 7-8 PM.
Saturday, August 18. SAN FRANCISCO, CA. San Francisco National Historical Park "Festival of the Sea." With Bonnie Milner. 10 AM - 5 PM.
Thursday, August 30. ESSEX, CT. Town Pier on the Connecticut River. With Jon Campbell, Larry Kaplan, Bonnie Milner. 5 PM.
In 1997, at the suggestion of the late Frank Harte, Bonnie and I began attending the Inishowen International Ballad and Folk Song Seminar, connecting with many singers there and around Ireland and Britain. By 2001, I was deeply interested in traditional Irish-American songs and singers recorded in New England in the 1940s by Helen Hartness Flanders. The combined impact of the Inishowen Seminar and the Flanders Collection was profound. I thank Jimmy McBride and Nancy-Jean Ballard for their help and inspiration.
My book of 150 Irish, English and Scots folk songs, The Bonnie Bunch of Roses, was published by Oak in 1983 and remained in print for over 20 years. You can read about my Folk-Legacy and Smithsonian Folkways compact discs on the Recordings page.
In 2008 and 2009, I taught Irish traditional singing at the Augusta Heritage Summer Music School at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia. I've also lectured and performed at the Catskills Irish Arts Week in New York State. In 2017, I taught Finding Your Own Voice in Traditional Song at the week-long CCE MAD Week in Washington D.C. area.
In 2010, I participated as a singer and commentator in The Sea in Song, a 3-part radio series celebrating Ireland's maritime song tradition produced by Mary Owens for Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's National Public Service Broadcaster. The Sea in Song went on to win an international prize for best radio documentary.
Programme 1: Hard Men to Shave (broadcast 29th December 2010)
Programme one explores key narratives in the sea shanties and ballads of the 19th century and taps into some hair-raising accounts of life at sea for Ireland's ocean mariners in the age of sail powered ships. Archived. http://www.rte.ie/lyricfm/the-lyric-feature/programmes/2012/0120/387800-the-lyric-feature-friday-20-january-2012/?clipid=1070072
The Tumbling Wave (broadcast 30th December 2010)
Programme two sifts through the huge collection of Irish coastal songs to retrieve vivid tales of shipwrecks, smugglers, drownings and heroic rescues. Archived. http://www.rte.ie/lyricfm/the-lyric-feature/programmes/2012/0414/387813-the-lyric-feature-saturday-14-april-2012/?clipid=1070099
Programme 3: Love is Tempestuous (broadcast 31st December 2010)
Some of our most powerful laments and romantic ballads were inspired by events at sea. The concluding programme in the series pursues themes of love and loss through motifs such as the maid on the shore, the female sailor and the mermaid in traditional maritime song. http://www.rte.ie/lyricfm/the-lyric-feature/programmes/2012/0203/387802-the-lyric-feature-friday-3-february-2012/?clipid=1070077