A Bit of Ireland Comes to Red Bank

first_imgBy Mary Ann BourbeauRED BANK – Celtic Thunder is returning to North America for a 75-city tour, and the first stop is at the Count Basie Theatre on Aug. 19.“The first night is always very special,” said Ryan Kelly, who has been a member of the five-member Irish group since it was formed in Dublin in 2007. “Everything will be fresh. We’re happy to be kicking off our tour at the Count Basie Theatre.”Celtic Thunder celebrates the heritage of Irish and Celtic music. The members are known not only for their vocal harmonies and dramatic solos but their eclectic repertoire, which ranges from traditional Irish and folk music to adult contemporary, rock and classical numbers. There will be a mix of lively songs, including “Galway Girl” and “Raggle Taggle Gypsy,” and soft ballads such as “Danny Boy” and “Noreen.”The show also features dramatic, state-of-the-art lighting effects on a stage set resembling an ancient stone pathway, making it a theatrical event as well.“People love it because it’s a combination of things,” said Kelly. “We see three generations from the same family in our audience, and they all take away something different from the show. We have great pride that our music brings people together like that.”The shows also have a little comedic action, such as when the members perform the traditional Irish drinking songs.“We’re just a group of lads working together and we’re good friends as well,” he said. “The comedy adds entertainment for us and for the crowd. People want to sing along and have fun. It wouldn’t be an Irish show without a few Irish drinking songs.”Shortly after Celtic Thunder was formed, the group gained recognition from a performance broadcast on PBS, and they have been touring through North America, Australia and South Africa ever since. They have sold more than 2 million albums and topped the Billboard charts for world album.“Our fan base has been amazing since Day One,” said Kelly. “Irish and Celtic music is all about storytelling. We take people away from their lives for a couple of hours.”Kelly had always loved music but after graduating college, felt he needed a “real job.” In 2007, he was working as an accountant when he saw an article about auditions for Celtic Thunder.“I never really tried to do music full-time, but I thought I would give it a go and see what happens,” he said. “I never believed I had a chance. But lo and behold, here I am. We’re still going strong and about to embark on one of our biggest tours.”Kelly is also looking forward to his free time when he’s back in the United States. He is a big fan of American sports, and is hoping to catch a football or basketball game while he is here, in addition to seeing sights he has never seen before.“I love to travel and explore new places,” he said. “I’ve probably seen more of America than a lot of Americans.”Celtic Thunder will release its latest album, “Legacy, Volume Two,” on Aug. 12. It contains many of the best-loved songs from their tours, including “Streets of New York,” “Seven Drunken Nights,” “Isle of Innisfree” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”“Being on stage tops everything,” said Kelly. “Every night is different, and it’s always something very special. I know how lucky I am to have this job and do something I really love.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *