The Henry Girls: sisters Joleen, Karen and Lorna McLaughlin,
This August, Philadelphia Folk Festival has, for the first time ever, dedicated a full day of its programme to performances by Irish musicians. Scheduled to run for 12 hours on Saturday 15 August, a stage of the 59th Philadelphia Folk Festival will host 18 of Ireland’s finest music acts with a strong Donegal flavour.
The acts performing at the festival include artists who would normally be headlining US summer festivals such as We Banjo 3, Téada, and Moxie and emerging bands The Ocelots, Corner Boy and Karrie with Jimmy Smyth. Hugely popular musicians and amazingly skilled soloists include Daoirí Farrell, Mick Flannery, Lisa O’Neill, Liam Ó Maonlaí of Hot House Flowers and virtuoso guitarist Shane Hennessy. Audiences are promised a wide variety of choice with artists geographically spread around Ireland including The Henry Girls from Donegal, Lisa Canny from Sligo, Susan O’Neill from Clare, uilleann piper Mark Redmond from Wexford and Kila from Dublin.
Others acts have an international flavour with Navá, who explore the music of Ireland and Persia and Slow Moving Clouds fuses elements of the Irish and Nordic folk traditions with more contemporary sounds.
The Henry Girls are sisters Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin from the most Northerly part Donegal. The trio formed as a professional music group in 2001 and have recorded 6 studio albums, a couple of EPs and a live album of music by The Boswell Sisters of New Orleans (released February 2020).
Infused with the rich cultural heritage of their native Donegal but with a transatlantic flavour their music has been described as “full bodied and powerfully dynamic ʼ.
They have successfully learned to interweave their traditional roots with contemporary elements, earning them both commercial success and spectacular critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. The Henry Girls have played at many festivals all over Europe and beyond and they regularly tour in countries like Germany, Holland, Austria, UK, Ireland and USA.
Over recent months Culture Ireland has successfully presented 120 online concerts through Ireland Performs. This new initiative to present a digital festival stage with Philadelphia Folk Festival, the oldest continually running outdoor festival in North America, is a further step to ensure that Irish artists are supported to continue to reach a global audience.
Lisa Schwatrz, Festival and Programming Director said:
“I believe that music is what connects us and we could all use a positive reminder right now that we are all in this storm together. So, creating an event that can be enjoyed from anywhere in the world where there is internet, I hope will go a long way to bringing our community closer, especially at a time when we are forced to be apart. With so many musicians having to cancel long planned tours and gigs and having their ability to earn a living completely gutted, it occurred to me that perhaps there was a way that I could help artists from Ireland to increase their visibility and grow their fanbase in North America and elsewhere without having to travel. The music and culture of Ireland is so rich and so vibrant, it is meant to be shared.”
Tickets for the festival are available from folkfest.org starting at $25 for one day and may be acquired without any geographic restrictions.
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