Most Iowans may trace their families back to Nordic or Germanic roots, but for the next month, we'll be shakin' our shamrocks like we just left the Emerald Isle.
Between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, there are eight Irish-inspired concerts between now, St. Patrick's Day and beyond.
Dervish's exceptional musicianship, breathtaking vocals, and high energy songs makes it one of the most sought-after acts on the live music circuit. Built upon two sturdy pillars - the hauntingly charismatic vocals of Cathy Jordan and the dazzling virtuosity of award-winning instrumentalists like Tom Morrow on fiddle, Liam Kelly on flute, and Shane Mitchell on accordion, Dervish is a solid structure of a band with its foundation in legendary pub sessions and its shape the result of years of international touring. The band's live shows are characterized by carefully crafted arrangements, as members subtly explore the endless rhythms and complexities that go to make great Irish music.
8 p.m. March 15, Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City, $22 to $25
Born in the capital of song in Ireland, famed Irish tenor, Michael Londra and his show have brought Ireland's traditional song and dance to every corner of the planet. The music is traditional at its core, with all of Ireland's national instruments, the fiddle driving frenetic reels, the great drum -- the bodhran -- beating out the driving rhythms of the band, the plaintive uileann pipes calling back to days of yore with beautiful and haunting slow airs. The dancers take the stage with brilliant flashes of speed and exuberance.
8 p.m. March 17, Paramount Theatre, 123 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids, $25 to $45
All accomplished young musicians in their own right, the members of FullSet create a stunning and unique sound that is full of energy and innovation, all the while remaining true to their traditional roots. In recent years the young group has received lots of critical acclaim. Following the success of their debut album, "Notes at Liberty," FullSet is quickly becoming one of the most sought-out bands on the Irish music scene. Fullset is made up of Michael Harrison on fiddle, Martino Vacca on uilleann pipes, Janine Redmond on button accordion, Eamonn Moloney on bodhrán, Andy Meaney on guitar and Teresa Horgan on vocals. Fullset live shows brew up a heady mix from Irish, Scottish and American traditions, incorporating original compositions along the way.
7 p.m. March 17, CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids, $25 to $30
DUBLIN GUITAR QUARTET
The Dublin Guitar Quartet is an Irish music group that specializes in the performance of contemporary classical music, particularly music associated with minimalist composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt. The quartet's repertoire—which includes wonderful works for guitar quartets and stunning arrangements of other pieces—is entirely contemporary. Its sound is lush and luxurious.
7:30 p.m. March 29, Riverside Recital Hall, Iowa City, $10 to $35
Red Molly knows about optimism and joy. The band's fans, referred to as “RedHeads”, have always responded to the sense that the band is a group of friends, sharing songs in their living room. That's exactly how it felt in 2004 when Laurie MacAllister (guitar, banjo, bass), Abbie Gardner (dobro, guitar) and Carolann Solebello (guitar, bass) sat around a campfire at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, singing and talking about their favorite songwriters. Knowing they had stumbled into something extraordinary, they formed Red Molly and spent the next seven years on the road.
Red Molly | 7 p.m. April 6 | CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids | $15 to $18
APRIL VERCH BAND
April Verch is a champion Canadian fiddler, stepdancer, and singer bringing together Celtic, jazz, folk and bluegrass influences. Practically from birth she was immersed in the folk music and dance of her native Ottawa Valley, a melting pot of Franco-Celtic traditions brought by the hard-working loggers who settled the area. The April Verch Band features world-class musicians Hayes Griffin on guitar and Cody Walters on upright-electric bass and banjo.
April Verch Band | 8 p.m. April 11 | CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids | $17 to $21
Moya Brennan is known as the first lady of Celtic music and the voice of Clannad. Bono called her voice “one of the greatest the human ear has ever experienced.” Brennan is the oldest of a prodigious musical family from Donegal, Ireland, that launched the Celtic music craze in the '70s with the formation of Clannad and spawned the global success of sister Enya.
Moya Brennan | 8 p.m. April 12 | CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids | $22 to $27
JEREMY KITTEL BAND
With the drive of Celtic fiddling, spontaneity of jazz, soul of the blues and intricacies of chamber music, the Jeremy Kittel Band consistently captivates audiences around the world. Jeremy is joined by some of the most dynamic young performers on the American acoustic music scene – the four-piece band usually includes the core members Josh Pinkham (mandolin), Nathaniel Smith (cello) and Simon Chrisman (hammered dulcimer).
Jeremy Kittel Band | 8 p.m. April 19 | CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids | $15 to $18