The first concert of the New Year presented by The Commodore Barry Club will feature two of Ireland's premier female vocalists SUSAN McKEOWN and MARY McPARTLAN

Saturday 10th January 2009 at 8:00 PM

The Commodore Barry Club (The Irish Center)
6815 Emlen St, Philadelphia PA
Tickets are $15, $13 for Ceili Group and Commodore Barry Club members at the door.
More information: (215) 843-8051, (215) 248-0502,

From both sides of the Atlantic New York-based McKeown and Galway-based McPartlan have distinguished themselves in their careers: both have made a lifelong musical journey of their exploration of Irish song, and both share a deep appreciation for a wider song tradition through their work outside of Irish folk. The two met in the summer of 2008 at the Willie Clancy Week in County Clare, and are delighted to share the stage for this performance - McPartlan’s first in the United States.

GRAMMY award-winning vocalist SUSAN McKEOWN left her hometown of Dublin, Ireland in 1990 to take up a scholarship to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and settled in Manhattan's East Village. In Ireland she had formed The Chanting House with guitarist John Doyle, and in New York they formed a brief musical partnership with Seamus Egan and Eileen Ivers. In 1993, McKeown began a solo career, and her debut album "Bones" (1995) established her as a powerful vocalist and inventive songwriter.

She has since recorded ten albums of original and world music and built an impressive career through her many releases, extensive touring, and performances on programs such as 'A Prairie Home Companion', 'All Things Considered', 'Mountain Stage' and for PBS, 'Sessions at West 54th' and 'American Masters'. Susan's album 'Sweet Liberty' (2004 World Village) was nominated for a BBC Folk Music Award. She has performed with Natalie Merchant, Pete Seeger, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Linda Thompson, Billy Bragg, Johnny Cunningham, Andy Irvine, Kevin Burke, and The Klezmatics, on whose GRAMMY winning album Wonder Wheel: Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, she is prominently featured.

McKeown grabbed both song and audience by the throat, dragged them through heaven and hell and back again, and left the stage to the loudest applause heard all evening. - ROLLING STONE

If there's some dividing line between Celtic traditionalism and eclectic contemporary songwriting, McKeown refuses to acknowledge it. And with a voice as warm, resonant and versatile as hers, why should she? - THE OREGONIAN

MARY McPARTLAN had long established a career in the arts and entertainment industry in Ireland when in 2004 she released her critically acclaimed album The Holland Handkerchief and announced her new career as a professional singer. But it had been in her blood all along. In the early 70s in her native County Leitrim, Mary grew up singing in a musical household: her father Tommy loved the tunes, and her mother Betty was a singer who came from a family of musicians in Plumbridge, Tyrone.

Mary moved to Galway where she helped found the Riabhóg Singers Club. As a producer and director of many music and theatre projects, Mary developed the concept of the National Traditional Music Awards on TG4, Ireland’s national Irish language TV station. She is a founding member and producer of the Galway-based theatre company Skehana. The release of The Holland Handkerchief brought Mary’s formidable vocal talents to a wider audience and established her as a strong presence on the Irish music scene. Her 2008 release Petticoat Loose brought further accolades. This is Mary’s first performance in the US.

Mary McPartlan, the Bessie Smith of traditional music, stilled audiences with her eclectic repertoire and showed the wisdom of planting one foot in the present while the other treads adventurously into the past. THE IRISH TIMES

Blessed with a distinctively evocative and welcoming voice and a strong sense of her own musical personality, Mary and her close collaborator, Shamie O’Dowd of Dervish, have conspired to produce … an incredible debut, and a potential Irish album of the year. - SONGLINES


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