The Celtic Thunder Quake
By Paul McCann
There are some who make and shake and some who bend and break. When the Celtic Thunder Quake hit down under , their fans came rolling in through the doors of many venues all over the country , between January and February 2013 .
So what is it that makes Celtic Thunder so popular . Is it the music or their personalities .
Is it the promoters ?
The performances ?
The stage sets ?
Well yes , its all of that but there’s more .
What Celtic Thunder produce on stage is a family show with a great collection of songs both Celtic and contemporary , country and traditional .
Somewhere between the Irish and Scottish folk scene there is a balance or a common ground with the love of an ancient tradition of song and dance
What also fascinates me is that powerful Celtic presence coming through between the old and new songs when Celtic Thunder perform .
Maybe its that mystic with the music . , maybe it’s the theatrical work behind the songs that provides a unique entertaining spectacle .
There is also what I call an escape hatch for the audience . We all need at times to have the chance to forget the everyday ritual of work and whatever life is putting us through in the normal places we live .
Celtic Thunder seem to provide that at their shows and when at the end of the show and its all over everything is slowly pulled back together again . Until the next time .
I believe Celtic Thunder have a very successful formula and to be there in the audience when they are on stage is awesome , You get consumed by an energy is electric and the experience between the audience and the performers on stage is a happy one . Everyone there is having fun .
There is a lot going on behind the scenes as well with promotion and the production . Even though there have been a few changes to the line up in the last three years, it has taken nothing away from the sound of Celtic Thunder .
The current line up are ,
George Donaldson (Glasgow ), Neil Byrne , (Dublin) , Ryan Kelly , (Tyrone)
Emmet Cahill(Westmeath)and Keith Harking (Derry )
At this time the backing and accompaniment behind Celtic Thunder have an extremely talented group of people .
Musical director David Munro is a graduate of Glasgow University -
He is a modern day composer who has worked with Phil Coulter , Sinead O’Connor Brian Kennedy and Finbar Furey .
His work listing include being Nominated for his musical story Book for BBC Radio 4
Laura Durrant on Cello is a native of Glasgow’ and works with Edward McGuire and choreographed and danced in his world premier at the glasgows West End Festival
Declan ODonoghue on Precussion is from Galway . He has also played drums in Michael Flatleys Celtic Tiger tour . Declan is also a producer and studio engineer in a family run music studio .,
Barry Kerr on whistles , pipes, guitar and bodhran is from Armagh who now lives in Belfast.. He has worked with Cara Dillon and has had some of his songs recorded by Karen Casey . Barry is also a painter and is becoming well known with his contempory art works
Nicole Hudson is From Dublin and plays Viola and adds backing vocals
Seans Davey from County Meath is the Harpist
At the concert I attended they had people dancing in the aisles . When Celtic Thunder sang Red Rose café , behind me row after row of women started waving red roses in their hands . There were people holding Celtic Thunder banners as many others in the audience were singing along with every song .
Inside the Win Entertainment Centre thousands of fans had come to experience Celtic Thunder . The atmosphere was electric and as I looked around I saw people from all cultures and of all ages. Some had come from Brisbane to see Celtic Thunder as theBrisbane concerts had been cancelled due to the floods .
At the half time people left the concert hall for refreshments outside . During the break I met some people who wanted to talk and I soon obliged .
People were friendly and relaxed . I think that is part of the Celtic Thunder experience ,
There was a disabled lady there who told me she was going to sell her house and buy a mobile home just so she can travel around with the Celtic Thunder when they're on tour .
I met Ian and his wife who had been to every concert and every sound check and every meet and greet since Celtic Thunder arrived and had already book their tickets for the Celtic Thunder Cruise in November .
When the concert resumed the concert went up another gear with livelier songs and some dancing on stage provided by Seans .
After the gig behind the entertainment centre the tour buses sat waiting for the members of Celtic Thunder to get on board . Also waiting there were a large number of fans who had gathered in the hope to see and farewell the lads before they left Wollongong .
As the roadies packed the trucks Celtic Thunder began to sign autographs for many of their fans who had produced CD’ and DVD’s and books to be signed .
One nice thing I saw was when Emmett one of the members of Celtic Thunder walked around the safety barrier to have a photo taken with a disabled woman in a wheelchair .
Even though all the lads looked exhausted after their performance they still had time to meet their fans .
Today there are people from many countries who follow Celtic Thunder and it inspires me to see the old and young faces in the audience . It goes to show that the gift of music is an experience that can transcend and bring together all ages and creeds .
Long may it last