Concert to feature prominent Irish, American musicians and dancers

Melissa Weigel

Dr. Mick Moloney, musicologist, will lead a group of musicians and dancers in “A Celtic-Appalachian Celebration” this Sunday at the University.

“It’s an event for everybody, students and the general public,” Dr. Vincent Sherry, acting Irish Studies director, said. “Moloney brings a universal enthusiasm to the performance.” Sherry is sponsoring the program with the support of the Ireland chapter of the Villanova alumni association.

This is the second year in a row that Moloney has performed at the University although he has been here a number of times. Sherry said he is aiming to make the performance an annual event.

Moloney and his group will present a collection of Irish and Irish-American music, including classical Irish music as well as more modern music.

The Appalachian bluegrass music featured sounds very similar to Irish music because its roots stem from the Irish immigrants who moved there in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

According to Sherry, the music played by Moloney and his group actually has a very eclectic collection of influences. “Moloney travels a lot,” Sherry said. “He just recently spent three months in Thailand this fall – just exposing himself to the world’s music.”

In addition to the music, there will be two dancers. Niall O’Learly is a former world and All-Ireland Irish dance champion, and Amy Fenton-Shine is a renowned clog dancer who has toured with the famous Appalachian groups, the Green Grass Cloggers and Fiddle Puppets. Although both will perform individual dances, they will also come together to illustrate the similarities of the two types of dancing.

Raised in an intense musical atmosphere in Kilkenny, Ireland, Moloney now teaches one semester a year at New York University while also writing books on Irish music and touring around the world.

He has recorded and produced over 50 albums, and hosted three nationally syndicated series of folk music shows. Moloney also received the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1999.

The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. Tickets are available at the door for $15 for the University community and $20 for the general public.