Almost, Almost Irish…

The title is from a song by Ceann called Almost Irish. The lyrics are pretty accurate to my situation as 3rd generation 1/2 Irish:

‘Cause I’m almost, I’m almost Irish
And I hope almost, is good enough for you
And I’m mostly, I’m mostly Irish
OK mostly I’m American it’s true
Maybe the little bit of Irish in me
Could be the little bit of Irish in you

What does this have to do with Phoenix? Because Phoenix has a large Irish population and a Celtic music scene.

Thanks to groups like the Irish Cultural Center and the Arizona Irish Music Society, there are a lot of venues to find good Irish music.
One I highly recommend is Saturday, October 4th. The Arizona Irish Festival at Margaret Hance Park and the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix is a can’t miss event.

Irish Cultural Center
1106 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ, 85004
(602) 308-4601.

If you want to participate directly in the music, you can learn an instrument or how to dance at the Cultural Center. If you just want to listen, the Arizona Irish Festival is a good place to start, but there are many other opportunities in the valley as well.

Jane Hilton - St. Patrick\'s 2007 - Photo (c) Chris Seggerman

Jane Hilton - St. Patrick's 2007 - Photo (c) Chris Seggerman

My friend Jane Hilton is a top-rated fiddler and teacher. She keeps an up-to-date calendar on her web site, but you can also find her Thursdays at Tim Finnegan’s with Singer-Songwriter Shay Veno from 9:30 pm to 1 am.

Tim Finnegan’s Irish Restaurant & Pub
9201 N. 29th Ave.
Phoenix, Arizona 85051
Phone: 602.997.2323

Shay also plays frequently at O’Connors Pub located at I-17 & Dunlap (East of Fuddrucker’s), which has been a second home to me for years.


Shay playing, Saint Patrick’s Day, 2007

If you are not into the pub scene (and there are several around the valley, which I will write about later), there are alternatives. This Friday, September 26, at Mama Java’s Coffeehouse (Indian School between 32nd St and 40th St) will feature:

  • 8pm Singer-Songwriter David McKay w/ Jane Hilton, violin, viola and mando bird
  • 9pm Glaswegian Singer and Guitarist Ian Walinck, Jane Hilton, fiddle, and Sarah Henrich, bodhran

Another great venue is Fiddler’s Dream.
From their web site:

Fiddler’s Dream Coffeehouse is located at 1702 East Glendale, in North Phoenix, just 1 block North of Glendale Avenue on the east side of 17th Street. We are on the grounds of the Phoenix Friends Meeting, on the Southeast corner of 17th Street and Cactus Wren.
We’re open from 7:15 pm until 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday nights (Performances start at 8:00 pm) and on Thursday 6:15 pm to 10:00 pm (music starts 7:30pm), we’re open for our Open Stage Night, so stop and visit. We also have some special events-check our calendar! In January 2009 we celebrate our 22nd Anniversary – and we plan to keep getting better and better. As an all-volunteer organization, we are always looking for nice folks to staff the kitchen, emcee, and lots of other fun stuff. Let us know if you’d like to be involved!
We offer a smoke-free, alcohol-free, COMPLETELY ACOUSTIC musical environment in a small venue. It’s a lot of fun, and we hold an open-stage at the end of most Friday and Saturday shows … 10 minutes or three songs.
For information on each weekend’s events, call (602) 997-9795. Fiddler’s Dream is COMPLETELY ACOUSTIC, which means we have no sound system, no microphones, and no amplifiers – and none are allowed per our incorporating charter. If you are interested in performing at Fiddler’s Dream, and can do a completely acoustic set, e-mail or give us a call.

I have been to all the venues except Tim Finnegan’s and I am pretty proud of AZ’s Irish Music scene. See you around

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