Irish vocalist Karan Casey and traditional/folk band Dervish perform at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts


Karan Casey, the soloist whose wide-ranging voice has been called "willowy" with a "fiery core," and Dervish, the traditional Irish band known for its strong vocals and soaring, plunging instrumentals, perform in a powerful night of Irish music, Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The performance is part of the Quick Center's Emerald Isle Series.

In a nod to her exceptional two-and-a-half-octave voice range, The Wall Street Journal has dubbed Casey "one of the true glories of Irish music today." The vocalist spent four and a half years with the traditional Irish quintet Solas, recording three award-winning albums and a concert video with the band, before going solo in 1999. She has recorded two albums as a soloist: "Songlines" and "The Wind Begins to Sing."

Born in County Waterford, Casey has studied piano, voice and jazz. In a voice described as gentle yet strong and full of emotional resolve, she sings Gaelic dirges as comfortably as she does jazz numbers such as Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit." The Boston Globe marvels that Casey can "whisper an ancient Gaelic lament as though the cause of her grief had happened yesterday."

Since releasing the first of its six albums in 1993, Dervish has gained recognition as the most soulful traditional Irish band today. Hailing from County Sligo, Dervish takes the stage "like a force of nature," according to the folk music magazine, Dirty Linen, creating music that "soars, turns and plunges." Musicians Brian McDonagh, Liam Kelly, Tom Morrow, Shane Mitchell, Cathy Jordan (vocalist), Seacute;amus O'Dowd and Michael Holmes play guitar, fiddle and the harmonica, as well as instruments traditional to Irish music, such as the bodhr‡n (a drum) and the lute-like mandola and bouzouki.

In 1995, Dervish's second album, "Playing with Fire," reached number one on the Irish folk music charts. Their third album, "At the End of the Day," won the Hot Press Traditional/Folk Album of the Year award one year later. And in 1997, Dervish was named Best Overall Traditional/Folk Band by the readers of Irish Music magazine. The band's latest album, "Decade," was released in 2001.

Tickets for the performance are $30, with discounts available for seniors, students and groups. For tickets or information, call the box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396, or visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 24, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 168