Thursday, March 15, 2012

Greening the mountain

Any musician with even a hint of Irish heritage is pretty busy this time of year; who doesn't want to hear reels, jigs and those incredibly vivid Celtic folk songs around St. Patrick's Day?

But tracking down Boston's Katie McD was difficult not because she was gigging non-stop, but rather the singer/songwriter was busy recording the soundtrack for the Irish film "No Eye to Pity Her."

Fortunately, the mountain will be getting McD out of the studio and onto a sun splashed deck  for a St. Patrick's day concert from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

"We played at the mountain last year too and it was so much fun. People came skiing down into us playing all of these Irish tunes. And there were so many kids we could play a few children's songs too," McD recalls.

Since her last visit to the mountain, McD has been writing pieces for the above-mentioned film as well as setting classic Irish poems to music for a theatrical production. Though she has made her home in Boston for many years, McD returns to her native Galway often enough to plug into her native culture, and that's a big deal for her.

"I love these kinds of challenges," McD says, mentioning how both the film and play required her to put a contemporary touch to some very traditional stories, music and writing. "It dredges up all that I  grew up with. It helps me know what I need to know about my culture."

While her previous CD focused on contemporary tunes with a Celtic accent, her next project is shaping up to be a collection of the more traditional music she has been cooking up.

"I've never done a purely Celtic CD,"  she says. "But I'm ready to do one now, and I can bring a lot to it. I couldn't have done something like this 10 years ago."

McD's Irish Cross Country Band includes bodhran player Martin Butler and fiddle player Matt Leavenworth. They will be working in their new songs alongside the repertoire of traditional tunes, and the blend has already proven popular in concert.

"The new age Celtic meets old school went over really well. We played (last) Friday and I did 'No Eye to Pity Her,' a song nobody has really heard, and the whole place jumped out of their seats," McD recalls. "It just touched everybody, and that is very gratifying."

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