MCLA Brings Back CeltFest


NORTH ADAMS, MA. - St. Patrick's Day celebrations continue as MCLA Presents! and the MCLA Student Activities Committee present the 2nd Annual CeltFest on Tuesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Venable Gym. This year's concert features the Godfathers of Irish rock, Black 47. 

The evening also will feature local favorites JP Murphy, bag-piping by the Berkshire Highlanders, the return of the MCLA student band Pipes and Change and MCLA's Djembe band - The Blazer Band.  

Black 47 has long been one of New York's favorite pub bands, with a strong following from the Irish community, in particular the New York Police Department and New York City Fire Department. 

Black 47's latest album, "Iraq," takes them back to their early roots of an unabashedly political, and thoroughly Irish form of rock and roll. USA Today says of the Album "'Iraq' eloquently and forcefully paints the war as tragic folly through character studies and vignettes that are both sobering and ferocious, boiling in the group's olio of punk, reggae, folk, jazz and traditional Irish sounds - a blistering overview which injects black humor into harrowing tales of disillusioned soldiers on and off the battlefield."

"The album is great - it takes a hard look at the Iraq war from the point of view of those sent to fight it, while still maintaining the hard hitting Irish rock that Black 47 is so famous for," said Jonathan Secor, MCLA's director of special programs. "They always put on an amazingly energetic show, throwing in some of the great Irish classics and just enough bag pipes and penny whistles to remind you where their roots are."

According to The Rolling Stone, Black 47 is "usually most comfortable playing loud and live with upraised fists and chunky guitar riffs in local hangouts - explodes with declarations of gnashing street poetry punctuated with wailing uilleann pipes, Joe Strummer-style chord chops and Bourbon Street sax sojourns."

J.P. Murphy was formed in early 1991 by Patrick Gray Sr., who sings lead and plays rhythm guitar or banjo as well as an occasional harmonica. 

According to Secor, the group performs the traditional Irish music that reflects the struggles and triumphs of an enduring fun-loving people. The great battle songs like the "Patriots Game" and "James Connolly" bring you back to a time where a people's strength came from the heart. The drinking songs made famous throughout the world like "Whiskey in the Jar" and "Wild Rover" are arranged and performed to get your feet stomping and your hearts pounding while the stout keeps flowing.

Kicking off the evening will be the Berkshire's only djembe band- MCLA Blazer Band, MCLA student favorite, Pipes and Change and bag pipers from the Berkshire Highlanders.  MCLA students clubs and organizations have planned lots of wrap-around activities for this festival, including food and drink, giveaways, raffles and art-making activities.

Tickets for general admission are $12, $5 for MCLA faculty and staff and members and MCLA students are free. To reserve tickets, call (413) 662-5204 for more information, go to presents .  For more information, call 413-664-8718.