You might not go to see Cherish the Ladies to be challenged, or to experience the sublime, or even for a sense of the simple beauty of Irish traditional music. This is something else.
What it is can be best appreciated in the context of the Irish diaspora and the emotional impact of emigration. From afar, one pictures a community determined to protect itself from assimilation, to hold on to an identity – a vital part of which was to pass it on to the next generation; from father to daughter, in this instance.
From that background, Irish-New Yorker, Joanie Madden (“dynamic and irrepressible” according to the website), has perfected a recipe for a night of high-energy, wholesome fun based on her expatriate love of Ireland and Irish music.
The night involves numerous exceptionally talented musicians – many Senior All-Ireland winners; tunes, some composed by Joanie herself, linked by stories of the band or of emigration, rather than by tune names and sources; local award-winning dancers joining in; and a singer who has been a friend of the band’s from way back (in this case, the All Ireland Talent Show runner up, Don Stiffe). The audience is king, and there to be entertained.
The solos are kept short to allow for plenty of lively ensemble playing. Nothing is to be taken too seriously, nothing is too sacred not to interrupt with a joke, a stomping foot or a shout of encouragement from Joanie, as in ‘Go on, Grainne’.
The superb line up for this tour is Joanie Madden (whistle, flute and vocals), Mary Coogan (guitar), Gráinne Murphy (fiddle), Mirella Murray (accordion) and Kathleen Boyle (keyboard and vocals). All worthy of being cherished … but only if you’re in the mood.