, Newburyport, MA

March 14, 2013

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with concerts, Irish music

Celebrate your Irish side with music, parties

By Katie Lovett
Features Editor

---- — It isn’t your parents’ version of Irish music, but it will definitely get you into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit.

Goitse, a five-piece band from Ireland, will make their first appearance in the Boston area during a special St. Patrick’s Day concert at the Roots Music Series at the Belleville Church tomorrow night.

“This is the new Irish, but is based on traditional Irish music,” said Ken Irwin, one of the organizers of the church’s concert series. “They started as a traditional band, and tradition is still the basis for what they are doing, but as they’ve grown, they’ve fused the traditional music with elements of other genres. This is lively music with great energy and instrumental virtuosity. It’ll keep your toes tapping all night long.”

Goitse, which is an informal Gaelic greeting that means “come here,” formed several years ago after its members met as students at Limerick University’s Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. Gradually, the Irish folk band took shape. The band members still live in Limerick.

“It’s traditional music with our own kind of stamp on it,” said Colm Phelan, who plays the bodhran, an Irish frame drum. “It’s traditional Irish music with a twist.”

Sometimes, the group will use traditional medleys and other times, they will write their own songs, or mix the two elements, he added.

The band, which released a debut album in 2010, includes singer Aine McGeeney — who also plays on the fiddle — and Tadhg O’Meacair on the piano and piano accordion. McGeeney performs in both English and Irish.

James Harvey on the banjo and mandolin and Conal O’Kane on guitar and banjo complete the quintet.

The music begins at 8 p.m. at Belleville Congregational Church, 300 High St., Newburyport.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the show. Admission is $10 for children age 12 and younger. Tickets are sold at Dyno Records, 1 Middle St., Newburyport, at the Belleville Congregational Church office on Thursday and Friday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or online at Tickets will also be available at the door.

The St. Patrick’s Day festivities include an opportunity to meet the band as well. For $10, audience members can visit with Goitse from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at The Port Tavern, 84 State St., Newburyport. The gathering will include hors d’ouerves and a cash bar. For more information on the pre-party, email or visit

Goitse is looking forward to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Newburyport, Phelan said.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a big day for all Irish musicians,” he said.

“We’ve heard great things about the Boston Irish scene,” Phelan added. “We’re looking forward to a nice, lively show.”

The Roots Music Series is a fundraiser for the Belleville Church and proceeds are used to maintain the church’s historic buildings.

“We’ve found that our audiences have been appreciative of both the roots and branches of the music we’ve brought in,” Irwin said. “We’ve tried to show the range of the various musical styles and to help educate our audiences as to where the acts fit within the genres. Most of the bands we’ve brought in have their roots in traditional music, but bring in changes from the music that they hear from other sources and these changes make them the unique artists that they are.”

Organizers heard of Goitse from an agent who specializes in Celtic music and strives to find the best new, up-and-coming bands, he added.

“There’s an excitement when our audience sees a band on the way up and can say a couple years later that they saw them back when they played at the Belleville space,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s sooner than that as in the case of (previous performer) JD McPherson who is now doing dates with Bob Seeger and getting standing ovations.”

In addition to Goitse, revelers will have several other chances to wear their green and show their Irish pride this weekend:

Fiddle player at Cat in the Cradle

Irish pub entertainer Patsy Whelan will bring his fiddle-playing talents to the Cat in the Cradle Coffeehouse at the Byfield Community Arts Center Saturday night. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15.

“Undoubtedly one of the finest fiddle players in the region, Patsy’s laughing, sentimental, sometimes bawdy music will keep you on your feet dancing,” organizers wrote in a press release.

The Cat Cafe will be serving Guinness and several other beverages, as well as snacks. The arts center is located at 7 Central St., Byfield.

Joppa Flatts party

Local band Joppa Flatts is returning to The Grog for another St. Patrick’s Day party — or “paaahty” as they like to call it. The fun begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Newburyport pub.

Lead guitarist Chris Santarelli promised a festive night with some new tunes mixed in with their usual lineup of songs.

“We usually play some U2 and dress in festive green,” he said.