'Irish Christmas In America' At The Ark Dec. 16

Take a distinctively Irish journey into the season with the enchanting holiday show, "Irish Christmas in America." The joyful performance highlights Irish holiday traditions through music, story, song and dance, with some of Ireland's finest traditional musicians. Irish Music Magazine calls it "captivating"!

The show comes to The Ark in Ann Arbor at 8 p.m. Dec. 16.

Now in its ninth season, the 2013 tour brings back acclaimed vocal duo Lumiere, featuring the angelic voices of Pauline Scanlon and Eilis Kennedy, with renowned guitarist Donogh Hennessy (a founding member of Lunasa).

The astonishing young sean-nos dancer Brian Cunningham from Connemara dazzles with his athletic footwork. Seamus Begley, named Ireland's 2013 Traditional Singer of the Year, joins in with his stunning vocal prowess and charming wit. The all-star band also includes Grainne Hambly on harp, Sean Gavin on flute and uilleann pipes, and Oisin Mac Diarmada, the show's producer and the brilliant young fiddler with the Irish group Teada.

Mac Diarmada created the show to bring some of Ireland's lovely yet lesser-known holiday traditions to American audiences. Music, singing and dancing were intrinsic to the season in Ireland, and also for many Irish that found themselves in America.

"One of the most heartfelt themes of Irish Christmas is emigration," says Mac Diarmada. "Music was a way that people stayed close to home."

Since the first holiday tour in 2005, "Irish Christmas in America" has featured such stellar guest vocalists as Karan Casey (Solas), Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (Danu), and Cathie Ryan (Cherish the Ladies). Performance appearances have included the National Geographic Society in Washington DC.

The new CD "An Irish Christmas Soundscape," with Mac Diarmada, Begley and other guests, is an accompaniment to the show, available to listen or purchase at irishchristmasinamerica.bandcamp.com

The Ark is located at 316 Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets to the show are $20. For more information, visit http://www.theark.org and http://www.irishchristmasinamerica.com.

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