Performances & Events

with Blue Ridge Irish Music School Traditional Ensemble

At the Jefferson Theater
Reserved Seated Show
Thursday, February 26
Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 8:00 PM
Tickets: $25 Advance / $30 Day of Show
Solas is the quintessential Irish-American band recording and touring in the US today. In 1996, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for “light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions without ever stooping to clichés. Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), Solas is rounded out by Mick McAuley (accordians, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and newest member and lead singer, Norianna Kennedy. Through fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling and topical originals and covers, and unparalleled musicianship, Solas continues to define the path for the Celtic music world and drive the genre forward.
Come see the band hailed by the New York Times for their “….unbridled vitality”  and the Boston Globe declared as “the finest celtic ensemble this country has ever produced”. After nearly 20 years together Solas shows no sign of slowing down. An incandescent ensemble that continues to find contemporary relevance in timeless traditions.

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill

Saturday, March 21st
8:00 p.m.
The Haven, 112 W. Market St., Charlottesville
$25/advance, $30/at the door

For advance tickets:  434-409-9631 or

Workshops with Martin or Dennis

$50/Two hour workshop
Workshop time/location TBA

“This remarkable duo has honed a ravishing repertoire by distilling the melodic essence of traditional tunes…bringing chamber music’s intensity and dynamic control to folk music.”  Seattle Times

Musicians  (L to R) MARTIN HAYES & DENNIS CAHILL. ©Photo by Derek Speirs

Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill

Fiddler Martin Hayes, from East County Clare, is considered one of Ireland’s most innovative and influential musicians.  He was raised in a famous musical family in rural County Clare, and had won six All-Ireland fiddle championships by age 19.

Dennis Cahill was born and raised in Chicago to parents from County Kerry, Ireland. He is a master guitarist whose spare, essential accompaniment to Hayes’ fiddle is acknowledged as a major breakthrough for guitar in the Irish tradition.  Together they have toured throughout the world for almost twenty years including multiple tours to Australia, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Scandinavia, Canada, the U.K. and Ireland as well as stops in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China, Poland and Mexico. Hayes and Cahill have recorded three critically acclaimed albums together on Green Linnet Records.  They were the featured performers at the March 17, 2011 annual St. Patrick’s Day Congressional Luncheon playing for the President, Vice-President, members of Congress, and the President of Ireland at the Capitol, and that evening at the White House.

Music & Dance from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
The Andrea Beaton Trio

Andrea Beaton (fiddle, step dance), Dick Hensold (bagpipes, whistles ) & Troy MacGillivray (piano, step dance)
Friday, April 17th
7:00 p.m. (doors at 6:00)
Cville Coffee, 1301 Harris St., Charlottesville

$16 at the door

AndreaBeatonTrioThis concert of traditional Cape Breton Scottish fiddling and piping will feature fiddler Andrea Beaton, with piper Dick Hensold and pianist Troy MacGillivray.  The fiddle and bagpipes have had a long, close relationship in the Scottish Gaelic communities on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, and this concert unleashes the incredible energy and power of this combination of instruments.   “…Beaton is a force to be reckoned with, a powerful player with great technique and tremendous passion…”  The Guardian, Charlottetown

Andrea Beaton, “a powerful Cape Breton fiddler, composer and stepdancer”, is one of the most accomplished and well-known fiddlers from the newest crop of Cape Breton musicians. Andrea’s lively music is characterized by her powerful bow, the drive and swing of her timing and the crispness of her attack. She learned her tradition from her family. Her father, Kinnon, is one of today’s most influential Cape Breton fiddlers; her mother, Betty Beaton, is one of the great piano accompanists of her generation. Her late uncle, Buddy MacMaster, was the most revered fiddler on Cape Breton Island, and her cousin, Natalie MacMaster, is an enormously popular entertainer on the fiddle. Her music is at once her own and deeply rooted in the tradition associated with the Mabou Coal Mines in Cape Breton.  She has released 5 solo CDs, one of which won the 2010 East Coast Music Association “instrumental recording of the year” award.

Appearing with Andrea will be Dick Hensold, playing various bagpipes and whistles.  A 2006 Bush Artist Fellow (in traditional music), he is the leading Northumbrian smallpiper in North America, and for the past 20 years has performed and taught in England, Scotland, Japan, Canada, and across the United States. Based in St Paul, MN, he is a full-time musician, passionately presenting the traditional music of Scotland, Cape Breton Island, and Northumberland, as well as Nordic folk music, early music, and traditional Cambodian music. His solo Northumbrian smallpipes CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes was released in 2007. “Dick Hensold is a master piper with an exquisite touch.” –City Pages, Minneapolis, MN

Joining Andrea and Dick will be pianist and multi-instrumentalist Troy MacGillivray. From Lanark, Nova Scotia, Troy has been playing music and step dancing since he was a young child, and was teaching at Cape Breton’s Gaelic College in St. Ann by the time he was 13. A winner of numerous music awards, he is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding contributions to culture in Canada. Troy’s playing is featured on both Dick Hensold’s recording, Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes, and Andrea Beaton’s CD, The Tap Sessions.  Also, see troymacgillivray

Listen to Beaton, Hensold, MacGillivray

Workshops on Saturday, April 18th with the Andrea Beaton Trio

$30 per 90 minute workshop
Workshops begin at 10 a.m. and will meet at the Charlottesville Waldorf School

Cape Breton Step Dance Workshop:
Learn the basics of Cape Breton step dance!

Cape Breton Fiddle:
This workshop will introduce the participants to playing Cape Breton fiddle music, and will cover what makes Cape Breton music unique, as well as techniques and ornaments particular to Cape Breton music.  It is for intermediate/ advanced fiddlers (you have to be able to play tunes; basic fiddle technique will not be covered) but players of other instruments are also welcome.  The workshop will be taught primarily by ear.

Cape Breton Piping:
Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia is a cultural gem, believed to authentically preserve many aspects of old Scottish highland Gaelic culture.  This is an introductory workshop for Highland pipers, which provides a historical and cultural overview of the Cape Breton piping tradition, and demonstrates the general and specific differences between Cape Breton piping and modern conventional piping.  Widely regarded as the leading Northumbrian smallpiper in North America, Dick Hensold has studied Cape Breton music and piping over the last 15 years.

Cape Breton Piano Accompaniment:
If there is enough demand!  Let us know if you are interested in this option.