Thursday, April 27, 2006

Girl Friday #12: Fiddle Mama

As I've said before on this blog, I have always, since I can remember, been a fan of Celtic music, and one of the great pleasures of my adult life has been the exposure to many talented Irish musicians and wonderful traditional and contemporary Irish music. My friend Fearless has been instrumental in introducing me to a number of musicians. The fabulous Liz Carroll is one of them.

Fearless describes Liz as something of an unsuspecting fiddle master.
Fearless writes:

Liz Carroll is really a Midwestern soccer mom, until she picks up that fiddle, at which point she sort of channels the ghost of Jimi Hendrix or something. Perhaps the most moving song that they played at Chicago was an aire that Liz wrote called the "Song of the First Generation." it's about people like Liz who are the first generation of children born here to Irish immigrants, like her folks...Don't forget to mention that Liz won the All-Ireland fiddle championship the year that she turned 18

Ok, Fearless. I didn't. I'm also laughing and thinking about that story that she told about the "Vornado" fan. Hers is a sense of humor after my own cynical, proletariat heart.

I had another great pleasure back in October of meeting up with Fearless to enjoy Liz together with John Doyle. These two Irish favorites set Cleveland's Beachland Tavern on its head and certainly turned it green that night.

It is impossible, really, to listen to either of these extraordinary performers and not be carried away by the sounds that they evoke from their instruments. John also has a voice that beckons, reminding the listener of balladeers of old. As a duo, they are more than dynamic. They are a force to be reckoned with, playing in perfect alignment with each other, bringing an ancient music very much alive with all the spice of present day.

I dare you to give Liz Carroll a listen without tapping your feet or nodding your head. In fact, I double dare ya. If you're not convinced, I'll meet you the next time she comes through, buy you a plate of bangers and rashers and a Smithwick's, and treat you to one of the best music nights of your life.



At April 27, 2006 9:07 PM, Anonymous fearless said...


Liz and John will be playing again this year at the Saline Celtic Festival in Saline, Mi (just south of Ann Arbor) on July 15th. Joining them will be Bohola --a great Irish band based in Chicago. Pat Broaders sat in with John and Liz at the World Folk Music Company in Chicago and was great, as always!

At the Chicago show, we had the very pleasant surprise to hear and met Matt and Shannon Heaton (of Boston lately.) They will be joining John, Liz and Bohola at Saline this year.

Liz's family was out in full force (believe me!) at the Chicago gig. Her mom and dad are so wonderful. When her mom took the time to chat about music with my daughter, it was AWESOME. They're great.

The session after the show was a priceless experience. John was doing a great job of singing “Bold Doherty” which has like 15,000 words and all of sudden --the wheels came off. It was hysterical.

Here are some relevant web links: (Heatons)

At April 27, 2006 9:25 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey you! I should link those on the of these days (I have quite a bit of updating to do).

I always enjoy your stories and hanging out with you when one of our favorites is in Ohio. Thanks for being a friend and mentor and taking me along on some pretty interesting musical adventures. I'll be your merch and Guinnes Bros buddy anytime.


At April 28, 2006 1:46 AM, Anonymous fearless said...

Ah, my pleasure lassie.

Right now the world of Celtic music has some incredible women- singers like Karan Casey and Karen Matheson and players like Natalie MacMaster and Sharon Shannon.

And then there's Liz... her tone and inflection are incredible. Her playing really "sings" -it's very much like a beautiful voice. At the Chicago show, she played "The Island of Woods" and just made time stand still.

It's just so much fun to be around someone so low key and unassuming, who picks up that fiddle and just blows everyone away. (Sort of like, oh, say Tim O'Brien.)


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